Machinists district president to retire Jan. 31

  • Tue Jan 14th, 2014 10:34pm

Associated Press and Herald staff

SEATTLE — The president of the Machinists union district which represents thousands of Boeing Co. workers will retire at the end of January.

Tom Wroblewski cited health concerns as he made his announcement to the District 751 council of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Tuesday evening. He said the stress of the past three months put him in the hospital twice since Dec. 27.

The experience “changed my perspective on work-life balance,” Wroblewski said in a statement released by the union. “Your job should not destroy your health.”

On Jan. 3, Machinists at Boeing narrowly approved a contract in which they conceded some benefits to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane in Washington. The same Machinists rejected a Boeing proposal in November. Wroblewski had argued against a vote on the second offer, saying it was too similar. National Machinists union leaders pushed for the second vote.

“We now have been awarded the right to build the 777X, and we must find a way to move this membership forward,” Wroblewski said. “I leave here honored to have served this membership, knowing that I always had the best interests of this membership guiding me.”

The 59-year-old Wroblewski has served as president of District 751 since March 2007. He was re-elected in 2008 and 2012. Before that, he served as District 751’s grievance coordinator and as a business representative, with assignments in Everett, Renton, Auburn, Frederickson and Seattle, the union said.

District 751 has some 31,000 members, mostly in Western Washington but also in Oregon and Kansas. The union said it will follow district bylaws to select a replacement to serve out the remainder of Wroblewski’s term, which runs to 2016.