Florida Machinists Win $2.5M Grievance Settlement



IAM Local 2777 Chief Steward/Grievance Committee Charles Pate, Steward Rich Swindon, Steward/Grievance Committee Regina Ullrich-Holmes, District 75 Business Representative Brad Smith, Steward J.D. Baker, and Steward/Grievance Committee Wayne Mason.

In a perfect example of why an IAM contract is so valuable, more than 200 workers for L3 Communications at Whiting Field Naval Air Station near Pensacola, FL won a grievance settlement that will result in an average payout of over $11,500 for each member.

Thanks to language negotiated into the agreement with L3, any cost savings in health and welfare contributions by the company must be passed on to the employees. In 2013 and 2014 no money was paid out, so Local 2777 Chief Steward and Grievance Committee Member Charles Pate filed a policy grievance on behalf of the members. Due to the complexity of the formulas in the agreement, they realized they would need help.

With valuable assistance from IAM economists in the Strategic Resources Department, the department’s Assistant Director David White and District 75 Business Representative Brad Smith, Pate pored over the mass of information.

Among the list of considerations were employer contributions towards group health insurance, life insurances, short-term disability insurance and a variety of other contributions. Working together, the team was able to determine the actual costs of such fringe benefits and submitted a grievance settlement for the two years in question.

“There were 210 employees in 2013 and 214 in 2014,” said Smith. “Whoever worked there under the IAM contract during those years got a payout, even people who had quit or retired were paid for the time they were there.”

The result was a payment of $2,503,118.32.

“This could only happen with a union contract,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin. “Usually when a company promises a dollar amount, but finds ways to save, they pocket the money. This time the money goes to the members, who earned it. I commend the fantastic job that Chief Steward Pate, Business Representative Smith and David White did for our members. I’m sure no one under this contract will ever say it costs to be in the union.”

IAM Local 2777 members work under a service contract agreement at Whiting Field on the Navy’s TH-57 Sea Ranger training helicopter. The Local has nine other bargaining units representing aircraft maintenance workers at NAS Whiting Field and NAS Pensacola.

New Year, New International President


01_04_2016_martinezIt had only happened 12 times in the IAM’s 127-year history, but this week it happened one more time. Tom Buffenbarger officially handed over the title of IAM International President to Bob Martinez, Jr., a 35-year IAM member who has held leadership positions up and down the ranks of the Machinists Union.

WATCH: A Legacy Continues

At a ceremony at IAM Headquarters in Upper Marlboro, MD, Martinez took his oath of office and delivered remarks to IAM members and staff.

“Our fight and our work is noble and it is good,” said Martinez, a Texas native and U.S. Navy veteran. “Securing workplace fairness, dignity and justice – so it shall continue.”

Watch the entire ceremony – which includes remarks from Buffenbarger, new Headquarters General Vice President Rickey Wallace, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka – by clicking here.

New IAM President in 2016


Washington, D.C., November 22, 2015 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced that General Vice President Bob Martinez, Jr. will succeed current International President Tom Buffenbarger, who steps down on Jan.1, 2016 after a 45-year career that spans service as a local IAM Shop Steward to more than 18 years as the IAM’s top elected official.

The announcement follows a vote by the union’s 11-member Executive Council, in accordance with the IAM Constitutional requirement for senior elected officials to leave office at age 65. Martinez, a 35-year IAM veteran will serve the remainder of Buffenbarger’s current 4-year term, which concludes July 1, 2017.

“There have been 13 International Presidents since the Machinists Union was founded in 1888,” said Buffenbarger. “The strength of this union has always been its ability to cultivate leaders who respect and reflect the values and goals of our membership. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of that heritage and I have full confidence that Bob Martinez is the right person to carry on that proud tradition.”

A native of Texas, Martinez served in the U.S. Navy before joining the IAM in 1980 as an aircraft assembler at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Ft. Worth, TX. Rising through the ranks, Martinez held numerous positions at the local and district level before assuming the office of Southern Territory Vice President in July 2003. In addition to his current position as Vice President in charge of IAM Headquarters, Martinez serves as a Trustee of the IAM National Pension Fund, and is Vice President on the National Executive Board of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).

Buffenbarger’s tenure as International President was marked by a commitment to organizing, financial stability and a recognition that diversity in local and senior leadership is a key to remaining relevant in the modern workplace. The current IAM Executive Council is now among the most diverse in the labor movement, including men and women of African American, Hispanic, Native American and European heritage.

Attacks on Workers Have Begun!


This edited expert is what is happening in multiple states, not just Missouri. We, as a nation, need to stand together and fight for what is the right while battling globalized companies.

‘In Missouri, the pre-filing of bills started today in [Missouris]’s capitol. And once again, workers are under attack. Today, two so-called ‘right-to-work’ bills were filed by both [Missouri] Representatives White and Burlison (HB1407 and HB1462). ‘Right-to-work’ states have lower wages on average, higher poverty rates, higher infant mortality rates, invest less in education, and have higher workplace fatalities. Today, Representative White also filed a bill that would cut [Missouri]’s prevailing wage law (HB1406). Studies have shown that workers who are paid the prevailing wage are more productive, and higher productivity can lower construction costs without lowering wages. Prevailing wage laws benefit blue-collar workers and their communities by:

-Encouraging training
-Lowering the rate of injuries
-Promoting health care coverage
-Minimizing disruption to local labor markets
-Ensuring that minority and female workers receive prevailing wages
-Encouraging their participation in apprenticeship programs

These attacks on workers are simply wrong. Missouri needs to invest their time and energy creating quality jobs for all Missourians.

