• Affordable Care Act Repeal Would Make America Sick Again

    The newly-released plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be a disaster for working people, women and elderly Americans.

    The “repeal and replace” bill would slash or eliminate health benefits for tens of millions of people while granting tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

    House Republicans are pushing the bills through committee without receiving coverage loss or cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. More than 15 million Americans could lose coverage, according to a health expert at the Brookings Institution.

    Instead of a mandate to purchase health insurance, people who let their insurance coverage lapse would be subject to a 30 percent surcharge. The requirement for larger employers to offer coverage to full-time employees would be eliminated.

    The bill attacks Medicare solvency by slashing the payroll tax for high earners. People in their 50s and 60s could see premiums rise by $2,000 to $3,000 per year, according to the AARP.

    Medicaid funding would be slashed by $560 billion over 10 years.

    To seniors and low-income Americans, “the GOP’s message is ‘sorry, you’re out of luck,’” said Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Rich Fiesta.

    Two House committees plan to vote on the bill this week.

    Tell your Representative to oppose this attack on our health care. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

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  • IAM’s Martinez, Gruber and Conigliaro Visit York, PA Harley-Davidson Members

    IAM International President Bob Martinez, joined by Midwest Territory General Vice President Phil Gruber and Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, receives a signed gas tank from IAM Local 175 President Brian Zarilla on behalf of members in York, PA.

    International President Bob Martinez, Midwest Territory General Vice President Phil Gruber and Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro recently joined IAM members for a roundtable discussion and factory tour of the York, PA Harley-Davidson motorcycle factory.

    “This is my first opportunity to visit our members at York and see firsthand the great motorcycles they build. I am glad GVPs Gruber and Conigliaro were able to be here with me,” said Martinez. “Talking with local leaders and members from all three of our Harley locations has given us a much better understanding of their concerns.”

    The meeting was prompted by an invitation from York Local 175 President Brian Zarilla, who welcomed the opportunity for members to talk candidly with IAM Leadership.

    “We appreciate them taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with members and leaders from the shop floor,” said Zarilla. “It was valuable for everyone here to have President Martinez sit down to discuss their issues in the plant.”

    The visit was an opportunity for Martinez to get feedback from members and local leaders about the state of the partnership agreement between workers and the company. It included members, local presidents and business representatives from all three IAM represented Harley-Davidson locations: York, Milwaukee and Kansas City, MO.

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  • Machinists Look Forward to Mark International Women’s Day

    International Women’s Day will be globally celebrated on Wednesday, March 8, recognizing the contribution women make in the world and calling for gender equality. Recognition of International Women’s Day dates back to the early 1900’s.

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the percentage of women in the workforce has risen sharply in the past 60 years, from 33 percent in 1948 to 57 percent in 2016. While women make up nearly 46 percent of the workforce, there is still a broad gap in wages. On average, women make over 21 percent less than their male counterparts.

    “We are proud to support International Women’s Day because while women in the U.S. suffer, there are women around the world who are treated a great deal worse,” said IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes. “Unfortunately in the U.S., it’s only through a union’s collective action that women achieve equality at work. I’m proud to be a part of that great equalizer for inequality in the workplace.”

    Women’s issues have been brought into the forefront recently. Women’s marches across the world brought out millions of people to advocate for equality, immigration reform, and all issues affecting women.

    “It’s inspiring to see so many groups of people getting involved and joining the movement,” said IAM General Vice President Diane Babineaux. “It’s not just about women fighting for their rights anymore. Everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion or age understand the importance of women’s equality.”

    Organizers are also calling for an international day of action on Wednesday to coincide with International Women’s Day. The goal of “A Day Without a Woman” is to highlight the economic power and significance women have on U.S. and global economies. People are encouraged to participate by refraining from shopping – unless it is at women owned businesses – and wearing red in solidarity.

    Watch: AFL-CIO’s Economic Agenda for Working Women and Their Families

    https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Faflcio%2Fvideos%2F10154961901936153%2F&show_text=0&width=560

    Share these images on social media to support International Women’s Day.

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  • IAM Midwest Territory Cornhole Tournament Raises $3.7K for Guide Dogs

    First, Second and Third place winners (left to right) of the IAM Midwest Territory Cornhole Tournament pose with General Vice President Philip J. Gruber (left of each photo) and Grand Lodge Representative Martin St. Peters (first picture right).

    The IAM Midwest Territory’s first-ever Cornhole Tournament raised over $3.7k for Guide Dogs of America (GDA).

    Nearly a hundred people, including 24 teams, from across the Midwest Territory and Chicagoland area took part in the IAM Midwest Territory’s first-ever Cornhole Tournament.

    See photos from the IAM Midwest Territory GDA Cornhole Tournament.

    Nearly a hundred people, including 24 teams, from across the Midwest Territory and Chicagoland area took part in the event.

