Worker safety is one of the most important aspects of being a union member and on Wednesday, April 28, we remember those who died too soon. The IAM will honor 40 fallen members in its annual Workers’ Memorial Day Ceremony, held at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, Md. This year, the event will be private due to physical distancing precautions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but a recording will be available afterward.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect a little more than 50 years ago, after unions drew attention to work-related deaths, disease and injuries. We organized and demanded safer working conditions, resulting in more than 627,000 workers’ lives being saved since the act passed.
Those efforts continue today, as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic with greater access to personal protective equipment, paid leave and hazard pay, especially when we negotiate those benefits into union contracts.
Each year, more than 5,000 workers die from job injuries and 95,000 die from work-related illnesses. Working together, we can reduce those numbers, to save even more lives. Passing the PRO Act would help to make that reduction a reality because workplaces are safer when workers have a voice on the job. Workers in right-to-work states are in greater danger of injury, illness and death. In 2019, the job fatality rate was 37% greater than in states without these harmful laws.
To see the IAM’s Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony, check GoIAM.org and our social media platforms Wednesday evening. For a list of other events throughout the United States, click here.
The IAM is holding an election for General Secretary-Treasurer Saturday, April 24, 2021. All members in good standing are encouraged to vote.
Members can vote in person at their specific voting location noted in your December 4, 2020 letter. Voting will take place from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. unless otherwise notified.
To confirm your voting location, please visit grandlodgenominations.org. You will need your Card/Book Number and Local Lodge to confirm your voting location. You can call the IAM Membership Services Department at 301-967-4525 to confirm your Card/Book Number and Local Lodge.
Members of the IAM Local Lodge W260 Bargaining Committee last week participated in a Field Negotiations Prep Class in Alpena, MI in preparation for their upcoming negotiations with Decorative Panels International (DPI).
The four-day training was part of the IAM’s Negotiation Preparation Field Program.
The program, which adhered to all COVID safety protocols, provided the bargaining committee with the tools needed to help devise and develop a strategic negotiating plan. Training topics included how to draft contract language, present proposals, analyze the company’s strengths and weaknesses and communicate with its members. The week concluded with the group giving a bargaining presentation, a facet of the class created to give the bargaining committee a simulation of the atmosphere at the bargaining table.
“It was incredible to see six members with bargaining experience ranging from newly appointed to seasoned, within the course of a week, meld into one shared voice,” said Assistant Directing Business Representative Jeff McLeod. “Our members were told of all the resources they had available to them, but to see and engage in conversations with Brother Haller from the Legal Department, Brother Hurst from Strategic Resources and Sister Frietchen and Brother Wagoner from the Winpisinger Center really personalized these departments and demonstrated to our group the power that stands with them. The members embraced this training, and by week’s end, displayed a united front that was ready to take on negotiations with confidence.”
“I was super nervous about this upcoming contract, then we did the class and felt like I was ready for whatever the company was going to throw at us,” said Local W260 Chief Steward Don Sheldon. “Chris Wagoner and his staff did an amazing job at getting us prepared in the short amount of time we had.”
“The Alpena mill maintains an enormous presence in the city,” added McLeod. “I’d want to thank the members for the sacrifices they make to support and advance the livelihood of the entire bargaining unit, which helps to support all the people of this northern Michigan city.”
In additional to its Negotiation Preparation for Bargaining Committees Program held at the Winpisinger Center (W3), currently closed due to COVID restrictions, the W3 Center initiated its field training program in an effort to provide a more adaptable format for negotiating committees, stewards and members. The program is not designed to replace the Winpisinger-based Negotiation Prep program, but to better accommodate for situations where field negotiation preparation is the better option.
President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act provides 100 percent health COBRA coverage to employees and their family members. IAM members would qualify for COBRA coverage if they lost health insurance (including medical, dental, and vision plans) due to a reduction in hours being cut back, switch from full time to part-time, a temporary leave of absence, participation in a strike, or involuntary termination of employment, as long as they are not otherwise eligible for group health coverage. Coverage runs from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.
“COBRA subsidies included in the American Rescue package is just another validation on why the Biden-Harris administration cares for working families,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Our members who have suffered from layoffs, reduced hours, or are on a picket line for better wages and benefits, have a lifeline to keep them and their families safe and healthy during the pandemic. I want to thank every IAM member from around the country who made calls urging their representatives to pass this vital legislation.”
The IAM Transportation Department yesterday filed an application with the National Mediation Board (NMB) to investigate a representation dispute among Flight Attendants at National Airlines. A group of National Airlines Flight Attendants sought out the IAM’s assistance to form a union at the carrier and gain collective bargaining rights.
“I congratulate these brave Flight Attendants for standing up for themselves and demanding the equal treatment and respect only collective bargaining rights can bring,” said General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “I want to assure National Airlines Flight Attendants that the IAM will stand side by side with them and spare no resource to see that they win this election and bargain a fair first contract.”
The Flight Attendants, approximately 35, cited a lack of respect from National management, poor work rules and sub-standard pay and benefits as reasons to form a union.
“I am proud that the National Flight Attendants chose the IAM to aid in their quest for respect and fairness on the job,” said Grand Lodge Representative Joe Stassi, who spearheaded the campaign. “National Flight Attendants fly across the globe day in and day out providing essential services worldwide, including transporting US military.”
The NMB will docket the case, investigate whether a representation dispute exists and then schedule a representation election if over 50 percent of National Flight Attendants support a representation election be conducted.
National Airlines, an Orlando-based carrier, has supported industry and governments, aided military forces and provided subsistence logistics solutions to some of the most remote global locations. National Airlines has grown from a small, regional U.S. cargo airline, to one of the world’s leading air cargo carriers, and ultimately into a passenger airline.
The IAM is the largest airline union in North America, representing approximately 100,000 airline workers