Chief of Boeing's Washington machinists union to retire

Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:10am EST

Tom Wroblewski, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District Lodge 751, enters the union headquarters to announce that a vote narrowly passed by 51% in support of Boeing's contract with the machinists' union to construct the wings for the 777X jetliner in Seattle, Washington January 3, 2014. REUTERS/David Ryder

Tom Wroblewski, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District Lodge 751, enters the union headquarters to announce that a vote narrowly passed by 51% in support of Boeing's contract with the machinists' union to construct the wings for the 777X jetliner in Seattle, Washington January 3, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/David Ryder

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(Reuters) - The president of Boeing Co's (BA.N) biggest union, who was at the center of the negotiations with the company to secure a crucial labor contract earlier this month, said he will retire at the end of this month citing health concerns.

Tom Wroblewski said the stress of the past three months, as he "stood up to pressure" from the Boeing Co, politicians and the union's International leadership over the recently ratified 777X proposal, had put him in hospital twice since December 27, according to a statement from the union. (link.reuters.com/saf45v)

Boeing's machinist union District 751 earlier this month narrowly approved a deal for building the new 777X jetliner and wings in the Seattle area, that secured thousands of jobs but will cost workers their pensions.

Boeing has built aircraft in the Seattle area for more than 90 years.

Wroblewski had earlier criticized Boeing's offer, saying it was not better than the one union members had voted down by a 2-1 margin last year.

Wroblewski has served as president and directing business representative of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751, which has 31,000 rank-and-file members, since March 2007.

The union said it will select a replacement to serve out the rest of Wroblewski's term, which runs into 2016.

Boeing was not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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