Three 264 Members recognized for their actions at Boston Marathon

At our April 25, 2013 Local Lodge 264 member meeting  three of our members were presented a recognition award for their heroic actions at the Boston Marathon bombing.  John Foley, Dave Litif, and Mike Read more

Machinists Union Taking on Autism in April

Most everyone knows a family affected by autism, or is dealing with the disorder in their own household. Machinists Union families are no different. The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control identify around Read more

April 24, 2014 Election for IAM International Officers at Old Dorchester Post

On Thursday April 24, 2014 the Election for IAMAW International President and Executive Council Positions will be held. Local 264 members can vote at the Old Dorchester Post beginning at 9:00am. Local 264 has endorsed Read more

Three 264 Members recognized for their actions at Boston Marathon

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At our April 25, 2013 Local Lodge 264 member meeting  three of our members were presented a recognition award for their heroic actions at the Boston Marathon bombing.  John Foley, Dave Litif, and Mike Rowan. John, Dave, and Mike are Machinists at the MBTA. These members were working as volunteers at the marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013 providing assistance and help to all those who participated in the race.  After a pair of bombs suddenly detonated and killed three and injured hundreds near the finish line their roles turned from volunteers to first responders.

Within seconds of the explosions, these members went from enjoying the marathon, to suddenly finding themselves tearing away at the barricades around the blast site and immediately helping the injured.

“The city was under siege and our union members were right there,” said Local 264 President Jim Mastandrea. “They didn’t hesitate to get right in there. They knew that people needed help and they responded. I am so proud of these members. They were fearless in their reaction to the situation.”  “These guys are pretty shook up and emotional about these tragic events and we felt that it was important to recognize their hard work and dedication with these awards.”

Our fellow members were recognized with special medals made by another fellow Local 264 member Chris Fernald, who works at the MBTA Everett Heavy Rail Shop in order to commemorate their heroics that day.

 

Our fellow members actions that day showed their true selflessness and willingness to help others in need. They are great machinists that represent our local and even better people. We thank them for what they did that terrible day.

 

Machinists Union Taking on Autism in April

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IAM staff wore blue shirts and jeans on April 2 to kick off Autism Awareness Month.

IAM staff wore blue shirts and jeans on April 2 to kick off Autism Awareness Month.

Most everyone knows a family affected by autism, or is dealing with the disorder in their own household. Machinists Union families are no different.

The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control identify around one in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum.

During the month of April, which is recognized as Autism Awareness Month, IAM Headquarters in Upper Marlboro, MD, will be helping educate people about the disorder and hold numerous fundraising events.

On April 2, the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day, Headquarters staff wore blue as part of the “Light it up blue” global autism awareness initiative. The kick-off event raised $255 for Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization that sponsors research.

The Grand Lodge will also be hosting a potluck barbeque lunch sale and raffle to raise money throughout the month. A representative from Autism Speaks will be giving a presentation to the IAM Headquarters staff later in the month.

Click here for more information on how you can get involved in Autism Awareness Month.

April 24, 2014 Election for IAM International Officers at Old Dorchester Post

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On Thursday April 24, 2014 the Election for IAMAW International President and Executive Council Positions will be held. Local 264 members can vote at the Old Dorchester Post beginning at 9:00am.

Local 264 has endorsed the slate of incumbent officers to lead the IAMAW forward for the future strength of this great union. All that we ask members is no matter who you vote for, just cast that ballot, it is your union and you need to remain informed and involved. Only members in good standing of the local lodge will be permitted to vote in the elections of Grand Lodge officers. All eligible members who arrive at the polls before closing will be permitted to cast their ballots. Polls will remain open for this purpose, if necessary.

Local 264 members can vote from 9:00am until the end of the monthly member meeting at

LOCAL 264 Polling:
April 24, 2014, 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Old Dorchester Post, 500 Gallivan Blvd
Dorchester, MA 02124


IAM members in more than 800 local lodges in the United States and Canada have concluded nominations and runoff votes where necessary to determine lodge endorsements for the IAM Executive Council positions of International President, General Secretary-Treasurer and, for U.S. locals, eight General Vice Presidents.

Click or tap here for a complete tabulation of local lodge endorsements.

As a result of the local lodge endorsements and in accordance with the IAM Constitution, the election of Grand Lodge officers will be conducted at local lodge meetings in the month of April, 2014.

