When workers at Clow Foundry in Oskaloosa, IA were faced with paying for their own health care, and given one week to do so, they knew who to contact. Their co-workers in the machine shop at Clow Valve were longtime IAM members. After organizing with the IAM in January, the nearly 60 new IAM members recently voted overwhelmingly to ratify a first agreement.
The negotiating committee made several important gains, including holding the line on health care, a driving issue during the organizing drive. The new accord also contains substantial wage increases in each year of the five-year agreement, which also included a ratification bonus of $3,000, as well as a 401(k) matching plan.
“This is a very good comprehensive first contract with gains in several areas,” said IAM District 6 Business Representative Gary Pickett. “This is a success story from the organizing effort to the ratification process. The ability to utilize the Field Negotiation Prep Class from the Winpisinger Center is priceless. My thanks to Business Representative John Herrig for his assistance, and to the Negotiating Committee, Stacy Craig, Andrew Williams, Joshua Britt, Robbie Saylor, and Shane Utterback for their solidarity and leadership in these talks.”
“My congratulations, and thanks go out to all involved,” said Directing Business Representative Randy Krewson. “The solidarity of this group made the difference, and they stood shoulder to shoulder during the organizing effort, and the negotiations. I welcome them to the Machinists family.”
“These new members recognized the IAM’s experience in negotiating strong contracts,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “The proof is in the results. Securing an organizing win and a first agreement in the first six months is no small accomplishment. Congratulations to the members of IAM Local 1498 at Clow Foundry, and a special thank you to IAM District 6 Business Reps. Gary Pickett and John Herrig, as well the Negotiating Committee for all of your hard work.”
The new members joined nearly 50 existing members from Clow Valve at IAM Local 1498. The castings produced by the members at Clow Foundry are shipped to the nearby Clow Valve a facility, which then produces fire hydrants, water valves and other critical infrastructure.
IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. recently sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate appropriators, urging them to reject a Biden administration budget proposal that would cut funding for U.S. Army ammunitions and threaten the jobs of IAM Local 778 members at the Olin-Winchester Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) in Independence, MO.
Martinez urged Congress to increase funding for the Independence facility which manufactures the Army’s 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and .50-caliber rifle ammunition.
“The Administration’s FY22 budget unwisely includes a 30 to 50 percent reduction in these munitions compared to the FY21 appropriated levels. The impact of these proposed cuts would be crippling to this highly-skilled workforce, reducing the current workforce of 1,700 by at least 450-550 employees,” Martinez wrote in the letter
. “If these cuts are allowed to occur the Army would lose years of ammunition production expertise overnight. The decision to reduce this capacity would be highly inefficient, as the loss of workforce skills and production capacity would take years to rebuild when the Army decides to ramp up ammunition acquisition in subsequent years.”
A president’s budget request is often seen as a “wish list” of sorts that Congress can choose for guidance, or reject.
Martinez’s letter was sent to House and Senate leaders, in addition to Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo), in addition to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)
As drought and high temperatures allow wildfires to spread across the western United States, NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 wildland firefighters are being mobilized to protect lives, property and infrastructure.
Warner Vanderheuel, a wildland firefighter and president of NFFE-IAM Local 2086, says that fire seasons have progressively started earlier and ended later since he began his U.S. Forest Service career in 2000. This year has been no different.
“Drought areas have become much larger and field conditions more volatile,” said Vanderheuel, a NFFE-IAM Forest Service Council member who will soon go to fight fire in Montana and Idaho. “It’s demanding work, but the people I work with and the mission keep me going.”
As wildland firefighters continue to put their lives on the line, NFFE-IAM has been campaigning
for improvements to wildland firefighter pay, benefits and work-life balance. Many wildland firefighters have reported feeling that it is getting difficult to justify staying in this career while supporting a family.
