Cites Need For Air Superiority, "Short-Term Economic
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers (IAM) denounced Monday the decision by US Defense Secretary
Robert Gates to end funding for the F-22 Raptor, calling the plane
"the next-generation fighter aircraft that would have assured US
air superiority for years to come."
"Not only is the decision to cut funding for the F-22
shortsighted militarily, but our economy can ill afford to disperse
the thousands of aerospace jobs required to design, construct and
maintain aircraft of this caliber," said IAM President Tom
Buffenbarger. "We simply cannot afford to cannibalize our national
defense to repair damage caused by reckless financial institutions
and greed-crazed corporate executives."
More than 2,000 Lockheed Martin workers, many represented by the
IAM, assemble the F-22 Raptor at the company’s facility in
Cobb County, Georgia. In addition to jobs directly related to
production and assembly, as many as 25,000 jobs nationwide are
indirectly supported by the program.
"The need for long-term air superiority is no less important
than the need for short-term economic stimulus," said IAM Vice
President Rich Michalski, who oversees the union’s aerospace
operations. "The benefits of the F-22 program extend far beyond the
aircraft itself. It creates and supports thousands of good-paying
jobs when we need them most, and nearly all technological advances
in the commercial aviation sector have their genesis in
taxpayer-supported military programs like the F-22."
"The economy is tough enough," IAM spokesman Tom Buffenbarger
told WSB-750 in Atlanta. "The cost of shutting down this line and
the devastating effect that has on communities -- whether in
Seattle, Marietta, Georgia or Fort Worth, Texas... is
The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in North
America, representing nearly 700,000 active and retired members in
dozens of industries, including Lockheed's assembly plant in