• A Sit-In that Made Us All Stand

    The world changed on February 1, 1960 when four young black men from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro took a seat at a Woolworth’s lunch counter. In an act of non-violence that sparked the civil rights movement, when the “Greensboro Four” sat in the whites only section at this general store, the world watched and their story became legend.

    The International Civil Rights Center and Museum has made a pledge to uphold the legacy of the “Greensboro Four” and the IAM couldn’t be more proud than to stand with them, shoulder to shoulder, to make sure this story never stops being retold.  At the behest of the IAM Executive Council, the Machinists joined the museum this year in a Gala that celebrated the 58th Anniversary of the Sit-In Movement.

    “For me, understanding the courage it took for those four men at Woolworth’s is the reason I, with my Machinist family, honor their story and their struggle,” said Theodore “Teddy” McNeal, an active retiree of Local Lodge 2297 and President of the North Carolina State Council of Machinists.  “It’s important because I don’t know that enough people know about the hardships of the Civil Rights Movement.  As time passes, younger people don’t remember things like segregated bathrooms, schools and restaurants.  But I do and we need to make sure they understand what it all meant,”

    McNeal remembers because he lived that life.

    “In Kinston, NC, we were the first class to be integrated.  That happened my senior year.  And I remember the feeling of insecurity felt by everyone in the community at that time.  There were actually teachers who quit because they didn’t want to teach minorities.  And you had young adults witnessing that action, not quite sure how to understand what was happening,” McNeal remembers.  “It was a hard time for everyone.”

    “The Machinists Union will never stop talking about the past because it’s on the shoulders of others than we are able to walk proudly into the future,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin.  “True activists like Teddy, who lived through the turmoil, draw from these experiences to make a better world for all.  It only makes sense that the IAM honors the legacy of those four, young men who took a stand by sitting down.”

    McNeal has lived his union life because of such sentiment and understanding.

    “This is why I am Union – to clearly understand someone who does things solely because it’s the right thing to do.  I look at everyone as a creation of God, Brothers and Sisters, and I will always treat everyone like they are family.  The ‘Greensboro Four’ helped me learn that,” said McNeal.  “Knowledge is power and we have to look at the past and figure out the why.  That’s our job.”

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  • Super Bowl Bet Brings Machinist Maine Lobster to Philly

    The Machinists Union’s own Lobster 207, the only union-based cooperative in the lobster industry, made good on a Super Bowl bet with Philadelphia’s Pat’s King of Steaks.

    After the Eagles defeated the New England Patriots on Sunday, Lobster 207 made the eight-hour drive from Maine to Philadelphia to deliver 20 lbs. of live lobster to the legendary South Philly eatery.

    The good folks at Pat’s were kind enough to send Lobster 207 home with cheesesteaks.

    “We’ll be thinking about Tom Brady every time we’re taking a bite of that lobster,” said Frank Olivieri, who runs Pat’s King of Steaks.

    Order your own fresh Maine Machinists Union lobster at Lobster207.com.

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  • Machinists Making Stand for Good Jobs at Electrolux, Harley-Davidson

    The Machinists Union continues to sound the alarm about corporate management decisions to close IAM plants in Minnesota and Missouri. The announcements, both on Jan. 30, affect approximately 1,500 IAM families.

    Electrolux, a Sweden-based freezer and refrigerator manufacturer, announced plans to close its St. Cloud, Minn., plant by the end of 2019, laying off more than 900 IAM Local 623 members.

    Harley-Davidson says it is leaving Kansas City, Mo., by early 2019. Approximately 575 IAM Local 176 members at Harley and parts manufacturer Synchreon will be left looking for work.

    IAM officers and staff at the local, district, territory and international levels are working with affected members, the companies and political and labor allies to determine a path forward for members at both plants.

    “The IAM is taking a stand against these companies who are turning their backs on working people,” said International President Bob Martinez. “Our work is not complete until corporations operating here adopt a whole new culture that places loyalty to their hard-working and dedicated employees, instead of to corporate greed.”

    In Minnesota, three members of the state’s congressional delegation, led by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, are questioning how Electrolux chose to abandon its St. Cloud workforce and urging CEO Jonas Samuelson to “reconsider your decision as soon as possible.”

    READ: Klobuchar, Smith, Emmer ask Electrolux to reconsider closure [St. Cloud Times]

    The IAM is also applying pressure to Electrolux management, raising the question of whether the closure violates its international framework agreement with global unions.

     “We are outraged,” a letter from Martinez to Samuelson reads. “We are asking that you show the same loyalty that your workers have given Electrolux and reconsider your decision to shut down this site.”

    The IAM is also looking into why Harley-Davidson is leaving Missouri, where taxpayers have forked over more than $44 million in subsidies to the company since 2000.

    The union has been vocal about Harley’s continued offshoring of work. The U.S.-based company now operates manufacturing facilities in Brazil and India. Harley expects to open a plant in in Thailand later this year.

