Guide Dogs of America Facility Welcomes Leaders from Locals 1781, 1782 & Dist. 141

Guide Dogs of America Facility Welcomes Leaders from Locals 1781, 1782 & Dist. 141

Guide Dogs of America Facility Welcomes Leaders from Locals 1781, 1782 & Dist. 141

IAM Local 1781 and 1782 (District 141) members went on a private tour of the Sylmar, Ca. training facility for Guide Dogs of America / Tender Loving Canines.

IAM Local 1781 and 1782 (District 141) members went on a private tour of the Sylmar, Ca. training facility for Guide Dogs of America / Tender Loving Canines (GDA/TLC). Members went to the facility to learn more about GDA/TLC, and exactly what it is the IAM’s charity of choice does.
 
“We learned how the dogs are raised start to finish, got a better insight and perspective of what they do, how they involve the community, and assist our members in need,” said Local 1781 President Tony Parker. “We are learning as much as possible so that we can go back and let our members know how important it is to support local charities and upcoming fundraisers for GDA/TLC.”
 
“To show what this facility means to our members, being here to see what they do, so that we can go back and hold fundraisers,” said Local 1782 President Wendy Goodell. “Because we want to raise money to help this wonderful program that in turn helps lots of people.”
 
Members got to experience all the program has to offer, from the breeding program, training program, to placing service dogs to those in need, as well as blindfold walks without vision, with a dog.
 
“It’s great both of these locals making the trip to see and learn firsthand all the resources that goes into raising a future guide dog,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “My thanks to all involved for learning more about this important facility and the invaluable work that they do.”
 
In preparation for the Locals’ upcoming membership celebrations, both Lodges will be holding a GDA/TLC fundraiser on July 23.
 
Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines provides service dogs for people who are blind/visually impaired, veterans, children with autism, and facilities to become trusted companions that bring confidence, independence, and mobility. Their services are provided free of charge to residents in the U.S. and Canada.

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The IAM joined other transportation unions in raising urgent concerns regarding assaults against passenger service agents working across airports in the United States. The letter was addressed to President Biden, U.S. Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

 
The letter urges governmental action to address the increase in assaults against passenger service agents, including the prosecution of abusive passengers.
 
“Airline gate agents are a vital part of a multilayered airline security and safety process at the airport,” reads the letter. “Our members are responsible for checking passengers into their flights, checking luggage to comply with airline weight and balance limits, and boarding passengers onto the aircraft in an orderly and structured way.”
 
Over the past few months, passenger service members across the country have experienced serious physical and verbal assault and harassment incidents, with few repercussions for the offending passenger imposed by law enforcement.
 
The FAA has reported a total of 5,981 passenger incidents in 2021, which is up sharply from previous years.
 
“The IAM supports the push for more substantial penalties against unruly passengers who assault passenger service agents and other airline workers,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President.
 
“Our union continues to ring the alarm and highlight the need of enforcing the laws for assault against all airline workers. The best way to curb these unfortunate incidents is for the interagency working group to listen to the impacted workers in the airline industry. We must all work together to end the assaults that afflict our members.” 
 
The labor coalition expressed the need for all frontline gate agents to expect a safe workplace, free from the threat of violence, and increased cooperation is required to improve the safety of these employees.
 
 

The Machinists Non-Partisan Political League seeks to advance public policy that benefits airline and aerospace workers. To support the work of the MNPL, please consider recurring, automatic donations of any amount today. Click Here to start supporting this important work.

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Sisters and Brothers,

One year ago, we watched as violence overtook the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop our nation’s sacred tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. Everyday citizens, first responders, and elected officials were put in harm’s way. It was an image many of us never thought we would see in the United States of America.

As a U.S. Navy veteran, like so many others who served our country, it was especially disturbing to see our democracy under attack. What happened that day was an affront to everything we stand for as a nation and as a union. While we encourage passionate debate and the right to disagree with one another, violence and hate are never the answer.

We must never forget this day. We must always protect our freedom and our democracy. Let’s move forward to protect the rights of all citizens and our sacred duty to make our voices heard at the ballot box instead of through violence.

