REGISTER NOW FOR THE 2023 IAM LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE: Registration is now open for the 2023 IAM Legislative Conference! This crucial conference provides an opportunity for IAM members to have their voices heard in Washington, DC, and to advocate for policies that benefit working families.
This year’s conference will take place from June 19-21, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Washington, 400 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001.
Attendees must make reservations by Thursday, May 11, 2023, to guarantee the IAM hotel room rate.
As part of the conference schedule, attendees will lobby members of Congress and remind them who they were elected to represent. IAM members will meet with their congressional representatives and will provide their perspectives to advocate on behalf of fellow machinists and their families on the issues that matter most. All delegates planning to attend the 2023 IAM Legislative Conference should pre-schedule meetings with their Congressional District Representative as well as Senators for Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.
By adding their voice, members can help support IAM’s work on:
- The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act
- Buy American
- Defense funding
- Retirement security
- Affordable healthcare
- And much more!
The 2023 IAM Legislative Conference includes sessions where delegates will hear and interact with Congressional allies and attend a congressional reception hosted by the IAM.
Join us and make an impact by participating in this important conference.
IAM RAIL DIVISION MEMBERS PROUD TO BE BUILDING FUTURE OF U.S. RAIL: About 55 miles south of Rochester, NY, big things are happening in the small town of Hornell, thanks to the IAM Rail Division members.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Under Secretary of Transportation Carlos Monje Jr., took a trip to Hornell New York – where IAM Local Lodge 2741 machinists at ALSTOM build the best rail cars in the industry. These proud IAM members are tasked with manufacturing trains such as the fleet for Metra, the Chicago area commuter rail carrier to Amtrak’s brand new Acela fleet, the nation’s first high-speed rail car.
BIDEN LABOR SECRETARY NOMINEE JULIE SU A STRONG CHAMPION FOR AMERICAN WORKERS: The IAM released the following statements on the upcoming confirmation vote of acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su to serve as the next secretary of labor:
Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), issued the following statement:
“Acting Secretary Su is exceptionally qualified with both strong experience in labor and policy as a worker advocate and public servant, as she possesses integrity to lead the Department of Labor.
“As a public servant, she has a proven record of commitment to protecting working Americans and ensuring that workplace laws and regulations are enforced accordingly.
“The IAM calls on the Senate to swiftly move forward to confirm acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su as she is the best choice to advance working families’ priorities and a more inclusive economy.”
David Sullivan, IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President, released the following statement:
“Acting Secretary Su’s record of accomplishments not only demonstrate her ability to work with a wide range of stakeholders, from unions to the business community, but she’s also a leader on promoting equity and economic empowerment for communities across our country.
“Her long record of standing with workers and promoting economic growth speaks for itself – she gets the work done.
“We urge our Congressional Leaders to support Su’s confirmation and we look forward to continuing to work with our allies in Congress to strengthen and improve the livelihoods of our members, their families and communities.”
The IAM recently sent a letter to the Senate urging them for full support of President Biden’s nomination of Julie Su as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. Read full letterhere.
MAINE LOBSTERING UNION TESTIFIES BEFORE U.S. CONGRESS ON PROTECTING SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE LOBSTER FISHERY: Maine Lobstering Union Local 207 Executive Liaison and Political Director Virginia Olsen Political Director Virginia Olsen testified at a hearing this week held by the U.S. Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries, opposing legislation that would unfairly target the Maine lobstering industry.
The subcommittee hearing included testimonies on H.R. 1213, “Restoring Effective Science-based Conservation Under Environmental laws protecting Whales Act of 2023” or the “RESCUE Whales Act of 2023.”
H.R. 1213 will impose meritless measures regarding endangered right whales while undermining Maine’s economy and the financial stability.
“As Maine fishermen we have repeatedly stepped up and done whatever was required of us to protect right whales,” said Olsen. “Regulations only benefit the whale when the whales are present, and where there are no whales there is no justification for the regulation. Unnecessary regulations only erode public confidence in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) without any benefit to the endangered species itself.”
Olsen gave an extensive testimony to lawmakers about the various ways hardworking lobstermen in Maine have adhered to environmental laws protecting our natural resources while keeping the state’s economy afloat and families fed.
