Two Machinists Union Members Graduate Thanks to IAM-SUNY Empire State College Partnership

Two Machinists Union Members Graduate Thanks to IAM-SUNY Empire State College Partnership

Two Machinists Union Members Graduate Thanks to IAM-SUNY Empire State College Partnership

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Two Machinists Union members have successfully completed the bachelor’s degree program in Labor Studies through the IAM’s partnership with the State University of New York’s Empire State College (ESC).

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

Since 2014, the IAM has partnered with ESC to offer associates and bachelor’s degrees in labor studies through the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies in New York City. The partnership also offers a master’s degree in work and labor policy. Degree programs are conducted online, with week-long residencies that occur once a semester at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD.

Midwest Territory Grand Lodge Representative Rick Mickschl graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in labor studies, and Matthew Hanson, a Seattle IAM Local 289 member, graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in labor studies.

“Congratulations to Grand Lodge Representative Rick Mickschl,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “Educating our staff, officers, members and activists is the IAM’s top priority. We are proud of all this year’s graduates.”

“Congratulations to our graduates,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “As union leaders, it is our calling to continue to grow and learn to enhance our union and our communities.”

“This program makes higher education possible for working families,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Equipping activists and leaders with tools and knowledge is one of the ways we strengthen the IAM for the future. My sincere thanks and congratulations go to Brothers Mickschl and Hanson for their hard work and dedication in serving our members and the IAM.” 

“This is truly a great day for these two members and the IAM-ESC partnership,” said Douglas Williams, IAM-ESC Partnership Coordinator. “I have watched Rick and Matthew dedicate themselves to their studies with the same diligence that they have applied to their union work, and I could not be prouder that they have completed this program with the highest distinction.” 

If you are an IAM member, retiree or relative, you can go to college, free of charge, and you can learn more about the program here. You can also reach out to Douglas Williams, IAM-ESC Partnership Coordinator, at dwilliams@iamaw.org.

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Machinists Strength on Display for Transportation Workers

Machinists Strength on Display for Transportation Workers

Machinists Strength on Display for Transportation Workers

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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives as a country and a union have adjusted on the fly to a new way of living. Each day seems to bring a new experience as we’ve grown accustomed to having the unpredictable be the norm.

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

The one constant in our lives is the support Machinists have given fellow Machinists.

The IAM membership and our Political and Legislative Department immediately responded to the unprecedented global economic collapse and societal constraints by engaging in an intense lobbying effort to lead the labor movement’s quest to have the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP) included in the CARES Act.

Machinists from every territory and job classification banded together and made tens of thousands of calls and wrote thousands of letters to their Senators and Representatives, imploring them to provide relief for America’s frontline workers. Through this collective effort, the Machinists were able to have the Payroll Support Program (PSP) included in the CARES Act.

Airline employees continued to work and receive salaries and benefits along with the condition that collective bargaining agreements would be honored and carriers would not be allowed to invoke involuntary furloughs.

“I was thrilled with the passing of PSP,” said Southwest Airlines Customer Service Representative Judy Leckie. “After being with Southwest Airlines for 33 years and so close to retirement, I was devastated when I received my warning letter. Because of all the lobbying my Brothers and Sisters at the IAM did, I never missed a day of work. I am grateful to be a part of a union with members who always fight for each other.”

While many members with decades of service, like Leckie, were emotionally affected by the uncertainty of possibly not being able to retire on their own terms, there was also another group who were just beginning their careers who were in a more tenuous predicament during the outbreak of the pandemic.

“As someone newly hired by American Airlines as the pandemic took full effect last year, I have a slightly different story than most of the senior IAM members,” said Charlotte Local Lodge 1725 Fleet Service worker Nathaniel Fink. “For starters, I was in training doing the usual 40-hour per week class, and being on probation, I was uncertain if the company would terminate me and the rest of the class. That’s when I realized how important it was to be a member of the IAM.

“Our union and my reps fought around the clock to ensure that we would not be laid off and continue working part-time, added Fink. “They even worked with the company to adjust our schedules so we could work our allotted 15 hours per week over three days instead of working three hours a day over five days. This helped me a lot with my travel.”

