When workers at Clow Foundry in Oskaloosa, IA were faced with paying for their own health care, and given one week to do so, they knew who to contact. Their co-workers in the machine shop at Clow Valve were longtime IAM members. After
, the nearly 60 new IAM members recently voted overwhelmingly to ratify a first agreement.
The negotiating committee made several important gains, including holding the line on health care, a driving issue during the organizing drive. The new accord also contains substantial wage increases in each year of the five-year agreement, which also included a ratification bonus of $3,000, as well as a 401(k) matching plan.
The Oskaloosa (Iowa) Herald
“This is a very good comprehensive first contract with gains in several areas,” said IAM District 6 Business Representative Gary Pickett. “This is a success story from the organizing effort to the ratification process. The ability to utilize the Field Negotiation Prep Class from the Winpisinger Center is priceless. My thanks to Business Representative John Herrig for his assistance, and to the Negotiating Committee, Stacy Craig, Andrew Williams, Joshua Britt, Robbie Saylor, and Shane Utterback for their solidarity and leadership in these talks.”
“My congratulations, and thanks go out to all involved,” said Directing Business Representative Randy Krewson. “The solidarity of this group made the difference, and they stood shoulder to shoulder during the organizing effort, and the negotiations. I welcome them to the Machinists family.”
“These new members recognized the IAM’s experience in negotiating strong contracts,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “The proof is in the results. Securing an organizing win and a first agreement in the first six months is no small accomplishment. Congratulations to the members of IAM Local 1498 at Clow Foundry, and a special thank you to IAM District 6 Business Reps. Gary Pickett and John Herrig, as well the Negotiating Committee for all of your hard work.”
The new members joined nearly 50 existing members from Clow Valve at IAM Local 1498. The castings produced by the members at Clow Foundry are shipped to the nearby Clow Valve a facility, which then produces fire hydrants, water valves and other critical infrastructure.
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IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. recently sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate appropriators, urging them to reject a Biden administration budget proposal that would cut funding for U.S. Army ammunitions and threaten the jobs of IAM Local 778 members at the Olin-Winchester Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) in Independence, MO.
Martinez urged Congress to increase funding for the Independence facility which manufactures the Army’s 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm and .50-caliber rifle ammunition.
“The Administration’s FY22 budget unwisely includes a 30 to 50 percent reduction in these munitions compared to the FY21 appropriated levels. The impact of these proposed cuts would be crippling to this highly-skilled workforce, reducing the current workforce of 1,700 by at least 450-550 employees,”
. “If these cuts are allowed to occur the Army would lose years of ammunition production expertise overnight. The decision to reduce this capacity would be highly inefficient, as the loss of workforce skills and production capacity would take years to rebuild when the Army decides to ramp up ammunition acquisition in subsequent years.”
A president’s budget request is often seen as a “wish list” of sorts that Congress can choose for guidance, or reject.
Martinez’s letter was sent to House and Senate leaders, in addition to Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo), in addition to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)
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As drought and high temperatures allow wildfires to spread across the western United States, NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 wildland firefighters are being mobilized to protect lives, property and infrastructure.
More than 2 million acres
, compared with about 1.6 million by this time last year.
Warner Vanderheuel, a wildland firefighter and president of NFFE-IAM Local 2086, says that fire seasons have progressively started earlier and ended later since he began his U.S. Forest Service career in 2000. This year has been no different.
“Drought areas have become much larger and field conditions more volatile,” said Vanderheuel, a NFFE-IAM Forest Service Council member who will soon go to fight fire in Montana and Idaho. “It’s demanding work, but the people I work with and the mission keep me going.”
As wildland firefighters continue to put their lives on the line,
for improvements to wildland firefighter pay, benefits and work-life balance. Many wildland firefighters have reported feeling that it is getting difficult to justify staying in this career while supporting a family.
The Biden administration
, a critical first step toward addressing the growing wildfire threat.
NFFE-IAM is calling for additional measures, including:
- Further increasing pay for all wildland firefighters
- Hiring at least 10,000 new firefighters over the next decade
- Allotting more resources to support a better work-life balance for federal firefighter
“It is a scary situation our members fighting wildfire are in right now,” said NFFE-IAM National President and Directing Business Representative Randy Erwin. “There are numerous fires occurring right now in the Western U.S., and we simply do not have enough boots on the ground to contain them. NFFE-IAM members are working around the clock to contain these fires, but they do not have the resources they need. We are calling on the White House and Congress to fix these problems. We need to get this wildfire problem under control. That means more boots on the ground and better pay and benefits for wildland firefighters, among other things. These changes need to happen now.”
The full resources of the IAM will be deployed to help wildland firefighters, said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr.
“Every year, countless lives are saved by the heroic efforts of our NFFE-IAM federal firefighters,” said Martinez. “It is time we give them the resources they need to complete their mission and know they will go home safe to their families. The IAM sends our profound thanks to these heroes and pledge to stand beside them every step of the way.”
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IAM District 9 recently held its 28th annual
charity golf event, which raised $43,000 for the Machinist Union’s favorite charity. The event included about 120 participants at the Florissant Golf Club in Florissant, Mo.
The tournament included GDA’s Marketing and Outreach Manager Zack Gittlen and Guide Dog “Legend” as the special guests at the tournament. Gittlen gave a speech about the importance of the organization’s guide dogs to help the blind and those who suffer from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“District 9 takes tremendous pride in hosting this annual golf event, which includes good fun for a very important cause,” said IAM District 9 Directing Business Representative Dave Weaver. “We are so proud of our members and the efforts to help make sure that Guide Dogs of America has the support needed to help those who need its services.
“This annual event shows how Machinists come together to increase resources for Guide Dogs of America,” said IAM Midwest Territory President Steve Galloway. “Thank you to the members of IAM District 9 who always stands in solidarity when called to help those who truly need our support.”
Last year, GDA completed a merger with Tender Loving Canines, and now provides hardworking service dogs for people who are blind/visually impaired, veterans, and individuals with autism to become trusted companions that bring confidence, independence, and mobility.
The organization’s services are provided free of charge to residents in the U.S. and Canada.
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The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act week of action has begun and IAM members need to keep the pressure up by telling your Senators to pass this long overdue bill. This crucial legislation will grant workers the right to freely form a union without the threat of company intimidation or interference.
The PRO Act will make it easier for working people to bargain together and win good contracts 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 International President Robert Martinez Jr. today
to the Senate urging them to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.
“The PRO Act is a crucial piece of bold legislation that modernizes our federal labor law and establishes a process for mediation and arbitration to help the parties achieve a first contract,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “It protects workers’ right to organize a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits.”
There are PRO Act events planned this week across the country. If you’d like to participate, please
to find an event near you.
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