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  • One Base, Two Contracts

    Increased wages – Check.
    Better health care options – Check.
    Stronger pension contributions – Check. 

    Both the Machinist contracts negotiated with M1 Support Services at Sheppard Air Force Base hit all the benchmarks of a good Union contract. The members who work there deserve the best the IAM has to offer. They have spent their career taking care of those who defend and protect the world.

    “Like so many factions of the IAMAW, the work done by these members is incredible,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “Not only do we have a group of men and women taking care the of the aircraft used to train fighter pilots from around the world – in every corner of every NATO country – but we have a group right next to them ensuring that the aircraft used to train our next generation of U.S. Air Force is classroom ready. These are the stories of the working class that need to be told.”

    One right after another, the Machinists first bargained the Sheppard Airforce Maintenance agreement, or what’s been coined the ‘SAM’ contract. A body of about 520 members who maintain the T38 and T6 aircrafts which are used for a joint program between the USA and NATO to train Jet Pilots around the globe. The SAT, or rather the Sheppard Airforce Trainer Contract, was next up. That’s a group of nearly 100 members who service all the aircraft used for U.S. Military members going through what’s called ‘A’ or technical schools. Looking at the numbers you quickly understand that neither job is an easy feat for those on the ground.

    “We have 220 sorties (aircraft missions) flying a day. That’s 220 takeoffs and landings, and many more touch-and-gos. And unlike other airports that operate 24/7, Sheppard only runs from daylight to dark. Our members take care of each and every one of those aircraft,” said Bud Dulworth, a Business Representative for IAM District Lodge 776.

    So everyone who took a seat at these bargaining tables were especially happy and honored to do so. Aerospace Coordinator Jody Bennett, a Machinist who literally cut his teeth on this U.S. Air Force Base, was among those smiling at the end of the day.

    “I am proud to put my name on this contract. It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen,” said Bennett of the SAM Contract. “This committee took care of their co-workers first. They didn’t bring a personal agenda to the table. It was about taking care of the group.”

    And because of that solidarity, the gains were good.

    “We were able to get increases in wages, health care and pensions – all of those in spades,” said Aerospace Department Chief of Staff Terry Smith. “The pension was where the members really stand to benefit with increases from $2.70 to $3.50 per person, per hour for all three years of the contract. That can translate into thousands of dollars more at the end of your career.”

    Bennett explained further. “A majority of the members in this group are less than seven years from retirement and that was something considered by the committee. If you do the math for those folks, that’s an extra $1000.00 a month for retirement, per month. That’s a ‘WOW’ moment.”

    And similar gains were seen with the SAT Contract with 3.5 percent increases in wages, each year, for the three years. And an additional negotiated item that’s become almost an anecdote in this era of gigs instead of careers.

    “For the workers who have put in at least 15 years of service on the job, they will see an extra week of vacation from now on, “ said Smith. “That’s something that really doesn’t happen these days.”

    So how did this all come to fruition? How were these workers able to negotiate such great contracts? It’s because these men and women stood strong and worked hard…and the company knows their worth.

    “We can’t let the story of these contract negotiations be misconstrued,” stated Blondin. “The IAM has a solid relationship with M1 Support Services, who understands the value of IAM workers. But these working Americans, earned each and every benefit they negotiated. They worked hard and stood in solidarity. This is the power of Collective Bargaining with the Machinists Union – to stand together and negotiate great contracts, backed by an organization whose reputation precedes them at the table. Stronger wages, health care benefits and pensions is the bar for us. Nothing else is acceptable at tables in the South.”

    Dulworth is thrilled to see these members reap the benefits for their decades of hard work at Sheppard. “This is the best contract I’ve ever seen with no takeaways,” said Dulworth. “And these men and women deserve nothing less.”


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  • Why it Pays to be Union? Winning Your Job Back and $37k in Back Pay

    IAM Local 623 member Guled Mohamed of St. Cloud, MN, right, was awarded more than $37k in back pay after being wrongfully terminated from his job at Electrolux Home Products. IAM Local 623 Directing Business Representative Colleen Murphy-Cooney, left, represented Mohamed in his arbitration case.

    Another reason it pays to be union? Winning your job back after being wrongfully terminated – with $37k in back pay.

    When seven-year IAM Local 623 member and union steward Guled Mohamed of St. Cloud, MN, was wrongfully terminated from his job as a lead worker at Electrolux Home Products, he turned to his union for help.

    The IAM filed a grievance and attempted to resolve the issue with the company.

    But when the company refused to move on the grievance, the union proudly filed Mohamed’s case for arbitration.

    The arbitrator ruled that Electrolux did not have just cause to terminate Mohamed. The company was directed to reinstate Mohamed to his former position and to restore all benefits – including more than $37k in back pay.

    “This is what a strong IAM contract is about – justice and fairness on the job,” said IAM Local 623 Directing Business Representative Colleen Murphy-Cooney. “I want to commend Guled Mohamed, who stood his ground and did a great job in helping the union present his case. We in the IAM pride ourselves in the service we provide to our members and this is another great example of why it doesn’t cost to be union – it pays.”


    The post Why it Pays to be Union? Winning Your Job Back and $37k in Back Pay appeared first on IAMAW.

  • New Jersey Machinists Looking Towards the Future

    The New Jersey State Council of Machinists held their annual conference last weekend with every IAM local in the Garden State being represented by their president and delegates. The conference featured strong labor supporters from the New Jersey congressional delegation, including U.S. Reps. Donald Payne, Jr., Donald Norcross and state senate President Steve Sweeney.

    IAM International President Bob Martinez addressed the delegates about the importance of growing the IAM, supporting candidates who support workers and living up to our name, “The Fighting Machinists.”

    “The focus of the IAM is to grow and bring new members into the Machinist family,” said Martinez. “There are too many working people who don’t have a union and the respect and dignity that goes with union membership and a solid collective bargaining contract.”

    Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr., updated delegates on current news within the territory, including the recent victories for the Maine Lobstermen and the Independent Drivers Guild for Uber drivers. Conigliaro urged delegates to continue to think out of box to grow the union, especially with “independent workers.”

    “I challenge each and every one of us to leave here today and bring five new members into our organization before we come back next year,” said Conigliaro. “Just think about the impact that will have on the IAM, the middle class and the new members and their families.”

    New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy dropped in for an intimate visit with the delegates and officers after the conference. Murphy was U.S. Ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama for four years.

    “The New Jersey governor’s race is the single most important issue facing the New Jersey State Council this year,” said Council President Vincent Addeo. “To say the working families of New Jersey have suffered at the hands of Chris Christie is an understatement, and labor has a champion in Phil Murphy.”

    During the conference, IAM Local 1445 President Al Banks was awarded the first annual Frank Darcy Award for Leadership. Darcy was a longtime activist, and a skilled machinist. He continually furthered his education in labor and other fields and was active in politics, all with the goal of improving the lives of fellow working men and women.

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  • Love in the Air at the Winpisinger Center

    A unique proposal was introduced this August during a week of French leadership classes at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD.

    Following dinner one evening, participants from French Advanced Leadership and French Leadership II were invited to the center’s theater for a special presentation.

    Montreal Local 1751 class member Guillaume Lingat then requested his girlfriend Mary-Lou Poisson to join him on stage so he could ask her a very important question.

    Watch a short video of Lingat and Poisson

    In front of a packed room of IAM family and friends, the visibly touched Poisson accepted his marriage proposal and the theater erupted with applause for the couple.

    The post Love in the Air at the Winpisinger Center appeared first on IAMAW.