IAM Stands With Congressman Golden And Maine Senate President Troy Jackson On H-2A Visa Reform

The Machinists Union supports Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Maine Senate President Troy Jackson’s (D-Allagash) efforts to reform the H-2A visa program and address loopholes that have enabled Canadian truckers in the logging industry to exploit and take jobs in the state of Maine unfairly. 

“What we’re seeing is companies misusing the H-2A program in an effort to circumvent federal law,” stated Golden and Jackson in a press statement. “Canadian truckers are abusing the H-2A program when they make daily commutes into northern Maine to participate in the American domestic logging market, competing directly with Mainers for jobs and depressing wages. H-2A visa cannot be used for the domestic transport of harvested timber. By enforcing federal law and holding companies accountable for misusing the H-2A program, the federal government can protect these jobs.”

Golden has consistently pushed the past White House administration and his colleagues in Congress to take action on this issue. In addition to proposing an amendment  to the Department of Labor funding bill last year, Golden also called on all three relevant agencies to conduct an investigation  into allegations of Canadian truckers operating illegally in Maine. Golden also proposed two amendments  the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 to exclude logging activities from the definition of “agricultural labor or services” in the bill.

Jackson has repeatedly sought action on both the state and federal level to end this unlawful practice and hold violators accountable. He even brought Gov. Paul LePage up to Fort Kent  to hear directly from the affected truckers in 2017. In the Maine Legislature, Jackson has introduced  several pieces of legislation to protect Maine trucking jobs and penalize offending companies for breaking the law. In addition, he has written to the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, and the Department of Labor. This past summer, he filed a complaint against the Department of Labor  for failing to enforce federal cabotage laws.

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U.S. Appeals Court Says Oregon Welders Have Right to Join IAM

More than three years after voting for union representation, welders working at Precision Castparts in Portland, OR, are finally going to get it. The nearly 100 welders who voted to join the IAM in September 2017 reached a favorable ruling from a federal appeals court denying the company’s claim they couldn’t legally form a union as a specialized group.

In May 2018, the group received a favorable ruling under the National Labor Relations Act . Due to their specialized craft, the ruling stated that the highly skilled welders could be a distinct bargaining unit within the 2,500-person workforce at Precision and could vote to join the IAM as a 100-person group.

The legal battle has gone back and forth through the appeals process with the National Labor Relations Board and the court system, with the final favorable ruling handed down last week from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. The company has one last appeal, and that would be to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It’s my hope that the IAM and PCC can finally get down to the business of negotiations, and give the welders at PCC a contract they can be proud of,” said Organizer and IAM Grand Lodge Representative Billy Anderson. “To right the hardships of what the welders have endured throughout this unnecessary long process, PCC can respect their vote for the IAM by bargaining in good faith and doing so now. It’s way past time.”

“It is in moments like these where we see the severe shortcomings of workers’ rights to organize on full display, said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “I salute the resilience of the workers at PCC. I have no doubt that our new Sisters and Brothers will have a profound impact on our organization. Now begins the hard work of winning an IAM agreement for these brave workers. We will do everything in our power to support the District and local leadership in fighting for a good first contract.”

“These workers have overcome every possible obstacle that PCC has put before them, never backing down,” said IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo. “And now it’s time for justice to be served.”

“I admire these workers for standing together to demand justice and a voice in their workplace,” said District Lodge W24 President and Directing Business Representative Wayne Thompson. “Our District stands ready to meet the challenge of working with the members to win a great first contract that will benefit them, their families, and the community.”

The resilient group has never stopped fighting for the right to representation, holding rallies to bring attention to their cause .

The group of welders voted in favor of joining the IAM following changes implemented after Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. purchased the company in 2016. Bringing more fairness in work rules, a safer environment, and better compensation are among the reasons workers chose the IAM.

Workers at the plant make heavy-duty metal components for airplanes, generators, and other industrial products.

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IAM Supports For The People Act

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Rules Committee Chairwoman U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced  S.1., the For the People Act—a sweeping package of comprehensive reforms that would end special-interest corruption of our politics and make government work for the people.

The landmark legislation—companion legislation to H.R. 1, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 3—aims to restore the promise of American democracy by guaranteeing every American citizen full access to the ballot by addressing voter intimidation and suppression, which are among the biggest examples of systemic racism in America; ending the corrupting power of dark money in our campaigns; and putting an end to gerrymandering. In addition, it strengthens ethics laws to ensure that public servants work for the public interest.

“As Senate Majority Leader, one of the first things that I did was designate the For The People Act as S.1, the first legislative bill from the Senate Democrats,” said Leader Schumer. “In doing so, Senate Democrats made clear we are committed to standing up to the voter suppression efforts that are threatening the core tenets of our democracy, to ending dark money in politics, and to ensuring public officials work for those they represent and not the special interests. As this legislation moves through the Senate, every member of this body will have an opportunity to stand up and say if they support a government by the people and for the people.”

The For the People Act would:

  • Make It Easier, Not Harder, To Vote
  • End The Dominance of Big Money In Politics
  • End partisan gerrymandering
  • Ensure Public Officials Work For The Public Interest

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Machinists’ Pressure Leads to MBTA Rescinding Job and Service Cuts

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has changed course about cutting service and laying off dozens of workers due to intense pressure the IAM exerted through lobbying and rallies. The MBTA now plans to include enough funding in its next annual budget to run buses and trains on the same schedule in place pre-pandemic.

Last Friday, the IAM and a coalition of other transit unions organized an innovative, online rally calling on the MBTA to reinstate their full pre-pandemic schedule. The rally, which was one of many by the IAM over the last year, garnered over 1,000 views and resulted in the MBTA reversing their plan amid the intense criticism.

“Our members and other union members put themselves in harm’s way during this deadly pandemic to provide this vital service to the public,” said IAM District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mike Vartabedian. “The Governor and the MBTA owed it to the workers and the riders to use the federal relief money they received to keep services running for the people who were hit hardest during this time.”

“The MBTA felt the full force of the power the IAM wields,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “Although the MBTA received billions of dollars of relief from the government, their plan was to use the unfortunate events of the COVID pandemic to eliminate service and lay off workers. I am proud of how every Machinist stood up to them, fighting for their brothers and sisters and ensuring the people of their communities would have the same necessary access to public transportation as prior to the pandemic.”

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Blue Springs, MO Public Works Employees Vote to Join Machinists Union

30 workers from the City of Blue Springs Public Works in Missouri have voted overwhelmingly to join the IAM. The new members will be a diverse group of employees from the public works water department, fleet services and street and sewer maintenance fields.

The inside organizing committee and new members had to overcome many obstacles throughout the 3-month campaign due to COVID restrictions.

“My sincerest gratitude goes out to all of these members that stood together so they could have the opportunity to negotiate a fair and equitable contract for years to come,” said IAM Local Lodge 778 Directing Business Representative Joe Capra, the campaign’s lead organizer. “I’d like to thank the inside committee of City of Blue Springs Public Works and Business Agent Scott Brown for their endless dedication in making this a strong win for them and the IAM.”

“In these uncertain economic times and tenuous job security, these brave women and men from the City of Blue Springs Public Works stood in solidarity to make their voices heard by voting overwhelmingly to join the IAM,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “Credit for this organizing win goes to Directing Business Representative Joe Capra and the whole team to secure this tremendous victory. I welcome our new sisters and brothers to our IAM family.”

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