The IAM recently sent a letter to Congress on behalf of Maine Lobstering Union (MLU) Local 207 strongly opposing H.R. 1213. The recently introduced legislation risks the livelihood of entire communities without credible scientific information that would benefit right whales.
“This legislation, H.R. 1213, would roll back the prudent action Congress took in December 2022, and once again put this entire industry in existential peril,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “While I am certain that proponents of this legislation believe they are doing the right thing and acting to protect this endangered mammal, it is clear that not one right whale will be protected by this legislation because these whales do not frequent the coast of Maine.”
“Rushing NOAA to implement new rules without additional research and fixing a broken system does nothing to protect right whales,” said Olsen. “Instead, it does everything to endanger a heritage fishery that not only my family, but thousands of others have participated in for generations.”
“To propose regulations without supplementary research is shameful and does nothing to protect the right whales,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “The IAM stands with its members in Maine and will continue to advocate to protect union jobs but also to raise awareness on the importance of protecting endangered species when deemed necessary.”
Olsen also met with Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (D-ME) who praised Maine Lobstering Union’s advocacy on behalf of the hard-working men and women working in the industry.
Watch Olsen testimony here.
Click here to read the full letter.
The Maine Lobstering Union (MLU) is a division of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) District 4 and the only union-based cooperative in the lobster industry owned and operated by Maine lobstermen. The MLU supports Maine’s lobster community and is committed to the sustainability and safety of Maine’s lobstermen and women and all wildlife that occupy and rely upon the fishery.
WHITE HOUSE TASK FORCE ON WORKER ORGANIZING AND EMPOWERMENT SEES RESULTS IN UNION MEMBERSHIP AND APPROVAL: Federal agencies, like the Department of Labor and Office of Personnel management, have been implementing recommendations from the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment and have announced progress with results.
The AFL-CIO formed its White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment Committee, pulling together labor union organizing and policy experts, including IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo with IAM Political and Legislative Director Hasan Solomon, to assist in thinking through issues for the Task Force to make recommendations for.
Addeo and Solomon focused on the issue unions have in gaining access to military bases to organize and represent Service Contract Act employees in their submission to the Task Force, which created a recommendation for it:
Standardize Guidelines for Union Organizer Access to Military Bases and Installations Recommendation: Instruct the Department of Defense (DOD) to review existing guidance, consider developing consistent policies and best practices, and consider issuing standardized guidance across the Department to ensure union organizers can access bases and installations. The DOD should consider implementing standardized guidelines ensuring that union organizers can have access to employees – including employees of private-sector contractors – on its bases and installations in a manner that does not interfere with safety, security, order, or contract operations. DOD should also reiterate current federal policy protections for organizing activity related to union access on DOD property and highlight relatively recent processes and procedures that have improved and standardized the access process.
“The Task Force was effective; our issues were addressed,” said Addeo. “So far we have seen positive results from the Task Force actions that were taken regarding access to military bases.”
The Biden administration in April 2021 established the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment chaired by Vice-President Kamala Harris and Vice-Chaired by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.
The goal of the Task Force is to “remove barriers to worker organizing and position the federal government as a model employer,” says multiple documents from the White House.
The Task Force submitted more than 70 recommendations to the President, all of which were approved by President Biden in February 2022.
Multiple Task Force recommendations focus on increasing visibility, support, awareness, and promotion of collective bargaining. The White House statement says that since agencies began working to better inform federal workers of their right to join a union, nearly 80,000 federal workers have become union members.
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CALL FOR CONTINUED FUNDING FOR THE F-35 PROGRAM: As the largest aerospace and defense union in the United States, the IAM has advocated consistently for adequate funding of the F-35 Lightning II and F135 programs in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 defense budget.
And now members from both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives recently sent letters urging the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee and U.S. House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to strongly consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 defense authorization and appropriations bills continued support for the F-35 Lightning II and the F135 engine program.
The F-35, built by IAM District 776 members in Fort Worth, Texas, is the only 5th generation stealth fighter currently produced by the United States and our allies. These support letters are critical in showing strong support for the F-35 programs in the FY 2024 budget and appropriations process.