In solidarity,

 

Robert Martinez Jr.
International President

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Air Rage

Air Rage

In January the FAA issued an order directing staff to pursue a “zero-tolerance” policy for cases relating to interference with crewmembers and other unruly conduct on board aircraft. The move follows a year that has shattered records for the numbers of attacks against airline workers. 

Air Rage

The IAM is calling for stronger legislation with stiffer penalties against unruly passengers who assault customer service agents and other airline workers. Until these incidents end, our union will keep pushing for enforcement of laws, because air rage seems to be a never-ending issue that current penalties haven’t been able to stop.

The Machinists Non Partisan Political League seeks to advance public policy that benefits airline and aerospace workers. To support the work of the MNPL, please consider recurring, automatic donations of any amount today. Click Here to start supporting this important work.

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Machinists Union from Capitol Hill: JetBlue Must Repay Workers

Machinists Union from Capitol Hill: JetBlue Must Repay Workers

Machinists Union from Capitol Hill: JetBlue Must Repay Workers

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The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) on Monday, Nov. 8, sent a letter to Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue Airways Inc., alerting him that the union will reach out to federal lawmakers in an attempt to help workers who wrongfully lost wages and benefits even as the carrier took taxpayer-funded relief as part of the CARES Act.

“We will reach out to key federal lawmakers, inform them that JetBlue management took almost $2 billion in federal tax-payer funds and then cut the hours, pay and benefits of hundreds, if not thousands, of JetBlue workers in potential violation of federal law. At present, you may ignore the IAM, but ignoring the questions of federal lawmakers would likely not be a good strategy,” wrote Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President.
 
Johnsen’s correspondence was a follow-up attempt by the IAM.
 

The Payroll Support Program, under Division A, Title IV, Subtitle B of the CARES Act, provided payroll support to passenger air carriers for the continuing payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits trhough the pandemic. This money was given to airlines based on how much they spent on total labor costs in 2019. JetBlue executives took nearly $2 billion, and agreed to keep pay, staffing levels and benefits at 2019 levels. 
     However, soon after taking the money, JetBlue cut the hours, removed premium-pay positions, and reduced benefits for non-union Ground Ops Crewmembers. This meant that the amount of PSP funding the airline got was much more than it needed, allowing executives to pocket the difference. 
     Now, the Machinists Union is asking the same lawmakers who wrote the PSP provisions into the CARES Act to review the actions of JetBlue executives and determine if any violations have taken place. 

On Oct. 13, James Carlson, the IAM’s Assistant Airline Coordinator, wrote Hayes, urging him to rectify the matter.
 
“JetBlue Crewmembers deserve better,” Carlson wrote. “They deserve to be repaid the money you wrongly took from them last year. They deserve to have their 401k accounts increased by the exact amount that was lost due to their working hours/pay being wrongly cut.”
 
The IAM lobbied aggressively to make sure the airline Payroll Support Program (PSP) was included in the CARES Act.
 
JetBlue applied for and received taxpayer funds under the Payroll Support Program, which required airlines to maintain workers’ jobs, pay and benefits as a condition of taking the funds. In May 2020, a group of 13 U.S. Senators, led by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), wrote to Hayes, urging the company to reverse its decision to cut hours of workers after receiving the financial assistance of the CARES Act.
 
“Your decision to cut employee hours is inconsistent with congressional intent and is a blatant and potentially illegal effort to skirt your requirements to keep workers on payroll, and you should reverse this policy immediately,” the senators wrote.
 
The IAM is actively trying to organize JetBlue’s Ground Operations (GO) Crewmembers.
 
Johnsen’s letter to Hayes pointed out some falsehoods in the company’s messages to its workers, many of which are an attempt to thwart union representation.
 
“The truth is that JetBlue management will do everything in its power to coerce GO Crewmembers against forming a union. JetBlue management knows that by unionizing GO Crewmembers will be able to gain the power needed to secure a legally binding contract that they deserve, which recognizes their value to JetBlue Airways,” Johnsen wrote. “JetBlue management also knows it will lose the power to dictate every aspect of GO Crewmembers working lives if these brave, dedicated workers join a union.”

