U.S. Secretaries Walsh And Raimondo Visit IAM Members

U.S. Secretaries Walsh And Raimondo Visit IAM Members

U.S. Secretaries Walsh And Raimondo Visit IAM Members

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U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo recently visited Machinists Union members at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, CT. The cabinet officials witnessed firsthand how federal registered apprenticeship programs have strengthened eastern Connecticut’s manufacturing workforce.

Many thanks to the Machinists & Aerospace journalists at GOIAM.org who wrote and originally published this story. 

The U.S. Secretaries, who were part of a group led by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), went on a tour of the busy shipyard and discussed how Electric Boat has utilized federal registered apprenticeship programs like the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative (MPI) to help train and grow their workforce.

“I want to thank Congressman Courtney for facilitating the visit of U.S. Secretaries Walsh and Raimondo to meet our members at Electric Boat,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “The IAM is grateful for their continued support of legislation like the MPI that will help provide jobs for future generations of Machinists.”

“We are very fortunate to have a congressional delegation here in Connecticut and also the Secretaries of Labor and Commerce that see the value in supporting programs like apprenticeships,” said IAM District 26 Directing Business Representative Mike Stone. “These programs further our members’ education and, in turn, make for a smarter, stronger workforce to perform the work our companies do such as the growing submarine construction programs at Electric Boat, currently and into the future.”

The National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 would expand access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs. It would also yield a projected $10.6 billion in net benefits to U.S. taxpayers in the form of increased tax revenue and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance.

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Record Number of Attacks on Airline Workers Driven by Mask Mandates, Political Fury

Record Number of Attacks on Airline Workers Driven by Mask Mandates, Political Fury

Record Number of Attacks on Airline Workers Driven by Mask Mandates, Political Fury

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A report from the Federal Aviation Administration reveals the number of violent attacks against flight crews and airport agents has exploded by over 170% since 2019.

With 2021 approaching its midpoint, the number of assaults against flight attendants and airport gate and ticket agents has already set new records. 

“In 2004, the FAA logged 310 attacks against airline workers,” said David Roderick, the Legislative Director for District 141 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, one of the largest unions of airline and transportation workers in the world. “That was the previous record for a full year,” he said. “At the end of May, we’ve already broken that record in 2021. It’s outrageous,” he said.

As of May 25 of this year, the FAA has recorded 394 potential violations involving unruly passengers, some so severe that the Administration took serious enforcement action. In a typical year, there are about 130 cases reported in a 12 month period. Documented 2021 cases have more than doubled in the first six months, breaking records kept for over 25 years. 

According to Roderick, most of the violence stems from anger at mask mandates and political fury that was manifested in the Capitol insurrection. “Wearing a mask is still required on airplanes and airport facilities. Too many people are refusing to comply, and some people need to be reminded multiple times to pull up their masks to cover their nose and mouth,” he said. “Each time an airport agent or a member of a flight crew has to repeat the instructions, the tension level goes up. The fact is, airline workers are risking their safety to enforce mask compliance.”

“A huge number of these attacks were clustered around the January 6 riot at the Capitol,” he said, referring to reports of unruly and occasionally violent travelers into and out of Washington, DC in early January. “But even if we take out the attacks that occurred around that day, the amount of violence that airline workers are being subjected to is completely off the charts.”

On May 23rd, an anti-masker struck a flight attendant on a Southwest flight from Sacramento to San Diego. She lost two teeth in the assault and needed to be hospitalized. The passenger was arrested at the gate, charged with felony assault, and is now permanently banned from the airline.  

Since that vicious assault, Southwest and American Airlines announced they are delaying plans to resume sales of alcoholic beverages on flights. Overconsumption of alcohol has often been cited as a cause for disruptive behavior, and airlines had paused most meal and beverage services to reduce movement around aircraft cabins early in the pandemic. 