RAIL DIVISION ON THE FRONT PAGE OF WALL STREET JOURNAL: The legislative and communications efforts of the IAM Rail Division continue to pay dividends in the press as the TCU Carmen Division and Machinists District 19 were the central focus of a front-page article ‘Hurry Up and Get It Done’: Norfolk Southern Set Railcar Safety Checks at One Minute Wall Street Journal (March 30, 2023, by Esther Fung, Kris Maher, and Paul Berger)
The piece covered the increased time pressures that railroad shop crafts are under to get their inspections and repairs done faster and faster. Rail safety has been on the hot plate in Congress as a bipartisan group of legislators are trying to improve safety regulations in the wake of the East Palestine, OH derailment.
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CALL FOR INCREASED FUNDING FOR C-130J AIRLIFT PROGRAM: IAM Local 709 members who build C-130 and C-130J military transport planes recently received some strong backing for the C-130 program from Capitol Hill.
Over 66 members of Congress recently wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Defense Committee on Appropriations, Chairman Ken Calvert and Ranking Member Betty McCollum urging supporting the procurement of Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Navy Reserve, and Marine Corps C-130 aircraft.
Potential future conflict with near-peer adversaries demonstrates a need to move equipment in an environment facing contested logistics reliably. Improving our nation’s airlift capacity would ensure the United States maintains its capability of providing the force with the necessary equipment to succeed anytime, anywhere.
“A stable C-130J production line supporting current and future validated DoD requirements is the best approach to preserving the 380 suppliers across 36 states that support the 27,200 direct and indirect jobs, yielding more than $3.7 billion of total economic impact,” reads the letter. “C-130J production is currently declining from 2020’s healthy rate of 24+ aircraft per year down to 20 per year, and only continued adds will keep it from falling further. The previous strong production rates were a direct result of MYP-III as well as 64 critical bipartisan adds during the FY2017-2023 Congressional appropriations cycles. A significant drop in production over the next three years could dramatically increase C-130J pricing, undermine national security and that of our allies at a dangerous time in world affairs, and erode the strength of the national supplier base when many future requirements remain unfilled.”
Only two budgeted aircraft are in the President’s FY24 budget request; increased procurement is even more critical.
FY24 request includes the following:
1. 8-16 Air Force Reserve/Air National Guard C-130J to continue recapitalization
2. 5 Navy Reserve KC-130J for recapitalization of aging C-130T
3. 2 Marine Corps KC-130J to replace operational losses
4. Air National Guard LC-130J “ski-birds” and $68 million for non-recurring engineering
CONGRESS MUST MAKE THE NECESSARY INVESTMENT IN OUR FEDERAL WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS: This week, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) held a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol to raise awareness of the severe issues facing the federal wildland firefighting workforce. The event was hosted by Representatives Katie Porter (D-CA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA). Speakers included Representatives Porter, Joe Neguse (D-CO), Andy Kim (D-VA), as well as Kevin O’Connor of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), Bobbie Scopa of Grassroots Wildland Firefighters Association, William Bowser of the American Federation of Government Employees, and NFFE Wildland Firefighter Justin Brown.
“I am honored to represent these heroic women and men who protect our nation’s communities and public lands from wildfire,” said NFFE-IAM President Randy Erwin at the press conference. “These are the workers responsible for protecting of hundreds of millions of acres of federal lands and providing an invaluable service to the American people. A lot of folks don’t realize it, but these firefighters often spend weeks, or even months, away from their families, often working 18 hours or more per day, to protect us and our communities. However, these wildland firefighters often go unnoticed and under-appreciated. In many ways, they are America’s forgotten first responders.”
All speakers discussed the crucial work that wildland firefighters undertake, despite unjust wages, staffing shortages, and poor workplace conditions. Members of Congress advocated for bipartisan support of President Biden’s fiscal year 2024 budget, which includes funding for new pay tables, healthcare and mental health programs, and enhancements to housing for wildland firefighters. Many speakers asserted that without significant change, the wildland firefighter workforce would see even more workers leaving the service, putting communities and lives at risk.
“To all the wild land firefighters across the country – let me say, thank you for the job you do every day,” continued Erwin. “Your nation owes you a debt of gratitude. We need substantially better pay, more boots on the ground, improved mental health and medical services, affordable, livable housing, and more. Let’s make the necessary investment in our federal wildland firefighter workforce that this country so badly needs. I want to thank Representatives Porter, Connolly, Neguse, and Kim for being here today and their unflinching support of wildland firefighters.”