-President Mike Louis

Missouri AFL-CIO’

Indiana is faced with this currently. The way our current state government is heading is straight toward what we, as blue collared individuals, do not want. How can we stop our state and nation from continuing this path? VOTE!! Indiana was the worst turn out for registered voters in the NATION!


If every union member from all unions in Indiana would have voted in our state, the election would have been drastically different in 2014. If other states were the same way, quite possibly our nation. If you really want change, if you really want what you believe in, VOTE! Vote for someone who YOU want to represent your town, county, school, state, or nation because it matters from the ground up. Don’t let your family or friends sway your beliefs due to arguments, because Thomas Jefferson himself said, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

If you truly believe, vote for it.

The Truth Comes Out About TPP


Nearly two weeks ago, the full text and information was revealed to the public about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. What surprised many of us, even our representatives, was that it was horrendously worse than what we anticipated.

With Fast Track barely getting voted in, the TPP is now riding the rails for 90 days while Congress studies, deliberates, and debates the deal. Even with all this going on with Congress, there can be absolutely no amendments made due to the Fast Track language.

The following video from Democracy Now has Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch talking about how unhealthy food, job loss, wage loss, and a rise in medication costs are knocking on America’s front door.


Phoenix Airport Fueling Agents Vote IAM Yes


More than 120 fueling agents at Swissport in Phoenix won IAM collective bargaining rights after an election was held this week. Workers, who reached out to the IAM with concerns over substandard wages, unsafe working conditions and job security, are responsible for fueling cargo planes and passenger aircraft at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.

This is the second time the Phoenix fueling agents have attempted to organize with the IAM. Despite a fierce anti-union campaign on both occasions, the agents voted 91-2 in favor of IAM representation.

“This is a huge victory for workers at Swissport who desperately need the protection of a union contract,” said IAM Organizer Fabian Liendo. “It also shows the IAM keeps its promises. We said we’d come back and we kept our word.”

While the effort was headed up by the IAM’s Headquarters Organizing Department, the Transportation and Western Territories, as well as the IAM Legal Department and Airline District 142, all played a critical role in securing the win.

“This was a prime example of what can be done when we work together across territories and departments,” said IAM Headquarters General Vice President Bob Martinez. “Everyone who participated should be extremely proud of this victory.”

Buffenbarger Talks Trade, Politics on Labor Radio Show


During his most recent conversation with host Ed Ferenc of America’s Work Force Radio, IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger talked about a wide range of topics including the GOP, the Export-Import Bank, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Hillary Clinton.

Regarding the Republican band of candidates for president, Buffenbarger simply stated, “It’s the movable circus because they take their show all over the country. And it’s not getting any better for them.”

The right wing attacks and de-funding of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank prompted Buffenbarger to emphasize how the bank actually contributes an estimated 1 billion dollars each year to the U.S. Treasury by funding outside investments to buy American products.

He went on to talk about the most recent announcement by General Electric that it will be shuttering its engine plant in Waukesha, WI due to the bank’s closure, which was championed by new House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). This is a plant where the IAM represents 350 workers who have lost their jobs.

“Paul Ryan, in his own district, voted to kill the Ex-Im Bank and as a result he lost that plant and he lost those jobs,” said Buffenbarger. “The right-wing Republicans killed the bank that helps American workers.”

On the subject of the TPP, Buffenbarger reinforced the fact that even Republicans will realize how bad the deal is once they read it.

“I think they are afraid that the American people might actually see it and read it and then there will be a firestorm unleashed,” said Buffenbarger. “Anybody who thinks this trade bill is good, you need to read it.”

“Congress would be abdicating the sovereignty of America in the world of trade,” he said. “This is a deal written by banks, written by the largest multinational corporations. It’s not written for small businesses, it’s not written for manufacturers, it’s certainly not written for American workers.

To listen to the entire show, click here.

Big Dog Contest Raises Thousands


This year, all local lodges in Indiana were challenged to see who could raise the most money for Guide Dogs of America.On Saturday, October 24, many members and representatives from several locals, District 90, and even the Grand Lodge came together for a Guide Dog banquet to recognize everyone who raised money for the charity.

The results of the competition are as follows:

First place with $4,000 was Local 2069


Second place with $3,550 was Local  1315


Third place with $422 was Local 1227


The total money accumulated for Guide Dogs of America was $12,920! Thank you to everyone who participated in making this years contest a memorable one.  The Big Dog Contest has already commenced for next year, let’s see who’s the Bid Dog next October.

Guide Dog Banquet

TPP: The Free Trade Debacle



The IAM joins labor in bringing the secretly-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement out from the shadows.

TPP is poised to become the biggest free trade agreement since NAFTA. Like the deeply-flawed NAFTA, TPP promises job growth – but will instead export thousands of U.S. jobs to low-wage countries. The TPP is a step backwards for labor and human rights and threatens health, safety and environmental standards.

An agreement on the TPP was announced in October, 2015. Congress will review the TPP but will not be able to amend it in any way. After review, they must vote to either accept or reject it. Between the announcement of the agreement and the final vote, IAM members are urged to make their voices heard and put pressure on Congress to reject this disastrous trade deal.

Click HERE to contact your representatives.