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  • Clean Out Your Prescription Cabinet the Safe Way on Saturday

    What do you do with expired and unused prescription medications? On Saturday, April 29, individuals can bring their medications to special collection locations throughout the country.

    The National Take-Back Day initiative is being coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The website offers a search tool to find drop off locations near you.

    This initiative provides a convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs while educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

    Last October, IAM members participated in this important initiative to help remove 731,269 pounds of unused medication from homes across the U.S.

    The IAM Employee Assistance Program is here to help members and their families struggling with substance abuse disorders. Free resources are available, for confidential assistance please call 301-335-0735.

    Additional information including prevention efforts can be found at www.dea.gov.

    The post Clean Out Your Prescription Cabinet the Safe Way on Saturday appeared first on IAMAW.

  • Freedom Day: How the Machinists Union Stood with South Africans to Overcome Apartheid

    The Machinists Union—and the North American labor movement—had a larger role in taking down the institutional racism of South African apartheid than you may have thought.

    Twenty-three years ago, on April 27, 1994, South Africa held its first national election in which non-whites were allowed to vote. The people elected Nelson Mandela, a civil rights icon who the apartheid government had jailed for rallying the majority-black country against apartheid.

    In South Africa, April 27 is now known as Freedom Day.

    IAM General Vice President George Poulin was in South Africa just two days before the historic vote to investigate a Crown, Cork & Seal plant where workers had been on strike for over a year. The IAM represents U.S. workers at the company.

    After visiting the plant, South African trade unionists took Poulin to an election rally in Cape Town. He wasn’t expecting to speak, until he was called to address a pro-apartheid crowd of 700 people.

    “It sort of propelled me into what was a serious thing that was happening in that country,” Poulin said in an oral history conducted by the Southern Labor Archives.

    He told the crowd a vote for Mandela is a vote for working people of all colors.

    “If only two people in a hall of 700 went to vote the right way, I think it was a contribution,” said Poulin.

    The IAM, and representatives of the AFL-CIO, were in South Africa on election day to watch for voter fraud, Poulin said.

    But the Machinists Union’s fight against apartheid goes back further than South Africa’s first free election. It joined other North American unions in calling for “selective disinvestment” from multi-national corporations whose operations bolstered the racist apartheid system, a 1985 edition of The Machinist reported.

    IAM International Affairs Director Ben Sharman, an African American, found himself staring apartheid in the face on a 1986 trip to meet with South African metal workers’ unions. He was invited to the funeral of a South African labor leader who had been killed by the apartheid police force.

    The South African unionists were hoping Sharman’s presence would discourage a police raid on the gathering. On their way to the funeral, which was being held in a black township, Sharman was stopped by police.

    They issued him a summons, written in Afrikaans, to get out within five minutes.

    “It was written in a language I didn’t understand,” said Sharman. “But I did understand the machine guns.”

    Under apartheid, South African police were allowed to detain people for at least 14 days without cause.

    “Fourteen days is just enough time to let the wounds heal that were inflicted upon the arrest—enough time to get rid of the evidence of police abuse and torture,” Sharman told The Machinist.

    Amnesty International reported more than 7,800 people were detained by apartheid police that year, and in a span of 18 months, more than 1,000 South Africans had been killed by police.

    Trade unionists were among the most targeted groups. Organized labor, one of the country’s few racially mixed institutions, threatened a system that paid black workers an average of $5 per hour less than their white counterparts in the same plant.

    “We must not let the multinationals force U.S. workers down to the South African standard of living,” said Sherman. “And we certainly cannot stand by while our brothers and sisters are brutally beaten for pursuing the ideals of the trade union movement.”

    South African labor unions, and international allies such as the IAM, would become a key bloc in a growing movement that eventually took down apartheid. Only 20,000 South Africans were union members in 1970. By 1985, that number had grown to more than one million.

    They began taking up issues such as women’s rights, health and safety and the right to negotiate on behalf of their members. A two-day strike in 1984 shut down a major South African industrial center. The IAM offered its advice and assistance throughout the struggle.

    Today, the South African labor movement continues to assert its influence. The country’s largest union federation recently pulled support for President Jacob Zuma, who they say has abandoned the goals of working people in favor of the enrichment of political allies.

    The IAM remains in close contact with South African labor unions.

    “I did feel a little satisfaction… knowing I was part of history,” said Poulin, “even a very minute part of history.”

    The post Freedom Day: How the Machinists Union Stood with South Africans to Overcome Apartheid appeared first on IAMAW.

