“If you’re a Machinist and you love the outdoors, the Union Sportsmen Alliance is the place for you to be,” says Walt Ingram, Director of Union Relations for the Union Sportsmen Alliance.
141 Report: Walt Ingram, Union Sportsmen Alliance
Formed in 2007 by a group of charter union affiliates, including Machinists, Steelworkers, and Building Trades members, the Union Sportsmen Alliance’s mission is to “unite the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.”
Walt explains how the group provides opportunities for members to build relationships and become more engaged with their union away from the workplace. It is also a tool for union leadership to get to know members “on their level,” doing activities they enjoy outside of work. “Many Machinists Union members care about the outdoors and engage in outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, and are engaged in activities to preserve the environment,” he says.
USA hosts several Conservation Dinners every year to raise funds for their community outreach program, Work Boots on the Ground, which has completed hundreds of infrastructure projects around the country that provide access to the outdoors regardless of ability. Two of the dinners are held in Machinists Union halls in Seattle and St Louis, and Walt says there is always a Machinists table at every event.
Walt calls the Work Boots on the Ground program “the hallmark of our organization,” and we see a short video of their restoration project in Henryetta, Oklahoma. Nichols Park, a historic park built in 1941 under President Roosevelt’s New Deal Program, was restored by USA members who built a new fishing pier and pavilion, which is very popular with families in the area. He says these projects help “connect your Local with your community in a powerful and positive way that lasts forever.”
Members of the Machinists Union may join the Union Sportsmen Alliance at no cost, a benefit provided by the IAMAW as a Charter Union. Benefits include a subscription to their quarterly journal, access to an exclusive website for members to purchase equipment, and the opportunity to participate in “Brotherhood Outdoors,” their television show that showcases members’ stories, besides the community outreach programs.
Through July 1st, USA will send a bonus gift to any District 141 member who applies for membership, while supplies last.
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