Our Machinists Heroes

Sisters and Brothers,

This trying time for our union, our families and the entire world has brought into full focus the everyday heroes of the IAM. Our members are on the frontlines, doing the work that keeps our economy running and our countries safe.

Many of our members are considered essential employees and are still on the job. At every level of our union, we are working to ensure that employers provide our members with personal protective equipment and follow all guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other local, state, provincial and federal public health agencies. Together, we can stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.

This is the time to lean on each other and use our collective strength to our advantage. The IAM’s EAP and Addiction Services Programs are fully operational and available to members and their families. We fought day and night to include relief for our members in a number of industries in the latest relief bill passed by Congress. We are keeping our membership informed and I encourage you to refer to the IAM COVID-19 Resource Center for the latest developments.

The IAM and others are racing against the clock to build ventilators that will save lives in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. We are keeping public transit safe so that health care workers can get to hospitals. We are doing all of this and so much more because of the bravery of everyday heroes within the IAM.

Above all else, we urge all of our members to stay safe. We encourage everyone to continually check with the CDC for updated news on how to stay safe and what to do if you or anyone in your family is feeling ill. We are continuing our demand that all employers equip workers with proper protective equipment immediately.

Our union is showing the world what it means to be a Fighting Machinist—brave, resilient and strong in the face of adversity. That doesn’t mean that this time of uncertainty is any less painful for us as we deal with layoffs and the challenge of getting ourselves, our families and our IAM Sisters and Brothers through this pandemic.

Mark my words—the IAM will emerge stronger than ever from this crisis. Our union is prepared and ready to take on this challenge and continue to fight for our membership like we always have and always will. 

Stay safe, stay strong, stay united–together in solidarity we shall overcome.

In solidarity,


Robert Martinez Jr.
International President

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IAM Lobsterman Julie Eaton Making a Difference During COVID-19 Crisis

IAM Lobstering Local 207 member Julie Eaton has risen to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic by assisting others in her coastal Maine community.

Watch: We Stand Up for Each Other

“When the times get tough, we stand up for each other,” said Eaton. “And that’s something being a union member has really help instill in me.”

Eaton has been lobstering for 34 years and considers herself fortunate, but two weeks before COVID-19 made headlines in Maine, she almost lost her husband due to a massive heart attack. She will forever be grateful to the unheralded group healthcare providers who saved his life.

When her hometown of Stonington had to adjust to the virus, she immediately stepped up and began shopping for her neighbors. It has turned into much more than that.

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Our Nation Needs Pay Equality

Today marks National Equal Pay Day, a marker for on average how far into the year a woman must work to earn what a man earned 2019.

On average in 2019, women were paid 22.6% less than men, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

The IAM has been a strong advocate for means to bridge the divide and give women equal pay in the workplace. That includes championing for the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7, S. 270). The legislation, which passed the House last year, would address loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963, ensuring that employers pay women and men equally for equal work.


The pay inequality is even larger for minorities, an issue with heighted attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, black women are especially likely to work in hospitals and nursing care facilities, according to EPI. Women doctors are paid 12% less than doctors who are men, and women nurses are paid 8% less than male counterparts, according to the EPI data.

Joining a union is seen as one way to bridge the divide. In 2016, women in unions were paid 23% higher than those not in a union, according to an EPI study.

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Tell Congress to Support the End Outsourcing Act

The IAM has sent letters to Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to support the End Outsourcing Act (H.R. 6121, S. 3425). 

The IAM needs you to take action by asking your Senators and House Representative to co-sponsor the legislation.

TELL CONGRESS: Support the End Outsourcing Act 

This important legislation, introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would utilize the tax code as well as the federal grant, loan and contracting process to stop the rampant outsourcing of U.S. jobs to foreign nations and help bring these jobs back on to U.S. soil. Protecting U.S. jobs is an increasingly important issue as the nation weathers the economic impacts of the COVID-19, a pandemic that has already resulted in many job losses. 

“For far too long, U.S. businesses have been free to outsource U.S. jobs to low-cost, low-wage nations in search of ever-increasing cost reductions and short-term profits,” IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. wrote. “It is estimated, based on Trade Adjustment Assistance certifications, that nearly 200,000 U.S. jobs were outsourced in the first two years of the Trump administration alone.”

In addition to changing the tax code to make outsourcing less attractive, the legislation would punish outsourcing employers when they seek federal contracts, grants and loans by establishing a negative preference of at least 10% for employers who have outsourced in the previous three years.   

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IAM Mourns Loss of BCTGM International President David Durkee

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) President David B. Durkee passed away on March 30, 2020 after a long and valiant battle with cancer. He was 66.

“Brother Durkee was the definition of a true union activist and fought to protect his members at every turn,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with him in the fight against corporations who outsourced jobs overseas. He was a tireless advocate who was committed to the principles of the labor movement. The news of his passing hurt myself and our IAM family deeply. We offer our thoughts and prayers to David’s family and all BCTGM members as they go through this difficult time.”

Durkee was famously known for leading the fight against Mondelēz International, maker of Nabisco snack products. BCTGM initiated the “Check the Label” campaign that helped consumers determine in which country Nabisco products were made and to boycott those made in Mexico.

Durkee was elected as BCTGM International President in September 2012. Durkee, a long-time resident of Evansville, IN, has been a BCTGM activist since joining Local 280 in 1973 as a baker at Lewis Brothers Bakery.

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