NFFE-IAM is calling for additional measures, including:
Further increasing pay for all wildland firefighters
Hiring at least 10,000 new firefighters over the next decade
Allotting more resources to support a better work-life balance for federal firefighter
“It is a scary situation our members fighting wildfire are in right now,” said NFFE-IAM National President and Directing Business Representative Randy Erwin. “There are numerous fires occurring right now in the Western U.S., and we simply do not have enough boots on the ground to contain them. NFFE-IAM members are working around the clock to contain these fires, but they do not have the resources they need. We are calling on the White House and Congress to fix these problems. We need to get this wildfire problem under control. That means more boots on the ground and better pay and benefits for wildland firefighters, among other things. These changes need to happen now.”
The full resources of the IAM will be deployed to help wildland firefighters, said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr.
“Every year, countless lives are saved by the heroic efforts of our NFFE-IAM federal firefighters,” said Martinez. “It is time we give them the resources they need to complete their mission and know they will go home safe to their families. The IAM sends our profound thanks to these heroes and pledge to stand beside them every step of the way.”
IAM District 9 recently held its 28th annual Guide Dogs of America
charity golf event, which raised $43,000 for the Machinist Union’s favorite charity. The event included about 120 participants at the Florissant Golf Club in Florissant, Mo.
The tournament included GDA’s Marketing and Outreach Manager Zack Gittlen and Guide Dog “Legend” as the special guests at the tournament. Gittlen gave a speech about the importance of the organization’s guide dogs to help the blind and those who suffer from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“District 9 takes tremendous pride in hosting this annual golf event, which includes good fun for a very important cause,” said IAM District 9 Directing Business Representative Dave Weaver. “We are so proud of our members and the efforts to help make sure that Guide Dogs of America has the support needed to help those who need its services.
“This annual event shows how Machinists come together to increase resources for Guide Dogs of America,” said IAM Midwest Territory President Steve Galloway. “Thank you to the members of IAM District 9 who always stands in solidarity when called to help those who truly need our support.”
Last year, GDA completed a merger with Tender Loving Canines, and now provides hardworking service dogs for people who are blind/visually impaired, veterans, and individuals with autism to become trusted companions that bring confidence, independence, and mobility.
The organization’s services are provided free of charge to residents in the U.S. and Canada.
The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act week of action has begun and IAM members need to keep the pressure up by telling your Senators to pass this long overdue bill. This crucial legislation will grant workers the right to freely form a union without the threat of company intimidation or interference.
The PRO Act will make it easier for working people to bargain together and win good contracts because it will:
Empower workers to exercise our freedom to organize and bargain.
Repeal “right to work” laws.
Ensure that workers can reach a first contract quickly after a union is recognized.
End employers’ practice of punishing striking workers by hiring permanent replacements. Speaking up for labor rights is within every worker’s rights—and workers shouldn’t lose our jobs for it.
Hold corporations accountable by strengthening the National Labor Relations Board and allowing it to penalize employers who retaliate against working people in support of the union or collective bargaining.
Create pathways for workers to form unions, without fear, in newer industries like Big Tech.
IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. today wrote a letter
to the Senate urging them to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
“The PRO Act is a crucial piece of bold legislation that modernizes our federal labor law and establishes a process for mediation and arbitration to help the parties achieve a first contract,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “It protects workers’ right to organize a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits.”
There are PRO Act events planned this week across the country. If you’d like to participate, please click here
to find an event near you.
International President Robert Martinez Jr. has announced the appointment of Tom Regan to the position of IAM Transportation Department Airline Coordinator. Regan was currently serving as a Grand Lodge Representative assigned to the Transportation Department.
In addition to the Airline Coordinator appointment, Martinez has appointed William Cashion Jr. and Jorge Bonilla as Special Representatives to the Transportation Department.
“All three of these Brothers bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with them making them valuable assets for the Transportation Department and great fit for their positions,” said Martinez. “IAM members working the air transport sector are in good hands.”
“Brothers Regan, Cashion and Bonilla have been negotiating contracts with carriers and servicing Machinists Union members for decades,” said Richard Johnsen, Chief of Staff to the International President. “Their expertise in this area will help ensure our union continues to negotiate the best contracts in the industry for our members.”
