Victory for Federal Service Contract Workers-Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Signed Into Law- IAM Fights to Enforce Protections for Maine Loggers

Nov 30, 2021 | Machinists On The Hill


MACHINISTS UNION APPLAUDS BIDEN ADMINISTRATION EXECUTIVE ORDER PROTECTING SERVICE CONTRACT ACT WORKERS: The IAM applauds the Biden Administration’s reinstatement of Service Contract Act (SCA) Executive Order 13495, which will greatly improve job security for service contract workers across the country.  

The IAM led efforts in urging the Biden administration to protect Service Contract Act (SCA) workers’ jobs by reinstating critical job security protections. 

“The reinstatement of Executive Order 13495 is a win for workers and employers who work under the Service Contract Act,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “President Biden’s reinstatement of President Obama’s Executive Order turns back the disastrous policy of President Trump and creates clear guidance for employers. President Biden is a champion for working families and continues to put them at the top of his agenda. Thousands of IAM members and other service contract workers can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing their jobs won’t be displaced when government service contracts change hands from one employer to another. Our nation can take great pride in the efficient government procurement and fairness to these workers and their families under this new Biden Executive Order.”

FACT SHEET: President Biden Signs Executive Order To Ensure Quality Jobs For Service Workers On Federal Contracts

Service Contract workers are private-sector employees who work under federal contracts, primarily at military bases and other federal installations. The IAM represents nearly 40,000 Service Contract Workers in various industries, spread across more than 800 locations.

In 2019, former President Trump rescinded Executive Order 13495, which President Obama implemented to provide essential job security to service contract workers. The order, known as “Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts,” granted workers the right of first refusal for continued employment when an SCA government contractor or employer is replaced by a new successor contractor at the same location. This policy benefited both the government and the workers by ensuring workforce stability as government contracts change hands.

In February 2021, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. wrote a letter to President Biden urging him to restore Service Contract Worker’s job protections. 

IAM members work at more than 800 SCA locations across the country, primarily at military bases and federal institutions. Some of the IAM’s larger bargaining units include 4,000 SCA workers at Fort Rucker, Alabama; more than 1,000 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; nearly 800 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona; and 750 at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland.

MACHINISTS APPLAUDS INFRASTRUCTURE BILL SIGNED INTO LAW: The IAM applauds the much-needed trillion-dollar new federal investment in the nation’s infrastructure. The bipartisan legislation that was signed into law will create good, union-paying jobs to help repair the nation’s crumbling highways, bridges, and also mark the most significant federal investment in public transit and passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.

President Joe Biden on Monday, Nov. 15 formally signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) into law. Biden was joined at the White House by several key stakeholders, including a large delegation of IAM members.

“We applaud the signing of this very critical trillion-dollar piece of legislation into law, paving the way for much-needed improvements to several of our nation’s economic drivers,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “This law will provide historic investments for the airline, transit, aerospace, manufacturing and other critical industries. This law also strengthens Buy America rules to help boost our domestic manufacturing sectors.”

WATCH: Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Will Benefit IAM Members

The IAM was a strong advocate for the trillion-dollar legislation, which helps reverse the backlog of thousands of buses and rail cars for public transit agencies and critical improvements to transit stations and thousands of miles of track and power systems. 

This doesn’t end the push for improvements to the nation’s infrastructure. The IAM is also lobbying aggressively for passage of Biden’s Build Back Better legislation

Some highlights in the new infrastructure law:

  • $110 billion for roads, bridges, and major projects.
  • $66 billion passenger and freight rail.
  • $11 billion for transportation safety.
  • $39 billion for public transit.
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways.
  • $25 billion for airports.
  • $7.5 billion for clean school buses and ferries.
  • $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging.
  • $1 billion to reconnect communities, including funds for projects that remove barriers to opportunity caused by legacy infrastructure.

Biden has steadily touted the importance of the new infrastructure investment as a measure to repair problems as well as spur job growth. He mentioned the IAM and several other unions during Monday’s signing ceremony. The White House on Monday tweeted the importance of the new law for union workers. 

The IAM delegation at the White House on Monday included David Roderick, legislative director for District 141; Josh Hartford, General Chairman, IAM District 19; Elliot Benton, TCU-IAM Local Chairman, Amtrak; David Arouca TCU-IAM Assistant National Legislative Director; NFFE-IAM National President Randy Erwin, IAM National Legislative and Political Director Hasan Solomon; and Local 1976 member Mark Ball.

MACHINISTS UNION CONTINUES FIGHT TO ENFORCE PROTECTIONs FOR MAINE LOGGERS: The IAM recently met with House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) regarding the lack of enforcement of federal laws that are meant to protect U.S. loggers.