IAM Healthcare Supports Critical Legislation to Prevent Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Industry: IAM Healthcare, a voice of more than 10,000 health professionals within the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), announced its support for the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (HR.2663/ S.1176). Introduced in Congress this week by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the bipartisan legislation would require creation of a federal standard directing employers in the healthcare industry to develop comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans.
“The extreme violence, harassment, and fear that healthcare professionals face just to go to work and care for their patients is unacceptable,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “IAM Healthcare members support this critical legislation, not only for their own safety, but for the millions of Americans whose quality of care is impacted because healthcare corporations fail to implement effective violence prevention measures.”
Highlighting the ripple effects of workplace violence in healthcare settings, IAM leaders pointed to a recent research review that found “…the negative implications of such widespread violence in healthcare sectors have a significant impact on the delivery of health care services, including a decline in the quality of care….”
According to IAM Healthcare and other industry experts, the decline in quality is compounded by an exodus of overwhelmed and burnt-out healthcare workers from their professions. Research also shows a clear link between exposure to both primary and secondary workplace violence and mental health struggles among nursing staff.
“As a husband and father of nurses, I’ve seen the sacrifices they and their colleagues have made to provide the best care for patients,” said IAM Resident General Vice President Brian Bryant. “Our healthcare heroes need more than just words of gratitude; they need employers to take responsibility for providing workplaces free from violence – this bill will finally hold employers accountable for doing that.”
The legislation will cover a wide array of workplaces, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, home health programs, behavioral health facilities, and other health care and social service settings. Employers will be required to review and address security procedures, patient care policies, staffing, training, built environment, and record keeping, among other factors.
The comprehensive planning process must also include employee input at every step. When combined with the power of collective bargaining and professional representation enjoyed by IAM Healthcare members, this will provide even greater leverage for health professionals to participate in developing meaningful solution
MARKEY JOINS WARREN AND MASSACHUSETTS DELEGATION IN URGING NAVY SECRETARY TO PRIORITIZE CONTRACTS WITH UNIONIZED SHIPYARDS AMID CONCERNS OF UNDERUTILIZATION: Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Richard E. Neal (MA-01), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-05), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), and Bill Keating (MA-09) in sending a letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro to express their concerns about the Navy’s underutilization of unionized commercial shipyards, and the risk underuse of these yards poses to workers and communities in Massachusetts and across the country. In the letter, the lawmakers highlight President Joe Biden’s commitment to empowering workers and prioritizing union workforces in the contracting process, and emphasize that shipyards should not be left out of this pledge. They also urge the Secretary to prioritize contracts with these shipyards, including Boston Ship Repair (BSR) in Massachusetts.
“Shipyards are critical to maintaining a robust defense industrial base, and should not be exempt from President Biden’s commitment to empower workers and prioritize unionized workforces and employers who engage cooperatively with their unionized employees in the contracting process. We urge you to rectify your approach to awarding vessel building and repair contracts and to utilize all tools at your disposal to support organized workers,” wrote the lawmakers.
Last year, the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment released recommendations on using the federal government’s purchasing power to support unionized workers and pro-worker employers. However, representatives from a Boston Ship Repair, a unionized shipyard in Massachusetts, have reported to the lawmakers’ offices that they are not receiving enough work for vessel repair contracts, throwing hundreds of skilled union jobs into limbo.
According to representatives from BSR and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers—the union representing BSR’s workers—the Navy has consistently awarded ship repair and maintenance contracts to non-union shipyards over BSR and other union shipyards. In the last nine months, BSR bid on 17 Military Sealift Command and MARAD vessel repair contracts, but has only been awarded one. All of the other contracts went to non-union shipyards.
In the letter, the lawmakers continued, “A lack of consistency in the receipt of contracts harms shipyards, workers, and the surrounding community. If shipyards are unable to anticipate if or when they will receive work in a given year, they may be unable to retain their workers. At BSR, for example, workers have been laid off for over six months due to a lack of work, and with no return in sight. More broadly, the shipbuilding and repair industry contributes significantly to the state and local economy; according to one report, the industry generates roughly $18 million annually in gross state product. Consequently, the loss of a multimillion-dollar ship repair contract impacts not only the shipyard but the local community and even the state economy.”