Former U.S. military service men and women are a significant membership base of the IAM and the union has assisted them by expanding the IAM Veteran Services Program in recent years. The endeavor has helped hundreds of Machinists deal with everything from PTSD to filing complicated claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“As a Navy veteran I felt it was important for our union to serve those who sacrificed so much for our freedom and security,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “I’m so proud of our veterans program and what it has been able to accomplish.”
A year ago, the IAM Grand Lodge hired U.S. Navy veteran Richard Evans of IAM Local 4 to run the veterans program. Since then he’s publicly promoted the program by crossing the country, visiting union halls, speaking at conferences and visiting worksites.
“I have a passion for the military and those who fought for our country,” said Evans. “This job keeps me busy and I love the opportunity to help and assist.”
A typical day for Evans can run late into the evening as he serves union members located in different time zones.
“I’m based in Maryland but I could easily be on a Zoom call in Arizona, taking a phone call from a member in Hawaii, on a plane to visit members in Illinois or personally assisting an IAM member in Virginia file claims on his or her personal computer,” said Evans.
In the past year the IAM Veterans Services Program has gotten more than $600,000 in VA claim-oriented back pay for almost 90 veterans in the IAM, including one case where a Machinist was awarded $81,000.
“Organized labor and military veterans are my passions so it’s great knowing I’m in the position to change lives,” said Evans.
If anyone is interested in learning more about the IAM Veteran Services Program please visit https://www.goiam.org/departments/headquarters/veteran-services/.