• Wichita Local 774 Hits the Links for Guide Dogs

    IAM Local 774 in Wichita, KS raised nearly $19,000 for Guide Dogs America during this year’s annual golf fundraiser.

    Close to 80 golfers, from IAM members around District 70 to supporting companies, arrived ready to play. Although rain was forecasted, that didn’t keep the Machinists and the community away from a charity they are devoted to helping.

    Throughout the day, golfers were able to see and meet Teresa Blevins and her guide Asia and even give the ‘pup a little pet’ when she wasn’t on the job. After an amazing rendition of the national anthem by Blevins, the golfers set off to play. Even when the skies did actually part and the storms rolled in, the golfers took it in stride. Many sat the rain out in the clubhouse, enjoying a catered dinner and an afternoon of prize giveaways before, of course, heading back out to the greens.

    Guide Dogs of America is dedicated to its mission to provide guide dogs and instruction in their use, free of charge, to blind and visually impaired men and women from the United States and Canada, offering them the ability to pursue increased mobility and independence in their everyday lives. Receiving no government funding, the school relies solely on donations and fundraising.

    GDA is grateful for the support of donors and volunteers that literally change the lives of so many visually impaired men and women.

    “This was a banner year for IAM Local 774 and we look forward to next year,” said IAM Local 774 President Brian Alexander. “Thank you to all the volunteers for their time and hard work, and especially the golfers for their support and Teresa and Asia for their participation.”

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  • Hitting the Street for Working People in Missouri

    Kelly Street, TCU/IAM Local 6762 Recording Secretary, along with Jane Hull collecting signatures to put a referendum on the ballot to try and overturn “right-to-work” in Missouri. Jane is the wife of retired carpenter union member, Dennis Hull, who sets up regularly with Street collecting signatures.

    When the man who drove by minutes earlier – displaying his middle finger out the window – pulled into the grocery store parking lot, Kelly Street prepared himself for what could be his first fist fight in close to two decades.

    The middle-finger-waving-gentlemen carried a sign as he stormed past the makeshift petition signing spot. Street was at a grocery store collecting signatures in an effort to repeal Missouri’s right-to-work law set to go into effect this year.

    The man stood in front of Street for a few minutes, then turned around to show him the derogatory statement on the sign.

    “All the guy read from our sign was ‘right-to-work,’ so he wanted show his displeasure for the anti-worker law,” said Street. “After some brief discussion, he realized we were on the same side.

    “He ended up being a really nice, pro-union guy. He left and brought me back some refreshments and even brought some buddies by to sign the petition.”

    TCU/IAM Local 6762 Recording Secretary Kelly Street displays this sign from the back of his truck everywhere he goes in an attempt to gather as many signatures as he can.

    That’s just one of the many interesting encounters the IAM/TCU Local 6762 Recording Secretary has been a part of since the campaign began in May. It also shows the confusion many people have surrounding the name and the issue of “right-to-work” laws.

    As Cass County Coordinator, Street is volunteering over 20 hours every week educating voters. He’s gathered over 600 signatures, turning them in and training others on how to do the same.

    Street has put over 3,000 miles on his truck driving to small towns in Missouri’s 4th Congressional District, setting up his table and signs in any parking lot he can.

    “I have been working hard to get out to the rural areas,” said Street. “There are always petitions at large events and in the city, but we have a lot of union families and supporters out in the country that need educated on right-to-work and how it will have a negative impact on all of us.”

    The anti-union law was one of the first bills Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed into law after taking office. Immediately after, a referendum petition was filed to freeze the law and put it on the ballot in 2018.

    In addition to Street, IAM members all across Missouri have been working hard to get signatures. IAM Districts 9 and 837 in St. Louis and Local 778 in Kansas City have been holding weekly petition drives as well.

    Opponents of “right-to-work” have until August 28 to collect signatures from at least 5 percent of voters from two-thirds of the state’s congressional districts – nearly 160,000 signatures – to put the referendum on the ballot.

    READ: Right-to-Work passes in Missouri, but working people look to counterpunch

    “One thing Gov. Greitens and his cronies have done is solidified the labor movement in the state of Missouri,” said Street. “Regardless of the outcome, this has definitely brought us all closer together.”

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  • Mondelez Feeling Heat for Shipping Nabisco Jobs to Mexico

    Seventeen U.S. senators have joined a coalition of AFL-CIO unions, including the IAM, to pressure snack maker Mondelez to reverse its devastating decision to shift production and jobs to Mexico.

    In a letter to Mondelez International CEO Irene Rosenfeld, the senators expressed their deep concerns about the corporate giant’s decision to close many of its Nabisco plants and offshore jobs to Mexico, resulting in thousands of working people in the U.S. losing their jobs. Most recently, the company moved 600 jobs from its iconic Nabisco location on Chicago’s southwest side when workers would not take a 60 percent cut in wages and benefits.

    “Taking such an egregious approach to negotiating with your own workforce, not only hurts Mondelez’s reputation, it also deals a major blow to hard working Americans, many of whom are your customers,” the senators said. “We urge you to reverse course and bring back jobs to your bakeries in Chicago, Fairlawn, NJ, Richmond, VA, Atlanta, GA and Portland, OR.”

    The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) and the IAM represent workers laid off at the plant, which has been in operation since the 1950s.

    A “Check the Label” campaign was initiated to help consumers determine where Nabisco products are made and to boycott those made in Mexico. With the additional support from so many legislators scorning Mondelez and Rosenfeld, pressure has risen on the corporation to bring back the good jobs it shipped to Mexico.

    “Nabisco’s actions represent a full-on assault on the middle class,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “The time has come for the U.S. and Canada to reinvest in our communities.”

    “We extend our deepest gratitude to the 17 Senators who wrote and signed this letter for their principled commitment to preserving and creating good, middle-class jobs,” said BCTGM International President David Durkee.

    “It is long past time for all corporations, including Mondelez, to end offshoring practices that foster an economic race to the bottom and put short-term profits ahead of American workers and their families,” the senators said.

    Read the letter here.

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  • Martinez Calls on Aerospace Workers to Unite Globally

    IAM leadership from the U.S. and Canada are meeting with union representatives from 10 other countries—Japan, the UK, Italy, India, Sweden, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium and Morocco—to build union power in the growing global aerospace industry.

    “We must take international solidarity to a new level,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez.

    Aerospace unions in Paris this week are assembling as affiliates of IndustriALL, a 50-million-member global union federation that works to organize and raise the standard of living for working people all over the world.

    Solidarity is especially critical in the aerospace industry, said Martinez. Multinational corporations pit industry workers against each other, using the excuse of international competition to drive down wages.

    “Let us never forget, we all represent aerospace workers,” said Martinez. “We all have the same desire for better wages and benefits, health care, retirement and job security.”

    Companies like Boeing have continuously shipped IAM jobs with good pay and benefits to China, where working people have few rights. The company recently broke ground on a 737 finishing center in Zhoushan, China.

    “When a company would rather create aerospace jobs in China—instead of at home, it’s time to take solidarity to a new level,” said Martinez.

    IAM Canadian General Vice President Stan Pickthall has seen the same corporate behavior, which he said is “moving work to low-wage countries in order to increase profits at the expense of workers globally.”

    Aerospace unions must have solidarity on a global scale, said Martinez. That means sharing information, coordinating on organizing and trade policy, and demanding companies respect commitments made under global framework agreements.

    “We have the opportunity to continue building on efforts to bring justice and dignity to all of the world’s aerospace workers through union strength,” said Martinez. “This is opportunity to build a global aerospace workers movement that will rival the global aerospace companies.”

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