Regan initiated into Local 1445 in 1984 with Allied Aviation where he served as a Shop Steward and Trustee. In July 1987, he was hired at US Airways in Newark, NJ where he served as a Grievance Committee person and Grievance Committee Chairman and was involved in the Piedmont merger on the contract screening committee.
In 1993, he transferred to Orlando where he served as a Grievance Committee Person and became the Local 2508 Secretary Treasurer. In 1997, he became Vice President at Large with District 141 servicing the Fixed Base Operators negotiating many Collective Bargaining Agreements.
In October 2000, he was elected District 141-M Assistant General Chairman assigned to the US Airways property and was responsible for the administration of that Collective Bargaining Agreement, which included negotiations and restructuring during the 2003 and 2004 bankruptcy filings.
Regan was assigned to District 142 in 2004 as a Special Representative as a result of the disbandment of District 141-M and in July 2005, was elevated to Grand Lodge Representative assigned to the Transportation Department and was assigned to many negotiations. Regan also served as the Transportation liaison to the IAM National Pension and Benefit Fund.
Cashion has served as a Grand Lodge Auditor since January 2014. He has been a member of the IAM since 1986. He was President of IAM Local 1725 in Charlotte, NC from 1993 to 2000, and served as Local 1725 Secretary-Treasurer from 2001 until 2014. Cashion has spent time as the President of the North Carolina State Council of Machinists, Vice President of the NC AFL-CIO, President of the Southern Piedmont Central Labor Council, and as an Educator and member of the Organizing and Legislative Committees of his local.
Bonilla has served as an Education Representative at the William W. Winpisinger Center since August 2017. He was elected Assistant General Chairperson at District 141 in 2014. As an Assistant General Chairperson, Bonilla was responsible for handling grievance reviews and arbitrations for Ramp Service and Customer Service employees at several different United Airline negotiations. He also served on the negotiating team that negotiated the amalgamated agreement at the new United Airlines.
Prior to that he was elected as Grievance Committee Chairperson of the newly formed Local 811. Bonilla’s union activism began at Continental Airlines in 1998 when he joined the IAM in-house team working to organize the carrier.
Bonilla also serves on the Washington, DC board of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and has been an Education Representative for the IAM National Pension Plan.
It was the first large-scale event hosted by the Biden administration and one that IAM Local 1406 member Brent Sletten won’t soon forget. On July 4, 2021, Sletten and his wife, Tricia, were one of the 1,000 military personnel and essential workers invited to a BBQ held on the White House lawn to celebrate America’s birthday and the country’s return to near-normalcy in a post-pandemic world.
“It was definitely the invite of a lifetime,” said Sletten. “It was very cool. I just sat back and tried to soak it all in.”
Sletten has 24 years under his belt working for GE Datex-Ohmeda in Madison, WI. He was one of the working class machinist heroes
who during the pandemic put his life on the line to build anesthesia, respiratory and infant care machines during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, used around the world to save lives. That’s why his local was chosen to take part in the cookout, to thank these frontline workers for what they did to help save this country. Sletten said he was honored and grateful to be elected to represent the Machinists Union at the event but wishes his entire crew was there too.
“There was no one-man band in the shop,” explained Sletten. “It was just amazing that out of 450 or 500 people working during the pandemic, there were no squabbles or arguments. Everyone just kept a level head and got to work. They were there just to get it done, put that seal on the box and ship it out. That was amazing”
What made the Washington, D.C. trip even more significant for Sletten was that it came just days after Local 1406 finished negotiating another five-year agreement
with the company which gave members and their families wage increases, managed health care premiums and an appreciation award for the long hours and work performed by the membership during the pandemic.
“I cannot speak highly enough of the dedication to the work performed and solidarity found amongst the members of Local Lodge 1406,” said IAM District 10 Directing Business Representative Alex Hoekstra. “The overwhelming solidarity of the membership allowed the negotiating committee to fight through tough negotiations and secure a new long term agreement.”