JetBlue Wrongly Cut Hours, Pay and Benefits

JetBlue Wrongly Cut Hours, Pay and Benefits

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JetBlue Wrongly Cut Hours, Pay, and Benefits

 

Robin Hayes, CEO JetBlue Airways Inc.
27-01 Queens Plaza North
Long Island City, NY 11101

November 8, 2021

CEO Hayes,

As expected, you did not respond to a letter sent to you on October 11, 2021. Instead, you had Alex Battaglia, JetBlue Head of Airports and System Operations, respond for you. In the aforementioned letter, a member of my staff requested that you reimburse JetBlue employees who wrongly had their hours, pay and benefits cut last year after JetBlue management took approximately $2 billion in tax-payer funded grants and loans under the Payroll Support Program (PSP) component of the CARES Act.

For this reason, the IAM will mobilize our Legislative Department. We will reach out to key federal lawmakers, inform them that JetBlue management took almost $2 billion in federal tax- payer funds and then cut the hours, pay and benefits of hundreds, if not thousands, of JetBlue workers in potential violation of federal law. At present, you may ignore the IAM, but ignoring the questions of federal lawmakers would likely not be a good strategy.

Mr. Battaglia’s response, both to the IAM and GO Crewmembers, contained some very questionable claims. Besides, in our opinion, wrongly claiming that JetBlue was in compliance with federal mandates concerning accepting PSP funds, he also appeared to kick off JetBlue’s anti-workplace democracy campaign by attempting to influence GO Crewmember’s decision to request a union representation election take place.

Besides patting himself on the back for taking basic pandemic safety measures, like installing hand sanitizer stations and plexiglas in gate areas and supplying surgical masks, Mr. Battaglia also took the time to spew the typical misrepresentations and falsehoods associated with attempting to influence and coerce JetBlue workers from exercising their right to form a union and gain collective bargaining rights.

Among the falsehoods and misrepresentations was Battaglia’s claim that JetBlue management “live[d] up to its no its no furlough promise”. Mr. Battaglia should know that because JetBlue management took billions of dollars in federal PSP funds, JetBlue was PROHIBITED BY LAW from furloughing any workers. To take credit for this is a clear attempt to deceive GO Crewmembers that it was the kindness JetBlue management that was the reason that no JetBlue

workers were furloughed. No JetBlue workers were laid off, as you know, because of the protections provided by under the CARES Act. A law, by the way, that was enacted due to the activism of IAM members and the labor movement as a whole.

Mr. Battaglia also claimed that “if a union were elected the Airports Compensation Advisory Team (ACAT) review would stop.” That would only be true if JetBlue management decided to stop the ACAT review. CEO Hayes, the IAM, as we have said before, demands that you raise the wages of GO Crewmembers right now. What’s to review? JetBlue just reported a Q3 profit of

$190 million. GO Crewmembers deserve exactly what was promised in 2019 and then some. They deserve significant improvements to their benefits and working conditions, as well. The IAM demands that be done now, so any assertion that electing a union would halt the process is another sad attempt to deceive JetBlue GO Crewmembers.

JetBlue GO Crewmembers deserve so much more than they are receiving. They deserve the respect to negotiate and vote on their terms of employment.

The truth is that JetBlue management will do everything in its power to coerce GO Crewmembers against forming a union. JetBlue management knows that by unionizing GO Crewmembers will be able to gain the power needed to secure a legally binding contract that they deserve, which recognizes their value to JetBlue Airways. JetBlue management also knows it will lose the power to dictate every aspect of GO Crewmembers working lives if these brave, dedicated workers join a union.

Lastly, the IAM will act to defend GO Crewmembers’ federal right to join a union and will not tolerate JetBlue management’s interference in the exercise of such rights.

Respectfully,

Richard Johnsen
Chief of Staff to the International President, Transportation
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO

Recording Secretaries: Please print and post on all IAMAW bulletin boards.