IAM 751’s president Tom Wroblewski steps down

Tom Wroblewski, president of IAM 751–the Boeing touch labor union in Puget Sound (WA)–announced last night he is retiring on January 31.

The Seattle Times has the full story. In a nutshell, Wroblewski’s health blew up alongside the labor relations with Boeing over the 777X site selection and the relationship within the District 751 and between 751 and the International.

We’ve casually known Wroblewski for many years. We like Wroblewski and knew he had the welfare of his members at heart.  We disagreed with him and 751’s positions on many occasions, just as we did with Boeing’s position toward labor, but we always respected Wroblewski.

More to the point, we also believe Wroblewski was more in tune with his membership and more concerned for 751’s welfare than the International. We felt so strongly about this that in February 2010, at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference, we suggested that it would be in 751’s interest to “divorce” itself from International.

Wroblewski, who shies away from the press, called us protesting our suggestion. We later learned that he got into hot water with International over our opinion that he knew better what was important for 751 than the International leadership.

Wroblewski was further cranked with us a few years later when we advocated that Washington State needed to become Right To Work to make it more competitive with other states competing for our aerospace business. And he didn’t like our recollection that it was the IAM (though a different District) that lead to the shutdown of Eastern Airlines rather than grant concessions to save 10,000 jobs. (International president Tom Buffenbarger had a hand in that one.)

Readers know well what we think of how International handled the 777X contract negotiations and ran roughshod over 751. We opined that International was more concerned with retaining 751’s membership dues than it was about what was best for the members.

Under Wroblewski, 751 engaged in several philanthropic activities, most notably raising money for guide dog training and related needs. These activities got little press (including from this venue), who instead focused on the “sexier” stories of labor contract negotiations and strife with Boeing management.

A new leader for 751 may well be more militant than Wroblewski. While there now is a contract in place well into 2024, a militant leader for 751 can nonetheless make things difficult in an already tense situation for years to come. We think this has the potential to be a negative development for Boeing.

We’re sorry to see Wroblewski leave under these circumstances but not surprised. We wish Wroblewski a speedy recovery.

8 Comments on “IAM 751’s president Tom Wroblewski steps down

  1. There is obviously a need for new blood, at all levels and probably a good time to turn the page. This is a wise decision.

  2. It’s not over for Tom. He has hours of depositions and testimony in his future. Meanwhile, look for Charleston to re-unionize under the IAM as part of Buffy’s quid pro quo……..

    Have received notice that the Bonus payment has been accelerated and will be paid a week early. As soon as tomorrow actually.

    One can speculate as to why the urgency….

    Off the record statements from Mark Johnson of the IAM international indicates agreement has not yet been signed yet as the language is still…being….written……


    Reports to me say the local NLRB office is still overwhelmed.

  3. A stress based ulcer with two operations likely indicates bleeding or a perforation. Both are major procedures and complications. Health has to take precedence, glad he is making a good choice (and is able to do so!). Ratchet things down some and get back on your feet Mr. Wroblewski!

  4. As an outsider my take was he tried to walk a line between the old union and the current state of the world. Willing to give on the nit noid but not where he felt the members interests were.

    I wish him well.

  5. I certainly wish Tom well. For those hacks who want to pontificate and claim overthetop ” pension” benefits for ” union bosses” a few facts.

    A check of union public records for Gross comp ( before deducts ) shows that toms 2012 pay was 143K. And an average of 4 to 5 percent/year increase for previous years.

    With 14 years at Boeing, and credit service for 10 years more while full time for Union, that gives him 24 to 25 years credited service under BCERP. Using currentm basic rate givbes him about 26 to 27K/year Boeing pension.

    IAM seems to use WCT pension ( western conference of teamsters pension trust) which probably will add about 19 to 20 K ” union” pension

    That means around 45- 50K year retirement- depending on age reductions.

    Far less than the 100 to 200K some wags claim.

    yes, union officers/employees make on the high end of the IAM wage card.

    And then there is the 401k stuff

    Even so, I believe Tom deserves some- lots of credit for trying to stand up to the extortion by BA AND Buffenberger. Tom was between FOD and a Turbine… no way out.

    His health problems certainly were not helped by the whole mess.

    Given all the above – I believe Tom did the right thing- health and family and peace of mind come first.

    IMO- his integrity was a cut above most- many recent 751 Presidents- and way above that of the International (and IMHO that of many BA types )

  6. from iam 751 site

    Nominations for IAM International President, General Secretary-Treasurer, and 8 General Vice Presidents —
    Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014
    Nominations for IAM International President, General Secretary-Treasurer and 8 General Vice Presidents can be made at a special meeting of your local lodge on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the following location and times:
    District Lodge 751 Stewards Meeting Hall, 9135 15th Pl. S., Seattle, WA 98108
    From 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. AND from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    A mailing was sent on Dec. 16, 2013 with this information. To assist in verifying your eligibility to nominate candidates and to vote on nominations, and for a quicker process, you may want to bring the letter from Dec. 2013.
    Nominations will be accepted only from members in good standing of the local lodge. Nominations must specify the name, local lodge, and card number of the candidate and the office for which the candidate is being nominated.
    In the event that more candidates are nominated in your local lodge than the number of positions available (i.e. more than one nominee for International President or General Secretary-Treasurer or more than eight nominees for General Vice President), your local lodge will conduct a vote to determine the lodge’s endorsements on Saturday, February 8, 2014. The endorsement voting will be held on Feb. 8 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the same location set forth above where the local lodge nominations are held on Jan. 25. All eligible members who arrive at the polls between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. or between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Feb. 8 will be permitted to cast their ballots. Polls will remain open for this purpose, if necessary.
    Candidates who receive a majority of votes will earn the local lodge endorsement for the contested offices. Candidates must receive 25 local lodge endorsements to qualify for office.

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