The IAM is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of retired IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Don Wharton. Brother Wharton was a 65-year lifetime member who joined the Machinists Union at the age of 17. A true unionist to his core, Wharton served the IAM in nearly every capacity, even after his retirement in 2003.
Wharton was an integral part of the IAM for decades and helped guide the union through very difficult times. He was the General Secretary-Treasurer during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and helped navigate the devastating economic collapse that followed. Regardless of the task at hand, Wharton always tackled it with grace, knowledge and razor sharp wit.
“The IAM has lost a great union brother, friend, leader and trade unionist,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Don was a giant in the labor movement who dedicated his entire life to fighting for working families, even in his retirement. On behalf of the Executive Council and the entire Machinists Union, I send our condolences to his wife, Gay, their children and the rest of the Wharton family.”
Wharton initiated into Local 1405 and held virtually every local IAM union office from shop steward to local lodge president. By 1962, his leadership was obvious and he was elected Business Representative for IAM District 59 in Marion, OH. He was hired as a Grand Lodge Special Representative in 1968 and served in many capacities including: Administrative Assistant, Organizing Control Room Director, Director of Placid Harbor, Executive Assistant, General Vice President and General Secretary-Treasurer.
The hard work of IAM members from the Southern Territory, Transportation Department and Grand Lodge, who volunteered their time over the past months, has paid off with historic wins for pro-worker candidates, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, in the Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs. The victories will shift the balance of power in the Senate.
“I would like to thank all Machinists Union members who sacrificed their time by mobilizing for months to ensure the futures of all working people,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The results in Georgia make the passing of the PRO Act, pension reform and real COVID relief that all families desperately need and deserve more attainable. The hard work to deliver on these promises to heal our country begins now.”
IAM members contacted thousands of Georgia Machinists via member-to- member phone calls, robocalls, local mailers, door hangers, text messages and emails. TCU/IAM and NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 members also volunteered.
to watch how IAM members in Georgia and from across the country voluntarily campaigned for two pro-labor candidates in Georgia.
The two Senate races went to a runoff because no candidate won more than 50% of the vote on Nov. 3. Their wins will shift the balance of power in the Senate and will facilitate how President-elect Joe Biden can enact his legislation priorities.
During their campaigns, Ossoff and Warnock emphasized affordable health care, workplace safety, labor rights, infrastructure investment, paid family leave and more.
Join fellow Machinists, other union members and activists for the 2021 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference January 15-16, 2021. Register for the conference today.
With the inspiration of progress made in 2020, the theme for the 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference is “From Protest to Power: When We Fight, We Win.”
On Jan. 15 and 16, activists will gather virtually to build on victories and strategize about the continued fight for economic and racial justice with—and also within—the labor movement.
“We are honored to carry on the legacy of Dr. King by continuing his fight to dismantle systems of economic and racial inequality and improve the lives and livelihoods of working people and their families—a monumental task, but one that we can help achieve with the strength and solidarity of our Union,” said IAM Director of Women’s and Human Rights Carla Siegal.
The conference will be free of charge, and all sessions and trainings will be held online so that everyone can attend safely. Register today.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2021 – Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), issued the following statement on President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Marty Walsh to serve as U.S. Labor Secretary:
“In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the worst economic period since the Great Depression, working people could not have asked for a better nominee for Secretary of Labor than Marty Walsh. As a long time union member, Mayor Walsh truly understands the needs of working men and women. He will restore fundamental labor rights, especially after four years of attacks from the Trump administration.
“Mayor Walsh proved himself to be a fierce ally of our union by helping us fight back
against the privatization of more than 400 IAM Local 264 bus mechanic jobs at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Thanks to Mayor Walsh joining our strong labor coalition, we saved those jobs for working families and Boston public transit riders. Mayor Walsh is a true fighter for working families, and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together on a national stage.
“The Machinists Union is eagerly looking forward to working with Mayor Walsh as he ‘builds back better’ at the Labor Department. The Senate should swiftly confirm him as the next Secretary of Labor.”
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care, and other industries.
IAM members from the Southern Territory, Transportation Department, Grand Lodge and the Georgia AFL-CIO have mobilized over the past month to get IAM members out to vote for worker-friendly candidates in today’s Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs. The outcome of these runoffs will determine the balance of power in the Senate.
