No Relief, No Vacation – Stop the Raid on Ex-Im Bank Rules – Machinists Laud Buttigieg, Tai Nominations

Thursday, December 17, 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

IP MARTINEZ IMPLORES LAWMAKERS NOT TO GO ON VACATION IF MITCH MCCONNELL CAN’T DO HIS JOB, PASS RELIEF: The Machinists have led the fight on Capitol Hill to secure funding for all working people. Last week, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. issued the following statement regarding the current state of COVID-19 relief negotiations:

“Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans must pass long-overdue, comprehensive COVID-19 relief legislation before Congress takes yet another vacation. Millions of working people are out of jobs, going hungry, being evicted from their homes and losing hope. The failure to pass desperately needed relief is squarely on the shoulders of Senate Republicans, who are more interested in playing games with people’s lives and going on vacation than fulfilling their obligations to the American people. It is outrageous.

“As the largest airline, defense and aerospace union in North America, we have seen Machinists Union members act heroically during this pandemic to keep our nation and our economy moving. It has been a slap in face to them and their families to allow critical lifelines, like the airline Payroll Support Program, to expire and put hundreds of thousands of hardworking men and women out of a job. These are the working people who will continue to be critical front-line workers as we undertake the massive task of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to hundreds of millions of Americans. We need relief now for them and every working family struggling through no fault of their own.

“My message to Mitch McConnell is this—it is time for you to make the needs of our people a priority and put aside petty politics. We need passage of comprehensive economic relief now.”


PRESIDENT TRUMP THREATENING TO VETO DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL: President Trump is threatening to veto the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) over social media policy and to defend Confederate names of military bases. The bill, which was recently passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support in Congress, will fund numerous military programs built and maintained by Machinists Union members.

If vetoed by Trump, the House and Senate will have to vote again on NDAA. Both chambers passed the bill by more than the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.

“This vitally important, bipartisan legislation will help ensure our U.S. national security, bolster the safety and effectiveness of our men and women in uniform and sustain hundreds of thousands of high-skilled jobs in the aerospace defense and shipbuilding industries,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr.

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.


NFFE PUSHES FOR PAY INCREASE TO REMAIN IN SPENDING BILL: NFFE-IAM is pushing for the 2021 omnibus spending bill to remain silent on a pay increase so that an automatic 1 percent increase kicks in for next year.  Despite our best efforts to get pay parity with the military, the House has remained silent on the civilian pay increase and the Senate supported a civilian pay freeze. Both the House and Senate supported a 3 percent pay increase for the military.

The 2021 NDAA passed with several important federal workforce provisions including allowing a 25 percent increase in carryover of annual leave into 2021, a fix to the Paid Parental Leave law that will now cover all federal employees, a requirement for DoD to study before recommending decreases in civilian FTE, and additional pay allowances for civilians in combat areas overseas. 


MACHINISTS, LABOR SUBMIT STRONG OBJECTION TO ATTACK ON DOMESTIC CONTENT RULES: The IAM and the nation’s largest federation of labor unions, the AFL-CIO, have issued strong public comments opposing a last-minute raid on the mission of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The Bank’s mission to maintain and support U.S. jobs depends on its domestic content requirements.

Nonetheless, the Bank posted a public notice just before Thanksgiving soliciting input on its review of U.S. content policies, under the guise of China competition. One proposal would gut domestic content requirements by 55-65%.  

IAM members in a variety of export-related industries, including aerospace, shipbuilding, defense and electronics, rely on the Ex-Im Bank to finance exports that sustain U.S. jobs. New and innovative industries, like renewable energy, semiconductors and manufacturing machinery for semiconductors that represent the future U.S. work, are being directly targeted.

“With millions of U.S. manufacturing and service sector workers unemployed during what continues to be the worst economic period since the Great Depression, current proposals to significantly reduce domestic content requirements for several select industries give greater incentives for corporate offshoring,” writes the IAM in its comments to the Bank.

“If anything, we must strengthen the current content rules to ensure that the Bank’s taxpayer-subsidized financing is truly focused on domestic job creation in the United States, not on the corporate bottom line,” write IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr., chair of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Council, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in comments to the Bank.


MACHINISTS UNION APPLAUDS NOMINATIONS OF BUTTIGIEG, TAI: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. issued the following statements regarding the nominations of Pete Buttigieg for Transportation Secretary and Katherine Tai for United States Trade Representative:

“The IAM, the largest transportation union in the United States, applauds President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of Pete Buttigieg to serve as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Buttigieg understands that U.S. transportation workers are the ones who move the American people and serve as the cornerstone of our nation’s economy.”

“Pete Buttigieg has proven time and time again that he not only listens to the working men and women of our nation, he believes in them,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “The IAM is looking forward to working with Pete Buttigieg on the massive transportation challenges that are awaiting the Biden Administration.”

“The Machinists Union could not be more pleased with the selection of Katherine Tai for United State Trade Representative,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “She has repeatedly demonstrated that she understands what unfair trade is doing to U.S. workers. Her knowledge of trade, combined with her ability to listen to unions and others from civil society, will be a refreshing change at USTR. We very much look forward to working with her to build a U.S. trade agenda that puts America’s workers first.”


MACHINISTS MOBILIZE FOR PRO-WORKER CANDIDATES IN GEORGIA: IAM members in Georgia and from across the country are voluntarily campaigning for two pro-labor candidates in Georgia as power in the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance.

There is an army of volunteers and resources fully engaged in getting the vote out. The IAM is doing member to member phone calls, robocalls, local mailers, door hangers, text messages and emails.

For more on the Senate race in Georgia, visit


FRA RULES AGAINST RAIL LABOR IN BRAKE SAFETY STANDARDS OPPOSED BY TCU CARMAN DIVISION: The Brotherhood Railway Carman joined with other rail unions to oppose several items discussed in the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). However, despite rail labor’s efforts, FRA issued a Final Rule on December 11, 2020, formalizing all of the changes contained in the NPRM.

Click here to read the letter from TCU Carman Division General President Rich Johnson.


RICK DE LA FUENTE TO RETIRE AS IAM POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Rick de la Fuente, an IAM member for 42 years and Political Director for the last seven, announced his retirement effective January 1, 2021.

“I want to congratulate Rick on his exceptional career as a lifelong unionist and, most recently, as IAM’s Political Director,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “It has been an honor and privilege to work with him. His tireless work ethic has left an indelible impression on our union. Rick will be sorely missed by all with whom he’s worked. On a personal level, I have enjoyed our long friendship and very much look forward to continuing it in your retirement.”

Brother Rick has been at the Grand Lodge for 20 years, sits on the executive boards for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and the Union Veterans Council. In 2003, he was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by Gov. Paul E. Patton. By trade, he’s a licensed air frame and power plant aircraft mechanic. De la Fuente is also a member of District 837 Local B and has held positions ranging from shop steward to business representative. He’s a veteran and is married with two children and three grandchildren.

Legislative Director Hasan Solomon will take over for De la Fuente and assume the dual role of IAM Political and Legislative Director. Solomon has been IAM Legislative Director for the past seven years and is regarded as one of the top labor lobbyists on Capitol Hill.

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