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Today, Senator Murray, Congressman Rick Larsen, Governor Christine Gregoire and leaders from the labor community joined  with Boeing workers, their families, and concerned citizens to protest the Air Force's misguided decision to award a $40 billion tanker refueling contract to Airbus. 

Over 500 workers crowded into the Machinists Hall in Everett. Senator Murray led off the rally, detailing the many reasons why we should not be outsourcing our national security capabilities, particularly at a time when our country is trending towards recession.

Senator Murray's remarks follow:

Wow – look at this crowd!

If the energy in this room today doesn’t send a message back to Washington, D.C., and those folks at the Pentagon, I don’t know what will.

I’m so proud to be here today with the best workforce in the world.

You’ve helped make Boeing the worldwide standard of excellence, and I want to thank you for your work and dedication – not just since the Air Force made their short-sighted announcement, but all the way through this process.

Your work and your passion are a testament to the American spirit – and they represent the best of what our country has to offer.

It has now been three weeks since I stood on the 767 line – when the Air Force decided to award a critical $40 billion contract to an illegally subsidized foreign company – instead of Boeing.

Like you, my shock turned to anger when the Air Force decided it would give away our jobs – and the control of our national defense – to a foreign company…When our government said it would rather outsource jobs than create them here in Everett and across the country. And when it said it would rather send a U.S. military contract to a company that has never built a refueling tanker – or any military plane for our country.

That day I talked with Tom about how this decision would impact this community, your union, and the next generation of American aerospace workers.

That day, I vowed to fight for you, and for America’s military strength.

And today I’m back from D.C. to report that over these last three weeks those of us on this stage have been working with one mind, one focus, and with one goal – to bring this contract back to America and the workers here in Everett where it belongs!

Now as I’m sure all you know, this effort won’t be easy and it won’t be quick.

But it won’t be successful unless we have the courage to stand up and fight.

I believe that fight begins with waking up the American people to the realities of what this decision will mean – here in Everett – in Kansas – in Washington D.C. – and everywhere in between.

We need to wake people up to the reality that you – and all the workers at Boeing – are the best trained, most experienced in the aerospace industry.

  • We have machinists who have passed experience and know-how down the ranks for 50 years.
  • We have engineers who know our mission and the needs of our airmen and women.
  • And we have a reputation for delivering for our military.

In short – we have a workforce ready to build a plane on Day One.

But what does Airbus have?

Well, Airbus has – as Tom puts it, “a paper airplane” – a plane that only exists on paper. And it has workforce that has never built a tanker – and that has never had the weighty responsibility of supporting our men and women in uniform.

We also need to spread the word that if we don’t preserve our domestic aerospace industry, we will lose it.  I fear what this contract means for our economy – and our national security. Once our industry is gone, it can’t be rebuilt overnight.

Should we pay other countries to take our technology and make it their own?

Should we be investing in what amounts to a European jobs program as we slip into recession?

I think the answer is no – and I know that most Americans agree with us.

I’ll make sure they hear our voices.

And finally, we need to wake the American people up to the fact that this was an unfair competition from the beginning.

Because the truth is that no matter how hard you all work – or how much experience you bring to the table – you aren’t competing on a level playing field.  Airbus will always rely on European countries, which support it with massive subsidies.  Our government is so concerned about this that we have brought a case against the European Union at the WTO.

So I’ve been asking a simple question of everyone in Washington, D.C., who had a hand in this decision – why is our government fighting the Europeans over subsidies – and at the same time giving them a $40 billion contract to build our country's tankers?

I can’t seem to get a straight answer on that one.

And that’s not the only question I can’t get answered.

In fact, every briefing and hearing that I’ve taken part in raises more questions than answers.

But I promise you one thing today – that’s not going to stop me from getting answers.

And I’m glad that Boeing is pressing for answers, too.

Boeing is appealing this decision – and that must mean that there are some serious irregularities – because that doesn’t happen every day.

So, I’m proud to stand here as a representative of the state where Bill Boeing started a little all-American company back in 1916.

And I’m proud to stand here as representative for you – the workers who have been building the best airplanes in the world for 75 years.

Friends, I want to let every one of the 45,000 machinists represented by IAM 751 that I will always be your ally in this fight.

Whether it takes weeks – or months – or years – I’m going to be with you.

Whether it’s on the Senate floor – or at the Pentagon – or anywhere else – I will speak out for you.

I urge you all to visit my web site, and sign our petition.  I know you’re with me in this fight.

Together, we are going to ensure that the best qualified, most experienced workers continue to build our nation’s tankers.