International President Martinez Appointed to President’s Export Council – Maryland House Passes Statewide Library Worker Legislation- Machinists Union Calls for Passage of Protecting the Right to Organize Act

Mar 28, 2023 | Machinists On The Hill

INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT MARTINEZ APPOINTED TO PRESIDENT’S EXPORT COUNCIL: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. has been appointed by President Biden to serve on the President’s Export Council, a U.S. governmental organization that serves as the principal national advisory committee on international trade.

“It’s an honor to serve our nation, our union, and our membership in this important role,” said Martinez. “I’m extremely grateful to President Biden and the administration for giving the Machinists Union a voice on trade policy that affects the lives of millions of working Americans.”

The President’s Export Council provides a forum for private-sector business and labor leaders, members of Congress, and other administration officials to discuss and resolve trade-related issues.

In addition to serving on the IAM Executive Council, Martinez sits on the executive councils of the AFL-CIO, the IndustriALL Global Union, the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the Alliance for Retired Americans, the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Council, America’s Agenda, the Economic Policy Institute, and many others.

MACHINISTS UNION APPLAUDS MARYLAND HOUSE PASSAGE OF STATEWIDE LIBRARY WORKER COLLECTIVE BARGAINING LEGISLATION: The IAM applauds the Maryland House of Delegates for recently passing H.B. 65/S.B. 352, an IAM-led bipartisan bill that would give unorganized public library workers a fair, clear and consistent process to utilize their constitutional right to freedom of association by forming a union, if they wish to do so. 

Current Maryland state law does not provide all library workers collective bargaining rights. Instead, in the past this has been handled on a county-by-county basis, requiring the state legislature to repeatedly contemplate similar legislation. 

A handful of jurisdictions currently allow library workers the right to collective bargaining. Baltimore County Public Library System (BCPL) employees are the most recent group who fought for this right through the Maryland State Legislature. In 2021, they earned the right to collective bargaining, choosing to organize with the IAM. They even gained the attention of President Joe Biden, who invited a BCPL employee bargaining team member to speak before the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. 

“The House passage of H.B. 65 is a huge step toward giving these hard-working public servants the right to a voice in the workplace and a seat at the table for the vitality of the library systems to thrive for the communities that count on them,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr. “I want to thank House Appropriations Committee Chairman Del. Ben Barnes (D-21) and Oversight Committee on Personnel Chairman Del. Jazz Lewis (D-24) for championing for the passage of this bill. I thank all delegates on both sides of the aisle who voted for the passage of this pro-worker bill. Now it’s up to the Senate to do the same and honor library workers with the collective bargaining rights they want.”

The legislation, introduced by Del. Steve Johnson (D-34A) and cross-filed in the Senate by Majority Leader Sen. Nancy King (D-39), does not guarantee union organizing or require library system employees to form a union. The bill simply enables Maryland library workers to organize for union representation, should they wish to do so.

“To protect and preserve our libraries, all across the state, workers need a seat at the table. A voice in the room. We need to be regarded and respected as experts in our fields, alongside our administrators. The passing of H.B. 65 by the House is an important step to get us there,” said Morgan Michael, a Library Associate II with the Harford County Public Library.

The passed legislation has support of groups such as the Maryland Library Workers United; Baltimore County Public Library-IAM United (BCPL-IAM); Harford County Public Library United (HCPL United); Maryland State & D.C. AFL-CIO; Metro Washington Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Maryland State Education Association (MSEA); and Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. 

MACHINISTS UNION CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO ORGANIZE ACT: Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the 600,000-member International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), released the following statement regarding the recent re-introduction of the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), H.R. 20:

“Today, Democratic Leaders in the House and Senate reintroduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This bill would become the first national labor law reform in nearly a century that would expand workers’ rights. The bill would make it easier for unions to organize employees and weaken employers’ ability to resist unionization while protecting workers’ rights to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces. 

Click here: Protect the Right to Organize: Tell Congress to Vote YES for the PRO Act

“Before this reintroduction, the Machinists Union worked tirelessly to mobilize the labor movement to meet this moment. The rights our parents and grandparents fought for have been chipped away over time by the same anti-worker forces who will oppose this bill. The PRO Act would reverse decades-long attacks on working people and strengthen federal worker protections.

