IN THE PICTURE ABOVE: IAM District 751 President and Directing Business Representative Jon Holden, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) President Matt Biggs
HUGE INVESTMENT FOR IAM AEROSPACE WORKERS: Qatar Airways announced this week that they would purchase 34 new Boeing 777X freighters and a surprise purchase of Boeing 737 MAX, both of which are built by IAM members. These orders will significantly impact IAM members at Boeing in the Pacific Northwest and IAM aerospace members throughout the nation.
The deal’s announcement occurred at a White House signing ceremony attended by IAM District 751 President and Directing Business Representative Jon Holden.
“The IAM represents tens of thousands of members in the aerospace industry who welcome this long-term investment,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “This investment, championed by the administration, signals an understanding of the impact of one of our nation’s most vital manufacturing sectors. IAM District 751 members are some of the most dedicated and skilled workers in the world, thanks in large part to being part of a union that gives them a voice in strengthening the aerospace industry. Today’s announcement gives hope to so many communities that will benefit from the good union jobs this investment will create.”
“Today’s investment recognizes the partnerships that helped make Washington state the hub for the Aerospace industry,” said IAM District 751 President and Directing Business Representative Jon Holden. “The IAM has trained aerospace workers since 1935, and it was made possible through collaboration. We help provide pathways into aerospace jobs in our communities through aerospace training and state-registered apprenticeship programs. The Puget Sound community will benefit from the good-paying family-wage jobs. On behalf of IAM District 751, I want to thank all parties for not only the future investment in our community but in our nation.”
“The world is beginning to see what we’ve always known – that Ohio workers are the best at what they do, and that the future of advanced manufacturing is in our state,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “GE Aviation has been driving that innovation and growth for years, building on Ohio’s rich aviation heritage. They’re such an asset to Ohio, and this deal is a huge win for the Ohio workers who are part of GE.”
READ: Qatar seals Boeing freighter deal with surprise 737 order Reuters
“I along with our Brothers and Sisters in the Puget Sound and the entire aerospace industry welcome the great news on the new orders,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “The aerospace industry is one of the best sectors in the Western Territory that provides good-paying jobs. Jobs that help build strong communities throughout the West including the Puget Sound area.”
“Another boost to our members working in the aerospace industry,” said IAM Aerospace General Vice President Mark Blondin. “Once again, this proves how much our members’ skillsets are valued in the industry. We continue to build the best products in the world, and this investment is proof.”
“I am proud of the role our members throughout the nation play in making this type of investment possible,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Brian Bryant. “The impact will be felt not only in the Puget Sound but also in IAM stronghold states such as Kansas, Connecticut, and Ohio.”
IAM AND TCU/IAM MEET WITH FRA ADMINISTRATOR BOSE: Leaders from the IAM and TCU/IAM recently met with Amit Bose, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Administrator Bose and the agency are responsible for allowing safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods.
“TCU/IAM 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,” said TCU/IAM National President Artie Maratea. “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.”
“Administrator Bose will serve as an advocate for railroad workers and listen to a workforce that has been neglected over the past few years,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “The IAM looks forward to working with him and his staff to address the safety issues that remain unsolved in our industry.”
Click here to read the bio of Amit Bose on the DOT website.
IAM AND OTHER TRANSPORTATION UNIONS RAISE CONCERNS ABOUT CUSTOMER ASSAULTS: The IAM joined other transportation unions in raising urgent concerns regarding assaults against passenger service agents working across airports in the United States. The letter was addressed to President Biden, U.S. Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
READ: Unions urge Biden to protect airport agents from unruly passengers The Hill
The letter urges governmental action to address the increase in assaults against passenger service agents, including the prosecution of abusive passengers.
“Airline gate agents are a vital part of a multilayered airline security and safety process at the airport,” reads the letter. “Our members are responsible for checking passengers into their flights, checking luggage to comply with airline weight and balance limits, and boarding passengers onto the aircraft in an orderly and structured way.”
Over the past few months, passenger service members across the country have experienced serious physical and verbal assault and harassment incidents, with few repercussions for the offending passenger imposed by law enforcement.
The FAA has reported a total of 5,981 passenger incidents in 2021, which is up sharply from previous years.
“The IAM supports the push for more substantial penalties against unruly passengers who assault passenger service agents and other airline workers,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “Our union continues to ring the alarm and highlight the need of enforcing the laws for assault against all airline workers. The best way to curb these unfortunate incidents is for the interagency working group to listen to the impacted workers in the airline industry. We must all work together to end the assaults that afflict our members.”
The labor coalition expressed the need for all frontline gate agents to expect a safe workplace, free from the threat of violence, and increased cooperation is required to improve the safety of these employees.
IAM APPLAUDS WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE REPORT ON WORKER ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERMENT: The IAM proudly supports the recent findings from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. The report, which includes more than 70 recommendations, empowers workers, supports unions by leveling the playing field, and allows everyone to have a seat at the table.
“The report from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment solidifies the commitment the Biden-Harris administration made to workers to take on injustices that have left them without a seat at the table,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “No longer will those in power be able to sit idly by and watch our nation’s workers suffer at the hands of corporate CEOs without recourse. This report’s recommendations will help grow the middle class, build an economy that works for everyone, and strengthen our democracy. We applaud the Biden-Harris team for being true to their word and fighting for working people. Unions built the middle class, and it’s the legacy of the hardworking men and women of the labor movement who we owe a debt of gratitude, not just for the past but for the future they will help secure for generations to come.”
