IAM’s ‘Buy American’ Defense Amendment Heads to U.S. Senate

A critical amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to strengthen Buy American, tirelessly lobbied for by the IAM, was filed today in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). If passed, the amendment would dramatically increase domestically made procurement requirements in major defense programs.

The amendment would increase “Buy American” requirements for major defense programs from 55 percent to 60 percent upon the bill’s enactment. Requirements would further rise to 65 percent by 2024 and to 75 percent by 2029.

The amendment, championed in the U.S. House by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), was included in the bipartisan House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“As the largest defense labor union in the United States, the IAM is incredibly grateful to Senator Duckworth for moving Buy American forward to benefit the U.S. workforce,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The IAM has led the way in advocating the use of U.S. tax dollars to purchase American-made planes, ships, missiles, submarines, and other products and services that keep our nation secure. This amendment will not only grow our industrial base and help give thousands of working Americans the opportunity to improve their lives and communities, but it will increase the number of domestic manufacturers throughout the country.”

The IAM has been pushing the increase for years in order to strengthen the defense industrial base and domestic supply chain while helping prevent vulnerabilities created by military products being made in China and other countries.

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Act Now to Support Milwaukee Art Museum Workers’ Fight for a Fair First Contract

Eleven months after the certification of their union election with the IAM, workers at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) are sending letters to the MAM Board of Trustees, urging the Board to provide living wages, increased access to health insurance, a workplace that fosters diversity and equity, and to achieve a first contract that recognizes the essential contributions of MAM workers to fulfilling the museum’s mission and strategic direction. 

SIGN THE PETITION: Milwaukee Art Museum Workers Deserve a Fair First Contract

“MAM workers deserve a fair first contract,” said Alex Hoekstra, IAM District 10 Directing Business Representative. “Their hard work and dedication to the museum, the arts and to the community is second-to-none.”

“The prolonged delay by the MAM Board to agree upon a fair first contract is beyond disrespectful to a group who are the beacons of their community,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “The IAM will not stop fighting for these workers who exercised their right to form a union. They are part of our Machinists family, and we will exercise every resource we have to ensure they are provided the livable wages and compensation they justly deserve.”

MAM workers’ campaign to organize with the IAM reflects their dedication to MAM’s mission and desire to strengthen the Milwaukee community. Nearly 90% of MAM employees in the newly organized bargaining unit call Milwaukee County home.  To do the best work possible and lead in the arts and culture sector regionally and nationally, the museum must begin by valuing its employee base equitably.

Without providing fair and living wages to its workers, the museum will not be able to recruit and retain a diverse staff across all departments that truly reflect the Milwaukee community. Counting just those employees covered by the contract, the museum has lost over 120 cumulative years of experience in the past four months. Improvements in working conditions are essential to reducing turnover. 

READ: Milwaukee Art Museum workers petition for living wages and increased benefits WDJT-TV Milwaukee


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Machinists Union Urges Immediate Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Build Back Better Act

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2021 – Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the 600,000-member International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the largest aerospace, defense, and transportation union in North America, released the following statement strongly supporting the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the agreement on the Build Back Better Act:

“Our union is relieved that our nation’s elected officials could agree on legislation impacting millions of working families. The IAM was instrumental in helping pass the American Rescue Plan and other rescue packages to help keep our members employed and their families secure. But these were temporary fixes to a problem that needs a permanent solution. The IAM applauds the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the framework agreement on the Build Back Better Act. Both pieces of legislation will provide historic investment for the airline, transit, aerospace, manufacturing and other critical industries.

“Build Back Better is transformative for families, with the Child Tax Credit, child care, universal pre-K, workforce development, and more. Corporations have been on the receiving end of corporate tax cuts and other special giveaways for too long. We need legislation that will embrace a pro-worker, pro-democracy agenda that provides millions of working families the opportunity to better wages and benefits. 

“The infrastructure package will finally strengthen Buy America rules to help boost our domestic manufacturing sectors. Our union fought to include the most significant federal investment in public transit and passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. Our transportation sector will benefit through the modernization projects created through the robust funding provided in this infrastructure package. This investment will help our vital manufacturing and transportation sectors build back better.

“Our union is dedicated to reversing the trend of an economy that serves the wealthiest and most prominent corporations so that working families can live a better life with decent wages and benefits.”

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Earn Your Degree Through the IAM’s Empire State College Partnership

Since 2014, the IAM has partnered with the State University of New York’s Empire State College (ESC) to offer associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Labor Studies through ESC’s Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. School of Labor Studies in New York City.

The partnership also offers a master’s degree in Work and Labor Policy. Degree programs are conducted online, with week-long residencies that occur once a semester at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD.

Our members lead busy lives, and the adult-focused learning at ESC makes their academic programs a perfect fit. You will not find a better program to do a deep dive into the history and context of our work as unionists.

You can apply online at www.esc.edu; members who use the code ECPTRIAM will get their application fee waived.

Want more information? Please email Education Representative Douglas Williams at dwilliams@iamaw.org.

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IAM Joins Rep. Veasey in Bipartisan Effort to Bolster F-35 Program Funding

The IAM is joining with Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33) and other lawmakers urging the Biden-Harris Administration to fully invest in the F-35 Lightning II program in the Fiscal Year 2023.

Rep.Veasey led a bipartisan group of 89 members on a letter urging the Biden-Harris Administration to fully invest in a robust F-35 Lightning II program in its Fiscal Year 2023 Department of Defense (DoD) budget request and the Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP). The letter urges strong support to this vital program so that long-term procurement and sustainment costs continue to go down.

“Not only is the F-35 critical for the national security of the U.S. as well as our allies and partners, but it is also vital to the U.S. manufacturing base,” wrote the lawmakers. “Across our country, more than 1,800 suppliers contribute to the F-35, with one in every two of those companies being a small and/or disadvantaged business. The F-35 supports more than 254,000 high-tech, high-paying American jobs annually with thousands of those workers who are skilled union members. Further, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this workforce has remained committed and resilient; they are a true national security asset. At a time when our economy has suffered the devastating effects of COVID-19, this program has continued to create jobs, foster workforce development, and spur economic opportunity.”

“I commend Rep. Veasey and other lawmakers for standing up for our members who are a vital part of the F-35 program,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The IAM will work with our allies in Congress to highlight the national security and economic benefits of the F-35 program. We must fight to grow the F-35 program and the thousands of jobs this economic engine supports for our nation.”

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