Responding to the Coronavirus – Calling for Worker Protections – Fighting to Save Jobs

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

RESPONDING TO THE CORONAVIRUS:  IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. in an April 13 video message brought members up to date on the union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resources available to the membership.

MACHINISTS CALL FOR WORKER PROTECTIONS, USE OF SHUTTERED FACTORIES TO FIGHT COVID-19: In a letter to President Trump, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. urged the president to join the union’s call for employers to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to all working people on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. Martinez also offered the IAM’s cooperation in identifying out-of-work IAM members and shuttered manufacturing facilities to produce medical supplies.

WASHINGTON STATE LAWMAKERS URGE BOEING TO ACCEPT RELIEF, PROTECT AEROSPACE JOBS: Members of the Washington state congressional delegation sent a letter to Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, urging the aerospace giant to accept relief from the CARES Act. The letter expresses hope that Boeing will consider making full use of the CARES Act’s economic relief provisions to support tens of thousands of aviation and aerospace machinists, engineers, electricians, technicians and other frontline workers in the U.S. aviation and aerospace industry.

IAM URGES SUPPORT FOR MEDICAL SUPPLY CHAIN EMERGENCY ACT: The IAM has sent letters to Senators and members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to support the Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act (H.R. 6390, S. 3568).

This important legislation, introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), would require the president to act under the Defense Production Act (DPA) and have the federal government expand the manufacturing of medical supplies, including masks, ventilators, respirators and coronavirus tests. The bill would also create a coordinated procurement and distribution process for states and health care facilities.

QUOTABLE: “Everything that we’re doing here in the IAM, we’re doing as a family. We’re looking after each other and we’ll continue to do so. I want you to stay safe, stay strong and may God bless you and your families.”

– IAM President Robert Martinez Jr., in an April 13 video message to members

Last week, the Transportation Communications Union (TCU-IAM) and the IAM joined with other rail unions in petitioning the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to ensure furloughed rail workers are recalled into service before granting any safety waivers to rail carriers on the basis of staff shortages. Rail labor is concerned that carrier railroads will utilize the FRA’s emergency waiver to avoid complying with safety regulations, without forcing the carriers to prove that there is indeed a staff shortage. Rail labor believes that compliance with safety regulations must be to the greatest extent possible.

PROTECTING FEDERAL WORKERS DURING COVID-19: The IAM and NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 participated in a federal labor conference call with U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to plan the next steps for legislation to address the growing COVID-19 crisis. 

Discussions continue with Senate and House leaders on a legislative package meant to improve agency reporting, engage management communications, install proper safety and equipment at facilities, expand telework and leave policies, increase hazard pay eligibility, provide child care assistance and other workforce initiatives to help federal employees and their families through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

CONGRESS MUST PROTECT PENSIONS AND HEALTHCARE: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. signed on to an AFL-CIO letter urging Congress to address the critical health and pension issues of America’s hardworking men, women, and retirees. The letter urged members of Congress to protect the pensions of millions of participants in multiemployer pensions and ensure that workers do not lose access to their healthcare because they are laid off or due to reduced hours.

IAM MOURNS LOSS OF TRAILBLAZING LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL ADVOCATE: Dorothy “Dottie” Ellsworth-Gannon, a longtime fixture on the IAM’s legislative and political team, passed away on February 20, 2020. Ellsworth-Gannon, 91, worked for the IAM for 22 years.

“Sister Dorothy was an extremely kind woman who fought tirelessly for our membership,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We join many others in sending our thoughts to her family and friends. Her legacy will live on as we continue the fight for justice on the job for working people everywhere.”


A comprehensive U.S. manufacturing policy is needed now more than ever Economic Policy Institute

Boeing urged by Washington’s congressional delegation to take bailout money, pay workers Seattle Times  

First came the 737 Max crisis, then coronavirus. Can David Calhoun save Boeing?  Washington Post

Boeing mulls federal relief package that comes with strings NPR

Claims that Boeing SC unlawfully fired workers over union support move closer to trial The Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier

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