Friday, July 24, 2020
IAM Officers, Staff and Members — This email newsletter is an effort to better communicate with our membership on how the IAM is fully engaged on important legislative matters that affect our day-to-day lives. Our goal is to get this information out to our membership on the shop floors. Please make it a top priority to consistently share this important new initiative with our membership.
Robert Martinez Jr.
HELLO AND WELCOME TO MACHINISTS ON THE HILL, a twice-monthly roundup of legislative advocacy on behalf of IAM members.
Produced by: IAM Legislative and Communications Departments
IAM WINS DEFENSE WORK, STRONG BUY AMERICAN IMPROVEMENTS IN HOUSE: The IAM’s strong advocacy on Capitol Hill has advanced funding for critical defense work on a variety of programs for Machinists Union members from coast to coast.
A long-time priority of the IAM, enhancing Buy American standards for major defense programs, also won approval in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The IAM, along with U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), championed an NDAA amendment that expands Buy American requirements for defense procurement to 100 percent by 2026. Currently, only 50 percent of defense production is required to be produced domestically, not counting frequent exceptions to the law.
“Our men and women in uniform deserve the best, and that’s what Machinists Union members deliver,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “I am incredibly proud of our members in the defense industry for the extraordinary work they do. This is just another validation of their talent and dedication, as well as the experience of the IAM’s Legislative Department on Capitol Hill.”
FIGHTING FOR AIRLINE WORKER SUPPORT: The IAM and a coalition of airline unions continue to call on Congress to prolong federal assistance to the airline industry to support worker payrolls. Without action, the industry is facing an unprecedented collapse after Oct. 1, 2020 as global travel continues to stall due to COVID-19 pandemic, and the CARES Act funding runs out.
Friday is the last day for members of Congress to sign on to a letter supporting an extension of the airline worker Payroll Support Program. See the IAM’s letter urging Congress to sign onto the bill.
U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging the department to improve the program’s implementation and ensure CARES Act funds are available to airline employees.
STRIKING IAM LOCAL S6 ASKS NAVY ABOUT BIW SUBCONTRACTING CLAIMS: IAM Local S6, currently on strike against Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, is asking Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite to respond with the policy of the U.S. Navy concerning subcontracting at the Maine shipbuilder. More than 4,300 IAM members have been on strike for over five weeks.
During negotiations, Local S6 consistently made proposals to find workable solutions to adequately meet the needs of BIW and the shared shipbuilding mission. The company has instead demanded to subcontract large portions of the work at the shipyard, contending that the Navy strongly endorsed the increased subcontracting.
International President Robert Martinez Jr. sent letters to the House and Senate urging their assistance in securing a fair contract and ending the strike.
Martinez is traveling to Bath to address the membership on Saturday, July 25, along with Maine elected officials. Martinez will deliver a strong message of solidarity to the members, and tell Bath Iron Works to negotiate a fair contract now.
MACHINISTS CALL FOR ASSISTANCE SAVING DISTRICT 65 JAMESTOWN METAL PRODUCTS PLANT: The IAM is asking for help from elected officials to save nearly 80 New York IAM Local 2495 (District 65) jobs at Jamestown Metal Products.
Management at the Jamestown, NY plant announced that the factory would permanently close its doors by early September and move work to Tennessee. The company has cited supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason to close the plant.
“We are asking for your help in reaching out to Jamestown Metal Products and have them reconsider its decision to close its facility in Jamestown,” wrote IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. in letters to U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Rep. Tom Reed. “The company is open to working with the local community to find a solution that would keep the work in New York if it made financial sense. The workers at Jamestown Metal Products deserve better than being thrown out on the street. Our nation deserves better.”
TCU-IAM FIGHTING TO SAVE AMTRAK: The Transportation Communications Union (TCU-IAM) is asking YOU to step up and contact Congress today. Tell them to save Amtrak service and our jobs by keeping the railroad funded through the pandemic.
IAM SAYS PASS HEROES RECOVERY PACKAGE, DUMP GROW ACT: As COVID-19 continues to ravage our economy and workforce, it is imperative for Congress to act quickly to continue the lifeline for workers. The IAM is urging the Senate to pass the much-needed HEROES recovery package, and to also oppose the poison-pill Giving Retirement Options to Workers Act (GROW Act) in the HEROES Act or any recovery package considered by the Senate.
