IAM District 751 Urges Swift Passage of Unemployment Benefits Legislation for Striking Workers

IAM District 751 President and Directing Business Representative Jon Holden recently testified at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia in support of Senate Bill 5777 and House Bill 1893. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, and Rep. Beth Doglio, D-Olympia, will allow striking or locked-out workers access to unemployment benefits to help reduce the economic burdens often wielded by employers to hinder workers from striking.

During his testimony, Holden highlighted the significance of S.B. 5777/H.B. 1893 to help rectify the power imbalances faced by workers in negotiations with powerful employers that often leave workers in vulnerable positions where they must choose between accepting harmful concessions or risking their livelihoods by striking for fair treatment. 

“Our goal is always to negotiate a fair contract that maintains and grows reasonable wages, benefits, and job security that we can recommend and our members can accept,” said Holden. “Workers won’t vote to strike to receive the partial wage replacement in unemployment benefits. While they do have a right to strike, and when they vote to do so, it is to protect the reasonable wages and benefits that are often threatened to be taken away.  Giving workers access to the unemployment insurance (UI) safety net is a good use of the UI system, and the state Employment Security Department has the resources to move forward and be successful.”

Holden also sent a letter to the Washington State Senate expressing confidence in the collaborative efforts between workers, legislators, and employers to advance the interests of Washington State’s workforce and economy.  

“IAM District 751 and their leadership are paving the way for workers in Washington state to receive the protection of reasonable wages and benefits that are often threatened to be taken away by the employer,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “This historic legislation will ease the minds of working families across the state who exercise their right to strike. No workers should have to choose between making a long-term sacrifice and keeping the lights on.” 

IAM District 751 represents over 32,000 working families in Washington State, with 30,000 employed by Boeing.

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