“The IAM thanks the cosponsors of this bill.  We will continue publicly making a case for the PRO Act to their constituents and do everything we can to see its passage. We also want to make it clear this bill is a necessity.

“We must seize this moment and pass the PRO Act. We intend to organize and mobilize the thousands of workers in this country who have signed on to our campaign to demand that Congress pass this bill.”

MACHINISTS UNION APPLAUDS PRESIDENT BIDEN’S NOMINATION OF JULIE SU AS U.S. LABOR SECRETARY: Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the 600,000-member International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), released the following statement regarding President Biden’s nomination of Julie Su to serve as U.S. Labor Secretary.

“President Biden has again selected a champion of working people to lead the U.S. Labor Department. Julie Su’s experience as an attorney, then by leading labor agencies in California, and now serving as the No. 2 official in the Labor Department, has prepared her to fight for working people nationally.

“Julie Su has been a critical advocate for working families as the Biden administration and the Labor Department under Secretary Walsh has put unions and working people at the center of its policy-making decisions. She understands that unions help create family-sustaining jobs that treat workers with respect and dignity. 

“The labor movement is at a pivotal point in history. To match our growth with the favorable opinion of labor, we must have an agency focused on protecting and safeguarding our nation’s workforce. Now is not the time to turn back the wheels of progress.

“We know that as Secretary, Julie Su will continue to champion unions as the answer to historically high inequality and aggressively take on employers that trample on the rights of workers. The Machinists Union urges the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Julie Su as the next Secretary of Labor.” 

IAM CALLS FOR TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM EXTENSION: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. sent a letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh urging the department to extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program and allow it to start receiving applications.

“Thousands of hard-working people are counting on this benefit, which provides crucial assistance such as training and employment services,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. in the letter. “TAA has been an extremely useful benefit helping workers rebound from losing a job to trade.”

The letter came as a result of reports that tens of thousands of workers affected by unfair trade practices are currently awaiting the determination of their petition for TAA support.

The $494 million for the U.S. Department of Labor program was included as part of the omnibus funding bill passed by Congress.

“The IAM and the entire labor movement hope these dollars will be put to work by the DOL as soon as possible to accept new TAA applications,” said Martinez.

Click here to read the complete letter.

IAM, CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS SHARE WORKER-CENTERED PRIORITIES FOR PROPOSED INDO_PACIFIC ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK: On March 1, the IAM and more than 400 organizations and labor groups sent a letter to the Biden Administration calling for strong labor rights commitments and other critical priorities for the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

The letter outlines measures needed for the IPEF, including swift and enforceable labor standards, climate provisions focusing on environmental justice in the participating partners, and digital trade terms that don’t favor Big Tech corporations over working people. 

“The IPEF agreement must include provisions that are worker-centered and meet important objectives that include labor rights enforcement,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “It’s imperative for the Administration to uphold the interests and rights of workers during the negotiating process of this trade deal to prevent mistakes from the past and set the foundation for fair models for trade.”

The IAM has been actively engaged in the development of the IPEF trade agreement to make sure it includes policies with strong and enforceable labor standards and delivers real benefits to working families in the U.S.

U.S. trade negotiators will begin the second negotiating round of the IPEF from March 13-19 in Bali.

Read the full letter here.

NFFE-IAM President Erwin: Congress Must Pass the PRO Act to Protect Workers’ Rights: Washington, D.C. – National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) calls on Congress to pass H.R. 20, the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), which strengthens workers’ rights to unionize and collectively bargain over workplace policies.

“Working families in this country have been under attack for decades, leading to stagnated wages and the weakening of rights for the American worker” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “However, workers across the nation have seen that joining a union delivers higher pay, better benefits, and safer workplaces. It is no secret why union approval is rapidly increasing among the American public.”

The PRO Act will address multiple issues by expanding the enforcement powers of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in addition to reinforcing protections for workers that engage in collective action. In addition to imposing fines on employers and management offices who violate the law, the bill would also give workers the opportunity to bring their case to federal court. The PRO Act would override state “right to work” laws, which are designed to give more power to management at the expense of workers, and have had the effect of lowering wages and eroding pensions and health care coverage in states where they have been adopted.

