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UAW supports Boeing protest on flawed tanker contract

Opinion: Outsourcing defense contracts

Washington Times 03/28/2008

(Copyright 2008)

As American forces confront the global terrorist threat on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, an equally serious threat exists here at home with the continuous outsourcing and erosion of our defense industrial base. The deterioration of our domestic defense industries, which helped carry us to victory in World War II and the Cold War, represents one of the greatest challenges to our security and the future success of our military forces.

Despite this fact, the list of U.S. defense contracts awarded to foreign competitors continues to grow, most recently with the addition of the French- and German-controlled European and Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) as the proposed manufacturer of the Air Force's next refueling tanker. The initial $35 billion contract for 179 aircraft was awarded to EADS over the U.S.-based Boeing Co., a leading competitor in the aerospace industry that has built and supported the Air Force's tanker fleet since the Eisenhower administration.

In 2005, the Navy chose an international group primarily composed of British and Italian manufacturers to build the next presidential helicopter, even though Sikorsky Aircraft, an American defense contractor, had manufactured the familiar Marine One helicopter since the Eisenhower years. Only several months earlier, the Brazilian jet maker Embraer was awarded a $6 billion contract to build the new Aerial Common Sensor reconnaissance aircraft.

Even the pistols and medium machine guns our Marines and soldiers are using on the battlefield today are no longer American-made. The 240G machine gun that replaced the venerable M-60, the standard machine gun from Vietnam to the first Gulf War, is manufactured by Fabrique Nationale, a Belgian company. The standard 9mm pistol carried by U.S. service personnel, which replaced the Colt M-1911, a weapon that was in service from 1911 through the late 1970s, is now made by the Italian company Berretta.

These examples clearly illustrate that foreign contractors are assuming a much greater role in the development and maintenance of America's defenses. But as we become increasingly dependent on other countries for military resources and innovative technologies, we are becoming less capable of meeting our own critical defense needs.

In fact, when I was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and American troops began taking casualties from roadside bombs on the streets of Iraq, I sent out my team to locate more steel to armor and better protect their tactical vehicles. They found only one company left in the United States that could still produce high-grade armor plate steel.

The danger of this dependency also became evident when the Swiss company Micro Crystal refused to provide our military with components for the effective deployment of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), otherwise known as smart bombs, during the first phase of the Iraq war. Because the Swiss government objected to American action in Iraq, it ordered the company to stop the shipment of JDAM components.

Given that our military relies on this weapons system to strike with precision and limit the potential for collateral damage, this could have cost time and lives. We were fortunately able to find alternative components through a domestic manufacturer, though it took several months.

These issues alone should be reason enough to begin restoring our defense manufacturing base and reverse the current course. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the continued selection of foreign contractors to build some of our weapons systems, it appears we have learned little so far.

Today, our nation's defense-manufacturing base is at a crossroads. Current law requires that our military systems be manufactured with at least 50 percent of domestic-made materials. But when I wrote language into the House version of the annual Defense Authorization Act several years ago to raise this requirement to 65 percent, these provisions were met with strong opposition by the Bush administration and several of my Senate counterparts. Although these provisions were later removed from the bill, the discussion surrounding this effort valuably underscored the fact that our reliance on foreign suppliers is infringing on our industrial productivity and the operability of our armed forces.

Those who believe we do not need to worry about the health of our defense industrial base and propose free trade and globalization as remedies are wrong. Consider our high-tech defense industry, for example. In 2000, the Defense Department and National Security Agency became concerned about the shortage in domestic sources of supply for semiconductors, a necessary component for the next generation of weapons systems. These concerns prompted the agencies to jointly fund a "Trusted Foundry" to fabricate these integrated circuits domestically and rebuild this technical expertise in the U.S.

American companies that helped build our nation's defenses, particularly over the last several decades, did so through years of experience and the talent of thousands of valuable engineers and technicians. But each time we outsource our most critical defense needs and award contracts to foreign suppliers, we lose this expertise, and, once lost, it is extremely difficult to regain.

The tanker contract award is just the latest case in what is becoming a standard practice in America today. As this decision is reviewed by the Government Accountability Office, I am carefully considering several courses of legislative action, in preparation for the approaching budget process, to ensure the next American tanker is built in the United States by American workers. Moreover, I intend to introduce legislation that prohibits the defense secretary from entering into contracts with beneficiaries of foreign subsidies, as appears to be the case with EADS, which offer companies unfair competitive advantages.

