• Alabama Aviation Employees Vote IAM Yes

    In the world of Marketing, it’s about bringing people into a like-minded community. The Army wants you to “Be all that you can be” with them. L’Oreal tells us “Because we are worth it” you should buy their products. And State Farm wants to let you know “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” no matter the issue. These slogans work because people, for the most part, want to belong. But the IAMAW doesn’t have a flashy catchphrase. It’s our legacy of contracts and expertise that draws people in.

    Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin explains. “Our motto has always been very simple–as the IAM flag says, ‘Justice on the Job, Service to the Community.’ The reputation of the Machinists Union comes from its nearly 130 years of providing great contracts for hard working North Americans.”

    So it was no wonder that nearly 114 men and women working for Y-Tech Services, Inc. at Redstone Arsenal found their way to the Machinists. It’s because the IAM is their community.

    “They do what I do for a living. I come out of this type of Aviation group so I speak their language which makes this relationship perfect for them because we are all out of the same type of industry,” said Mike Cooke, IAM District 75 Organizer.

    Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Tony Wirth, a veteran of this industry himself, couldn’t agree more. “They are doing what we do. It’s not a lot different than other contracts but that’s why they are here, “said Wirth. “We are Aerospace. It’s in our wheelhouse–it’s what we do.”

    The specialty of this newest group is helicopters. They are the Aviation Employees working on test helicopters for the U.S. Army, providing maintenance and testing for all the new items on these choppers. A job, many in the Southern Territory know firsthand.

    “I started my career on the shop floor at Boeing in Seattle, WA. My parents came out of the same factory. In fact, I am fourth generation at Boeing.  I have literally lived, breathed and worked in Aerospace since the moment I started cutting my teeth,” said General Vice President Blondin. “The IAMAW is home for Aerospace and we are proud to bring a new group of Brothers and Sisters into the fold. Their work epitomizes who we are when we say we are Machinist Members.”

    Already, things are off to a great start. Once the group gets certified, those on the ground are all set to begin working with the company. A meeting is planned with the mechanics to start electing a negotiating committee and shop stewards and a survey is in order. That’s because the South is always ready to welcome some new Aerospace workers, home.


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  • IAM Members and Advocates Rally After Blocking Anti-Union Law

    IAM members joined thousands of advocates rallying at the Missouri Capitol before delivering over 300,000 registered voter signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. The signatures were more than three times the amount needed to block so- called right to work law’s Aug. 28 implementation and hold a statewide referendum vote in November 2018.

    IAM members were part of a coalition of dedicated volunteers who gathered the signatures.

    The rally and signature delivery come after the anti-union law, targeting working families, was approved in February.




    IAM represents more than 12,000 Missourians in the automotive industry and at Boeing, GKN, ATK, Harley-Davidson, and Honeywell.

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  • Houston Machinists Fight for the Next Generation

    Deciding to strike is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make. With it comes one of the strongest messages you can send to an employer, but it also bears major consequences for union members and their families. It’s a very personal decision and one not to be taken lightly.

    But for the 271 Machinists at Wyman-Gordon in Houston, the decision was easier than most. This time, it wasn’t just for them. This fight was for the next generation and the generation after that one.

    “One of the gentleman on the strike line is Gregg Wiechkoske. He has more than 40 years at Wyman. He’s the second generation in his family to work here,” said Byron Williams, IAM District 37 Directing Business Representative. “For lack of better words, he just feels sorry that this contract is the best the company has to offer. Takeaways of benefits, unlivable wages, even trying to decrease overtime break, he calls it an outrage.”

    “It is an outrage. Why Wyman-Gordon isn’t taking care of those workers who have spent the majority of their lives helping to build this company into a successful entity is unfathomable,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “We’ve always been proud of the generational tie to this facility, and yet, in this last contract, that hope for the future has been wiped away with just a few pen strokes. Let’s look at what they are proposing for wages. According to their last, best and final, it would take a new hire starting at $12.75, close to 50 or 60 years to top out on wages. No one will be able to raise a family on that, much less save for retirement. It’s just unacceptable.”

