Thursday, February 10, 2011

Connecticut Machinists Urge Congress To Cancel the Extra Engine

Dear Members of Congress:

On behalf of thousands of hard-working members of District 26 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, we urge you to end funding the extra engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. We understand that as a part of the FY11 budget process there may be an opportunity to vote on this program and we ask that you stand with President Obama and our Secretary of Defense, reject funding wasteful earmarks and stop spending on this unwanted and unaffordable extra engine.

As Americans, we are proud and unwavering supporters of our military and securing a strong national defense. As taxpayers, we are determined that our dollars be spent responsibly. As union members, we are committed to preserving U.S. jobs. The facts show that the FI35 meets these criteria; the extra engine does not.

If the extra engine is funded, it will take much needed funds from the development of the F35, further delaying its completion. In the process, new jobs will not be created; they will simply shift from the F135 to the F136. This will most certainly have a negative impact on our workforce and U.S. jobs because a full 40 percent of the extra engine is projected to be manufactured by Rolls-Royce in the U.K. The result: almost half of the extra engine’s jobs will be moved offshore. With thousands of aerospace jobs expected to be lost in the U.S. due to the projected end of the F-22 program this year, backing an unwanted program that will negatively impact the skill base of the U.S. aerospace industry and related jobs is counter to the interests of America’s working men and women and our membership.

Meanwhile, we are pleased to report that the FI35 is doing its job well while reducing costs, generating U.S. jobs and preventing Congress from having to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on an extra engine earmark that according to the military is not needed, wanted and a waste of money. We are particularly proud that our engine is in full production, flying flawlessly on the aircraft and is within budget parameters.

Given the F135’s performance, it is hard to make the case to delay the program and spend more for a second competition – as GE/Rolls-Royce is now demanding. The fact is, in 1995 there was a competition for the F-35 engine and the three prime contractors unanimously selected the F135 engine over GE’s. GE lost the bidding process and did not appeal the Air Force’s award.

We hope we can count on you to stand up for American jobs and end wasteful earmarks. At a time when we are all concerned about cutting the deficit and saving U.S. jobs, ending the funding for the extra engine is the right thing to do.


Everett C. Corey, Directing Business Representative, I.A.M.A.W District 26

James Parent, President, Connecticut State Council of Machinists

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