Boeing’s largest union will select a new president to serve out the term of Tom Wroblewski, who is retiring for health reasons on 31 January.
Wroblewski lost a campaign to defeat a Boeing contract proposal that required the company’s 30,000 machinists to accept a pension freeze starting in 2016.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) voted on 3 January to accept Boeing’s second offer by a 51%-to-49% margin.
The vote ensured that Boeing will build the 777X and its composite wing in the Seattle area with IAM members, but at the cost of key benefits including the pension.
“We now have been awarded the right to build the 777X, and we must find a way to move this membership forward,” Wroblewski said in a statement posted on the union’s web site.
Wroblewski service as IAM District 751’s president since March 2007. In 2011, he secretly negotiated with a Boeing a contract extension for IAM members to 2016, which preserved 737 Max assembly in Renton, Washington.
He drew the line at Boeing’s attempts to freeze the union’s pension accounts as a condition to keeping the 777X assembly in the Seattle area.
Wroblewski’s position put him at odds with the IAM’s international leadership, which urged the Boeing machinists to accept the offer.
Wroblewski did not attend the announcement of the voting results late on 3 January, citing flu symptoms.
“Your job should not destroy your health,” Wroblewski says. “I am stepping down from a job I have loved for more than 20 years. “