• ‘Fighting on All Levels’ for Camp Pendleton Police Officers

    NFFE-IAM Local 919 police officers at southern California’s Camp Pendleton are continuing to apply pressure to avoid paying thousands of dollars in overpayments because a federal government accounting error.

    The Department of Defense notified members in April 2017 that an eight-year payroll glitch had caused overpayments for more than 120 active and retired police officers. The DOD’s accounting department allegedly used an incorrect locality-based pay rate from 2008 to 2016. This overpayment caused individual debts ranging from $12,000 to $80,000.

    DFAS has suspended the collection of debts, but the debt has not been permanently waived.

    NFFE-IAM National President Randy Erwin recently sent a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis asking for a permanent waiver of debt for the officers. Erwin stressed that this debt is causing widespread hardship for members that are already under stress from recruitment and retention problems within the department.

    “This is like waking up to an $80,000 bill on a credit card you never used,” said Erwin. “This is not their fault, they did nothing to deserve this, and it’s not their job to fix this. Even so, these officers are still waiting to receive pay waivers for the government’s mistake. Until they do, we will keep fighting on all levels.”  

    READ: Civilian police officers at Camp Pendleton given extra time to file waiver requests after being told to return money they were overpaid Orange County Register 

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  • Ohio Members at Gradall Ratify Contract, Ending Strike

    Nearly 200 members of Local 1285 overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new three-year agreement with Gradall Industries, bringing an end to the month-long strike. The New Philadelphia, OH workers went on strike after rejecting a so-called “last, best and final offer” from the excavator manufacturing company.

    The new contract keeps the current healthcare package for the life of the agreement, which was a major point of contention between the parties. Highlights of the agreement include yearly wage increases and an increase in contributions to the IAM National Pension Plan.

    Key factors in the dispute were healthcare, including benefit coverage, and employee contribution rates. The company has proposed the ability to arbitrarily change the level of benefits within a plan yearly, at the time of renewal beginning this August of the agreement.

    “Our membership held the line on their healthcare,” said IAM District 54 President and Directing Business Representative T. Dean Wright Jr. “Their solidarity, resolve – the support from this community, family, and friends – was nothing short of amazing, and helped to secure this important victory.”

    “Congratulations to these members,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “Holding the line on healthcare took tremendous courage and solidarity from the members and their families. My thanks go out to PDBR Wright, BR Don Riffee and the negotiating committee for a job well done. This effort took solid leadership. The proof is in the outcome.”

    Members began reporting for shifts beginning Sunday, April 8.

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  • GVP Pantoja Visits Philadelphia Local, Talks American Negotiations

    On Tuesday, Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja visited members in Philadelphia and attended a meeting at Local Lodge 1776. GVP Pantoja, along with members of the IAM negotiating team on American Airlines, met with local leaders and committee members to provide an update on the status of negotiations. An industry report was also given to the membership, focusing on the American negotiations.

    Members expressed their support and solidarity in achieving an industry best contract on American.

    Similar meetings are occurring with IAM and TWU leadership across the country. Positive reports have come from those meetings in what is becoming a tsunami of solidarity behind these negotiations.

    GVP Pantoja and his staff will visit more locations in the days ahead.

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  • 50 Years Later, Machinists March in Footsteps of Dr. King

    Marching among thousands in Memphis to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death was Teddy McNeal, an African-American man and 37-year Machinists Union member who grew up on the unpaved end of a segregated street in the rural South.

    “Marching in the footsteps of Dr. King gives me a tremendous sense of pride,” said McNeal, 65, who is now president of the North Carolina State Council of Machinists. “I really truly believe that it was one of the highlights of my life.”

    McNeal, along with hundreds of IAM members and thousands more in the labor movement, assembled here to recall King’s legacy and revive his struggle for economic and social justice.

    In the days before his April 4, 1968 death, King marched with striking AFSCME sanitation workers to demand dignity after two workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed and killed by a malfunctioning truck. The striking workers carried signs declaring, “I AM A MAN.”

    Speakers at the I AM 2018 rally outside AFSCME Local 1733 remembered the civil rights icon and called for solidarity in the face of today’s attacks on working people.

