Monthly Archives: January 2015

IAM Scholarship



The deadline to apply for a 2015 IAM Scholarship Award will be here before you know it. Applications must be postmarked no later than February 25, 2015 to be considered.

The competition is open each year to eligible IAM members in the United States and Canada and eligible children in their last year of high school. Scholarships will be awarded to applicants entering or currently enrolled in college or vocational tech. A panel of impartial judges decides the winners.

“The scholarship program is a great way for children of IAM members and for members themselves to continue their education,” said IAM Safety and Health Department Director Mike Flynn, whose department administers the popular program.

For information on eligibility requirements and how to request an application, click here. Application packets have been mailed to all local and district lodges. If you have a question regarding the scholarship, please call the IAM Safety and Health Department at 301-967-4708.

The IAM Scholarship Fund, which is used exclusively to make these awards possible, was first established by delegates to the 1960 IAM Grand Lodge Convention. A list of the 2014 scholarship winners and additional information about the 2015 IAM Scholarship Competition is available on



Major Arbitration Win for Local 24

In a very complicated case an arbitrator has sided with the union and agreed to reinstate and award back pay for almost an entire year to Mr. Andre des Anges who was terminated without just cause last February. Mr. Anges is an aircraft mechanic at Andrews AFB in Maryland.

Congratulations to Mr. Anges, District 4 Business Rep Rick Compher, Local 24 President James Petty and Chief Steward Tim Hanson for winning this hard fought case!

What is Just Cause?

What is Just Cause? One of the most important if not the most important differences between union members and non-union members is that union members are protected by Just Cause provisions in their contracts.

Non-union members are usually employed as “At Will” employees. At Will means that you can be fired for almost any reason or no reason at all. You work at the total whim of your employer. Of course this leads to employees afraid to speak up about health, safety and other problems in the work place.

It also leads to toadyism, suck-ups and syncopates. Kissing up to the boss is the best way to stay out of trouble and out of the unemployment line!

Just Cause simply means that you cannot be disciplined without the company having a good reason and following certain rules that protect the worker from arbitrary, capricious and vindictive treatment. It is not a protection for lazy or unsafe workers. If you mess up the company will have just cause to discipline you.

All union members should be familiar with the concept of Just Cause so that they can help their Shop Steward mount an effective defense if they are ever disciplined or threatened with discipline. Please take the time to read the following, it might save your job someday.

The Seven Tests for Just Cause

In 1964, Arbitrator Carroll Daugherty established a single standard to determine if the discipline or discharge of an employee can be upheld as a just cause action.
In the Seven Tests of Just Cause, the employer must be able to answer YES to the following seven questions:

1. Reasonable Rule or Order

Was the employer’s rule or managerial order reasonably related to the orderly, efficient and safe operation of the business?

• This rule or order must not be arbitrary, capricious or discriminatory and must be related to the employer’s stated goals and objectives.
• Even if this order is unreasonable, the member MUST obey, except in cases when doing so would jeopardize health or safety.

2. Notice

Did the employer give any warning as to any possible discipline or consequence that could result from that employee’s action or behavior?

• While maintaining the contractual right to manage it’s workforce by establishing the rules and orders necessary, the employer is responsible for informing the employees as to their meaning and application.
• The employer must advise the employee that any act of misconduct or disobedience would result in discipline.
• This statement should be clear, unambiguous and inclusive of any possible penalties.

3. Investigation

Prior to administering discipline, did the employer conduct an investigation to determine whether the employee did in fact violate or disobey a rule or order?

• The employer’s investigation must be made BEFORE any disciplinary action is invoked.
• The employer is prosecutor, judge and jury in discipline cases, and must bear the full responsibility for collecting any and all facts that are relevant to the final decision.

4. Fair Investigation

Was this investigation fair and objective?

• The employer has the obligation to conduct a fair, timely and thorough investigation that respects the employee’s right to union representation and due process.
• Once gathered, all facts must be evaluated with objectivity, and without a rush to judgment.

5. Proof

Did this investigation uncover any substantial proof or evidence that the employee was guilty of violating or disobeying a direct rule or order?

• Although there is no requirement of being preponderant, conclusive, or “beyond a reasonable doubt,” any proof or evidence must be truly substantial.
• While conducting the investigation, the employer must actively seek out witnesses and search for evidence.
• If an offense cannot be proven, then no penalty could ever be considered just.

6. Equal Treatment

Did the employer apply all rules, orders and penalties evenhandedly and without discrimination to ALL employees?

• If other employees who commit the same offense are treated differently, there may be discrimination or disparate treatment, both of which would automatically violate this test.

7. Penalty

Was the degree of discipline administered reasonably related to either the seriousness of the employee’s offense or to the record of past service?

• A proven offense does not merit a harsh discipline unless the employee has been proven guilty of the same (or other) offenses several times in the past.
• Though an employee’s past record cannot be used to prove guilt in a current case, it can be used in determining the severity of discipline if guilt is established in the current case.
• Should two or more employees be found guilty of the same offense, their respective records will be used to determine their individual discipline. Thus, if employee A has a better record than employees B or C, then the employer has a right to give a lighter penalty to employee A without being discriminatory.
• The employee’s offense may be excused through mitigating circumstances. For example, a warehouse employee found asleep on the job may be excused by the mitigating circumstance of being under medication by the company doctor. Or, an employee with domestic troubles may be proven incompetent rather than negligent, the latter indicating a willful deliberation.



Machinists’ Union Sues DynCorp Over Termination of Union President

The following is an article that was published in “The Washington Business Journal”

Machinists’ union sues DynCorp over termination of union president

The machinists’ union at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County is suing DynCorp International Inc., claiming the company violated a bargaining agreement when it fired a union president.

The lawsuit from the chapter of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers claims the McLean company did not have just cause for firing Gregg French, lead mechanic for the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Andrews and president of the union group representing workers at the base. The suit also claims the company violated its collective bargaining agreement when it refused to participate in an arbitration process to review the termination.

According to the complaint, filed Dec. 22 in the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, DynCorp claims that French’s termination is immune from review under the grievances and arbitration process because the Air Force requested his removal — a claim the union disputes.

According to the complaint, which suggests strained relations between the union and DynCorp, an initial draft of the termination letter pointed to “misconduct that brought discredit to the company” tied to French’s behavior with other employees. According to the collective bargaining agreement, that reason would necessitate arbitration to prove just cause, the lawsuit says. But DynCorp changed the explanation in the final version of the letter, according to the union, pointing to a request for termination by the customer, according to the suit.

“We truly value our relationship with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers chapter at Joint Base Andrews,” said a spokeswoman from DynCorp, adding that the company cannot comment directly on ongoing litigation.

The union is asking the court to order the company to participate in the arbitration process regarding French’s termination and to award attorneys’ fees and costs to the union.