It is important that we also make greater investments in the research and development of new defense technology, as well as our domestic manufacturing capability. Together, these efforts will not only help create and keep American jobs, but will also ensure that our military services have a reliable source of supplies and equipment in future conflicts.

The father of free trade, Adam Smith, stated in his book, "The Wealth of Nations," that an exception to this practice must be made when it comes to defense production. On this point, I will agree with him. And for those who say that opening our defense market engenders security cooperation, one need only look at the last request for NATO troops in the Afghan operation. This spring, 3,000 Marines will deploy to Afghanistan for the simple reason that our 26 NATO allies refused to come up with approximately 100 soldiers apiece.

Every time we send elements of our defense industrial base overseas, we are also outsourcing a piece of our security. We must reverse this damaging course and begin revitalizing our own defense industrial base in the interests of promoting a strong and prosperous America.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, is the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee


Workers Speak Out Against John McCain

This week, as presidential candidate John McCain courted wealthy donors at ritzy fundraising events across the state, workers and allies spoke out against McCain's anti-worker track record in rallies outside of his private, high-dollar functions in Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Pebble Beach and San Francisco.

McCain has a long history of opposing labor during his tenure as a senator. He's voted against overtime rights, health care reform and improving the federal minimum wage. He actively promotes offshoring jobs and privatizing social security, and has no plan to help those facing home foreclosures due to predatory lending.

Even McCain himself recognizes his anti-worker track record. In a recent Fox News interview, McCain said, "I understand why the AFL-CIO and maybe other unions may oppose my free market, uh, less regulation, um, right to work. I think we have honest differences of opinion."

Visit to learn more about why McCain is bad for working families.



Revised Immigration 'No-Match' Rule Could Cost Workers Their Jobs

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week re-issued a revised version of its immigration "no match" rule, which would continue to put workers at risk of losing their jobs by improperly using social security records for immigration enforcement.

If the revised rule were to take effect, employers would receive a "no-match" letter for each employee whose W-2 form doesn't match the federal social security database. Many workers, even authorized workers, could be fired based on flawed social security data or hard-to-read employment forms.

The DHS originally released its "no-match" rule in August 2007. The AFL-CIO and ACLU, along with several other labor and civil rights groups, promptly filed suit against the rule, causing DHS to withdraw the rule in December of 2007, only to re-release a slightly revised version that still relies on misusing social security data.




Coalition Launches Campaign to Clean Up LA Carwash Industry

This week, a coalition of community, labor, religious, and immigrant rights groups announced a campaign to "clean up" Los Angeles' multimillion dollar carwash industry. The Community-Labor-Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) is supporting the union organizing efforts of the Carwash Workers Organizing Committee of the United Steelworkers (CWOC). 

"For too long, carwash owners have operated in the shadows, violating labor and health and safety laws with impunity," said María Elena Durazo of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. "This coalition is going to do some spring cleaning of a dirty industry, and bring these injustices out into the open."

To learn more, log onto


Workers Take Action For Cleaner, Safer Ports

On Tuesday, more than 300 truck drivers, West Oakland residents, and labor activists marched from Oakland City Hall to the Port of Oakland headquarters to demand that the Port create a new model for trucking services –one that would improve air quality and offer workers the opportunity to join a union.

According to a report released this week by the California Air Resources Board, diesel emissions from trucks and machinery in the Port of Oakland elevate the risk of premature death, cancer, asthma and other chronic diseases for more than 3 million people living in West Oakland and the surrounding region.

"This is a good fight, because it connects our struggles as workers and as residents," said Sharon Cornu, head of the Alameda County Central Labor Council.

A similar “Clean Trucks” program for Port of Los Angeles was just approved by L.A. port commissioners and the L.A. mayor this week. The program will take thousands of the worst–polluting trucks in southern California off the roads and improve the air for major transit corridors and communities around the San Pedro Bay.

Visit to learn more.

Major Victory in the Fight for Good Jobs!

Landmark vote by L.A. Harbor Commissioners paves way for better lives for 16,000 port truckers and their families.

Commissioners at the Port of Los Angeles, led by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, today passed a landmark Clean Trucks Program, which will get thousands of the worst–polluting trucks in Southern California off the roads, while improving lives at the same time.