“All working people need and deserve the collective power of a union,” continued Erwin. “This is the first step in guaranteeing basic respect and dignity while on the job. Congress must pass the PRO Act and replace severely outdated labor laws that provide little protections for the rights of workers. This bill not only safeguards worker organizing and collective bargaining, it also strengthens the very roots of democracy in America.” 

Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), issued the following statement on U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh’s new role as Executive Director of the NHL Players’ Association:

“I want to congratulate Secretary Walsh on his new role with the NHL Players’ Association. Secretary Walsh has been a fierce ally for years. Whether it was helping us fight back against the privatization of more than 400 IAM Local 264 bus mechanic jobs at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or helping our Union get through the most difficult economic period since the Great Depression. Secretary Walsh has been a true champion for working people. The National Hockey Players Association is getting a true fighter and we look forward to watching his next chapter in standing up for workers.” 

MACHINISTS, LABOR ALLIES, TELL RIGHT WING TO KEEP HANDS OFF INVESTMENT DECISIONS: The IAM is joining the AFL-CIO and other allies in labor to oppose draconian investment restrictions that some congressional Republicans are seeking to place on workers’ retirement plans.

A recent U.S. Department of Labor rule clarifies that private sector retirement plan fiduciaries may consider environmental, social and governance factors when making plan investments or voting proxies. The proposed Republican rule, on the contrary, ties their hands and forces investment managers to follow an extreme conservative ideology when investing—even if they know it is a bad, risky investment.

“The rule must remain in place to help ensure workers’ money is invested in ways that safeguard their retirement savings from risks, increase their investment choices to a full suite of ERISA-suitable products, and remove costly barriers to the exercise of their shareholder rights,” wrote the IAM and other unions to congressional leadership. “Calls to nullify the rule are part of a broader, unpopular effort to curtail progress on investment and corporate risk management, transparency, and accountability. This ill-advised effort jeopardizes workers’ hard-earned retirement savings.”

The U.S. House and Senate recently passed the extremist measure. President Biden has said he will veto the bill.

NFFE President Erwin Attends Sec. of Labor Nomination at White House, Speaks with President Biden: Last week in Washington, DC, NFFE-IAM National President Randy Erwin attended a ceremony at the White House where President Joe Biden officially nominated Julie Su to be the next Secretary of Labor. Following the announcement Erwin spoke briefly with Biden about federal employees and the pro-union agenda of the White House.

Su’s nomination came on the heels of Marty Walsh’s announcement that he would be stepping down as Secretary of Labor to run the National Hockey League Players Association. However, Su will surely step up to meet the challenge of leading the Labor Department and continuing to advance the Biden Administration’s pro-union and pro-labor policies.

Julie Su has spent her entire career advocating for workers, and currently holds the position of the Deputy Secretary of Labor. Prior to joining the Labor Department, Su was the Labor Secretary for the State of California and she began her life in government service as the California Labor Commissioner. Su spent 17 years as a civil rights attorney representing workers. Her work as representing trafficked Thai garment workers earned her a MacArthur “genius” award. A daughter of immigrants, Su is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School.

“It was an honor to attend this important ceremony as a guest of President Biden,” said President Erwin. “I had the opportunity to thank him for nominating such a qualified and accomplished candidate in Julie Su as the next Secretary of Labor. In my conversation with the President, I offered my appreciation for the work his administration has done to empower and show respect for federal employees, and to ensure all workers have the opportunity to join a union.”

WASHINGTON STATE MACHINISTS COUNCIL MEETS IN OLYMPIA: Delegates to the Washington State Machinists Council came together for their state council meeting in Olympia. The Washington State Machinists Council serves as the voice of working families across the state to help push worker-friendly legislation and to help elect candidates who will fight for issues important to the IAM.

The Washington State Machinists Council came together to discuss a variety of legislative actions for improving the lives of workers in the state

IAM Legislative and Political Director Hasan Solomon gave a report detailing the legislative and political successes of the IAM.

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