  • Next Generation in Aviation Visits Winpisinger Center

    While at IAM Headquarters in Upper Marlboro, MD, Aviation High School students check 1/4-scale GE jet engine.

    The top 20 students from New York’s Aviation High School’s class of 2017 visited the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD this past week to participate in a program about unions and the aviation industry.

    The students began their week with tours of IAM Headquarters and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) before proceeding to the Winpisinger Center, where they engaged in a comprehensive curriculum full of classes and guest speakers.

    The IAM has forged a close alliance with the Queens, NY school, where for the 15th 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.

    “Aviation High School constantly produces students that will be the future leaders of the aviation industry,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja, an Aviation High School alumnus. “The IAM will continue its affiliation with the school, providing students with the tools needed to assist their program.”

    The post Next Generation in Aviation Visits Winpisinger Center appeared first on IAMAW.

  • Federal Employees Should Prepare for a Possible Government Shutdown

    The current Continuing Resolution (CR) — the legislative vehicle keeping the government running in the absence of 2017 appropriations — expires at midnight on April 28.

    Senate Democrats have vowed to stop any attempt by Republicans to attach political provisions to future CR’s, even if it means causing a shutdown. In other words, Senate Democrats say they will pass another CR to keep the government running only if Republicans keep off all provisions not applicable to government operations.

    Given the current combative climate on Capitol Hill, it is possible that an agreement will not be made in time to stop a partial shutdown beginning April 29.

    For all NFFE-IAM members on standard pay periods, this means that your paycheck or direct deposit normally received the week of May 8, and possibly the week of May 22 (if the CR lapse continues), may be affected. Now is a good time to review your personal financial situation just in case a shutdown becomes a reality.

    “NFFE is monitoring this situation closely, and we are doing everything in our power to avoid a government shutdown, but history tells us that a shutdown is a possibility,” said NFFE-IAM National President Randy Erwin. “But if an unnecessary shutdown does occur, NFFE will be fighting tooth-and-nail to make sure that federal employees are not forced to pay for the dysfunction of Congress. In years past some tried to stick federal workers with the bill (through unpaid furloughs) of the shutdown, but we were able to make sure that did not happen. We will be ready to fight that fight again this year if we have to.”

    In order to assist you with local preparations, the IAM and NFFE have gathered guidance to assist you:

    The IAM Government Employees Department will update information when it becomes available. Please contact Government Employees Department Director Jim Price at 301-967-4753 if you have any questions.

    The post Federal Employees Should Prepare for a Possible Government Shutdown appeared first on IAMAW.

  • Important Announcements on Upcoming Employee Assistance Programs

    EAP III Deadline Upcoming

    The deadline to register for EAP III held June 25-30, at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD is Sunday, April 30.

    Download the Official Call: English | French

    Attendance in the program must be approved by an authorizing lodge officer. EAP III Participants must have completed EAP II to register. If you have any questions, please contact the Retirees and Employment Assistant Program Department at 301-967-4717.

    EAP IV Date Change

    Please be aware EAP IV 2017 originally scheduled for September 17-22, 2017 has been changed.

    The new date for EAP IV is October 29 – November 3, 2017 with the registration deadline of August 27, 2017. (English | French)

    If you previously submitted a registration form for the original date please contact the Retirees and Employee Assistance Program department to update your request.

    The post Important Announcements on Upcoming Employee Assistance Programs appeared first on IAMAW.

  • Larry Young Appointed Midwest Territory Special Representative

    IAM International President Bob Martinez has announced the appointment of IAM District 74 Directing Business Representative Larry Young to the position of Midwest Territory Special Representative.

    “On behalf of the Midwest Territory members and staff, I’d like to congratulate Larry Young on his appointment and welcome him to the Midwest Territory staff,” said IAM General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “As the lone Business Representative of District 74, Larry successfully represented and serviced about 1,500 government, service contract and private sector workers. His dedication to working families and his community throughout his 37 years as a Machinist member has been unyielding. We welcome him on board and look forward to the contributions he’ll continue to make to our membership.”

    Young, a Navy veteran, initiated into Norfolk, VA, IAM Local 97 at the then Naval Supply Center (now Fleet Industrial Supply Center) in 1982. He served in many different capacities from Shop Steward, Chief Steward, in-shop General Chairman, Trustee, Conductor-Sentinel, Newsletter Editor, Bargaining Committee Member, and Delegate to District Lodge 74 and the Eastern Virginia Labor Federation. He was elected to be a delegate to the last five Grand Lodge Conventions.

