IAM Visits the White House- Deadline to Register for the IAM Legislative Conference-IAM Rail Division Leaders Attend FRA Meeting

May 16, 2022 | Machinists On The Hill

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS, LABOR SECRETARY WALSH HOST BALTIMORE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY EMPLOYEE AT WHITE HOUSE AFTER HARD FOUGHT CAMPAIGN TO JOIN MACHINISTS UNION: Baltimore County Public Library employee Jaimie Caldwell, a new member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), recently met at the White House with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and other members of the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment.

Caldwell is one of approximately 460 Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) employees who recently organized with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). On Sunday, May 1, they voted to ratify their first union contract. The one-year collective bargaining agreement includes pay increases and paid leave, among other significant improvements. Among several work rule improvements, the agreement creates a labor-management committee.

The Baltimore County Public Library campaign is emblematic of the IAM’s efforts to organize workers in a diverse array of sectors, including veterinary workersnon-profit workers, and Apple workers.

“The Biden-Harris administration is laser-focused on giving working people a fair chance to form and join a union,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We applaud the administration, including Labor Secretary Walsh, for their concentrated efforts to always include workers’ voices in helping shape policy. I am so proud of Jaimie and her coworkers for courageously joining the IAM, culminating with a strong first contract that will benefit Baltimore County Public Library employees, their families, and communities.”

Caldwell, who has worked as a BCPL librarian for eight years, was an active member of the internal organizing team on the successful BCPL campaign to join the IAM. 

“What an incredible honor and privilege to be selected to represent my colleagues from the Baltimore County Public Library at the White House,” said IAM member and Baltimore County Public Library employee Jaimie Caldwell. “The volume and quality of work our staff put into unionizing with the IAM over the last three years are admirable. It makes so much sense that this dedicated, respectful, hard-working group would be given the opportunity to share our message on a national level. From passing legislation to gathering signatures of support for negotiations, which culminated in contract ratification and our presence at the White House, this group of library workers has been committed to their hopes of collective bargaining and better working conditions. It excites us to know we could take it further, bypassing statewide legislation for all Maryland library workers to unionize. We stand with them in solidarity. We are stronger together.”  

The first contract with BCPL comes after years of organizing, including the IAM winning a new state law allowing BCPL employees to collectively bargain. The law, sponsored by Maryland State Del. Cathi Forbes and State Sen. Shelly Hettleman went into effect on July 1, 2021. The IAM is now pursuing state-wide legislation to allow all Maryland public library employees the freedom to collectively bargain.  

The IAM proudly supports the recent findings from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. The report included more than 70 recommendations that empower workers and support unions by leveling the playing field and allowing everyone to sit at the table. 

MACHINISTS UNION PROUDLY SUPPORTS ROBUST FUNDING OF THE F-35 LIGHTNING II PROGRAM: The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the largest aerospace and defense union in the United States, continues its advocacy for robust funding of the F-35 Lightning II program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 defense budget.

Partnering with Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) and the U.S. House of Representatives Joint Strike Fighter Caucus, the IAM continues to build congressional support for the F-35 Program.  Most recently, the IAM and its partners supported a Congressional letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House Armed Services Committee and House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in advocating for continued support of the F-35 program. The letter, which was signed by 154 members of Congress, expressed the critical need for Congress to provide the necessary program funding to support an increase in the production ramp rate towards full-rate production and continued investment in modernization and sustainment in the upcoming defense authorization and appropriations bills for the Fiscal Year 2023.

The F-35 Lightning II program provides for tens of thousands of Machinists Union jobs at Lockheed Martin and across the F-35 supply chain, supports nearly 300,000 total jobs nationwide, and accounts for more than $65 in annual economic activity.   In addition to its vitally important job creation and economic impact, the F-35 program is essential to ensuring U.S. national security and ensures that our men and women in uniform are supported by the most capable fighter jet known to man. 

“The F-35 is an engineering marvel that continues to set the bar in the defense and security of this Nation,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The Machinists Union will always do whatever it can to advocate for this program. Thousands of our highly-skilled members working at Lockheed Martin facilities across the country are honored to be a part of the defense of our country and proud that their strong, union job allows them to take care of their own at home. The F-35 is much more than a job for Machinists Union members; it’s a shining example of American and union pride.” 

For the IAM, supporting the F-35 Lightning II Program is key to taking care of our proud members across the country who build this peerless aircraft.

“The F-35 is the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, setting the trajectory for our country’s future defense and security,” said Martinez. “For our members on shop floors across the U.S.A., the F-35 Lightning II Program represents much more than that. It symbolizes what it means to be a union, providing thousands of highly-skilled, union jobs that allow our proud members to take care of their families, their communities, and this great country.”