“It is exciting to see Brent and the members of Local Lodge 1406 being recognized and appreciated by the leaders of this great nation for the work they performed as front line workers during the pandemic,” said IAM District 10 Business Representative Joe Terlisner. “The work the members and other frontline workers performed over the course of the last year will not be forgotten.”
As a member of the negotiating team, Sletten said he was proud of the work done at the table and in t
“The good part was that for the first time in my 24 years and seven contracts at GE, the shop was more active in the negotiating process than I have ever seen and that was just amazing,” said Sletten.
IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway is thrilled these frontline workers were recognized by the White House and proud of what they were able to accomplish at the bargaining table for working families in Wisconsin.
“IAM members at Local 1406 answered the call and put everything on the line when our country needed them the most,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “This core value of taking care of each other carried through into the bargaining process where their solidarity sent a powerful message to the company that they deserved better, which ultimately helped them bring home a strong IAM contract. It’s great to see their fortitude and courage being celebrated on the shop floor and all the way to the White House.”
Sletten says he appreciates this amazing opportunity, but at the end of the day, it won’t change the way he operates.
“I am here to get it done and do what’s right for the membership. That’s all I want to do,” said Sletten.
Participants can compete in two different meat categories or can barbeque both ribs and chicken in an attempt to be crowned Grand Champion. Meats will be judged on: appearance, presentation, moisture, smoke rings and tenderness (video of pulling the rib bones and slicing or pulling meat from chicken). View the complete set of rules here
Registration deadline is Friday, September 24, 2021 at 9 p.m. ET.
The competition will be held Saturday, September 25, 2021, with all submissions saved in an assigned Dropbox folder. The deadline for submissions is 9 p.m. ET. Winners will be announced live on Facebook on Monday, September 27, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET.
For more information or questions, please contact Terri Kenealy in the IAM Woodworkers Department at 301-967-4555.
Guide Dogs of America is the IAM’s favorite charity. In 2020, GDA completed a merger with Tender Loving Canines and now provides hardworking service dogs for people who are blind/ visually impaired, veterans, individuals with autism and facilities to become trusted companions that bring confidence, independence and mobility. Their services are provided free of charge to residents in the U.S. and Canada.
When Jerry McCoy heard about the American Rescue Plan in March, he didn’t know that much about it. In 2011, he retired as a machinist from the Y-12 National Security Complex facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and has been living off the company pension. Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC operates the site.
“I’m retired during a pandemic. If they ever said, ‘We don’t have enough money in your pension plan,’ it would have been devastating,” said McCoy, a member of IAM Local 480.
President Biden signed the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Relief Act into law on March 11, as part of the American Rescue Plan. The law preserves and restores pensions for more than one million retirees and workers in about 200 severely underfunded multiemployer pension plans. McCoy was thankful his pension didn’t fit into that category. However, he knew the dire consequences looming for all U.S. pensioners without the provisions of the “Butch Lewis Act.” It protected healthy plans and strengthened the overall pension system, something the IAM lobbied for heavily.McCoy was happy to see the legislation, because he considers his pension his lifeline. “It’s very important because we depend on that for our livelihood, my wife and I.” He said it was reassuring to know that he would someday retire with a pension, even when he was younger. “That was the reason you stayed there,” he said. “That was the reason you wanted to be there.”
McCoy started working for what was then Union Carbide in 1970 and 41 years later, hopes young workers realize the benefits of defined benefit pension plans and the importance of preserving them. “New employees come in and don’t have a pension. They have a 401K. You might as well go to Vegas,” he said.
Fortunate enough to retire at 60, McCoy is thankful his wife has a pension and their daughter was able to receive a union scholarship from the AFL-CIO and go on to work for a Canadian company that provides a pension.
It’s all about priorities and getting a fair return on our work. “Giving bonuses sounds good, but I’d rather have a raise,” he said. And a pension.