Saving IAM Jobs — Historic Labor Reform Passes House — IAM Bolsters Support for F-35

Friday, March 12, 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.

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

MACHINISTS CHAMPION PASSAGE OF AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN, SAVE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF IAM JOBS: In an historic win for working American families, the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the American Rescue Plan yesterday and President Biden signed it into law today. Machinists members from around the country have been calling their representatives over the past few weeks urging them to pass the relief package that secures the jobs of tens of thousands IAM members.

“Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, Machinists Union members and millions more working Americans will play a central role in getting America back on track as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. Hundreds of thousands of IAM members in the airline, transit, aerospace, manufacturing and other critical industries will have their jobs saved because of the American Rescue Plan. Critically, this legislation extends the airline Payroll Support Program, which will keep tens of thousands of airline workers on the job as we distribute vaccines and begin to ramp up air travel. IAM members in the transit and aerospace supply sectors will also receive assistance that will help us keep the world moving. We applaud President Biden for signing the American Rescue Plan into law and delivering much-needed relief to our membership and working Americans.”

Here is a summary of how this plan will help IAM members and our families:

  • $1,400 Direct Payments:   Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 receive the full direct payments of $1,400 per person. Individuals will also receive an additional $1,400 payment for each dependent claimed on their tax returns. No payment will be sent to single filers earning more than $80,000 or joint filers earning more than $160,000.
  • Extends $300 Weekly Supplemental Unemployment Benefits: Provides an extension of the $300 supplemental unemployment benefits that 18 million Americans currently rely on through September 6, 2021 with tax forgiveness on up to $10,000 of unemployment compensation.
  • Multiemployer Pensions: Includes the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act. This long-overdue pension relief legislation provides $86 Billion in relief to troubled multiemployer pension plans with NO CUTS to earned benefits. The legislation will protect the integrity of healthy multiemployer plans, save the PBGC and strengthen the pension system overall. The legislation contains NO provisions to harm healthy plans, does not include the GROW Act, and only has a modest increase in premiums from $31 to $52 starting in 2031.
  • Airline Jobs: Provides $15 billion to extend the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP) through September 30, 2021 which will help airlines and contractors avert mass layoffs and furloughs due to the unprecedented drop in business.
  • Aviation Manufacturing Workforce: The package includes the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act which provides $3 billion to help employers keep aerospace manufacturing workers on their payrolls, avoid additional furloughs, and re-hire workers previously furloughed during the pandemic.
  • Amtrak: This bill provides $1.7 billion to Amtrak to keep rail service running across the nation, to rehire 1,230 workers who have been involuntarily furloughed as a result of COVID, and to restore full long-distance service to remote communities.
  • Public Transit: The package provides $30.4 billion of additional relief funding to transit agencies to prevent layoffs of transit workers and prevent severe cuts to transit services that essential workers and the general public relied on by essential workers and the general public.
  • 100% COBRA Subsidy: The bill subsidizes 100 percent of COBRA premiums for six months for individuals who lost employment or had reduced hours. This allows laid off workers to retain their employer provided healthcare with NO premium share.
  • Paid Sick Leave: The bill provides funding for emergency paid sick leave through September 30, 2021 with a maximum benefit of $1,400 per week for workers making up to $73,000 per year.
  • Federal Workforce Protections: The bill creates an emergency fund to allow paid leave for workers who are ill or who have been exposed to COVID-19. The bill also ensures federal employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 as a result of their service can receive workers’ compensation benefits. 
  • Expand Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit: This bill also includes an expansion of two of the most effective anti-poverty tools the U.S. government has: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC).
  • Housing: The bill extends the federal eviction and foreclosure moratorium until September 1, 2021. The bill also provides $25 billion in emergency rental assistance, $5 billion in utility assistance, and $5 billion in emergency assistance for homelessness.
  • Vaccines, Testing, etc.:  Provides $84 billion for COVID vaccine distribution, testing, contact tracing, PPE to frontline workers, bolster public health workforce, support for community hospitals, and expansion of mental health services.
  • State and Local Fiscal Aid: The bill provides $350 billion to States, territories, Tribes, and local governments to be used for responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, to offset revenue losses, bolster economic recovery and to provide premium pay for essential workers.
  • K-12 Schools:  Provides over $125 billion for public K-12 schools to safely reopen schools for in-person learning, address learning loss, and support students as they work to recover from the long-term impacts of the pandemic.
  • Student Loan Relief – The bill makes all COVID-19 student loan relief tax free.
  • Defense Production Act for PPE: Provides $10 billion to expand domestic production of personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccines, and other medical supplies.
  • Veterans: The bill provides funding to waive copays for veterans during the pandemic, and to provide health care services and support to veterans, including COVID-19 vaccine distribution, expanded mental health care, and enhanced telehealth capabilities. It also establishes a new program to provide retraining assistance for veterans who have lost their jobs due to COVID, and includes funding for VA to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts on the benefits claims and appeals backlog.
  • Expanded PPP Eligibility: This bill expands Paycheck Protection Program eligibility to include additional nonprofits such as 501(c)(5) labor and agricultural organizations providing $7 billion for that purpose.

