Boeing South Carolina Flight Readiness Technicians Join Machinists Union

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Flight line workers at Boeing South Carolina voted by a 2-1 margin in favor of Machinists Union representation recently.

Bob Martinez, Machinists Union International President: “The South Carolina Flight Readiness Technicians at Boeing have spoken loud and clear. They want to be a part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. I commend them for the courage and integrity they have demonstrated through this contentious process. I am asking Boeing to respect their freedom to choose and not retaliate against them for expressing their rights. The historic votes cast by the 176 Flight Readiness Technicians are not a collective vote against Boeing; it was a vote for the return of American prosperity. Unions are the best mechanism for protecting the interest of working men and women. When unions and business collaborate, the American economy prospers and all Americans benefit.

“Our members work at Boeing plants across the country. We are glad to add the South Carolina plant to the list. Our members build the best products in the world, including Boeing products. I hope the company will accept the results and join us in a dialogue about the future of North American industry and the North American worker. When we unite, no worker in the world can outperform, drive more innovation, or produce more than the North American worker.”

Mike Evans, IAM Boeing South Carolina Lead Organizer: “Today was a victory for the American worker. The 176 men and women Flight Readiness Technicians stood up with South Carolina pride and voted for a better life. They exercised their freedom to join in union and speak with one voice. This election was never just about wages. The men and women wanted dignity and consistency in the workplace. And this vote put them closer to achieving those goals. We hope Boeing does the right thing by agreeing to sit down and negotiate in good faith with the dedicated Flight Readiness Technicians.”

Vinny Addeo, IAM Organizing Director: “I want to personally welcome the 176 men and women to your Union! We pledge the full support and resources of your union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The same way we do now, for more than 35,000 Boeing employees at 24 locations nationwide. You now have the power to negotiate for a better life for your families. Your vote today is historic and it will help knock down barriers in workplaces all over the nation.”

Jon Holden, District 751 President: “We want to congratulate the flightline mechanics in Charleston, SC who have successfully stood up to the Boeing Company and very strongly stated that ‘we want rights on the job.’ All the captive audience meetings had no impact. The workers were not intimidated and chose to be represented by the IAM. This is the first step in their efforts to gain fairness and a voice on the job.”


Union Membership on the Rise

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There was a rise in union membership last year. And driving that rise was young workers. In fact, more than three-quarters of new union members were under 35 years old. Union members under 25 years old earn more than a fifth more than non-union members. Overall, union membership was up by 262,000 in 2017. The shift comes as workers look to gain a voice on the job and balance the scales of power with their employer.

You can check out the full report here.

IAM Members at United Overwhelmingly Ratify New Agreements

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What can be accomplished when we stand together?

For Machinists Union members at United Airlines, it’s bettering their lives through industry-leading wages, work protections and more. Approximately 30,000 IAM-represented workers at United Airlines have recently overwhelmingly ratified seven contracts in the Fleet Service, Passenger Service, Storekeeper, Maintenance Instructor, Fleet Technical Instructor and Related and Security Officer classifications.

The five-year accords run through 2021 and provide industry-best wages, work protections and retirement security, among other improvements.

“IAM members at United Airlines can be proud of these agreements as they provide the pay, job protections and retirement security that IAM-United workers deserve,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “These contracts will provide a strong foundation on which to build future improvements that will better the lives of IAM members at United Airlines.”

The IAM and United agreed in November 2015 to open existing collective bargaining agreements early and enter “limited issue, expedited negotiations” to take advantage of favorable industry conditions. The process concluded after four months of intense bargaining and led to industry-best contracts for IAM-represented workers at United Airlines.

“I’d like to thank every IAM member that came out yesterday and voted to not only improve their lives, but also the lives of thousands of other airline workers in like classes and crafts,” said IAM District 141 President Mike Klemm. “IAM members have once again set the bar in the airline industry by demonstrating their solidarity and demanding justice on the job.”

The IAM has ratified 14 separate contracts for seven separate classifications covering approximately 30,000 workers since the merger of United, Continental and Continental Micronesia in 2010. Through two successful rounds of bargaining, IAM members have achieved wage and pension increases of more than 40 percent and industry-best work protection, among many other improvements.

The Seattle Times Examines Aerospace in Alabama, Airbus and the Machinists Union

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Even 2,500 miles away, they’re taking note of Alabama’s recent aerospace boom. The Seattle Times recently ran an in-depth profile on Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama operations and the suppliers that have followed. An accompanying article, meanwhile, examined Airbus’ differing attitudes towards labor unions in Europe and the United States. Even though Airbus employees in Europe are unionized, the company is hoping to avoid the same in Mobile. Good jobs and a better life, however, start with a strong union. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s in Mobile, Hamburg or Toulouse. You can check out both articles below:

The Seattle Times: Airbus plants seeds of a new aerospace cluster in the U.S.

The Seattle Times: Airbus, unionized in Europe, wants no such thing in Mobile

The First U.S.-Built A-321 Takes Off

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The first Airbus A321 built by workers in Mobile successfully completed its first test flight earlier this week. The plane, which will be delivered to JetBlue, is the first Airbus passenger aircraft built in the United States. It was a historic day for all involved. Congratulations to all the workers whose hard work and skill made it happen.

