A Memorial Day Message from the Machinists Union
Sisters and Brothers,
As we celebrate Memorial Day this year, we must not to forget the men and women of our armed forces who gave their lives defending our nation and our way of life.
As patriotic Americans, the IAM family has strong respect for our nation’s lost heroes. Although some may take for granted the freedoms we all enjoy, they came at great cost and sacrifice. Many of our members actively serve or are military veterans. Tens of thousands of Machinists work to support our armed forces at bases, arsenals and factories across the country.
Please enjoy this holiday weekend and I hope you will display our nation’s flag with pride, in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Memorial Day is a day to honor those who died in service to their country. One of the ways we do this is by flying the Flag of the United States. If you would like to learn about the history of the Flag and proper etiquette while displaying it check here: Our Flag
LEST WE FORGET THE REAL MEANING OF THE DAY…
“It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember.”
President Ronald Reagan
IAM International President Bob Martinez issued the following statement commemorating the 128th anniversary of the IAM’s founding: “May 5 marks the 128th anniversary since 19 Machinists met in secret to create the organization known today around the world as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. “It’s an occasion to celebrate the ability of this union to endure and survive every manner of economic and political hardship, from world wars and global depressions to political attacks aimed at terminating our very existence. This achievement required tenacity and sacrifice from literally millions of men and women who believed that our union and its members were worth fighting for. “This day is also an occasion to rededicate ourselves to the cause of justice in the workplace that remains under constant attack today. Despite great technological advances that have transformed workplaces across North America, we still face a corporate agenda that values profits over people and constantly seeks to suppress workers’ voices. “I ask each and every member of this great union to pause today, be proud and consider our responsibility as beneficiaries of 128 years of victories, struggles, setbacks and ultimately survival. I am totally confident we are worthy of our legacy and equal to the challenges ahead.
For more than 120 years, the IAM has fought for workers’ rights and the benefits so often taken for granted. Benefits like sick pay, leaves of absence, bereavement leave, holidays, vacations, retirement security and healthcare.
By forming a union, workers provide themselves with the opportunity to secure a voice in their workplace and ensure justice on the job. Union members are able to sit down with management as equals and bargain for better workplace conditions. For some, that might be higher wages and better benefits. For others it might be job security or fair treatment.
Our Union started 128 years ago in a locomotive pit in Atlanta, Georgia.
On May 5, 1888 19 railroad machinists met in a locomotive pit in Atlanta, Georgia to form a trade union that would become the International Association of Machinists. They appoint Thomas Talbott as their leader. At the time railroad machinists earned 20 to 25 cents an hour and worked a ten-hour day.
Most of the Machinists Union’s early organizing was done by men known as boomers. These journeymen were known as boomers because they followed the railroads to towns that were booming. The boomers were part hobo, part skilled craftsmen.
Often boomers had to communicate by a system of secret passwords or signals known only to other machinists. Union organizers not only risked firing and blacklisting but beatings and jail. The old-time boomers accepted these risks. The boomers established local lodges in areas where they were not already present. Within one year there were 40 lodges, and by 1891, there were 189.
Today the IAM is a large and diverse organization, representing 720,000 members across North America. The IAM is one of the largest and most experienced unions in North America. You will find Machinists in aerospace, transportation, the federal government, automotive, defense, woodworking and several other industries. We represent workers at companies as diverse as Harley-Davidson, Southwest Airlines, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Freightliner, Tennessee Valley Authority and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Before You Are Questioned
Know Your Rights!
Your Right to Union Representation is one of the most important benefits of Union membership. You have a right to have a Union Representative present during investigatory interviews by supervisors and other managerial staff (including QA).
An investigatory interview occurs if:
1) Management questions you to obtain information and
2) You have a reasonable apprehension that your answers could be used as a basis for discipline or other adverse action.
You must ask for Union representation either at the beginning of or during the interview. Management does not have to remind you of this right. If your request is refused and management continues asking questions, you may refuse to answer. Your employer is guilty of an Unfair Labor Practice and charges may be filed.