The Los Angeles Clean Trucks Program places the responsibility for cleanup squarely on the backs of trucking companies and their giant retailer clients, rather than misclassified “independent contractor” truck drivers– many of whom earn little more than minimum wage.

“LA’s plan makes me feel proud to be a port truck driver again,” said Oswaldo Hernandez, a 14-year veteran trucker who lives downtown. “I work so many hours to make sure the cargo gets to the warehouses and the stores. But the more miles I drive, the more poison my old rig puts in the air. I can’t wait to have a good job driving a clean truck.” 

The Clean Trucks Program will improve the air for communities around the San Pedro Bay and major transit corridors. Those communities suffer some of the worst rates of lung disease, cancer, and childhood asthma, and port trucks are among the major polluters.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilmember Janice Hahn, and the Los Angeles Port Commissioners listened to community members and the truckers themselves and stood firm behind the sustainable clean trucks plan.

Learn more about our Fight For Good Jobs and our march From Hollywood to the Docks by visiting



Rite Aid Workers Win Organizing Victory

Nearly 700 workers at Rite Aid's distribution center in Lancaster achieved a major organizing victory this week when they finally won their fight to join the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) after two long years.

The Rite Aid workers have been enduring aggressive anti-union tactics from the employer since launching the organizing campaign in 2006. Rite Aid even fired one of the leading pro-union workers. The National Labor Relations Board charged the company with disciplining, demoting, suspending and firing other union supporters.

To learn more, visit



International Labor Organization Speaks Out Against National Labor Relations Board

The Bush administration's National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is denying workers' rights in violation of international labor standards, according to a U.N. agency. The International Labor Organization's  (ILO's) Committee on Freedom of Association says the NLRB's recent definition of 'supervisor' violates freedom of association standards, and could deny millions of workers the freedom to join a union.

The Committee issued its decision in response to the AFL-CIO's complaint that the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) decisions in the Oakwood Trilogy case violate principles of freedom of association that bind the United States by virtue of its membership in the ILO.




Support the Alliance To Stop Budget Cuts at CSUs

The movement to oppose the governor's proposed $386 million budget cut to the California State University is well underway, after last week's budget meetings at six CSU campuses resulted in a huge turnout of students, faculty, staff and administrators.

More than 1,200 people participated in each of the six meetings. Halls were jammed and crowds were forced to utilize overflow rooms and simulcasts to view the meetings.

More budget meetings are scheduled for the coming weeks. All union members, students and supporters are encouraged to attend.

Visit for a complete schedule of meetings and demonstrations. 

Contract Negotiations 2007

Special note:  The companies negotiations website provides an email address where questions and comments can be made.  Be aware that none of the questions or comments are shared with the UAW.  This is information only seen by the company.

United Technologies / Pratt & Whitney Job Search

How To Manage Your Debt

If you are facing layoff or know of any Local 887 members who are currently on lay off and are considering retraining, help is available.    Local 887 has partnered with UAW-LETC.  There are several training grants available for those who are considering retraining or upgrade training. 
NTMA training is available for laid off aerospace machinist.  In addition there is training available for electricians, mechanics and others who are considering transitioning their skills into the construction trades.  In some cases training may not be required to move into good paying union jobs.  For more information you may contact the following:
In-plant representative
UAW Local 887
or you may contact Mareta Papu-Zuniga 323.730.7900 for more information.  Be sure to indicate that you are a Local 887 member.

American workers need help - and there's something you can do about it.

Regardless of where you live or what you do, labor unions are our first line of defense for worker's rights. What do they fight for? Raising the minimum wage. Improving labor standards. Expanding health care benefits. Protecting retirement security.

And these fights don't only make a difference in the workplace: They are critical to providing economic security for families, strengthening our communities and rebuilding America's middle class.  Every day, millions of Americans work hard and play by the rules but are still struggling to get by.  Democrats understand the important role that labor unions play to fix this crisis.

Congress is set to debate a bill that will restore American workers' right to freely choose whether or not to form a union.  Call on the White House to join the Democratic majority and support the Employee Free Choice Act:

Research shows union members earn 30% more than nonunion workers. What's more, union workers are 63% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are four times more likely to have a guaranteed pension.