Check out some of the various media coverage below: Mobile takes wing: First U.S.-built Airbus is flown

WKRG: First Mobile Manufactured Airbus Plane Takes Flight

WTVM: Another historic day for Airbus in Mobile

Birmingham Business Journal: Alabama-built Airbus takes flight in Mobile

Aviation International News: First U.S.-Made Airbus Airliner Flies]

Workers at Airbus in Mobile Make History With First U.S.-Made A321

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Airbus recently unveiled the first A321 made at their Mobile, AL operations. Workers in Mobile began producing the plane last year after major components started arriving from Europe. The completed plane made its way off the shop floor last month and was sent to MAAS Aviation for painting. The plane will go through ground tests and is expected to be delivered to JetBlue this spring.

Read more here.

IAM Members at Southwest Airlines Reap Cash Windfall

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When IAM members at Southwest Airlines ratified their most recent contract in December 2014, they not only received wage increases, lump sum payments and other improvements, they also ratified IAM negotiated protections against falling behind other Southwest employee groups who were still in negotiations.

IAM leadership and negotiators smartly bargained a “true-up” clause, which requires that IAM-represented Customer Service Agents and Customer Representatives receive the same percentage wage rate, lump sum and variable bonus increases as Southwest Ramp, Operations, Provisioning and Freight Agents. This negotiated wage and economic protection maintains IAM members’ wage rates ahead of their internal counterparts for the duration of their agreement, which becomes amendable in December 2018.

“IAM members at Southwest Airlines have been and continue to be critical component of that carrier’s success and are fully deserving of the benefits of their IAM contract,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja. “I’d also like to thank the IAM Negotiating Committee for having the vision to ensure IAM members at Southwest would never fall behind and will continue to lead the way at the carrier.”

“We knew where the industry was going and negotiated a contract that ensured IAM members’ compensation remained at the top at Southwest Airlines,” said IAM District 142 President Dave Supplee. “IAM members at Southwest can expect another well-deserved raise and lump sum payment because of their IAM contract.”

Read the story here.

Airbus’ Mobile Operations Profiled

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Inside FuselageLAGNIAPPE Weekly recently profiled Airbus’ Mobile, Alabama operations.

They also took a close look at the suppliers that have followed Airbus to Mobile. One key takeaway was the new Airbus facility is already providing a huge boost for the area. Don’t forget this doesn’t happen without the front-line workers who are actually building these planes on a daily basis.

Read the entire article here.

Fighting for a Better Life: AFL-CIO Releases ‘Raising Wages’ Report

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says there was progress in 2015, but raising wages must be an ongoing mission for the labor movement.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says there was progress in 2015, but raising wages must be an ongoing mission for the labor movement.

Marking nearly one year since the first ever Raising Wages Summit, the AFL-CIO released a new report detailing the successes, struggles and path ahead to raise wages for working people.

The report finds that over the past year income inequality has shifted from a topic of discussion to a problem that can be solved. It points to clear steps forward and outlines solutions.
“One year ago, we made clear that raising wages for all working people was our number one priority,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “In 2015 we came together in collective voice and action, and made significant progress.”

The report goes beyond direct wage increases to demonstrate the all-encompassing nature of the raising wages agenda. Numerous organizing victories, new paid leave laws in multiple states and cities, and new protections against wage theft are outlined as part of the effort to create a better economy.
The IAM’s organizing successes of 2,000 aircraft mechanics, technicians and maintenance workers in Texas and its ongoing campaign to help Boeing workers in South Carolina are cited as examples of how people in the South are defying stereotypes about unions.

The central conclusion is that America is ready to move beyond just a discussion of income inequality and is beginning to write new rules that will shape the economy.

Click here to read “Fighting for a Better Life: How Working People Across America Are Organizing to Raise Wages and Improve Work.”

IAM Sponsors Aviation High School Students in Skills Competition

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IAM District Lodge 142 President Dave Supplee with Aviation High School students at the Aviation Maintenance Skills Competition in Miami, FL. Back row, from left: Supplee, Michael Vanegas, Sandeep Chumber, Jeyson Pichardo and Instructor Evelyn Tavarez. Front row: Konrad Kostecki, Narad Gounden and Eric Popko.
IAM District Lodge 142 President Dave Supplee with Aviation High School students at the Aviation Maintenance Skills Competition in Miami, FL. Back row, from left: Supplee, Michael Vanegas, Sandeep Chumber, Jeyson Pichardo and Instructor Evelyn Tavarez. Front row: Konrad Kostecki, Narad Gounden and Eric Popko.

IAM District 142 recently sponsored six students and their instructors from New York’s Aviation High School to participate in the Aviation Maintenance Skills Competition in Miami, FL.
Over 39 teams from seven different countries participated in the event. Teams from domestic and foreign airlines, manufacturing and repair facilities, the military, training facilities and even one from the space industry took part in the competition.
The students competed in various skills tests, including: repairing leaks in hydraulic tubing, testing pitot/static systems, troubleshooting electrical faults, removing and replacing sealant to fuel tanks and windshields, removing and replacing tires and brakes, and troubleshooting a space fueling system. They also competed in weight and balance calculations, calibrated a fuel quantity system, replaced an engine valve and had to show their ability to safety-wire several different components.
Each team was given 15 minutes to complete each task. Once the task was completed, points were added for errors and the team with the lowest score won the competition.
“While the students didn’t place in the top three, they did come away with an invaluable experience,” said IAM District 142 President Dave Supplee. “Also, while attending the competition, they had an opportunity to visit many of the vendors on display and several of the students were able to schedule employment interviews while at the convention.”
The Aviation High School seniors competed against students from 16 other post-secondary training schools. The New York seniors were the only high school students participating.
“We look forward to continuing this program in the future because it gives the students a real insight to what the work of an aircraft technician really is,” continued Supplee. “It gives the students the opportunity to meet mechanics and employers and create a path of employment when they graduate.”