• The Little Engine That Did

    It was 1967 and the world looked very different than today. The Vietnam War was raging. O.J. Simpson was having a stellar year as a running back at USC. Elvis Presley married Priscilla in Las Vegas. The world’s first human heart transplant was performed.

    And in our own backyard, IAM Local Lodge 2297 in North Carolina was chartered, never realizing that it too would make the history books. That’s what brought IAM’s Southern Territory General Vice President Mark A. Blondin to this part of the country to help mark this momentous occasion.

    “It was an honor to be a part of celebrating this milestone in Local Lodge 2297’s history. And we did that in a very Machinist way,” said Blondin. “During the day, I met members on the shop floor at Spirit AeroSystems in Kinston to find out what’s working and what’s not. The evening gave me some one-on-one opportunities with Machinists from all walks of life to listen and learn about working issues in North Carolina. I’m very impressed that in a Right to Work state, 2297 continues to out-organize other larger locals and has been very successful in bringing in federal sector workers to the IAM. Today is what I call the perfect Machinists Memorial to a Lodge that deserves the credit.”

    And the celebration continued the next day when the local lodge helped to raise thousands for the Guide Dogs of America in a charity golf tournament. But that’s all public knowledge. What many don’t know is that Local Lodge 2297 has a secret. With only about 400 members, it has literally changed the course of history for federal workers, without much fanfare.

    “You could not have asked any local to do any better than what they have done in their 50-year history. Not only in the defense of our members but in defense of our Nation. They have managed to not only maintain their numbers but grow through internal organized. But it’s the behind the scenes work they’ve done, that not many know about, which really makes me proud,” said Joe Greaser, Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative and honored to call Local 2297 home.

    Like The Little Engine That Could, this local used its power to help stop outsourcing of federal contracts, preserving the livelihoods of our Members when it came to these government agreements. It’s a fight that continues today and still stands on the foundation of the words lobbied at Congress by Local 2297 just a few years ago. As a member, steward, officer and now Directing Business Representative, Machinist Anthony Cruz has been a proud servant of this lodge for nearly 25 years. This is where his heart lives.

    “We argued then, as we will in the future, that the majority of our Members have worn the uniform of the U.S. Military, and that as Federal Employees, our commitment to ‘Supporting the Warfighter’ is personal,” explains Cruz. “Many of us have children and grandchildren who now wear the uniform. We take equal pride in being Union and being Patriots. In our Lodge, both are inseparable. Our strength lies in the fact that the IAM will always find a way to way to meet the mission. And for that reason, and many more, our Union Patriots should be performing the work of our government contracts.”

    Cruz beams when talking about these men and women and the job they’ve done, not just for North Carolina, but for workers everywhere. Even if most people aren’t aware that Local Lodge 2297 has its back. 

    “Union, Country and Corps is a motto we have lived by for 50 years. As a new Generation of Local Lodge 2297 union members and former U.S. Military members take positions of leadership in our great union, we want them to know the legacy that has been forged over this half century. “Greater love hath no man but this.” said Cruz passionately.

    So Congratulations to 50 years Machinist Local Lodge 2297.  You are the best example of what it means to be IAM!

    #ThisIsWhyIAMUnion, #iamsouthernvoice

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  • IAM Awarded Nearly 400K

    The IAM has been awarded three Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) grants totaling nearly $400,000.  

    FMCS grants are available to labor-management partnerships aimed at defining and confronting workplace problems and developing long-term solutions. The three grants were awarded to IAM District 190, IAM District 15, and IAM Local 701.  

    IAM District 190’s grant ($119,718) will help women, returning veterans, high school students, at-risk disconnected youth, and formerly incarcerated individuals. The grant dollars will be used to help grow IAM District 190’s Automotive and Machinist Apprenticeship Training Program.  

    IAM District 15’s grant ($111,541) will train women, returning veterans, and at-risk disconnected youth participate in the Tractor Trailer Driver Training gaining jobs with New England Motor Freight. This will help our partnership with New England Motor Freight.  

    IAM Local 701’s grant ($135,871) will provide OSHA safety training to new apprentices, increase apprenticeship numbers and develop a pre-apprenticeship program for high school students. This grant will support the state-of-the-art automotive apprenticeship training program at Local 701. 

    “These grants help IAM Districts and Locals address the shortage of skilled workers in different sectors where the IAM represents working people,” said IAM Director of Apprenticeships Jim Reid. “These grants make it possible for the IAM to provide comprehensive training programs and grow our membership through these joint labor-management partnerships.”

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  • Fix NAFTA

    IAM recently joined other organizations in delivering more than 350,000 petitions demanding that NAFTA’s expansive corporate rights and protections and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) be eliminated during renegotiations. ISDS allows corporations to sue countries for alleged discriminatory practices, with outcomes determined by panels of private corporate attorneys who help advance the interests of corporations.

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  • DL 141 Delivers Record-Breaking Donation to the IAM Disaster Relief Fund

    On the opening day of District Lodge 141 Chairman’s Conference, District Lodge 141 President Mike Klemm presented Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja a check for $250,000 to the IAM Disaster Relief Fund, the largest donation in the history of the program.

    The DL 141 Executive Board made and approved this motion in response to Transportation GVP Pantoja’s letter to all Transportation Locals urging them for donations to help our members.

    “I’m overwhelmed and at a loss for words by the donation from Dl 141,” GVP Pantoja. “I thank the members and officers of DL 141 for their unprecedented donation.”

    IAM International President Robert Martinez also hailed the donation at the DL 141 Chairpersons Conference.

    “We’ve witnessed over the past few months how the Fighting Machinists are always there for one another, and we just saw an example of this when our membership and this District made the largest contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund in its history,” said IP Martinez.

    This historic contribution is just the latest from Transportation Department Lodges to the Disaster Relief Fund. Recently, LL 1725 donated $10,000 and National Group Protection, a firm that provides customized insurance programs for thousands of Transportation Department members, donated $5,000.

    To date, IAM Transportation Lodges have donated more than $360,000 to the disaster relief fund. 

    Click here to donate and aid our IAM sisters and brothers in need.

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