“I would like to thank GVPs Wallace and Pantoja and all IAM members who have been proactive in getting out the vote in Georgia for this critically important Senate race,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The Machinists have been at the forefront of labor’s push to help get worker-friendly candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock elected.”
“I have personally been in Georgia over the holiday working with these dedicated Brothers and Sisters to take back the U.S. Senate for working people,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “Together we have contacted thousands of members with door hangers and phone calls. We have been mobilized for months in Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Albany, Macon and across the state. I want to thank the Legislative and Political Department, my entire staff, especially Grand Lodge Representative Tim Wright, our field liaisons and directors, as well as the leadership and members of Local 709, and Districts 75, 776, 131, 112, 1888 and W2021 for putting in so much effort throughout these campaigns. This has been a true team effort at every level of our union.”
“I want to thank the members from Local Lodge 2665 in Atlanta who mobilized to help ensure IAM voices are heard, and the volunteers from all three Transportation District Lodges across the country who made phone calls to IAM members in Georgia because the outcome there will be felt nationwide,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja.
The Georgia State Council of Machinists has endorsed Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in part because they will be allies in Washington in passing the PRO Act, pension reform and COVID relief that working families desperately need.
IAM members have contacted thousands of Georgia Machinists via member-to- member phone calls, robocalls, local mailers, door hangers, text messages and emails.
Congress, feeling pressure from the IAM and other labor leaders, delivered a harsh rebuke to President Trump by overwhelmingly overriding his veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The IAM had been pressuring Congress to quickly vote again to approve this bipartisan bill that will fund numerous military programs built and maintained by Machinists members.
“President Trump tried to use the great men and women of our military as pawns in his agenda to defend confederate names of military bases,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Our legislative team worked around the clock to ensure Congress voted again to get this crucial bipartisan legislation passed that will help preserve hundreds of thousands of IAM aerospace defense and shipbuilding jobs.”
Thanks to the IAM’s lobbying efforts, the 2021 NDAA authorizes funding for the following IAM-built and maintained programs:
– 93 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters
– 24 F-18 Super Hornets
– 15 C-130 Super Hercules
– 12 F-15 Eagles
– 15 KC-46 Tankers
– Eight P-8 Poseidons
– Two DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class Destroyers
– One Columbia-class Ballistic Submarine
– Two Virginia-class Attack Submarines
The 2021 NDAA (H.R. 6395) also includes a well-deserved 3 percent pay raise for our nation’s armed service members and also provides additional pandemic leave and paid parental leave provisions for most federal employees.
By vetoing the bipartisan #NDAA
is playing politics with our dedicated service men and women, our national security and the livelihoods of @MachinistsUnion
members supporting our military.
As the largest U.S. defense union, we urge Congress to swiftly override his veto.
With 2020 being a difficult year for many, 2021 couldn’t get here soon enough. Now you can celebrate the new year with the 2021 IAM Calendar featuring winners of the IAM photo contest. Go through 2021 with us as we showcase the exquisite photography of our members.
Calendars are $7 for individual orders and $5 per calendar for orders of 100 or more. Two dollars from each calendar sold are donated to the IAM’s favorite charity, Guide Dogs of America.
This is a great way to promote the Machinists and the work we do, as well as helping to bring independence and confidence for people who are blind/visually impaired, veterans and children with autism across North America.
Guide Dogs of America
hit the jackpot with the best supporters in the world. With your help, they were able to raise $280,000 through the Virtual Las Vegas event. Because of your generosity, they have a head start for 2021 and will continue transforming lives through partnerships with service dogs.
“Ever since receiving my first dog from Guide Dogs of America, my life has been filled with things that I CAN do, rather than what I can’t do. The school has given me the greatest gifts of my life…the ability to be independent and confident beyond anything I could have ever imagined.” – GDA Graduate
Guide Dogs of America is the IAM’s favorite charity. In 2020, GDA completed a merger with Tender Loving Canines, and now provides hardworking service dogs for people who are blind/visually impaired, veterans, children with autism and facilities to become trusted companions that bring confidence, independence and mobility. Their services are provided free of charge to residents in the U.S. and Canada.