    “It is up to all of us to continue the sacred march toward justice, equality and dignity for all,” IAM International President Bob Martinez told the crowd. “We cannot, we must not, and we will not tolerate anything less!”

    WATCH: Martinez honors Dr. King in Memphis

    After the rally, IAM members, wearing shirts reading “Ask Me About My Machinists Union Dream,” marched a mile-and-a-half to the Mason Temple, where King famously delivered his “Mountaintop” speech the night before his death.

    PHOTOS: Machinists at IAM 2018

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  • Aviation High School Students Visit IAM

    The top students from New York’s Aviation High School’s class of 2018 visited the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Center (WWW) this past week to participate in a program about unions and the aviation industry.

    The students began their week at the WWW Education and Technology Center, where they engaged in a broad program full of classes and guest speakers. Their week concluded with a tour of IAM Headquarters where the students participated in a lengthy discussion with IAM Transportation GVP and Aviation High School alumnus Sito Pantoja.

    “Aviation High School annually graduates students that will be the future leaders of the aviation industry,” said GVP Sito Pantoja. “The IAM is happy to partner with the school, supplying students with the necessary tools to aid in their success.”

    The IAM has forged a close alliance with the Queens, NY school, where for the 16th consecutive year, students attended a program at the IAM’s training center to learn about unions and the aviation industry.

    Aviation High School is an integral part of the American aviation industry, where graduates forge successful careers throughout the industry.

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  • Government Accounting Glitch Threatening Livelihood of Camp Pendleton Police Officers

    An accounting error by the federal government is threatening to take tens of thousands of dollars out of the paychecks of NFFE-IAM Police Officers at Camp Pendleton.

    Police officers at the southern California military base, members of NFFE-IAM Local 919, were notified in April 2017 that the an eight-year payroll glitch had resulted in the overpayment of more than 120 active and retired officers. The Department of Defense’s Finance and Accounting Services office allegedly used an incorrect locality-based pay rate from 2008 to 2016.

    Individual debts range from $12,000 to $80,000. The average overpayment was $3,500 annually, according to NFFE-IAM Local 919 President Robert Richey.

    READ: This police officer was told to pay $40,000 to Department of Defense because of an 8-year payroll glitch The Orange County Register

    Members have been given three options to resolve this matter: Pay the money back now, request a payment plan or submit a waiver request for the entire amount.

    The IAM and NFFE are working with the Department of Defense and elected officials to resolve the matter.

    READ: Civilian base officer with sick child must return thousands to government after clerical error NBC 7 San Diego

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  • Nowhere Else to Go

    In one day, Lakisha ‘Kisha’ Trimble will put 160 miles on her car to get from her home in Arkansas to her job as a supply technician at Red River Army Depot in Texas.  She’s been making this drive for the last three years. Why?  Because by far, this is the best paying job in this part of the country. In her own words, Kisha was ecstatic to get this job.

    “I was able to provide more for my family, more than what I was doing.  Before, it was kind of like paycheck to paycheck.  Now, not so much,” said Trimble.

    Kisha has three kids with a grandchild on the way from her oldest.  She jokes that the two little ones, Orlandis who is 6 years old and Terry who is 3, are the recipients of most of her Union Wages.  She’s provided a warm and happy home for her brood.

    And although she is safe during this round of lay-offs at Red River, that could quickly change if this happens again in the future.  With only three years seniority, she doubts she would make the next cut.  It was bittersweet for Kisha to hear, just days ago, that she still had a job.

    “It was kind of a relief, I can’t lie,” said Trimble, “a relief because I can continue to support my family.”

    “It’s going to hurt the economy around here, really bad if we lose 600 jobs,” said IAM Local Lodge 1243 President Mark Harvey. “There are no back up jobs around here.  Red River and maybe a couple of other places and that’s the biggest part of the economy around here, as far as money.”

    Harvey has been at the base for nearly 12 years so he’s seen the ups and down in the area.  Right now, the government is laying off nearly 600 Union Members, both NFEE and IAM members, within the next month or so. Like Kisha, he’s thanking a higher power that he isn’t on the list.  But as the local union president, his heart breaks each and every day when the members knock on the door of the local.

