IAM Saves Thousands of Aerospace Jobs — Fighting Machinists Help Fend Off California Recall — Machinists, Rep. Norcross Push ‘Buy American’ Expansion

IAM SAVES THOUSANDS OF MACHINISTS JOBS: The IAM’s Political and Legislative Department’s strong advocating for the new federal aerospace job protection program is saving thousands of IAM jobs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently released the first round of funding to more than 300 companies as part of a new federal program aimed at saving aerospace manufacturing and repair jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IAM aggressively advocated for and won the successful passage of the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program (AMJP), which is part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan. The program provides $3 billion in payroll support funding to aviation manufacturing employers, allowing them to keep aerospace manufacturing workers on their payrolls, avoid additional furloughs, and re-hire workers previously furloughed during the pandemic.

“This program will help ensure our nation’s aerospace industry will keep moving forward with the critically important workforce it needs,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “I want to thank the hard-working staff in the IAM’s Political and Legislative Department who won bipartisan support to ensure these highly-trained and skilled jobs remain intact as our nation’s aviation industry goes through one of the hardest moments in history.”

The U.S. DOT this week announced the release of $482.3 million in funding to 313 businesses, including approximately 20 with IAM-represented employees like Spirit Aerosystems, Pratt & Whitney, Hexcel Corp., and Learjet.

The IAM, the largest aerospace union in North America, has been urging U.S. aerospace employers to apply for funding from the federal program.

“Our nation’s aerospace industry has been successful due to the diligent and hard-working workers they employ. That’s why it’s so important that these workers remain on the job,” said IAM Aerospace General Vice President Mark Blondin. “These men and women are very important to the vitality and recovery of our nation’s aviation industry.”

The IAM’s effort has already saved thousands of IAM-represented jobs.

For example, the U.S. DOT provided $75.5 million to Spirit AeroSystems, which is estimated to save 3,214 jobs. Spirit, based in Wichita, KS, is a major supplier for the Boeing Co.

READ: Wichita-area aviation manufacturers get more than $100 million to save jobs

 Machinists Union members were among many workers in the aerospace industry who experienced layoffs and furloughs because of COVID-19. While air travel dropped significantly during 2020, so did the need for parts, repairs, modifications, and other services, hurting aerospace supply chain companies.

The hard work of the IAM Western Territory has helped defeat the Sept. 14 attempt to remove California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from office.

For months, the Fighting Machinists in the Western Territory has been in the midst of a campaign to educate members about the importance of voting to reject the recall, which was led by millionaires who wanted to roll back the clock on California’s worker protections.

Several publications like The New York Times dubbed Newsom’s win a landslide victory against conservative talk show host Larry Elder, a staunch critic of minimum wages and labor unions.

“I am so proud of our territory’s staff and officers. Their dedication to this very important campaign has pushed back an effort to rewind the workers’ rights that are so important to our members in California,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “With this attempted recall in our rearview mirror, it’s now back to work to help rebuild the economy and assure state laws continue to improve the lives of our IAM members.”

The Western Territory’s program included phone banking, text messaging, robocalls, and other member-to-member interactions.

LEADING CHARGE TO ‘BUY AMERICAN’ DEFENSE EXPANSION: An amendment championed by the IAM and U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) that would dramatically increase domestically made procurement requirements in major defense programs has cleared a critical hurdle in Congress.

The IAM has been pushing the increase for years in order to strengthen the defense industrial base and domestic supply chain while helping prevent vulnerabilities created by military products being made in China and other countries.

“Buy American policies serve the public good by targeting our tax dollars for the purchase of American-made products and services,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We must understand that the foundation of our industrial base lies with the skills and abilities of the American worker. Congressman Norcross’s amendment would help ensure that our tax dollars are used to support the U.S. workforce and the firms who employ them.”

The amendment passed on a bipartisan vote during a House Armed Service Committee mark-up of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation would increase “Buy American” requirements for major defense programs from 55 percent to 60 percent upon the bill’s enactment. Requirements would further rise to 65 percent by 2024 and to 75 percent by 2029.

“I am proud to have fought for provisions that make America safer by investing in the American worker,” said Norcross. “This bill will put us on a path to build back better by increasing our domestic supply chain capabilities, strengthening our workforce, and giving our service members the tools they need to win the future fight.”

