Members of Congress Ratchet Up Pressure on Bath Iron Works to Resolve Local S6 Shipbuilder Strike

As the strike of 4,300 IAM Local S6 members at Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics subsidiary, enters a sixth week, U.S. Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree are asking the U.S. Navy to clarify its position on the expanded use of subcontracting at the shipyard. The work stoppage is the largest active strike in the United States.

Bath Iron Works management has both implicitly and explicitly told IAM negotiators that the Navy has pushed for more subcontracting at the Bath shipyard.

The expired Local S6 contract allowed for subcontracting after a joint review period between the company and union. Local S6 negotiators had proposed shortening the review period, but the company has insisted on a blank check to outsource Maine jobs, resulting in 87 percent of the membership voting to go on strike beginning June 22.

“We have significant concerns regarding the effect of subcontracting on the current BIW workforce, as well as its potential long-term impact on the recruitment and retention of Mainers to the shipbuilding industry,” write Golden and Pingree in a July 27 letter.

Specifically, the lawmakers are asking Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite if the Navy is pushing BIW to subcontract and if the Navy has a policy regarding its involvement in contract negotiations.

IAM Local S6 president Chris Wiers on July 17 sent a letter to the Navy asking for clarification on subcontracting at BIW. The IAM has not received a response from the Navy as of July 28.

“We are so thankful that Reps. Golden and Pingree have been outspoken in standing up for our membership and for protecting good Maine jobs,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Every taxpayer in the state of Maine should be outraged that Bath Iron Works is taking a $45 million tax credit while its own employees are on the street fighting for those dollars to be spent on Maine families.”

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Senate GOP’s HEALS Act Hurts Working Families

The GOP has released the details of their latest COVID-19 relief legislation named the “HEALS Act.” The proposed legislation not only cuts unemployment benefits to the 20 to 30 million Americans who are currently out of work, but falls short in just about every area of concern for working families.

“This legislation is a slap in the face to working people in this country,” said International President Robert Martinez Jr. “They have no problem handing out a trillion dollars in tax cuts to corporations, but want to nickel and dime unemployed Americans at a time when they need it the most. It appears the Senate may go on summer recess a week from now without bringing a bill to a vote, leaving millions of Americans to fend for themselves when additional pandemic economic compensation ends this Friday. They need to pass a relief package that benefits the people they are supposed to be representing.”

Please contact your Senators and tell them to pass a relief package that helps working people.

In addition to cutting pandemic unemployment compensation from $600 a week to 200 a week, the HEALS Act shortcomings include:

  • No airline or railroad relief
  • Immunity for companies that endanger their employees and the public
  • No OSHA standard protecting employees
  • NO pension relief, no COBRA subsidy, no eviction moratorium extension
  • Fast track to cut Social Security and Medicare (TRUST ACT)
  • No relief money for state and local governments
  • No money for USPS
  • Inadequate funding for schools
  • No funding for, or protections for election
  • No hazard pay for essential employees

Legislators are running out of time, as many of the provisions in the last COVID-19 relief package are about to expire, some as soon as the end of this week.

“Disaster is on America’s doorstep,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “Republicans need to get serious immediately, and work with Democrats to save lives and livelihoods during this devastating time.”

“One of the few things that’s kept our economy from deteriorating further is that these unemployment benefits have boosted consumer spending,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “That’s why economists say the Republican proposal would cost us over a million jobs this year, and 3.4 million jobs next year.”

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District 4 Machinists at Joint Base Andrews Ratify Three Agreements

At Joint Base Andrews (JBA) in Maryland, where Air Force One is housed, nearly 400 members of IAM Local 24, District 4 are once again covered under IAM contracts that protect their rights and their voice on the job.

“The negotiating committee was able to secure three outstanding agreements which set the bar for other aerospace bargaining units across the country,” said IAM’s General Vice President of the Aerospace Department Mark Blondin. “The district leadership prepared themselves and the members well for these negotiations, and that preparation paid off.  Despite obstacles stemming from COVID-19, we will continue to secure better wages, affordable health care, secure retirement and job security for our highly skilled membership.”

Under three separate contracts with DynCorp International, IAM members hold a variety of positions on the base, from functional check flight (FCF) pilots to helicopter and back shop maintenance. These three contracts were recently ratified, offering union members a good work/life balance.

“Especially during these tough economic times, it’s more important than ever we make sure IAM agreements reflect the honed skills of our members who have been, and will remain, on the job through the obstacles created by COVID-19. The teams at Joint Base Andrews deserve contracts that mirror the dedication they have for their crafts and the service they provide to this country,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President James Conigliaro Sr. “The negotiating team did an exemplary job at the table.”

The FCF pilots contract included an increase of more than $6 in wage increases, 64 hours of paid sick leave, the stabilization of health premiums over the life of the contract and improvements to working conditions.

The hardworking men and women in helicopter maintenance who work on the UH-1N Helicopters, among other aircraft, will see an average of a 3 percent rise in wages, while benefitting from increases in the flex benefit credit and the freezing of health and welfare premiums for the entirety of the contract. This group also negotiated a 30 cent increase to the IAM National Pension Fund and gains to shift differential pay.

The third contract ratified covers executive airlift and back shop maintenance group of employees who take care of the Presidential Air Group, the fleet of aircraft used by the president and other senior White House officials. This bargaining unit shares some of the same benefits received by the other two work groups. Pay increases of nearly 3 percent over the three years of the contract, as well as increases to the IAM Pension Fund, shift differential pay and money for uniforms and cold weather gear are just a few of the negotiated benefits for these workers.

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Machinists Integral in NASA Launch to Mars

Machinists Integral in NASA Launch to Mars

The Machinists Union once again played an important part in a successful United Launch Alliance NASA launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

On Thursday morning, the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, launched with the Atlas V rocket, began a historic seven-month trek to Mars. Upon landing, the rover will search for signs that microorganisms possibly lived on Mars, gather soil samples to be returned to Earth in a future mission and pave the way for human exploration beyond the moon. Perseverance will be joined by a helicopter called Ingenuity, which is the first attempt at powered flight on another world.

IAM members have been aiding this country’s successful space program since its inception. From life support technicians to fuel handlers to machine shop workers, the skill of the Machinists can be found at almost every level of all NASA missions.

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Last Chance to Participate in GDA’s ‘Walk, Run, Ride… Whatever’ Fundraiser

This Friday, July 31 – Sunday, August 2 is the last chance to participate in Guide Dogs of America’s “Walk, Run, Ride… Whatever” fundraiser.

With in-person events cancelled for most of the year, Guide Dogs of America (GDA) had to come up with a new socially distant fundraiser idea.

GDA initially considered a walk, run or ride to help raise money for the school, but decided there was a way to include everyone. Now, no matter how old you are or where you live, you can participate for an hour of anything in this year’s Walk, Run, Ride…Whatever.

Register here for GDA’s Walk, Run, Ride… Whatever.

Challenge yourself, family and friends to get outside for an hour dedicated to GDA and the good work it does year round. You decide if you want to run, walk, ride a bike or motorcycle, bungee jump or whatever! The important thing is to put “fun” into this fundraiser.

Guide Dogs of America is the IAM’s favorite charity. At the beginning of this year GDA completed a merger, 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.

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