    “With me being in the position I am, I have to listen to all the individual stories and yes, I take it heart,” said Harvey.  “I don’t want to see nobody lose their jobs.”

    That’s why he and Kisha are taking part in everything the Machinists Union is doing to prevent this from happening.  Lobbying Congress, getting the message onto social media and into the local newspapers, visiting state lawmakers – whatever it takes to save these jobs and the ones that could be at stake in the future.

    “We aren’t talking about 600 jobs here.  We are talking about 600 families and multiple communities that will be ravaged if the U.S. Government goes through with these lay-offs at Red River Army Depot.  That’s not acceptable when many of these hard-working men and women have given decades to a job that makes sure our U.S. Military has the tools it needs to succeed,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark A. Blondin. “Why now isn’t the Government making sure these workers have what they need to succeed in life?”

    Harvey agrees. “We need these jobs.  We need this place to stay alive. We want our economy around here to grow.  This right here, kills it.  We need growth – we don’t need anything to die.”

    Kisha is doing her part by handing out information at the Depot and making calls to her state lawmakers daily.  Because she’s honest when she says, she has no back up plan if this happens again.

    “I don’t have one,” said Kisha. “I might need to start looking into that but at this point, I don’t have one. I’m kind of hoping it don’t happen.”

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  • IAM Union Yes at UTC Everett, WA

    On March 23, 2018 workers at UTC Aerospace Systems in Everett, WA, who build landing gear for the 737, 747 and 767 tanker, voted overwhelmingly for union representation by IAM District 751.

    Below are a few excerpts from the latest edition of the District 751 Aero Mechanic.

    Workers at the UTC Everett plant approached IAM 751 about representation after news that UTC is buying out Rockwell Collins in a deal worth more than $30 billion. After several multi-billion dollar acquisitions, workers felt they needed protection and security for their families.

    “We are excited to welcome these workers into our IAM union family. They play a critical supplier role for the 737 and other Boeing airplane lines, and we are proud to be their advocate,” said IAM District 751 President Jon Holden. “It’s our job now to negotiate a contract that recognizes the contributions these members make toward UTC’s success and reward them for their hard work and skills.”

    Adrian Perez has worked for the company 14 years and worked in the landing gear shop for 5 years.

    “There have been a lot of changes, and a lot of them for the worse,” said Perez. “With all the billions spent on buyouts, no one is looking out for us. We knew we had to unionize now.”

    Joshua Whitcomb, who has worked at UTC building landing gear for 12 years, echoed those sentiments. He takes tremendous pride in his work, has continually given 110 percent and is proud whenever a Boeing plane takes flight knowing he played a role in making the plane safe.

    “The workers who generate the profits should share in the prosperity we create,” said Whitcomb. “This is very skilled labor and not just anyone can perform our work. With the IAM, I believe we will prosper too

    “Throughout this battle, the company referred to the union as a third party. That was their mistake,” said Perez. “The union is us. It is an investment in ourselves for a better future,”

    “We will use all our resources to secure a contract they are proud of and ensure their collective voices are heard,” said Holden. “Joining the Machinists Union gives these workers the dignity and fairness they deserve at work and allows them to plan for their future.”

    The NLRB must still certify the results, but IAM 751 is moving forward to survey members to identify issues in their workplace.

    Read the District 751 Aero Mechanic article.

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  • Franklin, PA Local 1842 Completes Negotiations Prep Program

    Left to right: Douglas E Hoffman, Timothy P Buck ADBR/Org, and Richard Lemoine Cook

    The Negotiating Committee for Local 1842, along with staff member from District 98, participated in the Negotiation Preparation for Bargaining Committees program at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, MD. The Local represents employees at Joy Mining Komatsu Franklin PA, which builds equipment for underground mining.

    The current contract with Local 1842 & Joy expires June 1, 2018. Recognizing that this promises to be a difficult round of negotiations, the Committee strategized to change bargaining history, map a new direction for relations with the company, put better language in the contract, and to build solidarity in the bargaining unit.

