GDA/TLC Highlighted in Veteran Magazine

The work of Guide Dogs of America was highlighted in the February issue of Homeland , a veteran and active military resource magazine. The publication is focused on resources, support, community and inspiration for veterans and military families.

The article, on pages 54-55, gives an overview of the organization and the work they do to provide freedom, independence and confidence to the blind/visually impaired, veterans and children with autism.

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, children 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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Tell Congress to Pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act

The IAM is urging Congress to enact the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a critically important piece of legislation that will grant workers the right to freely form a union without the threat of company intimidation or interference.

The PRO Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) in the House and Senator Patty Murray in the Senate (D-WA), is the most significant worker empowerment legislation since the Great Depression 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 members must act now to tell your Senators and Representative to pass this legislation, which will protect workers’ right to organize a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits. 

TAKE ACTION: Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative to support the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act

Call your Representative at 202-224-3121 to urge them to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, allowing workers the right to freely form a union without the threat of company intimidation or interference.

“The PRO Act is a crucially bold piece of legislation that modernizes federal laws and establishes a process for mediation and arbitration to help the parties achieve a first contract,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr in a letter to Congress. “The bill would level the playing field by prohibiting employers from requiring their employees to attend ‘captive audience’ meetings whose sole purpose is to convince workers to vote against the union.”

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Marty Walsh, Biden’s Pick to Lead Labor Department, Shows Why He Will be a Champion for Working Families

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a longtime union member and labor leader, made a strong showing at his Senate confirmation hearing to become the next U.S. Labor Secretary.

Upon President Biden’s nomination of Walsh to serve as head of the Labor Department, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said Walsh “is a true fighter for working families.”

“The union was our way into the middle class,” Walsh said during the hearing. “It meant a fair wage. It meant safety on the job, so we didn’t have to live in fear of an accident derailing our lives. It meant a pension, so my parents could retire with dignity. And it meant health insurance.”

As mayor, Walsh proved himself a fierce ally of the IAM by defending more than 400 IAM Local 264 bus mechanic jobs from privatization.

Walsh plans to operate in stark contrast to the previous Labor Secretary, Eugene Scalia, who worked as an employer-side attorney to beat back allegations of labor law violations.

“Mayor Walsh knows working people and unions because he is one of us,” said Martinez. “With the pandemic still raging and unemployment at extremely high levels, we need a Labor Secretary who will represent workers on the frontlines. Marty Walsh will be that champion and the Fighting Machinists will be right there by his side. We urge the Senate to confirm Mayor Walsh with a strong bipartisan majority.”

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Machinists Union Leading Fight for Airline Worker Payroll Support Extension to Avoid Layoffs

The IAM continues to lead the fight on Capitol Hill for an extension of the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP) to keep tens of thousands of IAM members employed.

On Sunday, the IAM received notice that there was absolutely no funding in the budget resolution for the desperately needed Payroll Support Program (PSP). International President Robert Martinez Jr. and the IAM Legislative Department immediately jumped into action to make sure that Congress include desperately needed funding for airline workers.

As a result of the IAM’s aggressive lobbying, congressional leadership decided to include airline worker funding in the budget resolution proposal.

“Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, airline workers have been forced to work through difficult times, unsure about their health and futures,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Thousands of jobs have already been lost, and without an extension of the Payroll Support Program, those numbers are likely to increase. The IAM will do everything possible to get relief for airline, transportation and all transit workers during this unprecedented time.”

Keep Up the Pressure! IAM members must act now to tell your Senators and Representative to provide sorely needed relief to aviation workers and help save hundreds of thousands of frontline airline worker jobs.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Your U.S. Senators and Representative to extend the Airline Payroll Support Program Through September 2021  

“An extension of the Payroll Support Program through September is vital to ensuring the futures of hundreds of thousands of aviation jobs,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “I ask that all Machinists support their aviation Sisters and Brothers by calling your Senators and Representative imploring them to include this much-needed relief in any COVID Relief package.”

Call your Representative at 202-224-3121 to urge them to pass an extension of the Payroll Support Program, and save thousands of frontline aviation jobs.

In a letter to Senate and House leadership , the IAM, along with a coalition of aviation unions, urged members of the House and Senate to include this vitally important, bipartisan legislation in any COVID-19 pandemic relief package to be considered by Congress.

“We respectfully request that Congress provide $15 billion to extend the program, and ask that the furlough protections that have ensured this program’s success be extended until September 30 or until the funds are exhausted, whichever date is later. Without these actions, wide-scale layoffs in the industry will begin as early as March 31,” the joint letter reads.

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Black History Month: Machinists and the 1950s Civil Rights Movement

The civil rights movement gained traction in the 1950s with the rise of a powerful young preacher Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. But as national attention grew around race, the IAM was already quietly breaking barriers by electing African Americans to important positions in local lodges, sending Black delegates to Grand Lodge Conventions, promoting diversity in youth sports leagues and negotiating good contracts in a time when many African Americans suffered from racism and economic inequality in the form of low wages and poverty.  

IAM membership in the mid-1900s was predominately white and male. But historic change occurred in 1950 when Roman Mayfield, a manufacturing worker at the Boeing Co. in the Seattle area officially became the first Black member of IAM District 751. In 1954, an African American shipyard worker named Curtis Wiggins would become Sentinel at newly formed Lodge 1647 in Vallejo, CA. That same year, Lee Estridge, a Black member of Lodge 1191, would break racial boundaries by serving as Shop Steward at a machine manufacturer in Moline, IL.

By the end of 1954, the IAM had negotiated notable, lucrative contracts for its members, including a racially diverse bargaining unit of 4,500 from District 9 who worked at U.S. Defense Corporation in St. Louis. The final contract negotiated that year included a 10.5 cent pay raise, paid vacations, seniority protection and generous overtime pay. The seven-man bargaining committee included four Black IAM members.

The IAM’s fight for civil rights would be felt in local communities, too. Local 996 in Sidney, OH sponsored an integrated youth baseball team in 1954. Local 996 member Homer Schamp served as head coach and his team of 11 included two Black players. The squad’s progressive stance embodied that of Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player, who was in the prime of his career as a Brooklyn Dodger. 

African Americans in the IAM would make significant strides at the 1956 Grand Lodge Convention in San Francisco, joining a multicultural delegation of at least 1,500. At the time it was the largest event in the union’s history, a 10-day session that welcomed dozens of Black attendees including Pete Abernathy of Lodge 824 in Richmond, CA and Gus Jones of Lodge 2000 in Jacksonville, FL. Then-IAM President Al Hayes solidified the union’s bold stand on racial equality by proudly taking a photo with a group of nine Black delegates. 

By the end of 1956, the IAM’s commitment to racial equality extended to Africa when President Hayes and Grand Lodge Representative Rudy Faupl welcomed a group of Nigerian trade unionists to Washington, DC during a goodwill tour of the United States.

Decades later, Machinists continue to be a labor leader in racial equality. History was made in 1999 when the union selected Robert Roach as the first African American to serve as Transportation General Vice President. In 2013, the organization would choose Diane Babineaux, a woman, as the first African American to serve as Headquarters General Vice President. And in 2016, Robert Martinez Jr. became the first Latino to serve as International President, where he currently leads 600,000 active and retired Machinist members.    

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