    As a delegate to District 74, Young was elected to several positions such as Conductor-Sentinel, Trustee, Vice-President and President. As a delegate to the Eastern Virginia Labor Federation, Young was elected to several positions such as Conductor-Sentinel, Treasurer and President.

    In 1997, Young was appointed to the position of Assistant Directing Business Representative/ Organizer for District Lodge 74. He was appointed to the position of District 74 Directing Business Representative/Organizer in 1999.

    In addition, Young has been appointed to several MNPL Planning Committees. He’s also served on the executive boards of the AFL-CIO of Virginia, United Way of Hampton Roads, Opportunity Inc. Norfolk, VA, and as Vice President of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

    His appointment is effective May 1, 2017.

    The post Larry Young Appointed Midwest Territory Special Representative appeared first on IAMAW.

  • What Exactly Is a Union Rep?

    IAM District 75 Assistant Directing Business Representative Henry “Pappy” Perrigan recently decided to answer some of the many questions he gets about what type of job he has as a union rep. He posted his note on Facebook and we have included it here.

    I have been asked what type of job do I have as a Union Rep and this is what I have written to try to answer that question.

    Let me begin by explaining a few things to everyone about the life of a Business Rep in IAM District Lodge 75. I am using my 30 years of experience as a member and 12 years of experience as a Business Rep to try to help everyone understand the position that I currently have and about to retire from.

    If you think this is a social club, you need to do some research. The problems and the rules of the game that Unions has to deal with changes every day. The average day for a Business Rep in the District is 12 to 14 hours a day and then when you go home or the hotel you are staying at for the night, you are doing more phone calls or emails. The Business Rep misses birthdays, anniversaries, ball games, school plays, the first step of a child, grandchild or great grandchild, graduations, and even funerals of family and friends taking care of the union membership. It is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year life!!

    No one can understand a Business Rep’s life until they become a Business Rep if they are lucky enough to be elected by the Membership. The Membership deserves and expects their Rep to be available when they need them and for that Rep to be respectful, educated, caring and have a plan to help them without making the matter worse. I am very proud that this District has always made sure a Rep is available when the assigned Business Rep cannot be in two or more places at one time.

    All of the Business Reps in this District are the best and most dedicated individuals I have had the opportunity to work with. The Reps truly love helping and fighting for our membership. They are the leaders that lead our membership to victory without sacrificing some of the membership along the way. Sometimes the Rep has to make unpopular decisions with the membership because of law, rules or regulations, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Local Lodge Bylaws, District Lodge Bylaws or the IAM Constitution, but that does not mean they are not warriors or don’t care about the membership or that the Rep is in bed with the Company! When the Rep makes that kind of a decision, it is because he is doing what is best for the Union Membership.

    It is easy to hide in the bushes and jump up and down, thump your chest and scream bad things about the Union, the Union Leadership and the Business Reps, but until you have the total responsibility for the well-being of the Union members and their families in every decision that you have to make as a Union Leader/Business Rep, you don’t know the stress and what that Business Rep has to live with after the decision is made. Such as: Did I make the best decision? Was there another way to go? What could I have done different?

    You don’t know how crushed a Rep feels when he has to do a plant closing and see the hurt and sadness in the eyes on the members who are losing their job and the way to take care of their families. I am proud to say that District 75 does everything possible to help our members when they face losing their jobs. As a matter of fact, we are in this process of helping our membership right now that is being laid off from one of the contracts with the District.

    I have been told that respect has to be earned and I truly believe that is a fact. Union Leadership/Business Reps are human beings and can make mistakes. But all of my Business Reps in this District do the best jobs they can and all of them have my respect for the jobs they do, their sacrifices they have made and their love for the Union Membership.

    I believe that the Membership in District Lodge 75 will tell you that Pappy has never told them a lie or has not said I was sorry if I was wrong.

    I am retiring in December 2017 but that does not mean that I don’t love the IAM, this District, and all the members, non-members and objectors in the 86 contracts we have in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi or I will not fight with them again if I am needed!

    — Pappy

    Henry “Pappy” Perrigan is the Assistant Business Representative for IAM District 75 in the IAMAW Southern Territory. This note was published with Henry Perrigin’s permission with minor edits for clarity.

    The post What Exactly Is a Union Rep? appeared first on IAMAW.

  • British Columbia Local 692 Welcomes Two New Groups of Members

    Machine operators and shipping and receiving personnel in Port Coquitlam BC, and forklift operators in Delta, BC, are the newest members of the IAM in Canada.