    And that’s the rallying cry for these members-that Wyman’s final offer was unacceptable. Unfortunately, many in this group of brothers and sisters have been in this spot before and have shared this fight for decades. To them, this fight is personal. Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative James Parker noticed right away the solidarity among this group.

    “These Machinists are very strong because they take these issues to heart. Cuts to short, and long-term disability insurance really struck a nerve because it touches all generations from retirees to new hires. They know each other and their families, so they know who would be adversely affected by cuts like this. It’s not some faceless person, it’s your brother and your sister that you see every day,” said Parker. “That strengthens their drive for a fair and equitable contract.”

    The same can be said for Wyman’s desire to cut overtime breaks to 15 minutes as a way to increase operating hours. This creates major safety issues, especially in Texas. In August, the facility can reach 120 degrees. Those breaks can mean the difference between life and death in extreme circumstances.

    For Byron Williams, it’s these issues that have made this strike very bittersweet for him. Not only did he come out of this shop, but so does his father, who is now walking the picket line.

    “It’s gut-wrenching to see what the company has put across the table because that’s what they think of my Dad and all the other men and women who have led me down the correct path throughout my years. I’ve followed in those footsteps and tried to bring great contracts to workers everywhere because of the lessons I have learned here. But I will say, to watch my brothers and sisters in Houston, my mentors, stand up for the betterment of others, as those before them did, that leaves me speechless,” said Williams. “Their fight is, and will always be, my fight.”


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  • Still Time to Sharpen Your WordPress Skills

    Time is running out to get registered for Intermediate Web Development to be held October 22-27, 2017 at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD. Registrations must be received by Friday, August 25.

    This intermediate-level class is for local and district lodges that already have a website with WordPress. Learn the ins and outs of WordPress including content, plug-ins, templates, back-end management, hosting management and much more.

    Please review the official call (EnglishFrench) for the special requirements for this class, all participants must meet these requirements.

    If you have any questions about this class, please contact the IAM Communications Department at 301-967-4520.

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  • Love in the Air at the Winpisinger Center

    A unique proposal was introduced this August during a week of French leadership classes at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD.

    Following dinner one evening, participants from French Advanced Leadership and French Leadership II were invited to the center’s theater for a special presentation.

    Montreal Local 1751 class member Guillaume Lingat then requested his girlfriend Mary-Lou Poisson to join him on stage so he could ask her a very important question.

    Watch a short video of Lingat and Poisson

    In front of a packed room of IAM family and friends, the visibly touched Poisson accepted his marriage proposal and the theater erupted with applause for the couple.

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  • New Jersey Machinists Looking Towards the Future

    The New Jersey State Council of Machinists held their annual conference last weekend with every IAM local in the Garden State being represented by their president and delegates. The conference featured strong labor supporters from the New Jersey congressional delegation, including U.S. Reps. Donald Payne, Jr., Donald Norcross and state senate President Steve Sweeney.

    IAM International President Bob Martinez addressed the delegates about the importance of growing the IAM, supporting candidates who support workers and living up to our name, “The Fighting Machinists.”

    “The focus of the IAM is to grow and bring new members into the Machinist family,” said Martinez. “There are too many working people who don’t have a union and the respect and dignity that goes with union membership and a solid collective bargaining contract.”

    Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr., updated delegates on current news within the territory, including the recent victories for the Maine Lobstermen and the Independent Drivers Guild for Uber drivers. Conigliaro urged delegates to continue to think out of box to grow the union, especially with “independent workers.”

    “I challenge each and every one of us to leave here today and bring five new members into our organization before we come back next year,” said Conigliaro. “Just think about the impact that will have on the IAM, the middle class and the new members and their families.”

    New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy dropped in for an intimate visit with the delegates and officers after the conference. Murphy was U.S. Ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama for four years.

    “The New Jersey governor’s race is the single most important issue facing the New Jersey State Council this year,” said Council President Vincent Addeo. “To say the working families of New Jersey have suffered at the hands of Chris Christie is an understatement, and labor has a champion in Phil Murphy.”