The Biden administration recently ordered the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop a rule requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to produce a weekly negative COVID-19 test result. 

The IAM will closely examine the final rule and its full effect on different industries and employers once the rule is final.

“The IAM places the highest priority on the health and safety of our members at all times,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We continue to demand that employers provide personal protective equipment, practice social distancing and follow all CDC guidelines to ensure the safety and health of our members during this pandemic.”

OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement.

“As the administration moves to adopt an emergency temporary standard concerning vaccines and testing, the IAM will work to enforce the legal obligation of employers to bargain with unions over effects that implementation will have on union-represented employees,” said Martinez. “Rest assured, the IAM will, as always, continue to vigorously protect our members’ rights.

This requirement will impact more than 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100+ employees.

FIGHTING ‘ANTI-DEMOCRATIC, ANTI-AMERICA’ TEXAS VOTER SUPPRESSION LAW: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) recently signing a voter suppression bill into law has drawn ire from IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr., a Texas native, who urged union members and our allies to help unseat the “right-wing radicals” who spearheaded the Republican-led legislation that implements a series of roadblocks in the state’s ballot process.

Martinez tweeted for IAM members and our allies to lift up “by defeating right-wing radicals at the ballot box and in the courts.”

The new state law sets restrictions such as banning 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting. The law also restricts officials from mailing unsolicited mail-in ballot applications and sets new requirements for those tasked with helping those with disabilities at the polls.

This is a blatant attempt by Abbott and the radical right to turn back the clock on voting rights when we should be making it easier to vote. 

The Machinists Union strongly pushed for the successful passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021 (H.R. 4) through the U.S. House of Representatives last month to fight back against laws just like this one. The legislation would restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that John Lewis fought for, and put us back on a path toward racial equity in voting.

 Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen recently authored an op-ed urging Arizona’s Sens. Mark Kelly and Krysten Sinema, both Democrats, to get off the sidelines and formally cosponsor the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (S.420).

“Participating in union organizing campaigns all across the country, including in the West, I’ve seen the horrible lengths companies will go to in order to keep total control of their workforce. It is unacceptable and American workers deserve better. The way to empower American workers is by passing the PRO Act,” Allen wrote.

The bill, introduced by Senate HELP Committee chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is co-sponsored by 44 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats.

President Biden recently delivered a historic speech from the White House recognizing labor unions and essential workers for their sacrifices and courage in keeping America moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. The president also honored the legacy of the late AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka and took a moment of silence to remember working people who have passed away from the virus. 

Biden also took the moment to once again urge for U.S. Congress to pass the PRO Act.

 Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace, a Tennessee native, authored an op-ed in the Tennessean newspaper about how improving the lives of workers in the state should include labor unions.

“Labor unions helped create the middle class. Strengthening ways that workers can join such organizations will truly benefit the American workers and their families in Tennessee,” Wallace wrote. “A good start is to update federal labor laws by removing the roadblocks thwarting workers from freely deciding if they want to join a union.”

National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) On Aug. 26, held a press conference in downtown San Diego in an effort to save 300 good-paying jobs of workers employed at the Western Region Detention Facility (WRDF), a facility currently operating on a U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) contract that is set to expire on September 30th.

The workers at the WRDF are urging President Biden to allow the USMS to extend its contract with GEO, the employer, to keep the WRDF open and avert closure.

“President Biden, we are calling on you to stand with workers and save these 300 good-paying, union jobs,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “These workers provide an invaluable public service to the community. These jobs are critical to these 300 families and the San Diego area, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 7.0 percent. Please, do not stand in the way of U.S. Marshals Service continuing their contract to keep this senseless closure from happening. These workers are depending on you.”

If the facility is closed, 300 workers, including officers, nurses, doctors, teachers, counselors, and other support staff will all be suddenly terminated, putting the well-being of them and their families in danger at one of the worst possible times.

READ: Federal Union Calls for Biden to Keep San Diego Detention Center Open

“This closure will be simply devastating to the workers being laid off,” continued Erwin. “These are veterans who have been working at the facility for many years and love their jobs, workers who need their jobs to pay for the care of family members with disabilities and elderly parents, and single moms just trying to keep food on the table. Allowing this closure to happen would be heartless. President Biden can keep these hard-working public servants from this painful layoff. We hope that he hears this message and does the right thing.”