Southwest Airlines alone has logged 477 incidents of serious “misconduct” on planes this year. The cases requiring enforcement by the FAA seem like a lot, but the figure does not include thousands of lesser but still severe attacks. According to the FAA, airlines have reported 2,500 cases of “unruly” passengers this year. These incidents include not only physical attacks, but also verbal abuse and threats.  

Of the 2,500 incidents reported by airlines, 1,900 cases involved instances where passengers became violent during an event involving face masks, which are mandated by the US Department of Transportation, not individual airlines. The FAA recently extended the mask requirement through September 13, 2021. 

Four years ago, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and other airline unions began an intense lobbying campaign for stronger protections for airport customer service agents from assault by passengers. Congress responded by expanding protections for airport agents while they are performing their duties in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The act called for new protocols that place decisions regarding the refusal to transport a passenger after an incident in the hands of law enforcement, not airline supervisors. These provisions were a top priority for airline workers after the FAA logged 91 enforcement actions the previous year. 

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 also increased the penalties for unruly behavior by passengers. Facing the surge of incidents in the past year, the FAA instituted a “zero-tolerance policy” and has been imposing maximum fines of up to $35,000 on passengers that become violent or refuse to wear masks onboard aircraft. According to USA Today, the agency imposed $258,250 in fines and penalties to 27 passengers last month. 

A Government Accountability Office study mandated by the act revealed that over 92% of the airline agents interviewed had experienced verbal harassment from passengers, and over half had either been threatened or had been the target of a physical assault from a passenger while working at the airport. 

The data produced by the study have yet to be applied to institute new procedures or training for workers. Other provisions of the act, such as new rest rules for flight attendants and secondary cockpit doors, have not been fully implemented by the federal government. Most airlines failed to meet a deadline in late 2019 that required them to submit plans to the FAA detailing their new programs to respond to passenger assaults. “This is unacceptable,” said Roderick. We fought for these expanded protections, and the federal government has not done their part to follow through on these requirements,” he said. 

While he said he is happy to see a crackdown on unruly behavior, Roderick thinks airline workers need to know their rights so they can better protect themselves and the safety and comfort of all passengers. “This includes managers who are sometimes forced to make quick decisions based on incomplete or unclear information,” he added. 

“We have legislation in place that passed with bipartisan support to improve the safety of our air travel network,” said Roderick. “We need to implement every aspect of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act so we can come back from the pandemic with all the tools needed for a healthy recovery. Summer is here, and the flights are filling up. We need to do this now.” 

 

Machinists & Aerospace Union Endorses the INVEST in America Act

Machinists & Aerospace Union Endorses the INVEST in America Act

Machinists & Aerospace Union Endorses the INVEST in America Act

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The IAM, along with a coalition of rail labor organizations, recently wrote a letter to House leadership expressing strong support for the INVEST in America Act.

Many thanks to the Machinists & Aerospace journalists at the IAMAW Transportation Newswire who wrote and originally published this story. To sign up for the email newsletter, visit the Transportation Newswire page at GoIAM.org.

The legislation, which was recently passed out of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ). This legislation will improve safety, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and secure a future with a vibrant freight and passenger rail industry.
“The IAM applauds Chairs DeFazio, Norton and Payne for again championing legislation that will help improve safety for rail workers and travelers while also creating jobs,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The Machinists Union urges other members of Congress to support this vital legislation which will provide stability and growth to the freight and passenger rail industry.”
“The Committee’s passing of this Act is a great step towards protecting and securing the livelihoods of our rail members,” said Richard Johnsen, Chief of Staff to the International President. “We must keep pressuring Congress to pass this much-needed legislation which will help ensure the future viability of the rail industry.” 
 
The bill will prevent accidents, save lives, and promote the long-term viability of the industry. The Act addresses a wide variety of issues, including responding to dangerous changes and the deployment of new technologies in freight railroad operations, ensuring that the Federal Railroad Administration is a safety-first agency that works in tandem with rail workers, and requiring the necessary presence of a certified engineer and certified conductor on most freight trains. 
 