The benefits of union membership are clear.  That's why nearly half of American workers who are not currently represented by unions -- 60 million people -- say that they'd join one if they had the chance.  But every year since 1981, union membership has declined.  And a major reason for that fall-off is the many obstacles workers face when they try to form a union or negotiate a union contract.

The Employee Free Choice Act is a simple, effective solution to restore the right of workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and benefits for themselves and their families.  It has three key provisions:

  • Require employers to recognize a union if a majority of workers sign authorization cards saying they want union representation.
  • Provide mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes.
  • Strengthen penalties for companies that illegally intimidate employees to prevent them from forming a union.

No management coercion, no waiting period, no stacked deck -- just the freedom for workers to stand up for their rights.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate overwhelmingly support the Employee Free Choice Act, but they may not be enough to pass the bill into law.  On February 14, Vice President Cheney told a meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers that Bush would use his second-ever veto if the Employee Free Choice Act made it to his desk.

The fact is, George Bush and Dick Cheney don't care what's best for the American people - only what's best for themselves and their corporate cronies.  We saw it with the veto of stem cell legislation. We see it now with the escalation in Iraq.  Don't let it happen again with the Employee Free Choice Act:

Big business is scared of the Employee Free Choice Act -- and that's why they're doing everything in their power to stop it.

75% of companies hire consultants or union-busters to fight organizing campaigns.  And their tactics work: every 23 minutes, a worker is fired or discriminated against for supporting a union.  All in all, over 22,000 workers each year are illegally fired, demoted, laid off, suspended without pay, or denied work by their employers as a result of union activity.

Why have our leaders in Washington allowed this to happen?  Follow the money trail.

The public opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act is funded in large part by GOP-allied corporate lobbyists and interest groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Conservative Union, and Americans for Tax Reform.  The dozens of groups that make up the "Coalition for a Democratic Workplace" spend big bucks each election cycle buying Republicans' votes on bills like this one.

This is nothing new.  Big Business always gets what it wants from the Republicans-- from an energy bill written by Cheney's oil industry pals to a prescription drug bill full of giveaways to Big Pharma.

If enough people get behind the Employee Free Choice Act, Bush will have no choice but to sign it into law.  Show the President you stand with America's workers:

Do you believe in the right to demand a raise?  Health care coverage?  A pension?  Do you believe workers should have a voice in their workplaces?

The fate of the Employee Free Choice Act depends on your work.  Help score an important victory for worker's rights and for rebuilding America's middle class.

In Solidarity,

The War on Workers

Misquoting Lincoln - from

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.  Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, want crops without plowing the ground.  They want rain without thunder and lightning.  They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.  This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.  Power concedes nothing without demand.  It never did and never will.”
-- Frederick Douglass


New Link - Congress of California Seniors

Worker to Worker Issue - Medicare Rx Drug Plan

Human Toll of a Pension Default

The Hidden Price We All Pay For Wal-Mart

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Welcome to United Aerospace Workers Local 887 web site!

Our Local represents the people who put America on the moon.  We built the Space Shuttle fleet, its main engines, and sections of the International Space Station.  We build a variety of satellites, and aircraft. 
Visit the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum to view the many air and space vehicles on display.  There is a good chance Local 887 had something to do with their construction or flight testing. 
In addition to representing a wide variety of skills at Boeing, we are proud of our members who fabricate aircraft parts at Pemco and of our cafeteria professionals at Aramark .
Our hope is that this website will keep our members informed as well as create interest and provide information to those who would like to build a union in their workplace.

Aerospace workers!  I thought the UAW was autoworkers! 
In fact the UAW represents a wide variety of working people.
There are thousands of organizations, each with a specific purpose or goal. There are so many reasons why one should consider becoming part of an organization he or she believes in.
We are proud of our long history,  lifting workers from poverty and helping to create what is now known as the middle class. 
Unions are the people who brought you the weekend!
Thanks for stopping by and learning about Local 887 and the UAW. 


Our Local, the nations leading aerospace local union, has provided progress and service to its members since 1941.  We invite you to visit us or attend an event. Our members are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about our union family and how you can join.  Aerospace is just one sector of the UAW and you do not have to be in the aereospace industry to join this Local.


UAW Local 887, 731 North Hollywood Way Burbank, CA. 91505
(818) 848-6466