The members chosen as nominees under the endorsement process are as follows
(nominees are listed in order of the number of endorsements received):

For International President
R. Thomas Buffenbarger, Local Lodge 912
Jay Cronk, Local Lodge 1112

For General Secretary-Treasurer
Robert Roach, Jr., Local Lodge 1445
Dale Cancienne, Local Lodge 1905

For 8 General Vice Presidents
Mark Blondin, Local Lodge 751C
Gary R. Allen, Local Lodge 794
Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., Local Lodge 2312
Robert Martinez, Jr., Local Lodge 776A
Dora Cervantes, Local Lodge 2198
Sito Pantoja, Local Lodge 949
Philip J. Gruber, Local Lodge 688
Diane Babineaux, Grand Lodge
Patrick E. Maloney, Local Lodge 63
Karen Asuncion, Local Lodge 1759
Tim O’Brien, Local Lodge 851
Jason Redrup, Local Lodge 751A
Sande Lien, Local Lodge 2202

 

Local 264 tellers for Election Day are;

Eric Nevers

Pete O’Meilia

Bob Walker Jr.

Machinists Union President Buffenbarger On Boeing, Reformers’ Challenge

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This article appeared at kplu.org on 4/3/14

Editor’s Note: Tom Buffenbarger has held the top job of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers since 1997. He’s been in the public eye in the Pacific Northwest ever since the contentious Boeing contract-extension votes that took place last November and in January.

Machinists narrowly approved a plan on Jan. 3 that, among other concessions, froze their defined-benefit pension in exchange for a guarantee that the company would build its next major jet, the 777x, in the Puget Sound region. By accepting the offer, the workforce has agreed not to go on strike for the next decade.

But a lot of machinists are very unhappy with the fact that the offer even went to a vote after local leaders had said they couldn’t support it. Local leaders from District Lodge 751 had said they couldn’t recommend the offer because it wasn’t sufficiently different from the one workers turned down in November.

Now, a group of reformers is running to unseat Buffenbarger and other top leaders in the union in the first contested election since 1961. Buffenbarger agreed to a rare interview with KPLU, and the following are some of his answers to our questions. And click here for comments from the reformers on why they’re running.

KPLU: Why did you bring the contract extension up for a vote on Jan. 3?

“Because it’s our policy. It’s our policy and procedures under our constitution that you have to vote the last, final offer from a company or an improved offer. This whole thing, this is amazing to me because all we did is require our members to make a decision. The other side did not want the members to vote on this and it’s been 126-year policy of this union, the members make the decision. All I did was uphold our constitution.”

KPLU: What’s your response to criticism that the timing of the vote was chosen to steer the outcome toward approval?

“Nothing could be further from the truth. I personally pleaded with the previous director to hold the vote before the Christmas break. They refused. Then we were notified that if we had not made a decision, or the members had not made a decision prior to Jan. 4, the wing plant was going to be built elsewhere.

“This whole process started with that plant going to be built somewhere else other than Puget Sound. We tried to make sure it was built in Puget Sound. And I now have seen that the stories have finally made it to the press in Seattle that we weren’t bluffing about this. That St. Louis was going to be the spot where it went.”

KPLU: So Boeing told you that they were going to make the decision on Jan. 4? What did Boeing tell you?

“That a decision was imminent. We knew they had dispatched a team to St. Louis because that was confirmed to us by St. Louis or Missouri economic development people.”

KPLU: You could not have held the election the following week?

“Oh, absolutely. It wouldn’t have meant anything because it would have … This is what I don’t understand is hard for folks out there to get. We could have held it three weeks later except it meant nothing. They would have announced the plant would have been built somewhere else on Jan. 4.

“We don’t control what Boeing’s going to do. This was not our decision when they were going to make their announcement. That’s their business. If we wanted to have a shot at having the new 777x plant built in Puget Sound, we needed to take action. We had a proposal to vote on, and all we did was ensure the members made the final decision. I am fine and have been with whatever decision they made.

“I thought this was over after the first vote. Boeing surprised us by coming back with a second offer. In any event, it’s the members of the union who make the final decision, not Tom Buffenbarger, not the international union, it’s not the 30 local leaders there, it’s the membership who has the right and as a matter of fact, the membership was pleading with us to have a vote. It was the leadership who said we can’t trust the members to make this decision.”

KPLU: Reformers say it was an essentially unchanged offer. How do you respond to that?

“A billion dollars is a change in an offer.”

KPLU: Where does that billion dollars come from?

“In the improvements made between the first offer and the second offer.”

KPLU: The $5,000 extra bonus?

“That and resetting the zoom, which we were told was important. And the improvement in the dental benefits and the letter confirming the 737 line would stay in Renton because the agreement for the extended contract from two years ago for the 737, once the first 737 MAX was built, was that there were no longer any assurances that plane would be built in Renton. So we’ve guaranteed the work for Renton for the next 10 years, and there’s probably 20 or 25 years’ worth of orders for that site, and we guaranteed the 777x would be built in Puget Sound as well as the wing plant.”

KPLU: How do you respond when the people here, the reformers, say that you were too cozy with Boeing management and struck a concessionary contract agreement?

“They obviously have not read the agreement, and I’d like somebody to show me the concessions in it, because everybody will be making more money.”

