BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md., Dec. 30, 2021 – A group of 460 Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) full and part-time employees across the county’s 19 branches have voted 77% in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). The vote was tallied today in a mail-in ballot election.
The IAM is in the process of scheduling negotiations with BCPL management. County statute stipulates that negotiations must conclude by March 1, 2022.
The successful vote comes after years of organizing, which included the IAM winning a new state law allowing BCPL employees to collectively bargain. The law, sponsored by State Del. Cathi Forbes and State Sen. Shelly Hettleman, went into effect on July 1, 2021.
BCPL employees are seeking more transparency and communication from BCPL leadership and healthcare benefits for part-time employees.
“This is so exciting for Baltimore County Public Library workers,” said Anita Bass, a BCPL Circulation Assistant III at the Essex branch. “This will empower the staff of BCPL to continue to do the important work of fulfilling BCPL’s mission and vision. We need a system in place to protect and support each other and a legally binding contract will give us that. I believe in the BCPL mission and I know the IAM will help us accomplish that mission.”
“Baltimore County Public Library employees have always been a critical pillar to our community, and now especially during the pandemic,” said IAM Grand Lodge Representative Bridget Fitzgerald, lead organizer on the campaign. “I could not be more proud of these professionals for joining together and standing strong for what they deserve. This is a victory for them, their families and all of Baltimore County, which rightfully relies on a strong and inclusive library system.”
“The IAM has used and will continue to use every resource possible to give BCPL employees a greater voice in their workplace,” said IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo. “My personal thanks go to Grand Lodge Representative Bridget Fitzgerald and the entire Organizing Department staff for their unrelenting dedication to this campaign, as well as Associate General Counsel Laura Ewan and Chief of Staff Monica Lee Silbas for their professional guidance through the legal and legislative aspects of this campaign. Also, thanks to all IAM Departments and the Eastern Territory for their steadfast support.”
BCPLunited.org | @BCPL_United | goIAM.org | @MachinistsUnion
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is one of the largest and most diverse industrial trade unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive and other industries.
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Save the date, as the IAM and our allies will gather virtually on January 16-17 for the 2022 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference.
Register now for the 2022 AFL-CIO MLK Civil and Human Rights Conference.
We will build on our victories and strategize about the continued fight for economic and racial justice with—and also within—the labor movement.
The theme of January’s conference is “Honoring Our Past and Protecting Our Future.”
The 2022 observance marks the 26th year of the conference where we celebrate the legacy of Dr. King, reinforce the longstanding bond between the labor and civil rights movements, and both prepare and empower participants to carry on the fight for justice and equality. This year’s conference will be virtual.
This year’s conference will focus on the past, present and future connection between the labor and civil rights movement, the importance of strengthening our rights and the critical role that workers play in shaping our democracy.
Sessions and trainings will be held online so everyone can attend safely.
Register now for the 2022 AFL-CIO MLK Civil and Human Rights Conference.
The early registration fee is $35 and a general fee of $50 will become effective on January 4, 2022.
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Sisters and Brothers,
As the holiday season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and those who have helped to shape our union. While many of us will spend time with family, friends, and other loved ones, there are many, like our men and women serving in uniform, who are far from home.
I’d also like to extend my gratitude to all IAM members who will be working tirelessly during the holidays, moving travelers and goods safely worldwide. You sacrifice time away from your families so millions of travelers can spend time with theirs.
I’d like to wish every IAM member and their family peace, love and health this holiday season. Your hard work throughout the year is what makes our union as strong as it is.
IAM Chief of Staff to the International President
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Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends of the IAM,
As 2021 comes to a close, I can’t help but be astounded by how our union family has come together and made a difference in the lives of so many during what was another tumultuous year. Whether on the job or off the clock, when working people come together, they can – and usually do – change the world, making it better for everyone.
For all the workers who will be on the job making sure our loved ones remain safe during their holiday travels and celebrations, here’s hoping you take time to recognize the hard work and determination we see you bring to the job every day.
To all the working-class heroes, my gratitude runs deep for all you do, both for our countries and our communities. From myself and your Executive Council, we wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season.
In solidarity and gratitude,
Robert Martinez Jr.
IAM International President
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IAM District 15 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mike Vartabedian was recently presented with the Greater Boston Labor Council 2021 Award for his work as co-chair of the Public Transit Public Good Coalition, a group that successfully helped reverse proposed job cuts at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vartabedian, co-chair of the group of transit workers and riders throughout Massachusetts fighting for the future of public transit, has helped efforts to thwart the transit agency from cutting jobs and services amid the pandemic. Strong rallies and lobbying by the IAM and its allies led to the MBTA recently halting planned cuts, and instead officials moved to restoring funding to run buses and trains on the same schedule in place pre-pandemic.
Vartabedian, also chairman of the Coalition of Labor Unions at the MBTA, advocated to make sure labor has a voice on the Fiscal Management and Control Board, which is tasked with monitoring the transit agency’s finances, management and operations.
“I’m truly honored for this award, but this was a team effort. The Public Transit Public Good Coalition has really been a champion of making sure these essential workers of the MBTA are protected during this pandemic,” he said. “We have also been making sure the transit system commits to making sure services continue to be reliable for those who depend on it.”
Vartabedian shared the recent GBLC award with fellow Public Transit Public Good Coalition co-chair Lee Matsueda, Executive Director Community Labor United.
“This award is well deserved for Mike and the Public Transit Public Good Coalition. Mike and our allies have truly been rallying for workers, making sure the many ills of the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t result in added hardship for the MBTA workforce, which is so essential to keeping people throughout the Greater Boston region moving,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Brian Bryant. “Mike embodies the heart and drive of a true unionist, and I am so proud that he’s recognized.”
The victories have been mounting in the IAM’s fight to secure jobs at the MBTA. Machinists of IAM Local 264 were victorious in a historic two-year privatization fight against Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018.
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