    During the conference, IAM Local 1445 President Al Banks was awarded the third annual Frank Darcy Award for Leadership. Darcy was a longtime activist, and a skilled machinist. He continually furthered his education in labor and other fields and was active in politics, all with the goal of improving the lives of fellow working men and women.

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  • Why it Pays to be Union? Winning Your Job Back and $37k in Back Pay

    IAM Local 623 member Guled Mohamed of St. Cloud, MN, right, was awarded more than $37k in back pay after being wrongfully terminated from his job at Electrolux Home Products. IAM Local 623 Directing Business Representative Colleen Murphy-Cooney, left, represented Mohamed in his arbitration case.

    Another reason it pays to be union? Winning your job back after being wrongfully terminated – with $37k in back pay.

    When seven-year IAM Local 623 member and union steward Guled Mohamed of St. Cloud, MN, was wrongfully terminated from his job as a lead worker at Electrolux Home Products, he turned to his union for help.

    The IAM filed a grievance and attempted to resolve the issue with the company.

    But when the company refused to move on the grievance, the union proudly filed Mohamed’s case for arbitration.

    The arbitrator ruled that Electrolux did not have just cause to terminate Mohamed. The company was directed to reinstate Mohamed to his former position and to restore all benefits – including more than $37k in back pay.

    “This is what a strong IAM contract is about – justice and fairness on the job,” said IAM Local 623 Directing Business Representative Colleen Murphy-Cooney. “I want to commend Guled Mohamed, who stood his ground and did a great job in helping the union present his case. We in the IAM pride ourselves in the service we provide to our members and this is another great example of why it doesn’t cost to be union – it pays.”

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  • One Base, Two Contracts

    Increased wages – Check.
    Better health care options – Check.
    Stronger pension contributions – Check.

    Both the Machinist contracts negotiated with M1 Support Services at Sheppard Air Force Base hit all the benchmarks of a good Union contract. The members who work there deserve the best the IAM has to offer. They have spent their career taking care of those who defend and protect the world.

    “Like so many factions of the IAMAW, the work done by these members is incredible,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “Not only do we have a group of men and women taking care the of the aircraft used to train fighter pilots from around the world – in every corner of every NATO country – but we have a group right next to them ensuring that the aircraft used to train our next generation of U.S. Air Force is classroom ready. These are the stories of the working class that need to be told.”

    One right after another, the Machinists first bargained the Sheppard Airforce Maintenance agreement, or what’s been coined the ‘SAM’ contract. A body of about 520 members who maintain the T38 and T6 aircrafts which are used for a joint program between the USA and NATO to train Jet Pilots around the globe. The SAT, or rather the Sheppard Airforce Trainer Contract, was next up. That’s a group of nearly 100 members who service all the aircraft used for U.S. Military members going through what’s called ‘A’ or technical schools. Looking at the numbers you quickly understand that neither job is an easy feat for those on the ground.

    “We have 220 sorties (aircraft missions) flying a day. That’s 220 takeoffs and landings, and many more touch-and-gos. And unlike other airports that operate 24/7, Sheppard only runs from daylight to dark. Our members take care of each and every one of those aircraft,” said Bud Dulworth, a Business Representative for IAM District Lodge 776.

    So everyone who took a seat at these bargaining tables were especially happy and honored to do so. Aerospace Coordinator Jody Bennett, a Machinist who literally cut his teeth on this U.S. Air Force Base, was among those smiling at the end of the day.

    “I am proud to put my name on this contract. It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen,” said Bennett of the SAM Contract. “This committee took care of their co-workers first. They didn’t bring a personal agenda to the table. It was about taking care of the group.”

    And because of that solidarity, the gains were good.

    “We were able to get increases in wages, health care and pensions – all of those in spades,” said Aerospace Department Chief of Staff Terry Smith. “The pension was where the members really stand to benefit with increases from $2.70 to $3.50 per person, per hour for all three years of the contract. That can translate into thousands of dollars more at the end of your career.”

