Friday, February 26, 2021
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
PRESIDENT MARTINEZ MEETS WITH PRESIDENT BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS TO ADVOCATE FOR GOOD JOBS, RELIEF FOR MEMBERSHIP: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. recently met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the Oval Office to discuss the IAM’s top legislative priorities, including relief for all IAM members and frontline workers in the airline, transit, aerospace, manufacturing, and other industries.
“Today’s meeting was extremely productive, and I was able to present our top priorities for Machinists Union members,” said Martinez. “I am very confident that President Biden will continue to push for policies that will positively impact America’s working families and create good union jobs here at home. Joe Biden understands the pride, power, and pain of America’s working men and women during this difficult time.”
READ: Biden, Union Leaders Huddle on Infrastructure Plan Wall Street Journal
MACHINISTS UNION STRONGLY SUPPORTS AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN RECOVERY PACKAGE: The American Rescue Plan recovery package will be voted on today. IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to support the much-needed legislation.
“The recovery package includes vitally important aid to struggling industries which will allow employers to avoid furloughs and call back workers who have already been laid off,” said Martinez. “The package includes an extension of the very successful airline Payroll Support Program (PSP), which will help keep tens of thousands of our members employed as the air travel industry gets back on its feet.”
The package also includes the following relief measures, fought for by the IAM:
READ: Stimulus Package: What’s in Joe Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan’? Wall Street Journal
MACHINISTS UNION APPLAUDS BIDEN’S SUPPLY CHAIN EXECUTIVE ORDER: The IAM sent out a press statement celebrating President Biden’s recent supply chain executive order.
“The Machinists Union applauds President Biden for taking another concrete step toward bringing our jobs home,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We have been sounding the alarm for decades about the ever-expanding supply chains of U.S. parts, components, and equipment to overseas manufacturers. Our members have witnessed firsthand the decimation of our industrial base as company after company sends critical work offshore.”
“The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to bring critical medical supply chains home,” said Martinez. “Losing supply chains overseas also imperils our national defense. Last year, for example, a Pentagon official noted that supplies needed for vital defense equipment had been offshored to Mexico.”
IAM, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER SCHUMER, CONGRESSMAN REED UNITE TO SAVE IAM JOBS AT SETTERSTIX: Nearly 40 IAM jobs at the New York state plant are at risk. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, (R-NY), recently sent letters urging Setterstix, Inc. CEO Eric Pritchard to reconsider its decision to close its current Cattaraugus, NY facility.
Setterstix makes paper sticks for use in Tootsie Roll pops, Dum-Dum suckers, cotton swabs, and other novelty items. Setterstix announced its intent to cease production in October 2020 and move its operation to Fountain Inn, South Carolina.
“The IAM members working at Setterstix play a huge role in this company’s success, and the plant closure and relocation feel like a betrayal,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “I applaud Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Rep. Tom Reed for fighting to protect these jobs and the community. We will continue to shine a light on companies that leave workers stuck and left helpless.”
NFFE-IAM WELCOMES INTRODUCTION OF THE 2021 FAIR ACT: NFFE-IAM welcomed the introduction of the 2021 FAIR Act in the House and Senate to provide for a 3.2% pay increase for federal employees for the calendar year 2022.
NFFE-IAM started working with congressional committees late last year to begin justifying a larger increase for 2022. Federal employees have endured much over the previous year dealing with challenges to the COVID pandemic, including increase cost of childcare and healthcare for family members and themselves.
Given the former Trump administration’s persistent effort to limit or freeze pay, this increase is badly needed. The 3.2% represents a 2.2% across the board increase plus a 1% baseline locality pay increase.
HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES RAILROAD UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE EXPANSION, AMTRAK AND TRANSIT FUNDING: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed their section of the stimulus relief bill last week.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of TCU/IAM members across industries, the bill includes $1.5 billion for Amtrak meant to return furloughed employees and restart daily long-distance service, $30 billion for our nation’s transit agencies, and an expansion of Railroad Unemployment Insurance (RUI) benefits to $800 per two-week benefit period through August 29, 2021. This relief bill is a STRONG bill written in part because TCU-IAM members made their voices heard over the past year.
Next Steps: The bill is expected to pass the full House this Friday, Feb. 26. It will then head to the Senate for passage and on to President Biden for signature. We hope all TCU/IAM members continue to contact their Representative and Senators to urge them to pass this urgent relief.