Hell No, We Won’t Go!

Few seem poised to sit idly by as the defense contracting world awaits the GAO report due later this month that probes into the Air Force’s awarding of a lucrative tanker contract. 

On Feb. 29, the Air Force announced the award of its multibillion dollar refueling tanker deal to European giant EADS and its American partner Northrop Grumman. Kicked to the curb was sentimental fave Seattle-based Boeing Corporation. 

What followed was the all-too-common wailing and gnashing of teeth. Boeing cried “Foul!” and challenged the decision. (The GAO has become so inundated with contract disputes in general, that it reportedly is seeking a $40 million increase in its budget.) 

But we digress. Everyone with a fuel probe in this fight is out to drum up support and influence the jury pool. Why not publish a “report” that claims to bring “true transparency” to the tanker contract saga? 

Recently the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) did just that, publishing a “comprehensive report” and press release. In one of the more unbalanced works available on the issue, the lobbying document skewers the Air Force decision and warns of the end of life as we know it unless Boeing gets the contract. 

Though it implies it has some independent importance in the industry, the IFPTE is an AFL-CIO affiliated labor union with 80,000-85,000 members, at least 20,000 of which work for — you guessed it — Boeing. This info is all courtesy of the union’s own Web site. The IFPTE has pulled out the stops. Here’s one zinger (with a couple of observations): 

“We must be able to trust that U.S. defense contractors will not export military secrets, won’t play politics with our military equipment, and will keep the U.S.’s best interests at heart. Based on its history of attempting to arm Iran, Venezuela, and China [The U.S. has sold lots of arms to these nations over the years.]; of bribing governments from Syria to Canada [Please … this from the AFL-CIO?]; and the fact that Russia is aggressively expanding its control over company shares, [Who isn’t?] EADS clearly fails the trust test.” — Paul Shearon IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer [He’s reliable?]

Maybe the report targets union members in the “See-what-we-are-doing-for-you-today” category. 

We’re sure more will follow.

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