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Embattled Local Leader Of The Machinists Union Announces Resignation

Citing health concerns and two hospital stays brought on by stress connected to the Boeing 777x contract extension proposal, the embattled local leader of the machinists' union says he'll resign at the end of the month. 

Tom Wroblewski, 59, has been president of District Lodge 751 of the machinists' union since 2007. Prior to the post, he served as a grievance coordinator as well as a business representative for the union, with assignments throughout the Puget Sound region. 

The experience of the 777X contract proposal "changed my perspective on work-life balance," Wroblewski said in a statement. "Your job should not destroy your health."

The past few months have been extraordinarily tumultuous for the union. Local machinists narrowly passed Boeing's contract extension on Jan. 3, securing assembly work of the next 777 wide-body jet for Washington state. But they had to give up hard-fought benefits, agreeing to phase out pensions and shoulder larger health costs. 

Fractured Union

The experience left the union fractured. Local leaders like Wroblewski had urged the workers to reject Boeing's offer, arguing it was little changed from a proposal the company made in November that members turned down, two to one. But national leaders overrode the local district lodge and called a vote on the second offer.

Wroblewski found himself caught in the middle of a maelstrom. Throughout the past few months, he's weathered repeated calls from members to step down. 

The union says it will follow its "district bylaws" to select a replacement to serve out the rest of Wroblewski's term, which runs into 2016.

"We now have been awarded the right to build the 777X, and we must find a way to move this membership forward," Wroblewski said in the statement. "I leave here honored to have served this membership, knowing that I always had the best interests of the membership guiding me."

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.