    “Thank you to all the IAM Districts and Locals and Chicagoland residents who took part in this great event,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “Thank you to our many sponsors, including Jeff Grim, president of Employee Benefit Systems. And a very special thank you to IAM Grand Lodge Representative Marty St. Peters who created, planned, and helped pull this entire night together. This was the Midwest Territory’s first time hosting a GDA Cornhole event, and based on this first year’s participation, I’d say it was a huge success.”

    All proceeds from the event are donated to Guide Dogs of America, a non-profit organization supported by the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations, and other organizations in its mission to provide guide dogs free of charge to blind and visually-impaired individuals in the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit their website at www.guidedogsofamerica.org.

    For more information about this and other IAM Midwest Territory events to benefit Guide Dogs of America, visit www.SpiritoftheMidwest.org.

    See photos from the IAM Midwest Territory GDA Cornhole Tournament.

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  • The IAM Disaster Relief Fund: By Members, for Members

    With recent fires, flooding and tornadoes taking a terrible toll across the U.S. and Canada, you can make a big difference by donating to the IAM Disaster Relief Fund.

    The fund provides assistance when our members and their families are enduring hardships due to natural disasters. The IAM reacts quickly to these needs, often before other sources of assistance are able. This would not be possible without the support of those who have committed to keeping the IAM Disaster Relief Fund vibrant and healthy.

    Click here to donate.

    Find out how to get assistance if you are affected by a disaster in your community.

    Be prepared. If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.

    The IAM has produced a guide to disaster preparedness.

    Please contact General Vice President Diane Babineaux’s office at 301-967-4505 if you have questions about IAM Disaster Relief.

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  • Retirement Could Hinge on Whether You Have a Union

    A new study shows how bad the retirement security problem in the U.S. has become. Nearly two-thirds of Americans do not contribute, or have contributions made on their behalf, to any type of retirement account, according to a working report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

     Data from 2012 revealed that only 14 percent of employers offer retirement plans to their workers. The figure was previously believed to be 40 percent.

    “This report reaffirms the importance of collective bargaining,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “Companies aren’t out there willingly offering up pension and 401(k) contributions, they must be bargained for. And as we all know, the best way to bargain is with a union.”

    The frightening numbers on American retirement savings solidifies the importance of protecting Social Security and Medicare. Some in Washington, DC would like to see Medicare turned into a voucher system, Social Security privatized and the retirement age raised. These changes would all but guarantee the majority of Americans will have to work until they die or on their death bed.

    “Protecting Social Security and Medicare has never been more important,” said Martinez. “As this study shows, for two-thirds of Americans these programs will be the only thing there for them when they are no longer able to work.”

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  • Despite Personal Heartache, Ohio IAM Family Strives to Help Others

    Josh and Golda Gilkison, pictured with their three children, have made it their mission to advocate and spread awareness for heart disease after Golda was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy and chronic heart failure following the birth of their third child.

    Imagine how your life would change if you were informed that at the young age of 30, your wife and mother of your three children was diagnosed with chronic heart failure. This is the exact situation Ohio Local 912 member Josh Gilkison found himself when his wife, Golda, called from the doctor’s office in June 2015.

    Golda felt something was wrong throughout her pregnancy, but her doctor kept telling her they were normal pregnancy symptoms. She remained persistent and after giving birth, her doctor finally ordered some tests. That’s when it was discovered that she had peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare condition that prevents the heart from pumping blood to the rest of the body properly.

    Watch: Golda’s Story

    Josh, a maintenance technician at General Electric, was devastated upon receiving the news. With a newborn, a toddler and a 5-year-old, he knew there were going to be difficult days ahead.

    “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We had what we believed to be the perfect life,” said Josh.

    Golda received a defibrillator in October 2015, and her condition is being treated with medication. However, dealing with the symptoms and the uncertainty of the future are a few things their family struggles with daily.

    “It’s not always easy living with a chronic heart condition,” says Golda, “but every day I get to spend with my children and husband is a gift.”

    In true Fighting Machinist fashion, the Gilkisons aren’t just managing their situation, they are conquering it. They have embarked on a mission to raise awareness to help others who may be dealing with the same circumstances.

    “My advice is to always be your own advocate,” said Golda. “No one knows your body better than you, and if you feel something is wrong, don’t take no for an answer.”

    The Gilkisons worked with the American Heart Association (AHA) to film a video to highlight their story and raise awareness and support a cure of the disease.

    They have also organized a team to participate in Cincinnati’s Heart Mini Marathon and Walk. The fundraising event benefiting local chapters of the AHA and the American Stroke Association includes running and walking events of different distances, so people of all skill levels and ages can participate. Team “Heart Failure Famous” has over 75 members and has raised over $4,400 to combat heart disease.

    If you would like to help the Gilkisons with their cause, you can donate to the Heart Failure Famous team.

    Golda’s heart condition has changed their lives, and for Josh, it has highlighted the importance of being in a Union.

    “I can’t say enough about the brotherhood and support I get from my union brothers and sisters,” said Josh. “If there is anything I need, I know they are there for me. There is comfort in having an extra family that cares about you and supports your efforts.”

    You can follow the Gilkison’s journey to raise awareness on the Heart Failure Famous Facebook page.