    “Kansas City is suffering the consequences of Harley-Davidson’s continued neglect of its North American workforce and ridership,” Martinez told The Wall Street Journal. “Hundreds of working families are now wondering what their future holds because of this self-proclaimed American icon’s insistence on shipping our jobs to Asia and South America.”

    READ: Machinists Union, Minnesota Congressional Delegation Ask Electrolux to Reconsider St. Cloud Plant Closure

    READ: Machinists Outraged at Harley-Davidson Kansas City Plant Closure

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  • McGaughy Joins Machinists Legal Department

    IAM International President Bob Martinez announced effective January 16, 2018, Jason McGaughy has joined the Machinists Union Legal Department as Associate General Counsel.

    A native of Chicago, McGaughy earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a law degree from the University of Illinois.

    Prior to joining the IAM, McGaughy served as a staff attorney for the United Mine Workers. He also worked in private practice, where he exclusively represented labor unions, including before the National Labor Relations Board as well as in state and federal court. He is a contributing editor to “The Developing Labor Law” (2013 and 2014 supplements) and a member of the District of Columbia and Illinois bar associations.

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  • Picture Your Photo on the Next IAM Calendar

    Don’t miss the chance to show your talent and feature your lodge members in the next IAM Calendar. Enter the 2018 IAM Photography Contest. The entry deadline is June 1, 2018.

    Click here for rules and details in English and French.

    Winning entries receive cash prizes and will appear in the 2019 IAM Calendar. Two dollars from each calendar sale is donated to Guide Dogs of America.

    Photographs must be by IAM members in good standing. Persons depicted must also be members in good standing at work or in community service, and conform to all safety standards.

    Get the details and download the entry form here.

    Visit the IAM Communications Department Contest site for additional information.

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  • A Disappointing ‘Last, Best and Final Offer’ at Continental Automotive

    For the more than 400 men and women working at Continental Automotive in Newport News, VA, shock was the only word to describe the emotion they felt as they saw the company’s last, best and final offer.

    It was a shutout,” said Local 10 Directing Business Representative Russell Wade. “Unanimously rejected by the membership.”

    The Machinists members at Continental Automotive are proud of the work they do, manufacturing fuel injectors, fuel rails and pumps for both General Motors and Chrysler. Most have been on the job for close to twenty years, showing loyalty to the company when it was needed. But this last contract offer has shaken that loyalty in a lot of workers who are trying to understand why the company is offering so little.

    “Outrage is the word I hear the most, and disappointment.  We have worked with the company and taken concessions over the last few contracts when the company was struggling. That’s no longer the case – Continental Automotive is doing very well now.  But you never would have known that by the proposal they offered those workers who sacrificed over the years,” said Wade. “It was upsetting to see.  Not many questions were asked by the membership – they got it right away.”

    To be clear, the contract did have some gains for workers. Items like short-term disability improvements, shift differential changes and slight wage increases for some classifications, but it wasn’t enough.

    Wade explained with a disappointing shake of his head, “We couldn’t say – this is a good deal, take it.  The members knew right away it was not.”

    IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark A. Blondin points out this is not the way business should be conducted.

    “Our members did their part when the company was struggling,” said Blondin. “Now that the company is highly profitable, they need to do their part and take care of the workers and their families.  I applaud our members for taking a stand against a contract that bodes well for no one.”

    The ball is now in the hands of Continental Automotive, as more than 400 workers eagerly wait for the negotiating committee to get back to the table. They are cautiously optimistic that the company will do the right thing and bring forth a contract in which all sides can be proud to sign.

    #iamsouth #ThisIsWhyIAMUnion

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  • Retired Connecticut Machinist is Guest at State of the Union

    Longtime IAM member and activist John Harrity attended the State of the Union Address last week as a guest of U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT).


    The retired Harrity spent 32 years as a member of Local 1746, and had been President of the Connecticut State Council of Machinists since 2012, representing 10,000 active and retired IAM members on legislative and political issues.

    “I’m extremely proud that Brother Harrity was honored by Representative Esty,” said Eastern Territory GVP Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “John Harrity has served the Connecticut Delegation tirelessly, and without fail for more than 3 decades. His dedication and service benefitted more than just IAM members, as well. Through political, and legislative activism, his leadership at GrowJobsCT, his work helped working families across the state of Connecticut, and beyond. This recognition was well deserved.”

    The Congresswoman first met Harrity when jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney closed its plant in her hometown of Cheshire, laying off 1,000 employees. Esty said her choice of guest highlights the need for job creation and infrastructure investment, which she said are priorities for her constituents.

    “I was so honored to be the guest of Congresswoman Esty at the State of the Union and to represent the Fighting Machinists of Connecticut,” said Harrity. “Our state is no different than the rest of the country when it comes to the need of protecting workers and jobs. It’s what I fought for as an active IAM member and what I’ll continue to do as a retiree.”

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  • Machinists Union, Minnesota Congressional Delegation Ask Electrolux to Reconsider St. Cloud Plant Closure

    Members of Congress from Minnesota are digging deeper into a decision by Electrolux management to close a freezer and refrigerator plant that employs approximately 900 people in the St. Cloud, Minn., area. The Machinists Union represents workers at the plant, which is scheduled to close by the end of 2019.