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2022 IAM LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE IS NOW OPEN: Take up the fight in our nation’s capital for policies that benefit working people. Join hundreds of your fellow IAM members at the 2022 IAM Legislative Conference from June 20 to 22, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Washington, 400 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001.

You must make reservations by Friday, May 13, 2022, to guarantee the IAM hotel room rate.

Get the official call letter, registration information, and hotel booking details here.

As part of the conference schedule, attendees will lobby members of Congress and remind them who they were elected to represent. In addition, machinists will hit Capitol Hill and talk about the issues that affect IAM members most, including the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, Buy American, transportation, trade, defense funding, retirement security, healthcare costs and more.

During general sessions, delegates will also hear from allies in Congress and attend a congressional reception hosted by the IAM.

Make a difference by participating in this important conference.

Register today.

IAM INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT MARTINEZ MEETS WITH U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE, U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. recently met with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to ensure labor unions and civil groups be involved in the discussions and review process of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreement. The IPEF agreement seeks to solidify ties with nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Martinez offered policy suggestions such as enforceable labor and environmental rules and transparency in negotiations to Ambassador Tai and Commerce Secretary Raimondo. He also cautioned that the IPEF should not resemble the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a once-proposed flawed trade deal that would have gutted the nation’s manufacturing sector.

Martinez also discussed policy suggestions such as enforceable labor and environmental rules and transparency in negotiations.

The IAM recently submitted suggestions to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, offering pro-worker guidance as the two federal agencies are shaping a U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). 

MIDWEST STATE CONFERENCE OF MACHINISTS GATHERS TO BUILD POWER: Two hundred delegates came together at the Midwest Territory States Conference of Machinists in Chicago to discuss the key to winning electoral races in Midwest statehouses, governors’ mansions, and congressional seats.

Midwest States Conference of Machinists President Dave Weaver welcomed all the delegates, staff, and officers from across the Midwest Territory to hear from political experts, Illinois elected officials, and IAM Grand Lodge staff and officers. IAM Midwest General Vice President Steve Galloway encouraged the attendees to grow their union and help engage the IAM membership.

“The activists in the Midwest Territory have been the bedrock of the recent political victories for our members and working families,” said Weaver, who also serves as IAM District 9 District Business Representative. “Our Territory has some important work ahead of the elections throughout the Midwest, and we are ready to deliver victories across the Western Territory.”

The conference featured special guest Paul Begala, a CNN political commentator, a professor of public policy, an author, and a political strategist. Paul offered his frank perspective on politics, media, and today’s headlines.

“Everyone in this room is an activist – otherwise, you wouldn’t be here,” said Galloway. “So when the time comes this fall to get boots on the ground in order to educate our members and get them to the polls, my expectation is that everyone in this room will answer the call. We must do our parts, brothers, and sisters. We must protect the Senate. We must protect the House. And we must protect our governors.”

“The Midwest Territory is running a fantastic program throughout the states, and their victories in battles from Missouri to Illinois have been the proof,” said International President Robert Martinez Jr. “I commend General Vice President Galloway and President Weaver for their strategic planning process to put a plan in place to ensure the IAM plays a role in some of the most crucial elections in the Territory.

View Gallery Here.

New York State Council Comes Together for Political Action: The New York State Council of Machinists recently came together in Niagara Falls, NY, to map out the political action plan for locals and districts throughout the state. New York Machinists State Council president Dominic Taibbi kicked off the meeting with a powerful lineup of speakers that included IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr., IAM Aerospace General Vice President Mark Blondin, IAM Air Transport General Vice President Richard Johnsen, IAM Grand Lodge staff, and local and New York state elected officials.

The New York State Council unanimously endorsed Kathy Hochul for Governor. Governor Hochul has always been a fierce supporter of rights for working men and women in New York. The delegates also focused on maintaining control of hard-fought seats won in the last election.

 “I am glad that we can gather as council again to celebrate members who go above and beyond, our elected champions, and map our future political plans,” said New York Machinists State Council President Dominic Taibbi. “I hope everyone leaves this meeting energized and ready to elect worker-friendly candidates up and down the ballot.”

“The Eastern Territory appreciates the hard work by the New York State Council of Machinists to ensure our members have a voice in the New York statehouse and local counties and cities throughout the state,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “I want to thank President Taibbi and the rest of the state council team for preparing our membership for political battle.” 

View Gallery Here.

