Clinton Talks Jobs, Exports at IAM District 751

IAM District 751 President Jon Holden introduces Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at their union hall in Everett, WA. (Photo: Elaine Thompson / AP)

IAM District 751 member and Boeing Machinist Denise Strike values her steady union job, but she’s worried her kids won’t have the same opportunity. Speaking before Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took the stage at District 751’s Everett, WA hall, Strike said she doesn’t want to their generation to be the first to not be as well off as their parents.

Watch Clinton’s remarks at District 751 here.

“To me, this is unacceptable,” said Strike. “I’m counting on the next president to work across the table and find effective ways to create and sustain jobs in the U.S.”

Boosting exports matters to voters in Washington state, which holds Democratic caucus this Saturday, March 26. Aerospace giant Boeing and hundreds of suppliers employ tens of thousands of workers in the Puget Sound area, many of whom are IAM members. They’re fighting against the slow creep of good middle class jobs from Washington state to places like China, where Boeing will soon open a finishing facility.

“We see our work spanning to all corners of the globe,” said District 751 President Jon Holden, citing an ongoing battle to hold Boeing accountable for $8.7 billion in tax incentives over the next 25 years.

District 751 members are more engaged in this election cycle than in any election before, says Holden. “The right to bargain with your employer as a union has never been more at risk than it is today, so we’ve been encouraging our members to get involved,” said Holden.

Speaking before IAM members and other guests, Clinton reaffirmed her support for the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, a federal agency that helps finance sales of Boeing aircraft, among other exports, to foreign buyers. Her opponent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), calls the bank “corporate welfare” and voted in 2015 to shutter it.

“It’s the lifeblood that makes it possible to export around the world,” Clinton told a cheering crowd. “I’m going to be the biggest champion of the Export-Import Bank.”

Clinton, an honorary IAM sister, said she “feels a particular connection to my brothers and sisters” in the IAM.  She pledged to protect the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain for better working conditions.

She cited her efforts as secretary of state and as a U.S. senator to promote American exports overseas, which grows good jobs for U.S. workers. Clinton said she wants to expand apprenticeship opportunities like the IAM offers in Washington State and across the country.

On trade, Clinton has said the Trans-Pacific Partnership does “not meet the high bar I have set.”

“We’ll do everything we can to create more manufacturing jobs and keep the manufacturing jobs here,” said Clinton.

Heather Jackson, the wife of a Machinist from Monroe, WA, said she backs Clinton because she supports Machinists.

“We’re a union family and it’s important to stand those who support the working class of America,” said Jackson.