Keeping Americans safe seems to run in the veins of IAM members at Fort Rucker in Alabama. Before COVID-19, it was maintaining U.S. Army training helicopters. Today, it’s about producing thousands of face masks to protect the workers and their families who call this base home.
“I am not surprised at all that the Machinist members at Fort Rucker have come together with M1 Support Services to take care of each other, “ said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “Pandemic or not, that’s who we are and why we are always fighting for the person next to us – to make sure workers and their families are protected on and off the job.”
Even though the members of Local 2003 are considered essential and still on the job, they are volunteering to use their work shifts sewing masks. Machinists are stepping up in droves.
“We are all considered essential workers at Fort Rucker, but many members are now offering to work making masks during their shifts instead of working their regular job. They are choosing to do so in an effort to help protect others. I could not be more proud of our members right now,” said District 75 Assistant Directing Business Representative Brad Smith.
Originally, the order was for nearly 5,000 PPE face masks but has grown to more than 17,000 in less than 24 hours. The members involved in this effort will receive a recognition coin from the U.S. Army officials, but it’s knowing that they are doing something to keep their Fort Rucker family from harm that really counts.
“If anyone can keep us safe, it’s the working class. They will be the ones that allow us to not only survive COVID-19 but thrive as a nation,” said Local 2003 President Anthony Holton.