It was the perfect stage at the Aerospace Conference for IAM’s Southern Territory General Vice President Mark A. Blondin to recognize the hard work of a few leaders from District 70 in Wichita, KS. After weeks of diligent work, Business Representative Tyson Kelly and ADBR Gerald Hill are proud to say that the strike at Garnett Auto Supply Inc./Jobbers Automotive Warehouse Inc. is over!
To a rousing round of applause, Blondin was thrilled to tell the more than 300 attendees of the conference, “Every person who walked out together at Jobbers will walk back in together!”
“The brothers and sisters of Jobbers/Garnett have been a true example of District 70,” said Kelly. “If we all ban together like they did we will be a force in which to be reckoned. It shows that standing arm in arm, side by side, to demand fair treatment and respect is truly achievable.”
Overall, the contract gains are significant. Machinist members have a new progression that they’ve never had before which will mandate raises every six months. They also gained the ability to carry over 80 hours of vacation and 200 hours of sick leave instead of losing that benefit. The grievance and arbitration procedures were strengthened, giving our members the ability to work things through the system at a faster pace. But there was one item that District 70 is extremely proud to have gained.
“We were able to establish a joint Health and Safety Committee and for these workers, that’s a game changer, “ explains Hill. “Broken fans, temperatures that reached more than 100 degrees in the summer and dropping to freezing in the winter, restrooms that hadn’t seen a cleaning agent in years – those were the conditions in which these workers existed. We are going to be able to make sure that isn’t the case for these workers in the future.”
DBR of District 70 Cornell Beard couldn’t be more proud of what these workers have done, not just for themselves but for workers across the state of Kansas. “These workers took a stand and changed the culture. That’s why we do what we do in the Labor Movement. There was not a local in our District who didn’t take the time to walk the picket line with their Brothers and Sisters at Jobbers. And just ask those workers on strike – that support made all the difference. That’s something I will never forget,” said Beard proudly.
The Brothers and Sisters at Garnett Auto Supply Inc./Jobbers Automotive Warehouse Inc. have proven, yet again, that Solidarity works. It’s what we do and who we are and it will forever be the heart and soul of anyone who holds the title of Fighting Machinist.