The bill also includes significant investments in passenger rail, including historic funding levels for Amtrak and its operational and capital needs. It supports the growth of new rail operations, including high-speed rail.

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Tell Your Senators to Support the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) Now! 

///The PRO Act will make it easier for working people to bargain together and win good contracts because it will: Empower workers to exercise our freedom to organize and bargain. Repeal “right to work” laws. Ensure that workers can reach a first contract quickly after a union is recognized.

141 Report: GSAP Rollout at American, PA State Council Conference

141 Report: GSAP Rollout at American, PA State Council Conference

Obie O’Brien (left) and Rich Howell (on right) with Congressman Connor Lamb (D-PA, 17th Dist.) Obie is the President of the Pennsylvania State Council of Machinists, and Rich is the Vice President. 

141 Report: GSAP Rollout at American, PA State Council Conference

Safety First. The culture of working safely drives everything we do as a union. Dave Lehive welcomes back Dennis Spencer, District 141 Safety Coordinator at American Airlines to update us about the rollout of the GSAP safety reporting system at American. 

Asia McClain, a GSAP Advocate from Local 561 in Kansas City, Missouri, joins the conversation to share her views on how the implementation of this important safety program is going and how it has improved safety at her station. 

Front-line workers have filed over 100 GSAP reports since the program began at American on March 29, 2021. There are 100 safety advocates from the IAM/TWU Association throughout the American Airlines network who have received training on GSAP protocols. Dennis is still recruiting advocates and conducting training sessions to make sure there is a trained GSAP advocate at every airport. Asia praised the program as an opportunity for workers to voice safety concerns and how it prevents managers from “shutting you down and not listening.” 

Having the FAA and neutral parties reviewing problems at ERC meetings has already improved the safety culture at Kansas City, and both guests agreed that while there’s a lot of work to do, GSAP will improve the safety culture for all members of The Association. “Members need to be informed about this program because it gives them a voice. Problems are looked at from every perspective,” said Asia. 

“No more sweeping things under the rug.” 

To learn more about GSAP or to file a report, go to https://www.unionsafe141.org/

In the second part of the video, Dave reports on the in-person gathering of delegates of the Pennsylvania State Council of Machinists for their conference in York this week. They welcomed John Fetterman, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Attorney General who spoke about voting rights, and several members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation, who participated both in-person and virtually. 

Hasan Solomon, IAMAW National Legislative Director, spoke at the conference about the ongoing fight to protect labor rights and the importance of passing the PRO Act, the most important labor reform legislation in a generation. In his signature style, Brother Solomon reminded everyone that “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Machinists Union Urges Congress to Protect Rolling Stock Production

Machinists Union Urges Congress to Protect Rolling Stock Production

Machinists Union Urges Congress to Protect Rolling Stock Production

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The IAM was a signatory to a June 2, 2021 letter from a coalition of unions and manufacturers to key Senate and House leaders citing our continued support for the Transportation Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act (TIVSA). TIVSA was enacted into law in 2019 as a direct response to alarming national security and economic concerns with China’s state-owned and state-supported rolling stock manufacturers, and to oppose any attempts to undermine the TIVSA law.

Many thanks to the Machinists & Aerospace journalists at GOIAM.org who wrote and originally published this story. 

“TIVSA prohibits federal dollars from being used to purchase rolling stock, such as rail cars and buses, from Chinese government-owned or controlled companies,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We should not be using American tax dollars to buy trains made in China. We proudly represent workers at Alstom in Hornell, NY, who produce the best rolling stock in America and are ready and willing to meet our transit and passenger service needs. Congress must ensure that these products, which are critical to our infrastructure, are not compromised in any way. They must be manufactured by entities that make the interests of this nation and its skilled workforce a priority.”

“I encourage the continued support for the TIVSA,” said Richard Johnsen, Chief of Staff to the International President. “Our members produce high-quality U.S. rail cars and buses. American taxpayer dollars should be invested to create good unions jobs here while also increasing the American manufacturing footprint.” 

