Clock Ticking for Airline Relief — Online Election Center Goes Live — Relief Needed Now for Amtrak Workers

Friday, September 4, 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.

In solidarity,
Robert Martinez Jr.
International President

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

CLOCK TICKING FOR CONGRESS TO PASS AIRLINE RELIEF: The airline Paycheck Support Program contained in the CARES Act is set to expire on October 1, 2020. Carriers are making plans on how to deal with its loss, and the outlook doesn’t look good for airline workers.

The only hope of staving off mass furloughs is Congress taking action to extend CARES Act protections for airline workers. What we need to save jobs is:

  • Increase PSP funding levels by an additional $32 billion (covering six months);
  • Extend requirements relating to involuntary furloughs, share repurchases, dividend payments, and collective bargaining agreements to March 31, 2021;
  • Require Treasury to immediately disburse funds to every air carrier and contractor that executed a Payroll Support Program Agreement, an amount equal to their current payroll support.

“These are not controversial goals,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “We already have bi-partisan support for a clean extension of the program, and President Trump has also signaled his support. What we need is for Congress to actually start doing its job and take action to save the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of airline and aviation families.”

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA) recently led a bipartisan letter to American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, asking the carrier to continue its advocacy for the PSP extension and to keep communities and working families in mind when considering layoffs. Keller also led a separate letter to congressional leadership, highlighting the dire situation of the aviation industry and the need to include an extension of the PSP in future COVID-19 relief legislation.

American Airlines has announced it will layoff 19,000 workers on October 1. Southwest Airlines is eliminating 35,000 flights from its October schedule, and Air Wisconsin, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, ExpressJet, Hawaiian Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines and United Ground Express have issued Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications (WARN). 

“The airline industry is in dire need of immediate assistance from Congress,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Their inaction is jeopardizing the futures of all airline workers. The Machinists have been leading this fight from the beginning, and we must continue to keep the pressure on Congress. Do not stop contacting your Representative and Senators until this extension is enacted.”

IAM LAUNCHES 2020 ELECTION MEMBER EDUCATION AND MOBILIZATION INITIATIVE: Election Day is nearing and the IAM has news for members and retirees who would like to be more involved in the election process. Opportunities to volunteer have been added to, the Machinists Union’s one-stop shop for the 2020 election.

IAM members can sign up to phone bank, drop literature or a host of other volunteer opportunities. There is a separate link for IAM retirees to sign up to volunteer as well.

In addition to volunteer sign ups, the IAM has compiled all of the voting information you may need in one place at

You can register to vote, apply for an absentee ballot, set an election reminder and pledge to vote.

Visit for all your election needs.


AMTRAK ANNOUNCES MASS FURLOUGHS ON OCTOBER 1: Thousands of good paying union jobs are at risk. Immediate action is needed to provide necessary relief for Amtrak and job protection for our members.

The Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM) is calling on Congress to pass a relief bill that addresses these concerns and we are calling on Amtrak to abandon its plan for these drastic cuts.

IAM POLITICAL PRESSURE RESULTS IN RATIFIED CONTRACT, END OF STRIKE FOR MAINE LOCAL S6 SHIPBUILDERS: More than 4,300 IAM Local S6 members at Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, voted 87 percent to ratify a three-year collective bargaining agreement at the Maine shipbuilding company. IAM Local S6 members, who build destroyers for the U.S. Navy, returned to work beginning with third shift on Sunday, August 23.

The approved contract includes strong job protections against expanded subcontracting and preserves seniority rights, the two top issues that forced members to reject the company’s previous offer and begin the nation’s largest strike nearly 10 weeks ago on June 22.

“IAM Local S6 has shown the world that together working people can stand up and win for themselves, their families and their communities,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “This fight for dignity, justice and good Maine jobs will go down in the history books of the Machinists Union and all of organized labor. I could not be more proud of our IAM Local S6 membership and negotiating committee, District 4 representatives, Eastern Territory staff and everyone who stood with the IAM and the best shipbuilders in the world. We are also grateful for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and Director Richard Giacolone for helping us get this agreement resolved.”

IAM Local S6 members received significant support from elected officials and the community for the duration of the strike, especially from U.S. Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree, who publicly supported Local S6 several times. State Senate President Troy JacksonState House Speaker Sara GideonState Senator Eloise Vitelli and other state and local elected officials also supported Local S6 members. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden commended Local S6 for “standing up for what is right” and showing “the power of their collective voice and the power of unions to ensure workers get a fair return for their work.”


FIGHTING BACK AGAINST TRUMP’S ATTACK ON FEDERAL WORKERS: The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM Federal District 1) teamed up with U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to denounce the Trump administration’s order to stop withholding payroll taxes for federal workers.  Under IRS guidance, federal workers would have to pay those taxes out of pocket on Tax Day 2021.

“The legal authority for this announcement is at best dubious,” stated Rep. Beyer in a statement. “The policy will do more harm than good, and I intend to press the Administration about this.”

“Mr. President, just give federal employees and the military the 3 percent raise that they deserve next year and stop playing games with their checkbooks,” said NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 President Randy Erwin. “Like most Americans, federal workers have had a very hard year trying to keep the government running during a pandemic. They don’t need you making next year even worse.”

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