The IAM Local 1842 retirees group honored veteran members at their most recent monthly meeting in Franklin, PA.
IAM Veterans Services Coordinator Rich Evans, Eastern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Bryan Stymacks, and District 98 Directing Business Representative Kevin Hallam attended the meeting where Evans presented the veterans of the group with certificates of honor signed by IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. and Evans himself, who are both U.S. Navy veterans.
“International President Martinez has made supporting and honoring veterans a priority for our union,” said Evans. “It is my honor to represent the IAM and give thanks to our retiree military veterans here in Franklin, PA for their time in service.”
“In military circles we talk about those who came before us and honoring the people who wore the uniform before we did,” said Stymacks, a U.S. Marines Corps veteran. “And it’s something that I think is talked about in a sense of ‘brotherhood in arms’ that we don’t talk about when it comes to labor. So I want to thank you, now, for forging the path for those of us who enjoy the benefits of this union currently.”
“Most of the folks in our union didn’t organize their own shop,” said Stymacks. “They didn’t go through the same struggles that you all, as retirees, went through. The work that you did on your contracts has paved the way for folks in my generation and the next generation to enjoy the protections and the benefits of a union. As much as we share a brotherhood in arms, we share a bond as a family in labor also.”
Local 1842’s retirees officially started their group last year after two years of organizing. It began with trying to get pension and benefits information to retired members and turned into a group of 60 retirees who pay dues, meet monthly, organize community aid, and advise the current Local 1842 membership.
President of Local 1842’s retirees group Pete Kluck and group member Jerry Hanna coordinated with Evans to honor the veteran members.
“All of these guys care about this group and it’s important to them,” said Hanna, who helped form the retirees group. “All of us have anywhere from 35 to 45 years working at Joy and we were all active in the union.”
“We appreciated being in the union when we were working,” said Dan Bennet, a U.S. Marines Corps veteran who was recognized with the certificate of honor. “We were paid well and it was because of the union, and there are plenty of shops around here that wouldn’t have paid as much if our union shop didn’t set the standard. Others got a better wage because of us – a rising tide lifts all boats.”