IAM Shows Solidarity with Brazilian Metalworkers

IAM members stood side-by-side with Brazilian metalworkers as they aired their grievances over unsatisfactory wage increases at aerospace company Embraer.

Visiting Brazil as part of a labor exchange trip between Brazil and the U.S., the Machinists delivered a message of solidarity to brothers and sisters of Sindacato dos Metalúrgicos, a labor union that represents metalworkers in São José dos Campos, an industrial area of Brazil.

IAM Special Representative Kathy Petersen stands outside the gates of an Embraer plant in São Jose dos Campos, Brazil to tell employees to stick together in their struggle for respect at the workplace. 

“No matter what country we live in, we all want the same things as union members: fair wages, safe working conditions and a pension that allows us to retire with dignity,” IAM Special Representative Kathy Petersen told hundreds of Embraer employees over a loudspeaker outside the plant. “Together we can make a difference.”

Embraer employees are upset over the company’s refusal to offer a wage increase above the inflation rate, which currently stands around 6 percent in Brazil. Workers at other companies in the region have negotiated 8 percent wage increases.

The company has also refused to reduce their workweek from 43 to 40 hours, as other Brazilian companies have. Union representatives say overworking is causing illness among workers and keeping people from their families. Reducing the work week would also allow the company to hire more workers, say union officials.

At the end of the rally, employees voted unanimously to issue a strike warning to Embraer, who refuses to negotiate on wage increases and work week reductions.

Click here to learn more about labor in Brazil.