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  • Longtime IAM Member Warns of Job Costs Caused by Illegal Imports of Cheap Chinese Products

    Dean McCoy (Center)

    Kentucky Local 1969 member Dean McCoy recently testified at an International Trade Commission hearing with an emotional five-minute plea that conveyed frustration felt by many middle-class workers who are forced to compete against cheap Chinese goods.

    Silence gripped the packed hearing room about a mile from the White House, as the 26-year IAM member gave a vivid account of damage caused by the illegal domestic dumping of Chinese imports, a violation that routinely goes unenforced by the U.S. government.

    “Given my various positions with the union, hands-on work in the plant and in the industry, and commitment to the community, I know that our jobs and the welfare of our community are at risk,” said McCoy.

    For years McCoy has worked at Arkema Inc. in Calvert City, a sleepy rural town located along the Tennessee River. He’s employed as a loader, a high-skilled position which requires him to place plant-produced refrigerants and byproducts on rail cars and truck trailers. Once his job is complete, the containers are shipped across the country for sale.

    But Arkema’s viability has been threatened as China illegally saturates the domestic market with its low-grade version of refrigerant, a problematic practice that could cut jobs at Arkema and threaten McCoy’s livelihood.

    “Our region can’t afford to lose any more jobs. There simply are too few jobs in the area, let alone ones that pay the decent wages and benefits that have been negotiated in our collective bargaining agreement,” said McCoy. “The illegal dumping activity by China not only hurts workers at Arkema, but Calvert City in general. It affects our vendors, suppliers and other small businesses in the area. It also has an impact on our national economy as cargo services, namely railroads and trucking companies, lose business because of the unfair competition from China.”

    Watch: McCoy’s testimony to the International Trade Commission.

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  • Dropkick Murphys Concert Helps Raise Money for Fallen Ohio Member’s Family

    When the Dropkick Murphys took the stage for the sold out Ohio AFL-CIO Union Night in Columbus, OH, they did more than deliver a memorable Celtic punk concert. They played to lend a hand in the fight against right-to-work and to raise money for a fallen IAM member’s family.

    WATCH: Concert Helps Raise Funds for Fallen IAM Member

    The Ohio AFL-CIO made special anti-right to work T-shirts, which were sold at the concert. Five dollars from every sale went to the family of Tim Underwood, an IAM Local 1471 member who lost his life on the job in June 2016.

    “This is just an awesome evening for labor,” said IAM District 54 President and Directing Business Representative Dean Wright. “For us to come out and do this for Brother Underwood’s family is just a tremendous sign of respect for his membership in the IAM.”

    “When labor first heard about the tragedy involving brother Tim Underwood, we knew we had to find a way to help,” said Ohio AFL-CIO Political Director Jason Perlman. “The opportunity to work with the Dropkick Murphys, America’s most pro-worker band, proved to be the perfect chance to join together to help Brother Underwood’s family. Every union member was honored to help, after all, anyone in a union knows we always stand in support of our sisters and brothers.”

    For the Dropkick Murphys, a band known for supporting the working class and unions, the event was an opportunity to stand up for labor and Underwood’s family and give the audience an evening of unforgettable music.

    “We’re just honored to be able to be here and to show up and lend our hand,” said singer, songwriter and bass guitarist Ken Casey. “We’re happy to be a part of raising money for his family.”

    “It is an honor that the band has come out to lend a hand, not just to the IAM, but to unions, and working families as a whole,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “Our deep appreciation goes out them, and the Ohio AFL-CIO for their efforts to assist the family of our fallen brother.”

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  • Martinez Tells North American Companies to Bring Jobs Home

    IAM International President Bob Martinez is repeating his loud calls for companies to bring outsourced jobs back to North America.

    The IAM’s more than 600,000 members are highly-skilled workers who manufacture iconic products like Boeing airplanes and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

    “We believe that the time is long overdue for policy makers to stand up to corporations who are all too willing to move jobs to Mexico, China or anywhere else in the world to take advantage of workers who do not enjoy fundamental human rights—like the right to form a union,” Martinez wrote to President Trump.

    Martinez reiterated the IAM’s stance on opposing trade policies that have cost millions of U.S. and Canadian jobs, especially failed trade agreements like NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. But a manufacturing resurgence will take more than undoing years of bad trade policy, said Martinez.

    “Unfortunately, IAM members have frequently been the victims of corporations sending our jobs to other countries,” said Martinez.

    Offshoring manufacturing—especially in the aerospace and defense industries—sacrifices critical research and development, said Martinez.

    Boeing plans to open a new 737 finishing center in China — “work that should be performed here at home,” said Martinez.

    A significant portion of work on the 737 and 787 Dreamliner is already done overseas.

    “Boeing’s willingness to turn its back on U.S. workers who have made the company so successful represents the business model that the President has so heavily criticized,” Martinez said before the President visited Boeing’s South Carolina manufacturing facility.

    Click here to read Martinez’s letter to President Trump.

    Click here to read Martinez’s statement regarding Boeing outsourcing.

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