“We urge that you reject any attempts to weaken the TIVSA law,” wrote the coalition. “Instead, Congress should focus on closing TIVSA loopholes, including: 1) eliminating any further delay in TIVSA’s effective date; 2) correcting FTA’s flawed implementation that gives four U.S. cities a permanent exemption; 3) cracking down on circumvention; and 4) validating Buy America compliance…”

The complete letter can be read here.

Other signatories to the letter included the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU); United Steelworkers (USW); Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM); American Foundry Society (AFS); American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI); Rail Security Alliance (RSA); Railway Supply Institute (RSI); Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE); and the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA).

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///The PRO Act will make it easier for working people to bargain together and win good contracts because it will: Empower workers to exercise our freedom to organize and bargain. Repeal “right to work” laws. Ensure that workers can reach a first contract quickly after a union is recognized.

Americans Want Unions. And They Want Them Now.

Americans Want Unions. And They Want Them Now.

Americans Want Unions. And They Want Them Now.

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Union membership in America may be low, but that’s not because unions are unpopular. Americans want unions – because Americans want decent wages. Because Americans want pensions. And, because Americans understand the importance of Justice on the Job. 

Many thanks to the union journalists from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees at AFSCME.org who wrote and originally published this story. Please check out their site and give them the credit they deserve. 

New survey findings by American National Election Studies (ANES) suggest the country is waking up to the union difference.

As Emily DiVito and Aaron Sojourner of the Roosevelt Institute point out, ANES data from late 2020 show “public feeling toward labor is more positive, and public feeling toward big business more negative, than at any time in five decades.”

From 1964, when ANES began collecting data, to 2012, public feeling toward unions and toward big business followed the same trend. The lines on the graph surge and dip together.

Since 2012, however, the sentiment gap has been growing, the two lines moving in opposite directions, even among Republicans. Today, as the ANES data show, the gap is as wide as ever and starkly so.

DiVito and Sojourner offer a host of explanations for the rise in union popularity – from the Fight for $15 movement to the presidential candidacies of Bernie Sanders and even the faux populism of Donald Trump.

It’s likely that the pandemic made Americans more aware of the benefits of unions since unionized workers had safer workplaces and lost fewer jobs.

Moreover, good feeling toward unions is likely both reflected and encouraged by the presidency of Joe Biden, the most vocal pro-union president since Franklin Roosevelt. Vice President Kamala Harris chairs the president’s task force on strengthening unions, which kicked off last week.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that American workers are recognizing the value of unions.

Life is better in a union. Union members make more money, have more reliable health care coverage and retire with financial security. Being in a union is also about respect for the work we do. It’s about being safe and protected on the job and having the resources and training to do our jobs well.

Although union popularity continues to rise, with more than half of Americans saying they would vote for a union at work, union membership continues to hold steady, with just 11% of American workers belonging to a union.

Current labor laws make it hard for workers to organize and easy for employers to threaten and intimidate them, as shown by the insurmountable obstacles faced by Amazon workers in their recent bid to form a union.

The federal government must make it easier, not harder, for workers in every industry to form strong unions. Employers should no longer be able to get away with crushing such efforts.

The Senate can begin by passing the House-approved Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), which seeks to make it easier for workers to form strong unions by helping to unrig the system and punish employers who coerce and intimidate workers to prevent them from organizing.

Congress should also approve the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which would set a minimum nationwide standard of collective bargaining rights that all states must provide to state and local government workers.

American workers are ready to experience the union difference for themselves. We must listen to them.

Action Alerts

TAKE ACTION: Scholarships Available Now!

/// The Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Essay Contest is Now Accepting Applications

Tell Your Senators to Support the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) Now! 

///The PRO Act will make it easier for working people to bargain together and win good contracts because it will: Empower workers to exercise our freedom to organize and bargain. Repeal “right to work” laws. Ensure that workers can reach a first contract quickly after a union is recognized.