The IAM Eastern Territory and the New York Machinists State Council joined other New York unions and leaders in a letter urging Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to fight for the bills.
Working families are bearing the brunt of the pain and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill extends the federal unemployment benefit of $600 a week for an additional six months, provides COBRA subsidies for laid-off workers to continue employer-sponsored health care plans and includes long overdue hazard pay, among other things.
Lawmakers included the vitally important Emergency Pension Plan Response Act, which provides necessary relief to struggling multiemployer pension plans. Congress must assist these struggling plans.
But the HEROES package currently includes the GROW Act, which would allow multiemployer plans to divert money from healthy plans into composite plans, which weakens healthy plans and does not provide funding to weather financial downturns, and doesn’t require plans to pay premiums to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), which ensures retirees wouldn’t lose everything. The IAM says the Act must be excluded from the current HEROES legislation.
IAM URGES CONGRESS TO PROVIDE SECURE VOTING FOR NLRB ELECTIONS: The IAM sent a letter to Congressional Representatives to implement a safe and secure remove electronic voting system for elections for union representation.
The bi-partisan Secure and Fair Elections for Workers Act (SAFE Workers Act) was introduced by Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and
The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely harsh on workers, and the IAM urges Congress top make the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)provide a system for electronic voting, which would not only be safe for workers, but would provide a rapid response for employees seeking union representation.
This legislation would also repeal the previous law that prohibited the NLRB from developing an electronic system of voting, as well as providing the funding to carry out and develop the voting system.
NFFE-IAM PRAISES HOUSE PANEL FOR PARENTAL LEAVE FIX AND ENFORCING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS FOR UNION FEDS: The National Federation of Federal Employees/IAM (NFFE-IAM) expressed its appreciation for the House Armed Services Committee on its effort to pass the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) out of Committee.
While the general purpose of the bill is to authorize the Department of Defense programs and policies, historically the bill serves as a policy platform for the rest of the government because of its “must-pass” priority designation each year in Congress.
The 2021 NDAA as passed by the House panel includes a fix to the Federal Employees Parental Leave Act that allows federal workers access to 12 weeks of paid leave as of Oct. 1. The bill also limits the defense secretary’s authority to exclude certain categories of employees from collective bargaining rights based on national security grounds. The bill also improved Wage Grade pay systems by aligning it more closely to the General Services pay system, and a separate provision nullifies all collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) across all agencies that were not mutually and voluntarily agreed to with labor after April 30, 2019.
“These provisions are critical to moving the mission and the workforce forward,” said Randy Erwin, NFFE-IAM National President. “Under the Trump administration, it has been one step forward and two back for federal workers and the missions they support. It is a shame how much time, energy, and tax dollars were wasted over the last three years through the Administration’s effort to corrupt mutually beneficial labor-management relationships.”
IAM MOURNS CIVIL RIGHTS ICON JOHN LEWIS: The IAM is mourning the recent passing of legendary civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who served his Georgia congressional district for more than 30 years. Lewis, who passed away on Friday, July 17 at the age of 80, was a long-time ally of Machinists Union members in Congress.
Lewis, the son of sharecroppers who preached non-violence in the face of oppression, in 2013 personally participated in the IAM’s 125th birthday commemoration in Atlanta. Speaking to IAM members there, Lewis encouraged them to fight against voter suppression.
“We must not step backward to another dark period in our history,” said Lewis. “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democratic society.”
MACHINISTS OPPOSE AMENDMENTS TO WATER RESOURCES BILL: The IAM voiced support for an open, democratic process for water supply allocation of water use rights from Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida. In a letter to U.S. Representatives, International President Bob Martinez said that the process in place for 50 years, which is negotiated by all stakeholders, has stood the test of time.
The IAM Is greatly concerned about amendments and language being developed behind closed doors that cuts out the stakeholders in the process. Such proposals aren’t vetted with any stakeholders that have existing water use rights based upon reliable federal operating rules for the lake.