    Bennett explained further. “A majority of the members in this group are less than seven years from retirement and that was something considered by the committee. If you do the math for those folks, that’s an extra $1000.00 a month for retirement, per month. That’s a ‘WOW’ moment.”

    And similar gains were seen with the SAT Contract with 3.5 percent increases in wages, each year, for the three years. And an additional negotiated item that’s become almost an anecdote in this era of gigs instead of careers.

    “For the workers who have put in at least 15 years of service on the job, they will see an extra week of vacation from now on, “ said Smith. “That’s something that really doesn’t happen these days.”

    So how did this all come to fruition? How were these workers able to negotiate such great contracts? It’s because these men and women stood strong and worked hard…and the company knows their worth.

    “We can’t let the story of these contract negotiations be misconstrued,” stated Blondin. “The IAM has a solid relationship with M1 Support Services, who understands the value of IAM workers. But these working Americans, earned each and every benefit they negotiated. They worked hard and stood in solidarity. This is the power of Collective Bargaining with the Machinists Union – to stand together and negotiate great contracts, backed by an organization whose reputation precedes them at the table. Stronger wages, health care benefits and pensions is the bar for us. Nothing else is acceptable at tables in the South.”

    Dulworth is thrilled to see these members reap the benefits for their decades of hard work at Sheppard. “This is the best contract I’ve ever seen with no takeaways,” said Dulworth. “And these men and women deserve nothing less.”


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  • District 77 hosts 28th Annual Hawgs for Dogs run and 17th Annual John Massetti Memorial Golf Tournament

    District 77 hosted the 28th Annual Hawgs for Dogs all motorcycle run on July 15th, 2017 benefiting Guide Dogs of America. A great time was had by all on our 200 mile journey in which we helped to celebrate the birthday of Rice Lake Harley Davidson. Also hosted was the 17th Annual “John Massetti Memorial” Guide Dogs of America Charity Golf Tournament held at Hillcrest Golf Club in St. Paul, MN. We had a total of 67 golfers and beautiful weather. A lot of fun was had on the course with some help from the fine folks at Dixon Golf who ran some events on the course and helped raise money for Guide Dogs of America. District 77 would like to thank all of the riders, golfers, donors of gifts for raffle or auction, all of the sponsors of the ride and golf tournament and also all of the volunteers who helped make the events a success. With all of your help we were able to raise over $25,000.00 dollars for Guide Dogs of America.

  • IAM Statement on DOL-Supervised Rerun of Election

    Responding to the U.S. Department of Labor, the IAM has agreed to a DOL-supervised rerun of the 2017 Grand Lodge elections for International Union officer positions, including International President, General Secretary-Treasurer and seven U.S. General Vice Presidents. The election excludes the Canadian General Vice President position.

    The DOL struck down the IAM members’ convention action requiring that candidates for Grand Lodge office show a minimal 10 percent level of support in the union’s local lodges before becoming candidates for election.  The members adopted this provision to assure that elections took place only when there was at least some possibility that more than one candidate for each position would prevail.  The DOL also found that even though incumbent candidates received 749 or more local lodge endorsements, while challengers received no more than 7 endorsements, a new election is required.

    “The IAM strongly disagrees with the DOL’s decision to override the will of its membership, and reserves the right to take legal action in the future to vindicate its membership’s actions,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “However, instead of undertaking the expense and uncertainty of litigating these issues, and further delaying the final resolution of the election, we have agreed to re-run the election, and to leave the matter in the hands, once again, of our members. Agreeing to a prompt re-run election assures that this matter will be resolved as quickly as possible so that the union can get on with the critical business of implementing the program adopted by our members at last year’s Convention.  We remain committed to a free, fair and democratic election process. We also commit to our membership that we will take all necessary and appropriate steps to put an end to the DOL’s unwarranted interference in an election process established by the membership at last year’s convention.”

    The nominations in each Local Lodge will take place in meetings in January 2018, with further meetings in February for lodges that nominate more candidates than the positions call for. If 25 or more locals endorse more than one candidate for International President or General Secretary-Treasurer, or more than seven candidates for United States General Vice Presidents, an election for the contested positions will take place in April.   

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