The IAM and Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) sounded the alarm on how Canadian logging drivers are engaging in “point to point” deliveries within the United States, which is not permitted under federal cabotage law. The law stipulates that Canadian and Mexican drivers may only deliver international shipments into the U.S. and then pick up a load to be delivered back to their country of origin. Lack of enforcement of cabotage law has resulted in the loss of jobs for Maine communities that count on the logging industry.

Thompson, a longtime pro-worker member of Congress, responded by sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, urging enforcement of the law.

“The lack of consistent enforcement of this bill has hurt all American workers, especially our Maine loggers,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Brian Bryant. “The law’s intent is to protect all American workers, their livelihoods and families. For too long Maine loggers have not been safeguarded accordingly. The IAM Legislative team along with our Eastern Territory staff will exhaust every resource necessary until all loggers in Maine are fully protected.”

“For too long, organizations like the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine and the Maine Forestry Products Council have used Canadian Contractors and Canadian Drivers to put US workers out of business and depress wages industry-wide,” said IAM Eastern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Craig Hughes, who attended the meeting. “Now they are trying to weaponize the US Constitution to defend the practice. We will not stand by and watch this exploitation of these hard-working Mainers continue.”  

The Machinists Union has been at the forefront in addressing the challenges the loggers and wood-haulers face in northern Maine, recently participating in a discussion at the Maine State House with U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME).

IAM Eastern Territory Chief of Staff Dave Sullivan and the IAM Political and Legislative staff participated in the discussion with Thompson.

MACHINISTS UNION APPLAUDS U.S. HOUSE PASSAGE OF BUILD BACK BETTER LEGISLATION: The IAM applauds the U.S. House passage of the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), a bill that would invest in the nation’s working people.

“I want to thank the U.S. House members who voted in favor of this important bill that gives much-needed support to our nation’s workforce. There are so many critical provisions in Build Back Better, like Child Tax Credit, child care, workplace development and access to clean energy jobs just to name a few,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr. “This legislation embraces a pro-worker agenda that provides millions of working families with the resources and opportunities of better wages and benefits.”

Highlights of the Build Back Better bill:

  • Invests a total $390 billion for the child care initiative and the universal preschool initiative.
  • Provides $20 billion in workforce development programs.
  • Provides $9.5 billion in public health infrastructure and workforce.
  • Provides $3.5 billion for domestic manufacturing conversion grants to automobile manufacturers and suppliers.

More details are available here.

The IAM has been a strong advocate for passage of the Build Back Better bill, which would build on the new bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed into law days ago.

IAM DISTRICT 19, TCU/IAM MEMBERS RALLY FOR FAIR CONTRACT AT METRA IN CHICAGO: Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President, and Edison Fraser, IAM Transportation Coordinator, along with officers and members of a coalition of nine unions, including the Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM)rallied in front of Metra Board of directors meeting in Chicago to demand that it negotiate a fair contract with its employees.

WATCH: Rally for Fair Contract

The rally was also attended by U.S. Reps. Chuy Garcia (D-IL) and Marie Newman (D-IL)Illinois State Sen. Ram Vilvalam and Chicago Federation of Labor President Robert Reiter. Metra is the Chicago area transit system, and despite being declared essential workers during the pandemic, workers haven’t had a raise since 2018.

The nine railroad unions representing at Metra have been negotiating with management since January 2019. During this time, Metra has received massive financial support from the Federal Government which the Metra Board of Directors has spent on 4% and 17% increases in executive compensation while frontline workers have received nothing.

“This is corporate greed,” said Johnsen. “Taking money and paying themselves while telling the workers there is none for you – I don’t think so. Metra workers deserve a fair contract, and the IAM and TCU stand with you. Now let’s go get that contract.”

“When Congress gave Metra funds, we expected them to use them to support their workers,” said Rep. Garcia. “Sadly, that did not happen. This morning, I came out to stand up in solidarity with Metra union members, and to urge the Board of Directors to do the right thing and negotiate a new fair contract.”

MACHINISTS UNION SUPPORTS NDAA ‘BUY AMERICAN’ DEFENSE AMENDMENT: The IAM sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate in full support of including a critical amendment to the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment would strengthen Buy American domestic content requirements for major defense acquisition programs.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sponsored the amendment, entitled “Enhanced Domestic Content Requirement for Major Defense Acquisition Programs.” Under the current Buy American requirement, an end item need only be made up of 55 percent domestic content for the whole item to be considered “Made in America.” Sen. Duckworth’s language included in the House-passed FY22 NDAA with bipartisan support would gradually increase this percentage to 75 by January 1, 2029. This phased-in approach will give the domestic defense industry the time and clear signal needed to create jobs by adjusting to the increased domestic content requirement.