I Request Union Representation. If you are called to a meeting with management remember the following: If my responses to your questions could lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or adversely affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that you summon my union representative. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to answer any questions.
Don’t sign your job away. If you are given anything to sign that you do not agree with, remember to print after your name: Signed Under Protest.
There are time limits to file a grievance after an incident that violates your rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Talk to your Shop Steward as soon as possible.
Hey I want to file a grievance!
Shop Stewards hear this on almost a daily basis. As a union member the ability to grieve is one of our most important rights. But what is a grievance? Can I grieve this? What do I have to know before filing a grievance? are questions you might be asking yourself.
The first step is to read your contract. If you can’t find your copy you can find your contract online in the AndrewsIAM Library. Remember that there are time limits to filing a grievance, if you wait too long you may lose your rights. Next talk to your Shop Steward. If you do not know who your steward is you can check the Representatives Page. Remember in accordance with our Collective Bargaining Agreements only a Shop Steward or other approved Union Officer may present grievances to the company.
How do I know if I have grounds for a grievance? There are five common grounds for filing a grievance:
- 1. Does it Violate the Contract? Look at the union contract. While the meaning of a specific piece of contract language can be debated, you’re usually in a pretty good position to argue that a certain section or clause has been violated. Grievances based on a violation of the contract are often the easiest to win.
- Does It Violate Past Practice? Is what’s going on a violation of past practice? Even if something isn’t spelled out in the contract, if it’s been done that way for years, a change or crackdown may as well be a violation. Let’s say an employer has always given a little slack to workers who arrive late during bad weather. All of a sudden he starts docking people who arrive even five minutes late when a blizzard is roaring outside. In such a case, you’ve got a pretty good past practice grievance on your hands. If you’re going to cite past practice as the reason for your grievance, be sure the practice has existed for a substantial period of time.
- Does It Violate Employer Rules? Has there been a violation of your employer’s own rules and regulations? Uneven enforcement of the rules can provide the grounds for a grievance. For example, a worker caught smoking in a nonsmoking area can’t be fired if other people routinely do the same thing and are not disciplined.
- Does It Violate the Law? Your employer can’t violate the law. Even if your contract is silent on a specific issue, you still have the right to grieve if the employer does something illegal. Let’s say your contract doesn’t speak to health and safety issues, but your boss orders you to do something that’s clearly dangerous. You don’t have to cite con-tract language as the basis for your grievance, you can point instead to state or federal occupational safety and health legislation.
- Does It Violate Basic Rights? Finally, you can have legitimate grounds for a grievance if a worker’s basic rights are violated. If there’s been discrimination you may have something to grieve. Discrimination occurs when two people are treated differently under the same conditions, in a way in which one of them is harmed or treated unequally. While the most common types of discrimination tend to be based on race or sex, there are other ways as well, including age, physical appearance, personality and union activity, for that matter. Be aware that discrimination charges can be awfully hard to prove.
If you can base your case on contract language, you’ll find your case a lot easier to pursue.
Discipline Grievances: If you were disciplined you may have grounds for a grievance. The company is obligated to apply the standards of Just Cause when disciplining an employee. Even if you were “guilty” of the offence that the company has accused you of, you still may have grounds for a grievance. It is important that you talk to your Shop Steward.
Just Cause is part of our Collective Bargaining Agreements. It is the major difference between a union member and a non-union (at-will) employee.
Retaliation: The company cannot retaliate against a union member for filing a grievance or for supporting their union.
If you have any questions please contact your Shop Steward, they are there to help.
March is Women’s History Month. so it is fitting that America’s first woman pilot graces our monthly flyer. Harriet Quimby (May 11, 1875 – July 1, 1912) was an early American aviator. In 1911, she was awarded a U.S. pilot’s certificate by the Aero Club of America, becoming the first woman to gain a pilot’s license in the United States. In 1912, she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Although Quimby lived only to the age of thirty-seven, she had a major influence upon the role of women in aviation. To read more about her: First lady of the air