BALTIMORE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY EMPLOYEES VOTE OVERWHELMINGLY TO JOIN MACHINISTS UNION: A group of 460 Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) full and part-time employees across the county’s 19 branches have voted 77% in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The vote was tallied today in a mail-in ballot election.
The IAM is in the process of scheduling negotiations with BCPL management. County statute stipulates that negotiations must conclude by March 1, 2022.
The successful vote comes after years of organizing, which included the IAM winning a new state law allowing BCPL employees to collectively bargain. The law, sponsored by State Del. Cathi Forbes and State Sen. Shelly Hettleman went into effect on July 1, 2021.
BCPL employees are seeking more transparency and communication from BCPL leadership and healthcare benefits for part-time employees.
“This is so exciting for Baltimore County Public Library workers,” said Anita Bass, a BCPL Circulation Assistant III at the Essex branch. “This will empower the staff of BCPL to continue to do the important work of fulfilling BCPL’s mission and vision. We need a system in place to protect and support each other and a legally binding contract will give us that. I believe in the BCPL mission and I know the IAM will help us accomplish that mission.”
“Baltimore County Public Library employees have always been a critical pillar to our community, and now especially during the pandemic,” said IAM Grand Lodge Representative Bridget Fitzgerald, lead organizer on the campaign. “I could not be more proud of these professionals for joining together and standing strong for what they deserve. This is a victory for them, their families and all of Baltimore County, which rightfully relies on a strong and inclusive library system.”
“The IAM has used and will continue to use every resource possible to give BCPL employees a greater voice in their workplace,” said IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo. “My personal thanks go to Grand Lodge Representative Bridget Fitzgerald and the entire Organizing Department staff for their unrelenting dedication to this campaign, as well as Associate General Counsel Laura Ewan and Chief of Staff Monica Lee Silbas for their professional guidance through the legal and legislative aspects of this campaign. Also, thanks to all IAM Departments and the Eastern Territory for their steadfast support.”
IAM URGES U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT TO PROTECT MAINE LOGGERS: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. wrote a letter to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh seeking his immediate assistance to obtain actual enforcement on the use of Canadian loggers under the I-l2A immigration system.
The letter details how the IAM has been working with Maine’s hard-working and highly-skilled loggers for years to help them bargain collectively and stop depressing wages in the industry. The situation is so dire that it has forced U.S. workers to give up altogether and leave the logging industry in the region.
“When we started this campaign 3 years ago, we were faced with a large group of workers that had been turned into independent contractors while still being completely directed at every step of the day by landowners,” wrote Martinez. “Since that time, we have moved on to another concern; one that I thought would be very easy to accomplish but has proven to be a much more difficult task: the illegal use of H2A drivers in the logging industry. As you know, H2A workers are only supposed to be utilized if they do not affect the wages or working conditions of U.S. workers. Our national union representatives and Maine Senate President Troy Jackson have met with hundreds of workers and have been out in the harvesting areas of northern Maine to witness firsthand the abuse of these workers. All of this is the result of violations of federal cabotage laws or point-to-point hauling in the United States.”
The IAM urges the DOL to enforce the law and protect the U.S. workers in Maine’s logging industry.
STATEMENT ISSUED BY TCU NATIONAL PRESIDENT ARTIE MARATEA ON THE SENATE CONFIRMATION OF AMIT BOSE TO HEAD THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION: “TCU was one of the first unions to support Amit Bose to head the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and for good reason: he believes that rail safety begins and ends with its frontline workforce.
We congratulate Mr. Bose on his Senate confirmation as FRA Administrator and look forward to working with him to ensure that our members in the yards and shops are treated fairly, and that their wellbeing is placed before profits.
The past few years have been tough for railroaders. Even before the pandemic, massive job cuts and consolidations were causing unsafe conditions for our members in the yards and on the road. And when the pandemic hit, those same trends went into overdrive.
We have a lot to do to fix these issues, but I’m confident that Mr. Bose has the understanding and institutional wherewithal to reform and rededicate the FRA to its core mission of safety for railroad workers and the general public.”
Click here to read the bio of Amit Bose on the DOT website.
IAM ASKS FOR WASHINGTON STATE FUNDING TO RESTORE ALUMINUM SMELTER JOBS: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. submitted testimony in support of funding from Washington state for an aluminum smelter restart project. The project will restore aluminum manufacturing jobs in Whatcom County, reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses and increase energy efficiency.
Nearly two years ago, 700 union members at IAM Local 2379 (District 160) were laid off at the Alcoa Intalco Works aluminum smelter production plant in Ferndale, WA.
“The Western Territory never gave up hope to bring back good union jobs to Whatcom County,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “The IAM, along with our partners and stakeholders, are staying focused on the mission and to bring relief to our highly skilled members who previously worked in this aluminum manufacturing plant. We will continue to ensure that this project makes it over the finish line.”
From the moment to facility was shuttered, the Machinists Union has been working with all willing partners and stakeholders in an effort to reopen the smelter and restore these high-quality union jobs.
“The Machinists Union and our partners are making substantial progress in our efforts to restart operations at the Intalco facility, restore more than 700 direct Union jobs and return sustainable manufacturing to Washington State,” testified Martinez. “However, the funding included in the FY22 Washington State Capitol Budget to modernize the point feed system is critical to the successful reopening of the smelter. For all of these reasons, I strongly support this budget provision and respectfully urge you to retain this vitally important funding in the final budget. I want to thank IAM Local Lodge 2379 Secretary Brian Urban, IAM member and WA State AFL-CIO President Larry Brown for their testimony.”
