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Sat, Jun 28, 2008

IAM Headlines Labor Groups Voicing Support For KC-767

23 Groups Sign Letter To Lawmakers Calling For New KC-X Winner

Twenty-three unions, labor federations and affiliated organizations have signed and delivered a letter to House and Senate lawmakers calling for Boeing to be immediately awarded the Air Force refueling tanker contract.

Citing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that said the Airbus tanker lacked the ability to refuel all of the Air Force's aircraft, and calling Boeing's KC-767 "the clear winner" in the competition to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of tankers, the labor groups are urging Congress to award the contract to Boeing without delay.

"The Air Force needs new tankers now," said the letter, which was delivered to all 535 members of Congress. "Continuing this phony "competition" only adds unnecessary delays and costs to the tanker refueling program. The Boeing KC-767 fulfills the requirements of the original Request for Proposal (RFP) and has over 85 percent domestic content -- a clear win for America."

The Air Force decision to award the contract to the Northrop Grumman/EADS Airbus tanker, was rebuked by the GAO report, which cited the Air Force for failing to follow its own guidelines and awarding the massive contract to a more costly aircraft that is too large for many airfields.

Additional concerns outside the scope of the GAO report were also raised.

"The GAO report did not evaluate the impact of awarding a $100 billion contract to a foreign competitor on our defense industrial base, or the fallout on our economy from the loss of good paying jobs associated with the highly unionized domestic aerospace industry," said the letter. "Further, the GAO did not take into consideration that European governments gave billions in illegal subsidies to EADS, which put Boeing at a competitive disadvantage and American jobs at risk.

"Only Boeing has the skilled workforce and fully operational production line to immediately meet the Air Force's demand for new tankers. We strongly urge that Congress act now and award the tanker refueling contract to the original winner, the Boeing KC-767."

The IAM, which initiated the letter, is among the most politically active industrial trade unions in the United States, representing workers in aerospace, transportation, shipbuilding, manufacturing and defense related industries.

FMI: www.goiam.org, www.globaltanker.com

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