MACHINISTS UNION CHAMPIONS PASSAGE OF PRO ACT, CALLS FOR SWIFT PASSAGE IN SENATE: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. celebrated this victory in the House.

“The IAM membership celebrates the passage of the PRO Act in the House,” said Martinez. “This historic legislation will provide workplace freedom and level the playing field. We must not let this pro-worker legislation whither on the vine. IAM members from across the nation want to thank all of the Representatives who supported working families’ right to organize a union and bargain for higher wages and better benefits. It passed in the House 225 to 206, with only five Republicans joining Democrats in favor.

“Our members in the aerospace, defense, airline, manufacturing, automotive, transit, and healthcare industries continue to help our nation push through the COVID-19 pandemic. The PRO Act will keep our workers safe and give them the workplace rights guaranteed in this legislation. The PRO Act strengthens protections for workers and offers employees improved legal protections on the job.

“The IAM is one of the oldest U.S. trade unions and one of the few unions founded in the South in 1888 by 19 railroad machinists in Atlanta. So our union understands the smothering effect of so-called ‘right to work’ laws and the devastating impact it has created for working families in more than half of the U.S States. The PRO Act would eliminate the so-called ‘right to work’ laws, take power back from corporate CEOs, and give it to working families nationwide.

“The IAM is calling on the Senate to put working families ahead of the corporate CEOs and wealthy corporations. The Senate should immediately take up and pass this reform legislation that reflects our American values such as freedom, equality, and fairness in the workplace.”


MACHINISTS UNION DEMANDS FAIRNESS FOR SERVICE CONTRACT WORKERS: The IAM is calling on the Biden administration to reinstate critical job security protections for Service Contract Act (SCA) workers, many of whom work at military bases across the country. Service Contract Workers are private sector employees who work under federal contracts, primarily at military bases and other federal installations. The IAM represents nearly 40,000 Service Contract Workers in a variety of industries at more than 800 locations.

In 2019, former President Trump rescinded Executive Order 13495, which President Obama implemented to provide vitally important job security to Service Contract Workers. The order, known as “Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts,” granted workers the right of first refusal for continued employment when an SCA government contractor or employer is replaced by a new successor contractor at the same location.  This policy benefited both the government and the workers by ensuring workforce continuity as government contracts change hands.

“Not only is President Trump’s petty rebuke of President Obama’s policy bad for government contracting efficiency, it is also disastrous for the workers who are displaced, along with their families and the communities where they reside,” wrote IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. in a letter to Biden. “We respectfully ask that you swiftly reinstitute EO 13495 for the sake of efficient government procurement and fairness to these workers and their families.”


IAM BOLSTERS SUPPORT FOR F-35 PROGRAM: IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. recently sent a letter to White House advisors Steve Ricchetti, Senior Advisor to President Biden, and Cedric Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, bolstering support for the F-35 Lightning II Program. Media outlets have recently reported that the Department of Defense may cut back on the number of aircraft for the U.S. Armed Services.

“The F-35 program strengthens national security, enhances global partnerships, and powers economic growth,” said Martinez. “We are proud to represent workers across the country who produce, deliver, maintain and support this critical defense program. From production workers in Ft. Worth to suppliers in nearly every state, to maintenance depots from coast to coast; the F-35 program creates high-quality, Machinists Union jobs.”

The full letter can be read here.


BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ISSUES NEW FED LABOR GUIDANCE: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), upon request from NFFE-IAM and our labor partners, directed heads of all federal executive departments and agencies to “immediately stop” implementation and reverse the effects of the anti-federal workforce Trump Executive Orders.  OPM specifically instructed agencies to engage unions on bargaining and other issues, lift restrictions on employee communications, grant union members access to their representatives on-site, allow on-site workspace and the use of work email and equipment, allow official time for job-related issues, and protect and promote due process for disciplinary actions. 


TTD PRESIDENT GREG REGAN TESTIFIES ON RAIL WORKERS, RAIL INVESTMENTS: Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO (TTD) testified Wednesday on behalf of TTD’s rail unions (including TCU). The House Subcommittee on Railroads’ hearing was titled “Full Steam Ahead for Rail: Why Rail is More Relevant than Ever for Economic and Environmental Progress.” His testimony covered Freight, Amtrak and Transit, infrastructure and green technology improvements as well as the safety implications of so-called “Precision Scheduled Railroading” (PSR). This hearing was conducted in part to preview an infrastructure and reauthorization bill this summer.


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