KPLU: What about giving up the pension?

“They didn’t give up the pension.”

KPLU: It’s phasing out.

“Let’s tell the truth about that. This is the last site where Boeing still had a defined benefit pension plan. Union negotiators at other Boeing sites gave up their defined-benefit pension plan starting four years ago. In St. Louis, in Decatur, Alabama, Huntsville, Alabama, at the Cape in Florida, throughout the Boeing chain, and Long Beach, CA, with the UAW. The last site standing was Seattle. Four years ago, I told our folks and there’s a video I know they’ve been playing out there with a speech pleading with our St. Louis people, don’t give up our defined benefit pension plan. They overrode my pleas and voted to give it up.”

KPLU: Why change that if you were pleading then?

“I didn’t plead for them to accept this contract. No one has shown me anywhere where I said accept this contract. I sent a fact sheet detailing the contract to all of the members so they’d have some basis upon which to base their vote. It’s called facts and truth. It’s called information. I trust the members of this union that when given facts and truth will make a decision that works for them. And whatever decision they make, we’re prepared to back that up.”

KPLU: How do you respond to charges that your pay is exorbitant at a time when membership has been declining and that you have this Learjet at your disposal?

“First of all, the IAM has had a Learjet since 1978, long before I came. That plane is built by IAM members. It’s a small airplane designed as an office in the skies. That plane has been used for the benefit of District 751 and the Boeing members as well as a whole array of members across this country. And I can remember several times when that plane was used to fly Seattle union representatives to different sites to meet with the Boeing Company during various contract negotiations over all those years. We’ve used it to get strike checks to our members when they’ve had strikes because we couldn’t get it to them any other faster way.

“So the plane is not at my disposal. The plane is used by the union, so that’s another mischaracterization. And that plane was approved at every international union convention since 1980.”

KPLU: How about your pay (of $260,000)? Why is that justified at a time when membership has been declining?

“The last time the council members received a pay increase was in the year 2000. And our pay is adjusted only by the cost of inflation. And that’s what our dues are also based upon and every bit of that has been approved at every convention in all those years.”

KPLU: Why did you fire (IAM Reform candidate for International President) Jay Cronk?

“For non-performance and bad performance and the rest of it I have to defer on because it’s subject to a grievance procedure.”

KPLU: Do you have a response to the complaint filed with the Department of Labor last year about the nomination process that said it was suppressed?

“Just the contrary to being suppressed. Every local receives a letter in December instructing them that it’s Grand Lodge election nomination time, to please notify their members per our constitution and prepare yourselves to conduct those nominations at your meeting in January.

“There was a complaint filed that some lodges did not follow the proper procedure. The Department of Labor investigated and found that 26 out of 1,000 lodges did not follow the proper procedure. The IAM because we are transparent, open, said fine, we’ll redo nominations. And that’s where we’re at.”

KPLU:  So you’re saying it was not the fault of the international, it was the fault of the local lodges?

“That’s true.”

KPLU: What did they do wrong?

“They failed to send a notice to their members as required by our constitution. They’re supposed to send either by letter or posted on their web site or however their normal general communication system works, lodges are all different in this respect, they’re to notify them that it’s nomination time, they’re supposed to give them that information prior to their meeting in the month of January. Some lodges did not do that”

IAM Local 1726 Pickets U.S. Airways

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Massachusetts Treasurer and candidate for governor Steve Grossman (5th from the right 2nd row) joined the IAM 1726  picket line at Boston's Logan Airport on March 27th.

Massachusetts Treasurer and candidate for governor Steve Grossman (5th from the right 2nd row) joined the IAM 1726 picket line at Boston’s Logan Airport on March 27th.

IAM Local 1726 ground workers as well as other IAM members at US Airways conducted informational pickets across the country to protest the carrier’s insistence that they accept second class status and agree to lower wage rates than other employees at the “new” American Airlines who perform the exact same work.

IAM members were joined by Transport Workers Union (TWU) members who perform similar jobs at pre-merger American Airlines. Together they informed passengers about the dire and deteriorating state of labor relations at the airline.

“Doug Parker wants the flying public, shareholders, Wall Street and anyone else who will listen to believe that all is going well with the merger of US Airways and American Airlines. That is simply untrue,” said IAM District 141 President Rich Delaney.”

“The TWU and IAM are partners,” said TWU President Harry Lombardo. “We will not sit idly by as management tries to drive a wedge between workers.”

“The ‘new’ American will remain divided as two separate airlines and possibly suffer a strike before this merger happens,” said IAM District 142 President Tom Higginbotham. “Doug Parker is out of touch. US Airways needs to show some respect to IAM ground workers or this situation will rapidly deteriorate.”

At Boston’s Logan Airport, current Massachusetts Secretary Treasurer and candidate for governor Steve Grossman walked the picket line with IAM workers.