Rail employees were granted a waiver of waiting periods for benefits and enhanced unemployment benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act.

More Lobbying Work Needed

While securing the PSP granted much-needed economic relief for airline and rail employees through September 2020, another round of stimulus relief was needed when our air and rail sectors didn’t rebound before the CARES Act expired.

Machinists again were at the forefront of the fight on Capitol Hill. We responded and after weeks of intense lobbying, secured a clean extension of the critical PSP through March 31, 2021. 

This clean extension again prohibited any airline accepting additional PSP funds from involuntarily furloughing employees for the duration of the program. It also required participating airlines to recall the tens of thousands of airline employees furloughed following the expiration of the original PSP program on September 30, 2020.

“Without my IAM Brothers and Sisters fighting relentlessly for each other and the Legislative team’s work on Capitol Hill, my family and I would have exhausted most of our savings while I waited to be recalled,” said Local Lodge 2559 American Airlines Mechanic Chuck Cox. “I, like many others in my position, were able to overcome and limit any hardships because the IAM has an army of Machinists willing to battle for one another and iron-clad contacts that protect us in good and bad times.”

The legislation mandated an extension and enhancement of unemployment benefits for railroad employees, plus an extension of waiver of the 7-day waiting period. Amtrak was also restricted from furloughing additional employees. The passenger rail carrier is also required to recall workers to their former position when rail service is restored and prevents Amtrak from contracting out the work of furloughed employees.

 In March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion bill which provided $14 billion in additional aid to the airline industry, including an extension of the Payroll Support Program (PSP). The PSP, extended for a second time since the initial passage of the CARES Act in late March 2020, mandated that as a condition of accepting tax payer funded aid, air carriers will not be permitted to lay off any workers through September 30, 2021.

“Over the last year, I had a lot of anxiety from receiving warning letters and, obviously, about my job security,” said Fink. “But through it all, I had my union fighting for me and everyone else at the IAM. I couldn’t be more appreciative of Shop Steward Allen Drennen and District Lodge 141 for everything they did for me.”

The Act also provides $30.5 billion in emergency aid for the passenger rail and transit sectors. Amtrak received $1.7 billion and is required to recall laid-off workers. The emergency funds will be distributed across the country and act as a lifeline for essential workers in the rail and transit sectors.

“Thanks to the efforts of IAM members and our Legislative team, we have led the fight on Capitol Hill from the beginning and made sure that the Machinists’ family will always look out for the welfare of one another,” added Chuck Cox.

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141 Report: Local 1886 Golf, Smoke, BBQ Events Support GDA

141 Report: Local 1886 Golf, Smoke, BBQ Events Support GDA

After a one-year hiatus, Local 1886 held their 5th Annual Golf Tournament to benefit Guide Dogs of America and Tender Loving Canines on June 25. Golfers were eager to sign up, and the event sold out in 6 weeks.

141 Report: Local 1886 Golf, Smoke, BBQ Events Support GDA

Dave welcomes back John Martinez, President of Local Lodge 1886 in Denver, Colorado, to talk about their most successful charity golf tournament ever. Has your local lodge considered organizing a charity event? Watch this video!

After a one-year hiatus, Local 1886 held their 5th Annual Golf Tournament to benefit Guide Dogs of America and Tender Loving Canines on June 25. Golfers were eager to sign up, and the event sold out in 6 weeks.

Brother John Martinez shares the planning process and gives a step-by-step timeline and organizing tips on putting together a big event for charity. He stresses the importance of starting early, at least six months in advance, to line up sponsors and get the word out. John and his team of volunteers led by Rich Pijanowski, Frank Gagliano, and Ken Cardoso began meeting via Zoom in November 2020, unsure about whether they could resume their annual event.

They received an enthusiastic response to their initial solicitation for sponsors. The early start paid off: they collected over 140 gift donations for raffles and cash to underwrite the event’s costs. 

With 144 golfers signed up to play and the main event sold out, event organizers scheduled a BBQ lunch at the airport to raise funds a week before the golf tournament. Volunteers donated all the food and supplies, allowing members to show off their cooking and smoking talents. That event also raised awareness about the extraordinary work GDA does and the vital role the Machinists Union plays in their support. 

