The IAM is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of retired Machinist, Charlie (Gene) Bradford, at the age of 89. Bradford held many roles in the IAM in his 43-year career, and his 70 years with the IAM earned him the rare honor of a Gold Lifetime Membership card, bestowed upon members who reach 50 years of membership.
At the time of his retirement, he was the Director of Apprenticeship, Scholarship, Safety and Health, Community Services, Retirees as well as IAM CARES and IAM CREST.
“The IAM has lost a great union Brother and pioneer,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Brother Bradford’s mission in life was to serve those who were suffering or in need. He helped build programs in the IAM that addressed those issues, championed civil rights and assisted the disabled. On behalf of the Executive Council and the entire Machinists Union, I send our condolences to his wife, Dorothy, their daughter and our own IAM Info Systems Director Colleen Morgan, and the entire Bradford family.”
Bradford initiated into the IAM in 1952. He worked various union jobs including Anheuser Busch brewery, serving as President of his Local 41.
His devotion to assisting others transitioned him to take a job in 1968 with the Human Resources Development Institute (HRDI) of St. Louis to assist in the newly developed Civil Rights programs.
In 1972, Bradford took a position at the AFL-CIO’s HRDI program in Washington, DC where he became the Executive Director. In his final years at HRDI, he assisted the IAM in 1977 in the development and training of the first IAM Civil Rights department.
In March 1979, Bradford took a position at IAM Headquarters where he held many positions over the years. He participated in the first Organizing training program at the Winpisinger Center. He later developed the IAM CARES Program. He also began the IAM CREST program to provide safety/OSHA training onsite with major companies to keep the IAM members safe while on the job.
180 IAM Local Lodge 1379 (IAM District 65) members at Kennedy Valve in Elmira, NY, who produce fire hydrants and water valves, recently ratified an extremely strong three-year agreement.
The membership voted overwhelmingly to accept the tentative agreement, which includes:
– Major wage increases
– Improvements to pensions
– Bereavement language
– Shift differential
– Life insurance
– Accidental death and dismemberment
– Safety shoe and safety glass allowance
– And employee personal vision care while maintaining their health insurance.
“These members have been underpaid and their benefits have been attacked contract year after contract year. This time it was our turn,” said IAM District 65 Directing Business Representative Ron Warner. “Thanks to the solidarity of the membership, who continued to go to work day in and day out throughout the pandemic, their efforts were rewarded with this outstanding contract. Our negotiating committee was outstanding and they knew exactly what their members would accept and made that clear to the company.”
“This contract was achieved by the negotiating committee’s unrelenting will,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “I congratulate our members for their solidarity and their faith in the committee to deliver a contract that contains many major job improvements. Special thanks go to District 65 Directing Business Representative Ron Warner and all of the district staff who provided leadership and guidance throughout negotiations.”
The IAM is saddened to report that the union has lost retired Western Territory General Vice President Justin Ostro, a longtime leader with a great passion for the IAM and working people. Ostro, 94, passed away on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
“The IAM has lost a true leader and giant of the labor movement,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “Brother Justin was the mentor for me, a true fiery Fighting Machinist, and a catalyst for my passion for the IAM and the labor movement. Myself and the entire IAM Western Territory send our heartfelt condolences to the Ostro family during this difficult time.”
Ostro, a more than 50-year gold member of the IAM, joined the IAM as a structural aircraft mechanic at Republic Aviation in Long Island in 1951. Ostro quickly became a shop steward, with a vision to speak for those without a voice.
He worked his way up through the ranks and quickly became local lodge president, where he was a tenacious negotiator, securing major contracts on behalf of IAM members. As an elected leader with the Long Island Federation of Labor, Ostro and others met with President Lyndon Johnson on union matters.
“Brother Justin made a huge mark on our union and the entire labor movement,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “His legacy has and will continue to live on in the Machinists Union for generations to come. The IAM sends our thoughts and prayers to the entire Ostro family.”
In 1966, Ostro relocated to West Hartford, CT and became an IAM Grand Lodge Representative and chief negotiator for the workers at Pratt and Whitney. Here, he also served as President of the Hartford Labor Council, and Vice President of the Connecticut State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
In 1977, Ostro was elected as a Western Territory General Vice President. He negotiated major contracts with Boeing and Lockheed, continuing to help improve the lives of workers on an even larger scale.