IAM RAIL DIVISION LEADERS ATTEND 3-DAY FRA MEETING ON TECHNOLOGY: Matt Hollis, National Vice President and Special Assistant to the President for Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM), testified before the Surface Transportation Board this week. Hollis testified on behalf of the IAM Rail Union to address urgent issues in the freight rail service. Other speakers included U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh, and Commissioner Carl W. Bentzel of the Federal Maritime Commission.  

WATCH: STB Hearing on Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service

The Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM) and IAM District 19, which together represent tens of thousands of rail workers, will become part of the IAM Rail Division on May 1, 2022.

The testimony highlighted three specific crafts in the rail industry that reveal the impact of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) on the workforce and current issues with freight rail service. 

“From my position at TCU/IAM, I have had a front-row seat to the complete and utter degradation of our nation’s Class 1 railroads over the past six to seven years,” said Hollis. “I’ve watched as private equity firms have acquired controlling stakes in railroads only to use their power to deploy business models that extract as much wealth as possible, to the detriment of the railroads’ workers, their customers, and ultimately, the public interest. The Class 1 railroads have deployed their variations of the Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) business model – a misnomer, as any real railroader would tell you that PSR is neither precise nor well-scheduled and hardly resembles what they would call ‘railroading.’ A more accurate description would be doing ‘less with less’ – or moving fewer carloads with drastically fewer employees.”

Read Hollis’s full testimony here. 

NFFE-IAM PRAISES HOUSE FOR PASSING THE FEDERAL FIREFIGHTER FAIRNESS ACT, H.R. 2499: This week, the National Federation of Federal Employees applauded the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 2499, the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act. Introduced by Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), the bill establishes a presumption that federal firefighters with at least five years of service who develop serious health conditions, such as cancers and long-term illnesses, did so due to on-the-job exposure to smoke and other hazardous materials. The legislation also includes proactive measures to ensure that diseases suffered by federal firefighters are better reported and studied.

“For over 20 years, NFFE-IAM has advocated for legislation that guarantees federal firefighters who develop severe illnesses resulting from their service to the country receive adequate workers’ compensation benefits,” said NFFE-IAM National President Randy Erwin. “This issue finally has the bipartisan support necessary to be passed into law, and we are grateful for the leadership of Representatives Salud Carbajal and Don Bacon in advancing the bill through the House. We urge the Senate to take action on the bill quickly, and deliver a necessary benefit for our brave federal firefighters who risk their wellbeing protecting the nation.”

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS URGE COLLEAGUES TO PASS PRESIDENT’S BIDEN’S SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION BUDGET FOR 2023: 102 members of Congress wrote a letter urging the Committee to support President Biden’s request of $14.8 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 for the Social Security Administration (SSA) operating budget. The members called for reducing excessive delays and strengthening services. 

“Social Security is a cornerstone of our nation’s economic security,” reads the letter. “As we continue to face the national disaster of the COVID-19 pandemic, Social Security’s role is more important than ever. Almost all workers are contributing to Social Security and earning its benefits, and nearly 1 in 3 households include at least one person who receives Social Security. The income Social Security provides is vital for retirees, families who have lost a breadwinner, and workers who have experienced a career-ending injury or illness. It is impossible to overstate the importance of the program to its 65 million beneficiaries: for many retirees, Social Security provides most or all of their income.” 

Active and retired IAM members have long called for strengthening services at the Social Security Administration and have long been on record for measures that secure the solvency of Social Security.

Read the complete letter.

MACHINISTS UNION SUPPORTS LEGISLATION TO END CORPORATE TAX BREAKS FOR UNION BUSTING: The IAM supports the recently introduced legislation that would amend federal tax laws to end deductions for the expenses that companies accrue in efforts to dissuade or coerce their workers from exercising their collective bargaining rights.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the No Tax Breaks for Union Busting, a bill that would classify business’ interference in worker organization campaigns as political speech under the tax code and therefore not tax deductible. The legislation would also establish IRS reporting requirements for employers who intervene in protected labor activities.

“This bill will stop the public subsidizing of union-busting campaigns. Companies should not be incentivized by the tax breaks they get when they keep their employees from exercising their collective bargaining rights, including engaging in unlawful labor practices,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr. “It’s unfair that companies can simply write-off the millions they use to try to coerce workers from having a collective voice in the workplace.”

It has been reported that companies spent about $340 million annually on union-busting activities, including the hiring of outside consultants. Such expenses on union elections are currently deductible.