TELL YOUR U.S. SENATORS TO SIDELINE THE FILIBUSTER AND PROTECT OUR VOTING RIGHTS: The right to vote for who we want to represent us is the foundational cornerstone of our democracy. Our ability to cast our ballot each Election Day is fundamental to our system of government. Yet, in 2021, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. American democracy is under threat.
Congress has stopped bad election laws before, and they can do it again, if they can get out of their own way.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Your U.S. Senators to Sideline the Filibuster and Protect Our Voting Rights.
- Send a message to your Senators asking them to end the filibuster procedure and support the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
- Call your Senators at 1-877-607-0785.
Tell them who you are, where you are from, and urge them to end the filibuster and support the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The U.S. Senate is considering the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would:
- Require early voting in all fifty states
- Create a national standard for mail voting
- Give Americans a public holiday to vote
- Establish clear federal redistricting standards to stop gerrymandered districts
- Create automatic voter registrations
“The right to vote is a sacred pillar in our nation’s democracy and is so critically important to the very fabric of what defines the United States of America,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. in a letter to U.S. Senators. “Unfortunately, a steady stream of state lawmakers are threatening our nation’s democracy by enacting measures with the goal of thwarting millions from reaching the ballot box. That’s why the U.S. Congress must act with urgency. Passing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and Freedom to Vote Act will restore the voting rights to protect the democracy of this great nation.”
Each member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council signed a letter calling on the Senate to reform the filibuster and pass critical voting rights legislation.
NFFE-IAM CALLS FOR 5.1% PAY RAISE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEXT YEAR WITH FAIR ACT: The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) recently called on Congress to pass the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act, which will provide federal employees with an average pay raise of 5.1% in 2023. The legislation was introduced today by Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) in the House, along with a corresponding bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).
“NFFE-IAM has been pushing for larger pay increases since federal employees were given only a 1% raise for 2021,” said NFFE-IAM National President Randy Erwin. “Thanks to the Biden Administration alone, employees will receive a 2.7% raise this year, which is much better than 2021, but Congress must do more. To attract and retain the most qualified personnel, the federal government must increase employee salaries to keep pace with inflation and cost of living. A 5.1% increase should be the minimum for 2023 after modest increases in both 2021 and 2022.”
If passed, the FAIR Act will raise civil servant basic pay by 4.1% government-wide, along with an average of a 1% increase to locality pay. The bill has already garnered support from ten Senators and eight cosponsors in the House of Representatives.
“For the better part of two years, federal employees have been on the frontlines in the fight against COVID and forced to endure significant obstacles due to the pandemic,” continued President Erwin. “Meanwhile, rising costs of living and inflation have devalued their pay and benefits. It is about time that we recognize our nation’s hardest workers with a well-deserved and necessary pay increase. The FAIR act should be passed quickly through Congress to ensure the employees who keep this country running every day are taken care of in 2023.”
GEORGIA LOCAL 625 DISCUSSES RAILROAD ISSUES WITH CONGRESSMAN: Representatives of IAM Local 625 and IAM District 19 recently held a meeting to discuss issues at CSX with U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter(R-GA). The idea of this meeting came from Vice President and Local Chairman Pete Gibson at the recent Georgia State Council meeting.
Issues discussed included Precision Scheduled Railroading, forced overtime, excessive discipline and the COVID-19 vaccines.
“At no time in history has it been more apparent that we need to make our voices heard in the political arena than now,” said Gibson.
An in depth discussion about the effects of Precision Scheduled Railroading gave Rep. Carter a chance to understand what our members have been dealing with. Members also had a discussion about a possible vaccine mandate at CSX.
“This was a good opportunity to get our issues out there so that we can find ways to remedy them,” said District 19 Assistant to the President / Directing General Chairman Andrew Sandberg. “It doesn’t matter which side of the isle our Representatives are on, we need to get them involved in our hometowns when possible in an effort to improve conditions for our members. No one can explain our position better than we can and we cannot expect that anyone else will.”
“Engaging elected officials at every level is one of the most vital things we can do,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “Not just at the federal level, but state and local as well, so that the issues important to our members and their families are understood, and their rights are protected.”
“This demonstrates the important work being done at our Machinists State Councils,” said IAM Transportation Coordinator Edison Fraser. “Without the work of our political arm, this meeting likely wouldn’t have taken place. We are very grateful to IAM Local 625 and IAM District 19 for all they do on behalf of our railroad membership.”
WE PLEDGE TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. wrote a letter on the one-year anniversary of the violence at the U.S. Capitol:
Sisters and Brothers,
One year ago, we watched as violence overtook the U.S Capitol in an attempt to stop our nation’s sacred tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. Everyday citizens, first responders and elected officials were put in harm’s way. It was an image many of us never thought we would see in the United States of America.
As a U.S. Navy veteran, like so many others who served our country, it was especially disturbing to see our democracy under attack. What happened that day was an affront to everything we stand for as a nation and as a union. While we encourage passionate debate and the right to disagree with one another, violence and hate are never the answer.
We must never forget this day. We must always protect our freedom and our democracy. Let’s move forward to protect the rights of all citizens and our sacred duty to make our voices heard at the ballot box instead of through violence.
Robert Martinez Jr.