Solidarity Takes Center Stage at IAM Transportation Conference

The 2017 IAM Transportation Conference in Las Vegas concluded on Wednesday, April 12. The biennial conference was the most well attended conference in the Transportation Department’s history with more than 600 delegates.

See the convention photos.

The highly successful conference had a diverse list of speakers, including IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr., GVP Stan Pickthall, ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, and TWU International President Harry Lombardo.

Delegates learned how to handle active shooter situations from the Department of Homeland Security. They also heard about how the IAM’s Critical Incident Response Team has responded to past incidents and developed a new curriculum to train additional members.

See videos from the convention.

Transportation GVP Sito Pantoja set the celebratory tone of the conference by discussing the Transportation Department’s successes of the last few years, including:

  • Dramatically improving the job security provisions at Alaska, Southwest, Hawaiian, American and United Airlines;
  • Growing the union with organizing wins at SM Cargo, Jet Stream and Swissport.
  • Increasing membership at Alaska Airlines by more than 1,000 members, plus gaining more than 700 additional members secured through the Virgin America merger.
  • Strong contract language allowed our Southwest membership to grow by 600.
  • At United, $1.3 billion in new wages were negotiated for our 30,000 fleet, passenger service, stores and reservations members.
  • The Southwest agreement produced $27 million in wages for our 6,500 members, with $9 million in lump sum bonuses. In addition, the 2016 true up brought Southwest members $120 million in additional wages and lump sum payments.
  • The 2016 Hawaiian negotiations brought over $50 million to our Mechanic & Related and Clerical, Office, Fleet & Passenger Service members.
  • We, along with our TWU partners, were able to achieve a mid-negotiation wage and benefit improvement at American Airlines worth $530 million.
  • The Railroad Sector also negotiated improved contracts:
  • Machinists and TCU members at NJ Transit, after five years of negotiations and two PEBs, averted a strike by overwhelmingly ratifying a contract that provides wage increases with full retroactive pay for current employees as well as retirees.
  • Alstom Transport reached a $2.45 billion deal with Amtrak, which calls for IAM members to build new high-speed Acela trains for Amtrak’s Northeast corridor. The deal is expected to provide more than 500 new IAM Machinists jobs.
  • Metra, where they negotiated a 20.25% general wage increase compounded over six years that includes a $3,000 signing bonus.
  • The Huntington shop of CSX Transportation Inc., South Central Florida Express and Paducah & Louisville all negotiated contract improvements.

“These achievements and others were all gained through the hard work and diligence of our three district lodges and every shop steward and member we have,” said GVP Pantoja. “Without membership solidarity, nothing is possible. With membership solidarity, our successes have no bounds.”

The IAM has also thought outside-the-box with new organizing models at places like McGee Air Services where we have organized over 1,200 new members since July 2016, and over 900 at United Ground Express (UGE). Both of these are new companies and the membership will continue to grow significantly as they expand.

“In spite of these achievements, there is much work yet to be done,” said GVP Pantoja. “We cannot allow ExpressJet to continue delaying a fair agreement for our Flight Attendants, and we will redouble our efforts to finally organize Delta flight attendants and ground workers and JetBlue ground staff. I look forward to celebrating the successful conclusion of these campaigns at our next Transportation Conference.”