• 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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  • It’s Your Turn Lawmakers

    “With the help of the IAM’s Legislative Department, the Machinists Union is literally doing everything in its power to save the jobs of the hundreds of men and women about to be laid off at Red River Army Depot,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Mark A. Blondin. “But we need Congress to step in and do their part. It should be their desire to make sure this work stays puts and, in essence, helps America’s communities thrive and succeed in places like Texarkana, Texas.”

    This sentiment formed the outline for the letter sent by the IAM to lawmakers in both Texas and Arkansas, in an effort to bring future work to the Red River Army Depot. Right now, nearly 600 union jobs, both IAM and NFFE, have been eliminated as working men and women receive their layoff letters daily.  The consequences of this action will be felt for years in the region, at both kitchen tables and the communities of those affected.

    “It’s heartbreaking to watch this happen here at a facility that takes care of our U.S. military servicemen and women while our elected lawmakers turn a blind eye to the situation. I can tell you, our members are not taking this situation lightly,” said Kelvin Godwin, Directing Business Representative of IAM District W2.

    Every day, Machinist and NFFE union members are using their personal time and vacation to take action in their states.  Some are visiting their lawmakers at local offices, while others have taken to the phones.  Their message to these political leaders is sincerely clear – “we did our jobs at Red River, now it’s time to do yours.”

    To view the letter sent by the IAM, click here.


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  • Striking Ohio Members at Gradall Get Victory in Court

    The nearly 200 IAM Local 1285 members at Gradall Industries in New Philadelphia, Ohio, who remain on the picket line 15 days after striking the excavator manufacturer, won a big court battle over their rights to a quality picket line.

    When members went on strike and set up pickets on March 12, Gradall filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that severely restricted the Local’s ability to set up and maintain useful picket lines at the manufacturing facility. The TRO sought to limit the number of picket locations to one and amount of picketers to three. This followed action taken by the Sheriff’s Department of closing two major streets in front of the plant for so-called “safety” concerns.

    “The members truly felt their rights were being violated,” said District 54 President and Directing Business Representative T. Dean Wright Jr. “So we decided we would exercise our First Amendment rights.”

    On March 14, dozens of members, families and supporters braved high winds and chilling temperatures to flood the public sidewalk adjacent to the major U.S. Route, which runs through the city and alongside the plant. Members were greeted by horns in support including a school busload of kids waving and cheering on their way home.

    “The support was tremendous, and was a real shot in the arm to the members,” said Wright.

    On March 22, IAM Local 1285 prevailed in court, ultimately having the TRO lifted, doubling the amount of picketers at the current site while placing no limits at all other locations, while allowing picket lines to be established at all gates. The judge presiding over the hearing also said she had driven by during the demonstration, and added that she believed the way to the way to build community support for your cause is through social media, unaware that members and supporters had already begun a successful campaign on Twitter and Facebook.  

    “Our members are not going to back down, and they won’t be easily silenced,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “Management believed that they could use their standing in the community to deny them their legal right to participate in a protected strike to draw attention to their cause – their fight for affordable healthcare for their families.”

    Although the picket line victory is a boost to the members of Local 1285, there is still a battle at the negotiating table.

    The company is attacking healthcare, proposing the ability to arbitrarily change employee healthcare benefits and contributions.

    In 2016, the company used similar language to yank coverage from spouses of employees covered by another employer-provided plan. The Negotiating Committee has returned to the table on five occasions without any progress on the issue. Gradall has requested, and Local 1285 has agreed to return to the table Friday, March 30.

     “We assured these members late last year leading up to these negotiations, that they wouldn’t face this company alone,” said Wright. “We told them then, and we reinforced that before this round of talks started, the District will support them, and their families. We have your backs.”

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  • Machinists Union Pledges $1 Million to Fight Right to Work in Missouri

    The IAM pledged $1 million to support “Vote No on Prop A” – a multi-million dollar effort to repeal Right to Work in the state of Missouri. The Machinists presented Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis, third from left, with a check for $250,000 back in February. IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber, left, presented Louis with another $250,000 Monday. The remaining half-million-dollars will be used to cover boots on the ground.