As General Vice President in 1979, United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez was locked in a tough labor dispute after thousands of its union members demanded better pay from corporate lettuce growers in California. Ostro and Chavez worked closely together as IAM members stood in solidarity.
Ostro was also elected for several terms to the Democratic National Committee where he served as a delegate to many Democratic conventions. While in California, he served as Vice President of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. Ostro happily retired in 1992 to spend time with his loved ones.
The IAM Midwest Territory raised more than $19,000 at two recent events benefiting the IAM’s favorite charity, Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines
, which provides service dogs free of charge to deserving individuals across the U.S. and Canada. Both events were held consecutively on the weekend of May 21 and 22.
Threatening skies couldn’t keep participants from the IAM Midwest Territory’s 3rd annual Sporting Clays Shoot, held at Nilo Farms in Brighton, IL, which drew 70 participants. The weather shortened event is rescheduled for August 27, 2022.
The 13th annual Spirit of Midwest “Rides for Guides” Classic Auto Show drew 85 cars to IAM District 837 in Hazelwood, MO.
The show included stock cars from as early as the 1950s, trucks, corvettes and street rods. Trophies were given to the top three cars in each class, Best of Show and People’s Choice.
“IAM members know better than anyone how to join together for a good cause, and they have once again shown that in the Midwest Territory,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “My sincere thanks to every participant and sponsor who helped us raise more than $19,000 for Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines.”
For more information on these and other IAM Midwest Territory events to benefit Guide Dogs of America, visit the Spirit of the Midwest website at SpiritoftheMidwest.org
Washington, June 16, 2022 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) applauds the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for approving the Global Aircraft Maintenance Safety Improvement Act (H.R. 7321). The bi-partisan legislation, introduced by committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), would strengthen Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversight of commercial airline repair facilities outside the United States.
The panel’s action advances the legislation for full House floor consideration of DeFazio’s bill, which would include measures such as unannouncedFAA inspections of foreign repair stations, and set minimum qualifications for mechanics and other workers, including drug testing and background checks.
“Our hard-working members take pride in making sure their work at carriers such as American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and others focuses on safety regulations set by the federal government,” said IAM Air Transport General Vice President Richard Johnsen. “It’s only fair that their counterparts working at facilities overseas abide by such high U.S. standards.”
The IAM is the largest airline union in North America, representing over 100,000 airline workers.
“I want to thank Chairman DeFazio for introducing this very important legislation that will help ensure airline passenger safety is a top priority globally,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr. “The lack of uniform regulatory standards and oversight sets an unlevel field with carriers increasingly enticed by the financial incentives to push this work overseas. This results in job losses in the U.S. and risks passenger safety.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 900 aircraft maintenance and repair stations have been certified by the FAA outside the U.S., which includes countries such as China, Singapore and Brazil.
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.
The Machinists Union delegation, led by International President Robert Martinez Jr., took center stage at the AFL-CIO’s 2022 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. An IAM Delta Air Lines organizer also inspired activism at the convention.
Martinez submitted, and the convention passed, a constitutional resolution calling on the federation to:
Develop a comprehensive aerospace manufacturing strategy;
Enhance supply chain security;
Strengthen Buy American requirements;
Strengthen rules of origin in trade agreements;
Protect the aerospace and defense industries.
“Right now, there are more than 40,000 low-wage aerospace jobs in Mexico—work that used to be done by well-paid IAM members right here in the United States,” said Martinez. “And, because of misguided corporate technology transfer deals, the Chinese Communist Party is quickly developing aerospace technology that threatens hundreds of thousands of U.S. aerospace and defense jobs.”
Martinez also presented a resolution, which passed, calling for global solidarity with Ukraine. Martinez was joined on stage by Ukrainian labor leaders.
“We join the global labor movement in continuing to campaign for the release of independent trade union leaders—wherever they may be—who call for workers’ rights, human rights, democracy and peace,” said Martinez. “Thank you to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who have worked under such difficult circumstances to show your fellow Ukrainians and all of us the meaning of solidarity.”
Felix McGee, a Delta Air Lines employee and IAM organizer, called for delegates to support workers who are trying to get union representation in their workplace.
“Rise up, Brothers and Sisters,” said McGee. “Rise up and show the world that we will continue to fight for brothers and sisters who lost elections just like me, workers that desperately want a union contract.”
President Joe Biden, U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams also took the stage, advocating for strong unions and praising the federation for being the backbone of the American economy.