The Virginia State Council of Machinists recently endorsed Terry McAuliffe (D) in Virginia’s Gubernatorial race. The council also endorsed Hala Ayala (D) for Lieutenant Governor and Mark Herring (D) for state Attorney General.  

“The Virginia State Council of Machinists is proud to support Terry McAuliffe and his commitment to a pro-worker policy platform, which includes job skills training and other measures that will help grow the middle-class in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We look forward to mobilizing IAM members throughout Virginia to help him win the election,” said Virginia State Council of Machinists President Larry Battle.

McAuliffe, who formerly served as Virginia’s governor, will face Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin in November.

 Fewer riders, fewer tickets bought and scaled-back schedules were just a few of the COVID-induced obstacles that caused the railroad industry to lose millions and threatened the livelihoods of thousands of Amtrak employees.

Workers often only discover how legislation impacts their lives when they see immediate results. The American Rescue Plan did just that. The massive relief legislation was negotiated and signed into law by President Biden and Congressional Democrats, and provided direct immediate relief to American workers to help rescue the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Part of that relief helped hard-hit public transit agencies and Amtrak to avoid layoffs and service reductions which, in turn, kept thousands of TCU/IAM members from being furloughed or recalled from layoff. Together, the IAM and TCU/IAM fought hard to pass the American Rescue Plan, which brought much-needed relief to working families

The Transportation Communications Union lobbied heavily on Capitol Hill for that safety net – to save jobs that keep America and Americans moving, to increase unemployment benefits, not to mention ongoing efforts to bolster railroad retirement benefits.

“TCU members are working hard all across this country,” said TCU/IAM President Artie Maratea. “This pandemic has shown us how much we need to support each other. A strong, vibrant labor movement — one that gets in front of change, supports its members, and stands in solidarity with everyone is the only way to create the kind of future we all want and deserve.”

The TCU/IAM joined the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), and several other rail unions urging the confirmation of Amit Bose for Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

On Sept. 14, TCU signed onto a letter of support of Bose’s nomination, which comes before the Senate Commerce Committee in the coming days. The panel’s approval would advance the nomination for full Senate floor consideration.

“Amit Bose is a uniquely qualified candidate whose stewardship of the FRA at a pivotal moment in the history of the domestic rail industry should be strongly welcomed. TTD and the rail unions representing workers across crafts in freight, passenger, and commuter rail are proud to endorse his nomination,” according to the letter.

IAM District 751 President and Directing Business Representative Jon Holden recently represented the Machinists Union at a virtual White House roundtable discussion with federal agencies and aviation sector stakeholders. The Biden administration has embarked on a whole-of-government strategy to achieve a net-zero carbon aviation sector by 2050, aligned with the president’s Build Back Better agenda.

Holden, who has over 24 years of experience in the aerospace industry and represents more than 26,000 IAM members at Boeing, emphasized that the transition must benefit U.S. aerospace workers. Representatives from the airline industry, fuel providers, airports, labor organizations, and aircraft manufacturers shared commitments to reduce emissions in the aviation sector through improvements in aircraft technology, fuels, and operational improvements. 

“We need to make sure that all efforts in this area are designed, engineered, and built in the U.S.,” said Holden. “This is about the U.S. aerospace industry and counting on them for good, middle-class jobs in all our communities. We can also ensure that research and development, test and evaluation of sustainable aviation technology remain here in the U.S. We should not see our technology given away to other countries for sales of aircraft, creating very capable competitors.”

“Brother Holden is a champion for the aerospace workers of today and tomorrow,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “Growth in sustainable aviation fuels must happen in conjunction with incentivizing employers to bring back home the thousands of good aerospace jobs that have been outsourced to Mexico and China.”

Holden also called for an increase in registered apprenticeship programs to train the next generation of aerospace workers.

“These programs have the infrastructure to make sure that the skills learned are well-rounded and transferable to many industries, so a worker can use anywhere in the country,” said Holden.

Executive actions are taken across the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Agriculture, Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency will result in the production and use of billions of gallons of sustainable fuel that will enable aviation emissions to drop 20 percent by 2030.

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