    “The week at the Winpisinger Center – very intense long days with instructors full of knowledge gave us the opportunity to assemble and develop a detailed plan to secure the best contract possible,” said Assistant Directing Business Representative Tim Buck. “The Committee worked hard, and they leave the Center better prepared to advance the needs of the Local Lodge Union members. There is a tough challenge ahead, but with the assistance from the instructors, IAM Legal and Strategic Resources, we are prepared. We are confident in securing the memberships best interest at the table. This class is a Jewel.

    Every committee should take advantage; we thank everyone for doing what they do.”

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  • IAM District 9 an Unexpected Showstopper at St. Louis ‘Working Women’s Survival Show’

    Members of the IAM District 9 Community Service and Human Rights Committee were the talk of the town at a recent outreach event, the “Working Women’s Survival Show,” outside St. Louis. Crowds flanked to the table – including an unexpected flash mob of Rosie the Riveters, which drew even more attention to the Machinists booth.

    Members of the IAM District 9 Community Service and Human Rights Committee were the talk of the town at a recent outreach event for women in St. Louis. They were among more than 400 exhibitors featured at the “Working Women’s Survival Show” at the St. Charles Convention Center – and their booth could only best be described as a huge hit.

    Though initially told by event coordinators that they could not participate because they were a “political organization,” Community Service and Human Rights Committee Chairman Scott Hargis worked with Local 660 members Michelle Windmiller, Community Service Recording-Secretary Jennifer Kahl, and Shannon Anderson; Local 777 members Amy Wokovich and Bethany Alexander; and Peggy Flinn and Dacia Strattered of District/Local 837 to ensure a place for a Machinists Union booth at the expo’s female-tailored event.

    Surrounded by food, fashion and fitness vendors from all over the country, District 9 members set up their booth with “IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community” messages, raffle items, bumper stickers, and buttons that read “A woman’s place is in her union” to educate and engage attendants about the value of the IAM, unionization, organizing,

    community, and the power of union women.

    “They hoped, at best, for general exposure, a chance to mingle with the general population, to teach people a little about union career choices,” wrote the St. Louis Labor Tribune. “What they got was: visitors who called themselves sisters and brothers [and] folks who wanted to help with the union’s community service projects.”

    Crowds flanked to the table – including an unexpected flash mob of Rosie the Riveters, a club of women known as the Decade Dames who meet monthly and dress in themes, which drew even more attention to the Machinists booth.

    “Others came to the booth to thank a union, to remember how union benefits kept their families strong and how their father couldn’t have survived without his union pension,” wrote the Labor Tribune.

    “We had a ball,” said Hargis, noting the event was a last minute decision by the District and that they arrived with only one Rosie to jazz up their booth, but ended up with seven, and a super crowd of people wanting to watch and learn more about the Machinists Union. “This was an ideal place for us to talk about what unions do, the volunteer work we do for the community and what it takes to become a union member. We had a message to deliver, but what I found was that people came into the booth and told us their stories. We went from being a voice to an ear. They wanted to talk to their brothers and sisters of labor. It was an unbelievable experience. It showed that we are all a family and we fight for each other. It was a great day for unions and labor. Just wonderful. I can’t describe it.”

    Hargis said organizers estimated nearly 40,000 people were in attendance over the two-and-a-half day event. Visitors to the Machinists booth were also invited to take a selfie in costume and post it on District 9’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

    District 9 Directing Business Representative Mark Conner said he was overwhelmed with the success of the booth at a show not typically considered union-friendly.

    “We are definitely going to do more things out in the general population, rather than always preaching to the choir,” said Conner. “Our Community Service Committee members have been doing an outstanding job of energizing the various diverse groups within and outside our union.

    “Unselfish members and individuals such as these are the ones who will set the ground work for the next generation. I couldn’t be more proud — and they put this booth together at the last minute!”

    “Congratulations to IAM District 9 Community Service and Human Rights Committee members on what turned out to be show stopping event,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “Though originally told they couldn’t participate, IAM District 9 members wouldn’t take no for an answer. They recognized an opportunity to engage working women in the St. Louis area and educate them on unions and what the labor movement has accomplished for female workers everywhere – and they seized it. Great job.”

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