As expected, the food sold out quickly. “We didn’t realize how hungry ramp service, flight attendants, and customer service people could be,” said John, pledging that the Smoke and BBQ lunch would also become an annual event. 

After covering all costs, Local 1886 presented $17,000 to Guide Dogs of America and Tender Loving Canines, the largest donation in the local’s history.

John and the team of volunteers are not resting and look forward to repeating their success next year. Save the date for the 6th Annual Local 1886 Charity Golf Tournament on June 24, 2022. 

“United Next” Will Build a Bigger United and a Stronger IAM

“United Next” Will Build a Bigger United and a Stronger IAM

United is placing the biggest new aircraft order in its history, a total of 200 MAX jets from Boeing plus 70 aircraft from Airbus, and will hire 25,000 new employees in the next 5 years to support that investment in their fleet.

Read the Official Announcement

25,000 New Hires, 500 New Planes.

“United Next” Will Build a Bigger United and a Stronger IAM

United’s CEO went on a media blitz this week with bullish news on how he wants to direct the airline post-pandemic.  

Scott Kirby began his day on Tuesday with early morning interviews on CNBC and other news outlets, before he joined members of his executive suite at Hangar 54 at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey for twin live presentations. The first event was reserved for VIPs and media, while the second had an in-person audience of United employees and was also live-streamed on the airline’s intranet. Admission to both events was by invitation only.  

As the temperature in Newark hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit at noon, Kirby shed his suit jacket to share the good news: United is placing the biggest new aircraft order in its history, a total of 200 MAX jets from Boeing plus 70 aircraft from Airbus, and will hire 25,000 new employees in the next 5 years to support that investment in their fleet. The news was welcomed by representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at both United and Boeing. The IAM represents 28,000 airport and call center workers at United, the largest group of unionized workers at the carrier. The union also has 30,000 members at the Boeing Renton, Washington facility where the MAX aircraft are made.  

Assistant General Chairs Mitch Buckley and Erik Stenberg represented District 141 at the events. Buckley joined representatives from 4 labor unions on the stage during the live stream where Kirby thanked them for the important role organized labor played in the airline’s quick return to profitability as the country rises from the coronavirus pandemic. After losing $7 million last year, Kirby announced separately on Monday he expects the company to show a pre-tax earnings profit in July 2021. 

Kirby praised the decisions of his team, specifically that of grounding fewer aircraft than other major carriers in the Spring of 2020, which facilitated the return to flying to fit demand when markets opened and customers returned when vaccines became widely available this year. All labor unions at United lobbied Congress and got $54 billion in federal payroll support for US airlines in exchange for keeping workers employed and receiving benefits such as health insurance during the pandemic. Throughout 2020, thousands of airline workers also accepted early retirement packages or took voluntary leaves of absence, saving companies millions in payroll.

Jon Roitman, United’s Chief Operating Officer, wore a safety vest as he answered a question about the job security of employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements when the Payroll Support Program expires in September. “It remains to be seen,” said Roitman, pointing out that the airline is still “reconciling” what resources would be needed, and their timing.

District 141 stood firm and defended every clause in our contracts during the worst crisis in the history of commercial aviation, and sued United in federal court to stop the involuntary downgrade of thousands of workers to part-time status. Every IAM member at United enjoys peace of mind knowing their livelihood will be protected by a legally binding contract even after the expiration of the Payroll Support Program. 

The positive news set the stage for a successful post-pandemic United, which made District 141 members and leadership look to brighter days ahead. AGC Mitch Buckley said, “This is very exciting, especially for our members at EWR,” pointing out how the “United Next” plan calls for significant growth in that hub city. For AGC and District 141 Safety Chair Erik Stenberg, the most important part of the plan is how “Our members will have great opportunities at United Airlines.” 

Carmelo Benedicto, a United Lead Ramp Services Agent at EWR who is an active member and Organizer at Local 914 said, “It will be great to go into negotiations with a company that’s not broke.”  