    Workers at Port Coquitlam’s Advanced CNC Machining Inc. joined the Machinists after their employer failed to deliver on promised wage increases.

    “The final straw was when the owner showed up with a new car and bragged about his new boat to the people he promised wage increases to,” said IAM District 250 Business Representative Al Cyr. “His attitude toward his employees changed dramatically. It didn’t take long to secure this organizing drive.”

    Members operate precision computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines and ship the machined components. The manufacturing process involves milling and turning all types of alloy steel, stainless steel and aluminum alloys for use in medical, marine, aircraft, electronic and transportation industries.

    In Delta, forklift operators at South Fraser Container Services, part of the Sankyo Corporation, joined the IAM to fight wage disparities and gain respect in the workplace.

    “This is a very solid group of workers, they stuck together during the ten day waiting period of application,” said Cyr. “They never wavered; they were determined to join.”

    The new members receive and load goods such as lumber and specialty wood products, rebar, coiled steel, veneering and roofing shingles into cargo containers. The products, originating from Vancouver Island, mainland British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, are then shipped, break bulk or containerized, overseas.

    The post British Columbia Local 692 Welcomes Two New Groups of Members appeared first on IAMAW.

  • Organizing As A Team

    Although you may see an “I” in the word Organize, the sentiment doesn’t match when the IAM is on the job. That’s especially true in the Southern Territory where, at times, organizing can be considered a team sport, with everyone sharing a spot on the starting line. That’s exactly what happened with the workers at WFI International, Inc. in Houston, TX who just voted ‘YES’ to the Machinists Union in 17-7 win.

    “Initially, the WFI lead came from the IAM’s Transportation department. But because this was a group of machine shop workers, Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja allowed the Southern Territory to run the ball.  In the end, by working together, there is a group of workers in Houston that will now proudly be backed by a great IAM contract. That is the end result everyone involved wanted to see. That’s the only thing that counts when it comes to organizing,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin.

    “Organizing is not about which department leads the campaign or who ultimately gets credit, it’s about the IAM working together to better the lives of those who want to join our great union,” said Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “Most importantly, our joint effort with the Southern Territory will now provide the sisters and brothers at WFI International, Inc. a voice in their future.”

    But the team effort didn’t stop there.  Directing Business Representative of District Lodge 37 Byron Williams said he could not have accomplished this vote without the help of his Brothers and Sisters at the Southern Territory office.

    “Congratulations goes to everyone involved in bringing this contract home,” said Williams. “We in the South know what a good IAM contract means and what it can do for our members and their families. Working together, we were able to support a group of workers who wanted that for themselves.  This was a home run.”

    According to Williams, ST Grand Lodge Representative James Parker and Ramon Garcia were both huge assets. Parker for his years as an experienced organizer and Garcia for his communications skills in both Spanish and English. Both using their knowledge to make the IAM understand exactly what WFI workers needed and wanted.

    “This was a special win because they are Machinists by trade,” said Garcia. “And it was very important that we were able to communicate with them, and distribute information, in their native tongue. Being able to cross cultural differences like that is a huge benefit that IAM offers its membership.”

    By working as a team, this group of workers is going to have a voice on the job. Safety, seniority and long, overdue wage increases are the main issues that will be addressed in the first contract.

    Williams said, “This is their contract, we are just support.  And I am so proud of the workers for voting for the IAM. Now they won’t have to be afraid to speak up at to work, they will have a voice at the table.”

    The post Organizing As A Team appeared first on IAMAW.

  • IAM Transportation Department Rallying Ground Service Workers

    The IAM has been successful in raising wages and benefits for the one group of transportation workers that have been left out in the cold during the airline industry’s resurgence. More than 2,000 ground service workers have joined the IAM in the past 10 months.

    Read: Union Says It Organized Ground Service Workers at United and Alaska Subsidiaries

    In March 2017, it was announced that IAM-represented McGee Air Services workers would be performing ramp service work that was previously performed by a non-union contractor. In total the McGee Air contract covers about 1,200 members.

    When United Airlines launched United Ground Express a non-union subsidiary at over 30 airport locations, the IAM set out to bring representation to the workers. The IAM reached out to United and was able to get a union contract for more than 900 baggage handling and gate service workers.

    “There is a reason why the IAM is the largest airline union in the country,” said IAM Transportation Department General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The solidarity of our membership and the hard work and diligence of our three district lodges and every shop steward and member we have makes it possible.”

    Both McGee Air Services and United Ground Express have potential to grow significantly over the next few years.

    The post IAM Transportation Department Rallying Ground Service Workers appeared first on IAMAW.