“I am excited to be a liaison for our Union on this much-needed task force,” said IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo. “As someone who spends most of my time fighting to level the playing field for workers trying to establish a voice in the workplace, it feels powerful to have our President issue these findings. This report shows that the Biden-Harris administration holds the same values as the Machinists Union. Being able to join a union is a basic human right, and for far too long, companies have been left unfettered in their abilities to stop workers from joining a union. With the recommendations made by the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, this administration is showing workers across the country that their voices and their rights matter.”
NFFE-IAM DEMANDING IMMEDIATE VOTE ON FLRA NOMINEE GRUNDMANN: Susan Grundmann, former NFFE General Counsel, passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee last week regarding her nomination to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). NFFE-IAM worked hard to get Grundmann’s nomination through the committee in order to break up a Trump appointee majority that continues to publish decisions that damage federal labor bargaining and representation. Even thought the two Trump appointees are continuously admonished by the federal courts for their unethical, biased, and often illegal decisions, they continue to serve on the FLRA. NFFE-IAM is working hard to get her nomination to the floor in the Senate immediately.
FLORIDA STATE COUNCIL CONVENES TO ENGAGE MEMBERS: IAM members, officers and staff recently gathered in Tallahassee to attend the Florida State Council of Machinists Conference. The conference focused on the importance of staying engaged in the legislative process by contacting state and federal lawmakers on bills that protect or harm union working families.
Attendees heard from a slate of dynamic speakers, including IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace and IAM National Political and Legislative Director Hasan Solomon. Attendees also heard from six labor-friendly legislators throughout the sessions.
“I want to thank every officer and delegate who attended for three days, who put in long hours lobbying their legislators and attending committee meetings at the Capitol,” said Mike Phillips, Florida State Council of Machinists President. “I am very proud of the commitment that each delegate and officer showed for the conference duration. I was also honored to walk the halls of the Capitol with my brothers and sisters of the great state of Florida who fight for justice, dignity, and a better way of life.”
“It is always a great honor attending the Florida State Council and joining in great conversation with our members on some of the most important issues our union and the labor movement face,” said IAM Southern Territory Vice President Rickey Wallace. “I thank the council leadership for always facing these difficult issues head-on. I also congratulate them for such a great turnout, especially in these trying times.”
Members attending the Florida State Council meeting heard how vital the Machinists Non-Partisan Political League (MNPL) is for our union and state councils. Increasing contributions to the MNPL is always a big part of the Florida State Council’s agenda with the help of IAM staff from the Political and Legislative Department. The voluntary donations to the MNPL help the IAM get pro-worker candidates elected in hopes of implementing a pro-worker, pro-democracy agenda in the state.
IAM FIGHTS TO LOWER PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES: The IAM, along with 90 other organizations representing patients, consumers, seniors, unions, small businesses, large employers, physicians, and disease advocacy groups, wrote a letter urging the Senate to immediately advance a reconciliation package that includes the reforms to lower prescription drug prices agreed to in the Build Back Better Act.
Rising prices for prescription drugs have been a top concern for IAM members and retirees.
“If Congress lets the pharmaceutical industry overcharge Americans and dictate astronomical prices for brand-name drugs in our country, then patients, workers, employers, and taxpayers will continue to shoulder the burden of prices that are nearly three times what people in other comparable nations pay,” states the letter. “Congress has repeatedly promised to address this problem, and the American people need the help now more than ever.
“Enacting the drug price reforms agreed upon in the Build Back Better package will mark a truly historic shift in the U.S. drug pricing policy. Not only will it break the pharmaceutical industry’s unilateral power to dictate prices to the American people, but it will also save lives, improve health, fight inflation, and put more money back into the pockets of American seniors, workers, and businesses.”
The IAM will continue to advocate for lower prescription drug prices reforms included in the Build Back Better Act.
IAM SUPPORTS WORKER-FOCUSED TRADE TITLE IN AMERICA COMPETES ACT: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. wrote a letter thanking House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal and Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer for drafting a strong, worker-focused trade title in the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521).
The IAM is urging members of Congress to protect the trade title in the COMPETES Act, including provisions such as the robust funding for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which protects U.S. workers who lose their jobs due to outsourcing. The trade title in the COMPETES Act would provide critical and long-overdue enhancements to America’s global competitive capabilities, support workers whose jobs are lost to trade, and protect and expand the tools to fight foreign unfair trade.
The trade title of COMPETES Act, Division K, includes critically important measures that improve the trade title in the Senate-passed USICA bill. Specifically, the COMPETES Act includes:
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA): Reauthorizing funding for TAA is critical to American workers and families who lose their jobs to trade. The TAA reverted at the end of June 2021 to an insufficient program with limited funding and coverage, which does not help workers whose jobs are outsourced to countries with which the US does not have a Free Trade Agreement, such as China.
The National Critical Capabilities Defense Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives DeLauro, Pascrell, Spartz and Fitzpatrick. This companion to Senate legislation authored by Senators Casey and Cornyn creates a new review process to protect our supply chains by screening outbound investment and guarding against offshoring of critical capabilities to adversaries.
The Sewell-Johnson Level the Playing Field Act 2.0 (similar bipartisan legislation was introduced by Senators Brown and Portman in the Senate) would update U.S. trade laws and help ensure that the unique circumstances relating to economic recovery from the pandemic do not limit the ability of workers, farmers, and businesses to address the injury caused by illegally dumped and subsidized imports.
Reauthorize and strengthen Generalized Systems Preferences (GSP) would be a significant update of the labor eligibility criteria and enforcement process.
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