Defense
4:58 pm
Fri February 25, 2011

Boeing workers and unions celebrate winning bid for Air Force tanker contract

It's a day of celebration and pride at the Boeing plant in Everett, after the company won the $35 billion-dollar Air Force contract for a new aerial tanker fleet. 

Hundreds of workers gathered Friday on the floor where Boeing builds its 767 jetliners, the airframe on which new Boeing tankers will be based.  Company officials, union leaders and politicians shook hands and slapped each other's backs.

Machinists union president Tom Wroblewski says building the tanker in Everett guarantees jobs not only there, but across the United States.

"And that's where it should be, you know when we are faced with no jobs and tax issues, this is the right thing to do, this is the right time to do it and you know what – we are ready to start building." 

Wroblewski says the Machinists and engineers union SPEEA helped Boeing re-vamp the 767 line to make it more efficient. 

That helped the company offer a price that beat out the competition, a larger tanker from Airbus subsidiary EADS.  

Unless EADS contests the decision, Boeing says its contract to build 179 new tankers will create or keep active about 11,000 jobs in Washington state.  Additional work that's expected after that could create tens of thousands more.