    U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, along with U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, are asking Electrolux CEO Jonas Samuelson to “reconsider your decision as soon as possible.”

    Read the full letter from the Minnesota congressional delegation.

    “We believe the plant and its workers are among the best in this country and should be viewed as a valuable asset,” the letter reads. The trio also asks Swedish-owned Electrolux to explain its decision to shutter the facility.

    Machinists Union International President Robert Martinez Jr., is also looking for answers from Electrolux CEO Jonas Samuelson. The union is currently reaching out to trade unions in Sweden for assistance.

    “These loyal, hard-working individuals and their families deserve dignity and respect from Electrolux,” said Martinez. “The very first sentence of the Electrolux International Framework Agreement states that the company ‘is dedicated to being a responsible employer and a good corporate citizen…’ We fail to see how shutting down the St. Cloud plant and throwing close to 1,000 men and women out of work advances this statement. Treating workers in this fashion is simply unacceptable from any company seeking to act as a responsible employer.”

    Read the full letter from IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr.

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  • Massachusetts Local 264 Bus Mechanics Win Historic Privatization Fight

    A long, difficult fight for the Machinists of IAM Local 264 ended in a victory for the working families of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the communities they serve.

    On Sunday, Local 264 voted overwhelmingly to accept a new four-year deal that not only protects current work to provide maintenance, but also maintains a minimum fleet size. The new accord features wage increases in three of the four years, while increasing the length of paid bereavement leave for members. Negotiators also maintained the current defined-benefit pension plan and retiree health care benefits.

    For the better part of two years, the Machinists, along with labor and political allies, have been beating back an attack to privatize MBTA bus maintenance to for-profit, out-of-state companies.

    “This was a tremendous team effort, and I don’t use the term ‘team’ lightly,” said District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mike Vartabedian. “This started with Local 264 members and their families standing together from the beginning. The support from Local 264, Directing Business Representative Dominic Taibbi, and District 15, the Headquarters Communications Staff, International President Martinez, General Vice President Conigliaro and the Eastern Territory Staff assigned to assist this effort made the difference. Through all of the long days and nights, Grand Lodge Representative Craig Hughes, Local 264 President Jim Mastandrea and I are proud to have worked side by side with this team to not only achieve our goal, but to produce a win that our members can be proud of and that protects the future for them and their families.”

    “Our members showed the entire labor movement what’s possible when we stand together,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “We used every resource possible to protect these jobs, and I’m so happy that the hard work has paid off for these families. This is nothing short of a huge victory.”

    Despite state politicians’ repeated failures to reinvest in maintenance garage infrastructure, nearly 450 mechanics, fuelers and other skilled professionals in IAM Local 264 ranked as the No. 1 bus maintenance workforce in the U.S. for miles between breakdowns. As Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker pushed for privatization, the Machinists offered $29 million in savings to the state.

    It was this ideology that not only protracted the process, but inspired Local 264 to negotiate “triggers” in the new deal to protect the work—and workers against unnecessary future outsourcing.

    “Our Sisters and Brothers at Local 264 exemplify what it means to be a ‘Fighting Machinist,’” said International President Bob Martinez. “I’m so proud of our members and the leadership in the Eastern Territory for standing strong and winning a massive victory for working families and public transit riders in Massachusetts.”

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  • Participate in IAM CREST Workplace Violence Survey in French or English

    Workplace violence is an assault or other violent act that entails a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm. In an effort to identify patterns of violence and preventative solutions for incorporation into a standard for prevention, we have developed a Workplace Violence Survey, which can be completed in either English or French.

    Individuals have until March 1, 2018 to participate in this important assessment.

    Workplace violence may result in physical injury and can lead to medical treatment, missed work, stress and/or decreased productivity. The IAM is committed to making workplaces safe and to do so, we need information.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15,980 workers in private industry experienced trauma from nonfatal workplace violence in 2014. Twenty-three percent required 31 or more days away from work to recover and 20 percent involved three to five days away from work. A frightening statistic is that 409 workers in private industry and government were workplace homicide victims in 2014.

    Data from this survey is crucial to help the IAM Health and Safety Department have a better understanding of how these trends affect our members, while working toward solutions to improve workplace safety.

    The goal of the IAM Health and Safety Department is to identify and understand the scope of the problems that IAMAW members face when it comes to workplace violence.

    Data collected will help us align our resources with the AFL-CIO to:

    • Increase training and education
    • Advocate policy changes to protect members
    • Advocate changes in laws to increase workplace safety
    • Advocate for increased security to protect members
    • Strengthen communications on workplace violence problems related to IAM workplaces
    • Labor/Management committees collaborating on workplace violence prevention efforts
    • Reduce injuries from workplace violence
    • Reduce lost time resulting from workplace violence

    Click here to take the Workplace Violence Survey in English.

    Click here to take the survey in French.

    Any questions or concerns about the survey can be directed to IAM CREST Project Coordinator/Instructor Michael Oathout at 301-967-4707 or moathout@iamaw.org.

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