The U.S. government has approved a $30 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that the head of a St. Louis area union says was “do or die” for his members.
The Saudi government has committed to buying 84 new F-15 fighter jets and updating an additional 70 planes. The new planes alone are enough to keep the F-15 line at Boeing’s Hazelwood defense plant operating until at least 2016.
Gordon King, the president of the union representing the plant’s workers, says layoffs were possible as soon as next month without the deal. About 800 people work on the F-15 line. The production work alone will not add jobs in St. Louis, though new hires are possible if the older planes are upgraded at the Hazelwood facility. King says that decision will be made next year.