Three IAM Family Members Awarded 2021 Union Plus Scholarships

Three IAM Family Members Awarded 2021 Union Plus Scholarships

Three IAM Family Members Awarded 2021 Union Plus Scholarships

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Three IAM families are celebrating what it means to be union after winning 2021 Union Plus scholarships. Recipients are being recognized for their academic achievements and union values.

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

  • Lauren Grace Evans of Cullman, AL. Evans, whose father, Drew Evans, is a member of IAM Local 44, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
  • Macy ONeill of Hickory, KY. O’Neill, whose father, Clarence O’Neill, is a member of IAM Local 1969, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Macy was a 2020 Union Plus Scholarship recipient.
  • Sydney Pizzinato of Gilbert, AZ. Pizzinato, whose father, Angelo Pizzinato, is a member of IAM Local Lodge 764, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

This year, Union Plus awarded $250,000 in scholarships to 199 students representing 37 unions. The 2021 group of winners includes university, college and trade or technical school students from 42 states.

Lauren Grace Evans

Troy (AL) University

Cullman (AL) High School (2020)

Lauren Grace Evans recently completed her first year as a nursing major at Troy and expects to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2024. She hopes to attend graduate school with the goal of becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). She decided to attend Troy after representing CHS at a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Summit hosted by the university. Evans worked at Cullman County Center for the Developmentally Disabled while in high school, and her family has assisted with socially distanced chores at the facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evans’ father has held several IAM leadership roles, including serving as president of the Alabama State Council of Machinists. She appreciates her father’s work to assist other union members.

“There are times when my dad has gone on strike to help those around him, and he has always taken pride in that,” said Evans. “IAM establishes loyalty, dignity, and a strong work ethic into each of its members and their families by extension. I hope someday to take part and create better opportunities for those around me.”

Macy O’Neill

Western Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC)

Graves County (KY) High School

Macy O’Neill is a nursing major at WKCTC and plans to eventually pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees with aspirations of being a nurse practitioner. She is following the footsteps of her mother, who is a nurse.

In addition to his IAM membership, O’Neill’s father is an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) member. She saw the value of his union memberships in 2012 when an injury prevented him from working.

“My father received much-needed disability pay during this time,” said O’Neill. “Union membership helped my family when we needed it most. I am thankful unions exist to help hardworking men and women who want a better and brighter future.”

Sydney Pizzinato

Arizona State University (ASU)

Highland (AZ) High School, Gilbert, AZ

Sydney Pizzinato will return to ASU this fall for her senior year as an English literature major. She spent her first year at Mesa (AZ) Community College (MCC), transferred to ASU for the 2019-20 school year, and took classes at Northern Arizona University (NAU) this past year. Sydney expects to graduate in May 2022 and hopes to enter ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication for graduate school. She is interested in journalism, technical writing, or academia as potential career paths. Pizzinato finished her first book when she was 14 and has published eight young adult books.

Both of Pizzinato’s parents work in the airline industry. In addition to her father’s IAM membership, her mother is an Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) member. Pizzinato’s mother set up the crisis center for airline crew members at Vancouver International Airport following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

“From their salary to benefits, my parents’ union memberships have enabled our family to have a better lifestyle with a roof over our heads, food on our table, insurance benefits, and much more,” Pizzinato said.

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.

IAM Calling on Congress for Rail Safety and Job Creation

IAM Calling on Congress for Rail Safety and Job Creation

IAM Calling on Congress for Rail Safety and Job Creation

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The Machinists Union is strongly urging Congress to help secure the livelihood of the nearly 40,000 IAM members working in the rail industry by passing the INVEST in America Act.

Many thanks to the Machinists & Aerospace journalists at IAM Transportation Newswire who wrote and originally published this story. 

This legislation will improve safety, create thousands of good-paying union jobs, and provide much-needed stability and growth to the freight and passenger rail industry.
 
“This legislation improves safety and creates thousands of good-paying union jobs, while providing much-needed security, stability and growth to the freight and passenger rail industry” said Chief of Staff to the International President Richard Johnsen. “The INVEST in America Act is a great first step forward in protecting and securing the livelihood of the members we represent.”
 
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.
 
Earlier this month, The IAM along with a coalition of rail labor organizations wrote a letter to House leadership expressing strong support for the INVEST in America Act.
 

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.