The amendment, championed in the U.S. House by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), was included in the bipartisan House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“Buy American policies serve the public good by targeting our tax dollars for the purchase of American made products, thereby employing U.S. workers and putting our federal tax receipts to work here at home,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr.  “For far too long, we have neglected to properly consider the impact of defense procurement policy on our domestic industrial base and, consequently, on the U.S. economy. We as a nation need to act strategically when it comes to defense procurement. Not only do we need to supply our men and women in uniform with the best possible products and equipment, but we must also support the U.S. defense industrial base, including the small and midsized firms across America that constitute the supply chain for critical defense programs.”

The IAM has been pushing the increase for years in order to strengthen the defense industrial base and domestic supply chain while helping prevent vulnerabilities created by military products being made in China and other countries.

READ‘Buy American’ is good for the US and strengthens our partnerships with allies DefenseNews  

MACHINISTS UNION SUPPORTS INCREASING MADE IN AMERICA ACCOUNTABILITY: International President Robert Martinez Jr. released the following statement strongly supporting increased accountability around the Buy American Act:

“The IAM supports the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to strengthen our American manufacturing and services industries. The new waiver transparency process will benefit American families and boost our supply chain. I applaud the administration for talking the talk and walking the walk. Our nation has done an injustice to our manufacturers who have wanted to make items in America for too long.

“Today’s action will move us one step closer to securing our supply chain and our children’s future. This change brings historic levels of transparency and accountability to the longstanding waiver process. It will help advance the Biden-Harris administration’s vision and strategy for ensuring a future made in all of America by all of America’s workers.”

MACHINISTS UNION TAPPING FEDERAL LAWMAKERS TO PUSH JETBLUE TO REPAY WORKER: The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) sent a letter earlier this month to Robin Hayes, CEO JetBlue Airways Inc., alerting him that the union will reach out to federal lawmakers in an attempt to help workers who wrongfully lost wages and benefits even as the carrier took taxpayer-funded relief as part of the CARES Act.

“We will reach out to key federal lawmakers, inform them that JetBlue management took almost $2 billion in federal taxpayer funds and then cut the hours, pay, and benefits of hundreds, if not thousands, of JetBlue workers in potential violation of federal law. At present, you may ignore the IAM, but ignoring the questions of federal lawmakers would likely not be a good strategy,” wrote Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President.

Johnsen’s correspondence was a follow-up attempt by the IAM.

On Oct. 13, James Carlson, the IAM’s Assistant Airline Coordinator, wrote Hayes, urging him to rectify the matter.

“JetBlue Crewmembers deserve better,” Carlson wrote. “They deserve to be repaid the money you wrongly took from them last year. They deserve to have their 401k accounts increased by the exact amount that was lost due to their working hours/pay being wrongly cut.”

The IAM lobbied aggressively to make sure the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP) was included in the CARES Act.

JetBlue applied for and received taxpayer funds under the Payroll Support Program, which required airlines to maintain workers’ jobs, pay and benefits as a condition of taking the funds. In May 2020, a group of 13 U.S. Senators, led by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), wrote to Hayes, urging the company to reverse its decision to cut hours of workers after receiving the financial assistance of the CARES Act.

“Your decision to cut employee hours is inconsistent with congressional intent and is a blatant and potentially illegal effort to skirt your requirements to keep workers on the payroll, and you should reverse this policy immediately,” the senators wrote.

The IAM is actively trying to organize JetBlue’s Ground Operations (GO) Crewmembers.

Johnsen’s letter to Hayes pointed out some falsehoods in the company’s messages to its workers, many of which are an attempt to thwart union representation.

“The truth is that JetBlue management will do everything in its power to coerce GO Crewmembers against forming a union. JetBlue management knows that by unionizing, GO Crewmembers will be able to gain the power needed to secure a legally binding contract that they deserve, which recognizes their value to JetBlue Airways,” Johnsen wrote.  “JetBlue management also knows it will lose the power to dictate every aspect of GO Crewmembers working lives if these brave, dedicated workers join a union.”

AIRLINE AND RAIL MEMBERS FIGHT THROUGH A PANDEMIC AND UNDERSTAFFING TO KEEP AMERICA MOVING: The IAM Transportation Department includes more than 160,000 active and retired members in the airline and rail industries, making it the largest airline union in North America. Its members have always been on the front lines, moving travelers and goods across the world, but the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought upon added stress, responsibilities and, in some cases, confrontations with unruly passengers.

“Our transportation membership in the airline and railroad industries have been nothing short of heroes during these difficult times,” said Richard Johnsen, Chief of Staff to the International President and a former United Airlines mechanic. “The Transportation Department is engaged at the local, district and international level to negotiate strong contracts, keep our members safe on the job and continue to fight for and win much-needed relief for our members.”

READ: Airline and Rail Members Fight Though a Pandemic and Understaffing to Keep America Moving

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