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Letter to Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce, and Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, Re: Verify Northrop Grumman/EADS Job Projection Claims

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Location: Washington, DC


Letter to Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce, and Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor, Re: Verify Northrop Grumman/EADS Job Projection Claims

Cantwell Asks for Northrop Grumman/EADS Job Projection Claims to be Verified
Questions Effect of Decision on Country's Homegrown Workforce and National Security

Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao asking them to verify the claims made by Northrop Grumman/EADS (NG/EADS) concerning the creation of U.S. jobs related to the recently awarded KC-45 Aerial Refueling Tanker Program. The Senators want to determine whether NG-EADS provided accurate job projections, and they want to make sure Congress has complete information about what types of jobs will be created in the United States.

"There is no question the aerospace industry is vital to our national security, as well as our country's economic future," said Cantwell. "In the last couple months, Northrop Grumman/EADS significantly changed their job projection figures, raising concerns that they may be overestimating these figures. Checking the validity of these claims is important so Congress has the information it needs for the debate on the tanker that will take place in the weeks and months ahead. In the not-so-distant past, the Department of Commerce found that EADS subsidiary Airbus Industrie (Airbus) exaggerated U.S. job creation claims."

[The full text of the letter below]


May 9, 2008

The Honorable Carlos Gutierrez
Secretary of Commerce
Department of Commerce
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230

The Honorable Elaine Chao
Secretary of Labor
Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Gutierrez and Secretary Chao:

We are writing to ask you to verify the claims made by Northrop Grumman/EADS (NG/EADS) concerning the creation of U.S. jobs related to the recently awarded KC-45 Aerial Refueling Tanker Program. We are troubled by the inconsistent job projections made by NG/EADS and have questions about what types of jobs will be created in the United States. We feel it is critical for Congress to have accurate and complete information about these U.S. jobs.

When the Air Force selected NG/EADS to build the KC-45 on February 29, 2008, NG/EADS announced that the tanker contract would result in 25,000 jobs being created in the United States. Less than two weeks later, NG/EADS changed their job projections, asserting it would actually create 48,000 jobs at 230 U.S. companies in 49 states. This huge increase was explained by a change in NG/EADS methodology for projecting jobs. Subsequently, NG/EADS also sent letters to members of Congress containing state-by-state job creation claims.

As we understand it, NG/EADS will not be under any contractual obligation to create jobs across the United States, and we are trying to determine if they are overestimating job projections. In the past, EADS subsidiary Airbus Industrie (Airbus) has exaggerated U.S. job creation claims. In 2003, Airbus asserted that commercial work on its planes had created 100,000 U.S. jobs. In response to a request from Senator Murray, the United States Department of Commerce investigated and could not verify the job creation claims because Airbus calculations were "based on imprecise terms."

The aerospace industry is critical to our national and economic security. In 2006, in recognition of the unique and ongoing workforce challenges facing the U.S. aerospace industry, Congress established the Interagency Aerospace Revitalization Task Force. In January 2008, the Task Force reported that in order to effectively grow our aerospace industry we must create jobs for skilled engineers, technicians, machinists, tool and die makers, and technical writers.

NG/EADS has stated a tanker assembly plant will be located in Mobile, Alabama. Its business model suggests high skill jobs will be created and maintained in Europe and other foreign countries. Given the vital importance of the aerospace industry to U.S. interests, it is essential to substantiate the number and quality of the NG/EADS U.S. job claims. It is also imperative for Congress to have this information to make informed decisions about the tanker program. For these reasons, we ask you to verify the NG/EADS job claims and provide an estimate of the true employment impact of the KC-45 Aerial Refueling Tanker Program.

Sincerely,

Sens. Maria Cantwell, Debbie Stabenow, Patty Murray, and Ron Wyden


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