    The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) have announced a $1 million pledge to support “Vote No on Prop A” – a multi-million dollar effort, headed by the Missouri AFL-CIO, to repeal Proposition A, a Right to Work law in the state of Missouri.

    “From now until Election Day, whether it’s on the August ballot or the November ballot, our focus as a labor movement will be on educating the public in this state on what Proposition A really means,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber to more than 200 union members from various labor unions gathered in Missouri’s state capital for the 2018 Missouri State Council of Machinists/Joint Legislative Conference. “This fight in Missouri is going to cost somewhere in the area of about $20 million. Think about that… $20 million.”

    “Well, the Fighting Machinists never back away from a fight,” continued Gruber. “On behalf of IAM International President Bob Martinez, General Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes, the entire IAM Executive Council, IAM Midwest Territory, and the members of the IAMAW, I am proud to announce today that the Machinists Union is committed to providing $1 million to the ‘Vote No on Prop A’ effort.”

    The Machinists presented Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis with a check for $250,000 back in February. Gruber presented Louis with a check for another $250,000 Monday.

    The remaining half-million-dollars will be used to cover boots on the ground – dedicated IAM members and staff teaching and educating the public, said Gruber.

    “The truth is in what they’re not telling Missouri voters (and by ‘they’ I mean right-wing politicians and their corporate friends),” said Gruber. “They won’t tell them that the nine poorest states in the country all have one thing in common – Right to Work. They won’t tell them that wages are 3.1 percent lower in so-called ‘Right to Work’ states than in other states. They won’t tell them that the negative impact of Right to Work laws translates to about $1,600 less a year in earnings for a typical full-time worker. They won’t tell them that. It’s up to us to control the narrative. It’s up to us to educate working families in Missouri on the truth.”

    A vote “No” on Proposition A would repeal the state’s Right to Work law, suspended in 2017 after Missouri labor unions collected 310,567 signatures to halt the legislation and push it to a vote by Missouri residents. The measure is scheduled to be voted on November 6, 2018, unless state legislators vote to set an earlier election date.

    See photos from the 2018 Missouri State Council of Machinists/Joint Legislative Conference.

    See photos from the Missouri “Vote No on Prop A” rally.

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  • Minnesota IAM Local 623 Members Approve Effects Contract at Electrolux

    More than 750 members of IAM Local 623 in St. Cloud, MN have overwhelmingly approved an effects agreement with Electrolux, outlining new language, pay and severance benefits ahead of the company’s late 2019/early 2020 scheduled plant closing.

    More than 750 members of IAM Local 623 in St. Cloud, MN have overwhelmingly approved an effects agreement with Electrolux, outlining new language, pay and severance benefits ahead of the company’s late 2019/early 2020 scheduled plant closing.

    Electrolux, a Sweden-based freezer and refrigerator manufacturer, announced plans to close its St. Cloud, MN plant in January. The company will be moving production to its non-union facility in South Carolina.

    Thanks to the hard work of the elected IAM Local 623 Bargaining Committee, fighting on behalf of their co-workers, the new agreement includes changes in language for the betterment of the hourly workforce until the plant closing. All full-time employees will receive a severance package based on their years of service. Workers will receive a $0.45 wage increase beginning immediately, and another $0.40 increase one year after ratification. Employees will receive three months of continued medical benefits from their last date of employment, along with the ability to maintain higher wage rates if forced to lower wage positions. Also, the company and union will work together to secure government assistance in helping the employees obtain transition assistance, tuition assistance, training and other employment.

    “The membership is very fortunate to have had an excellent Negotiating Committee during the process of these negotiations,” said IAM Local 623 Directing Business Representative Colleen Murphy-Cooney. “The Committee stood strong throughout the process demanding the company put a package on the table the membership deserved. By the committee standing together and not backing down they overwhelmingly achieved an effects bargaining package that was very well received by our membership. I could not be more proud of this Negotiating Committee.

    “On behalf of all the members of IAM Local Lodge 623, we would like to thank our International President Robert Martinez and General Vice President Philip Gruber for the overwhelming support, and all the help that has been given to us throughout this process and going forward.And a special thank you to Special Representatives Tony Wickersham and Geny Ulloa for the knowledge and support we received during these negotiations.”

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