The Washington Aerospace Partnership wants to protect aerospace jobs in Washington.
“Washington is being challenged like never before by other regions, both here and abroad,” said said Rick Bender, president of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and co-chair of the partnership. “They want the high-paying jobs and improved quality of life that comes with the aerospace industry.”
Business owners, labor leaders and local governments formed the group and want to work with Gov. Gregoire’s aerospace council and the Aerospace Futures Alliance, which also wants to save aerospace jobs and keep Boeing in the state.
“The Washington Aerospace Partnership is the third leg of the stool,” said Tayloe Washburn, chair of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and a Partnership co-chair.
“The industry alliance will advise on what is needed to attract aerospace. The state council will develop the necessary policies. And, the Partnership will advocate for both of them.”
Meanwhile, the Machinists are warning of a ‘manufacturing meltdown’ in this country.
IAM president Tom Buffenbarger called on the Obama administration and Congress to begin crafting emergency legislation to provide funds for “rebuilding the nation’s manufacturing infrastructure” and to provide training and support to unemployed workers.
“This is the worst economy in 75 years and we need bold measures that are equal to the crisis we’re facing,” said Buffenbarger. “No sector of our economy is in greater peril than manufacturing, and no other sector provides a greater return on investment. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Lastly, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., questioned Defense Secretary Robert Gates regarding the Air Force aerial refueling tanker contest between the Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman.
Hearing excerpts from Murray’s release:
Sen. Murray: “I am worried about how we are balancing this acquisition reform effort in relation to our domestic industrial base. I am worried about the long-term ability of our domestic industrial base to provide our military forces what they need to accomplish their national security missions….Can you tell me how you are taking into account the health and longevity of our domestic industrial base including our suppliers, design engineers and manufacturers as you tackle acquisition reform in the DoD?”
Secretary Gates: “Well I think so far in terms of the decisions I have made, most of the issues have not been taken, the decisions have not been taken, with the view to the industrial base, but rather acquisition programs that had been extremely badly managed, in substantial measure by the Department of Defense. So I would say in all honesty that not very many of the decisions I have made were made with the industrial base as an important consideration……As we go forward…clearly we have concerns about the industrial base, but to be perfectly honest, decisions made a long time ago have limited our options in this respect.”
Sen. Murray: “But if keep going down this road without thinking about it, then ten years from now we will be in a bad place….I do think we have to start talking about acquisition reform in terms of our industrial base as well, and I hope we can work with you on that.”