OHIO DISTRICT 34 MEMBER MEETS PRESIDENT AS BIDEN MAKES PUSH FOR MORE DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING: IAM District Lodge 34 Business Representative Donnie Rogers recently got the chance of a lifetime to meet President Biden.  Rogers was invited to attend a speech the president gave discussing his domestic manufacturing policy at the United Performance Metals plant in Hamilton, OH.

“When it came my time, I was introduced as Donnie Rogers from the Machinists Union,” said Rogers. “As President Biden shook my hand, he immediately reminded me the Machinists Union was one of the first to endorse him and how much he supported union members. I told him that we appreciate what he has done so far and will do in the future for our membership.”

The president was joined by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), who are working on the Bipartisan Innovation Act, designed to create more jobs and boost domestic manufacturing. Versions of the bill have passed both the House and Senate, and now, a conference committee will work to resolve any differences.

“Donnie was a well-deserving member to represent the IAM at President Biden’s speech,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “The president continues to champion the same pro-union legislation that the Machinists fight for every day. This bipartisan act will help create good, union jobs, ensuring the futures of generations of Machinists.”

“At one point during the President’s speech, he turned and looked at me and made the statement ‘and one more thing, I know how to say the word union,’” added Rogers.

IAM URGES MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO ADVOCATE FOR INCREASED FUNDING FOR NLRB: The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) urged Members of Congress to support a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, calling for increased funding for National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The bipartisan effort is respectfully requesting $368 million, at a minimum. The increased funding would also address the NLRB’s regional office staffing crisis and remove the barrier prohibiting the board from implementing an electronic voting system to conduct union representation elections. The IAM fully supports the call for increased funding.

“The IAM greatly supports efforts to ensure workers have the workplace rights they greatly deserve, and that includes an NLRB with the funding and resources the agency needs,” IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr., wrote.

The requested increase in funding would provide long-overdue resources to allow the NLRB to accomplish its primary mission. Since FY2010, the NLRB’s budget remained stagnant and has decreased 25 percent in real dollars adjusted for inflation.

“Overall staffing levels have dropped by 39 percent over the past two decades and field staffing has been cut in half. These cuts come while there has been a dramatic increase in labor activity which has caused a higher caseload for NLRB staff,” according to the letter congressional members sent to appropriators.

The NLRB is an independent agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer and enforce the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA is the primary and largely exclusive federal statute governing labor relations in the private sector. It serves the public interest by effectively and efficiently reducing disruptions to commerce caused by labor disputes.

MACHINISTS AND ALLIED ORGANIZATION CONTINUE TO FIGHT SURPRISE MEDICAL BILLING: The IAM and over 65 diverse organizations recently sent a letter to the tri-agencies (Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor), marking 100 days of enactment of the No Surprises Act (NSA). In the wake of attacks against the act, the letter urges the tri-agencies to stand firm and enforce its provisions, which protect patients from surprise medical bills that arise when insured consumers inadvertently receive care from out-of-network hospitals, doctors, or other providers they did not choose.

We strongly encourage you to defend and implement the No Surprises Act in a way that protects patients from exploitation, reduces health care costs, and adheres to the intent of the law as it was written,” reads the letter. “The principles and overall approach taken by the Departments throughout the two interim final rules should continue to guide the rulemaking process toward a prudent solution that addresses the underlying market failure and prioritizes consumers over private equity. To that end, the QPA remains the central part of the law and should remain a central part of the IDR regulations and guidance.” 

The new law took effect for health plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2022, and it applies to nearly all private health plans offered by employers (including grandfathered group health plans and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program), as well as non-group health insurance policies offered through and outside of the marketplace. The law also contains other related provisions, including a requirement for health plans to keep network provider directories up-to-date.

“The proper administration and implementation of the No Surprises Act will reduce healthcare costs and protect patients from exploitation from providers,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “These are tough financial times, and patients need to be protected from unwarranted bills.”

NFFE Applauds Confirmation of Susan Tsui Grundmann to the Federal Labor Relations Authority: Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) praises the Senate confirmation of Susan Grundmann to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). As a member of the FLRA, Grundmann will join FLRA Chairman Ernest DuBester to bring back fairness, a respect for the law, and an appreciation for our nation’s federal workers civil service workers that has been notably absent in majority opinions over the past five years. Member Grundmann has a long and illustrious career as the chairman of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, and before then, she worked tirelessly as an esteemed labor attorney and served as the general counsel of NFFE.

“Congratulations to Susan on being confirmed to the FLRA,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “She is highly qualified for the role, and I have full faith that she will restore dignity and legal competence to FLRA majority decisions. To maintain a majority of qualified jurists on the FLRA board, I urge the Senate to confirm President Biden’s other distinguished FLRA nominees as quickly as possible.”

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