General Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart and Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker were among the speakers addressing the West Virginia Machinists Council meeting on April 9 in Sutton, WV. The annual meeting gave union leaders and members in the Mountain State an opportunity to examine efforts in nearby states where Republican governors are using the deficit as an excuse to attack unions and suppress collective bargaining rights.
While West Virginia’s governor’s mansion and state legislature are controlled by Democrats, the spread of anti-union policies are a concern for members in every state. “It will be up to us to keep our members advised about any legislation that aims to gut their rights, whether it’s like the wholesale attacks in Ohio or Wisconsin, or more subtle changes that would have the same effect, just over a slightly longer period of time,” said GST Mart, who cited efforts on the federal level to establish a national right-to-work (for less) law.
In addition to a review of state and national politics, delegates at the meeting heard from members of the IAM Youth Focus Group, who are engaged in outreach to young workers. “This effort to get new IAM members involved in their union is among the most important things our union is doing today,” said Mart. “Many families have deep historical connections to labor unions and understand their importance, but many young people today have no direct contact with union members their own age. For our future and theirs, we need to establish that connection.”
Click here to hear GVP Mart’s remarks at the West Virginia Council of Machinists meeting.