“I was proud to stand in solidarity with the men and women from Machinists Local 1726 this afternoon,” said Grossman. “These workers deserve a fair contract that pays fair wages with fair benefits, and I will stand with them every day as governor.”

IAM-represented ground workers have been in negotiations with US Airways for almost three years and requested a release from mediated talk from the National Mediation Board (NMB) last year.

The IAM and TWU alliance represents over 30,000 ground workers at the ‘new’ American and is the largest union at the airline.

Local 264 Machinists on the job

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Here are some pictures of fellow Local 264 Machinists on the job. We would like to be able to regularly post new pictures of people on the job.  If you would like to contribute some pictures of you and your fellow workers, please email them to iam264boston@gmail.com. Please include a description of where you work and what it is you or your co-workers are working on. We would love to have more pictures of everyone and their work so other members can see what it is that our fellow Local 264 sisters and brothers do at their workplace.

This set of pictures are of some Local 264 members at the MBTA.  There are some of the bus mechanics from Everett Bus Repair Facility where they do all the major work like engine/transmission repair or replacement as well as all general repair and maintenance. Also some of the outside machinists who do maintenance on all the MBTA buildings, bus garages, train car houses, tunnel pump rooms, compressors, and general system wide work.

MA State council of machinists annual breakfast.

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Mass State Council of Machinists

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Annual Meeting & Breakfast

This years 2014 State Council breakfast was a well attended event by machinists from locals all over MA. There were five politicians that came to speak at the meeting.  Candidates for MA Governor; Attorney General Martha Coakley and State Treasurer Steve Grossman as well as candidates for MA Attorney General Maura Healey and former State Rep. Warren Tolman. Also MA Democratic Committee Chairman and State Senator Tom McGee.

We also had MA AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman speak, and then we had a special guest the IAMAW International President Tom Buffenbarger, Secretary Treasurer Robert Roach, and General Vice President Diane Babineaux came to address the visiting machinists.

Here are some pictures from the breakfast via Local 100 member Mark Delaney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Bill: ‘Paid for by Union Wages’

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This post originally appeared on the Electrical Workers (IBEW) website.

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The St. Louis Union Label and Service Trades Council is printing stickers that union members can attach to cash, checks or credit card receipts, letting business owners know that the purchase was paid for by union wages.

The stickers are one response to the efforts of state Republicans to pass so-called right-to-work legislation, introducing a bill to that effect earlier this year.

Right-to-work laws have been shown to drive down wages by an average of $1,500 a year for all workers—union and nonunion alike. This wage cut hurts not only workers—it hurts communities and local businesses dependent on consumer spending.

As St. Louis Local 1’s blog recently pointed out, not only does Missouri boast higher wages and a better quality of life than neighboring right-to-work Tennessee, it’s also a better place to do business:

Missouri is ranked 34th verses Tennessee at 42nd in economic growth. Missouri also ranked 17 in cost of energy in all sectors verses Tennessee at 30. Additionally, Missouri made the list at three of top 10 states for tech job growth while Tennessee didn’t appear on the list at all.

To order stickers, contact the St. Louis Union Label and Service Trades Council at thedarrahs@hotmail.com or call 636-379-1134/636-293-1878.

Massachusetts becomes the latest state anger John Boehner by blocking food stamp cuts

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Add Massachusetts to the list of states House Speaker John Boehner thinks are cheating because they’re following the law as they move to block food stamp cuts. Massachusetts follows a series of states in acting entirely within the new law to thwart the congressional Republican push to cut nutrition assistance:

Under the plan announced by Gov. Deval Patrick, the state will provide at least $20 in heating assistance to about 163,000 eligible families, which in turn will make those families eligible for an additional $80 a month in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program — formerly known as Food Stamps.Administration officials said the move would prevent a loss of $142 million in SNAP benefits. [...]

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, which administers the federal Low Income Heating Assistance Program will use federal funding to provide the $3 million needed to increase the benefit, according to a spokesman for the agency.

Such state actions, which have also been announced in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Montana, mean that a significant percentage of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cuts recently passed by Congress have been blocked. That said:

If you live in one of the eight remaining states where low-income Americans are still facing the threat of food stamp cuts—California, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington, or Wisconsin—then click here to sign and send a petition directly to your governor, urging him to take the appropriate action to restore food stamp funding.

 

Union membership held steady in 2013, but the trends aren’t good

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unionincome-graph

Via DailyKos.com

The numbers are out for union membership in 2013, and as usual, they’re not great. The good news is that unions didn’t lose ground from 2012 to 2013:

In 2013, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions–was 11.3 percent, the same as in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.5 million, was little different from 2012.

The bad news is that “In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.” Well, there’s a lot of bad news to be taken from that decline over the past decades. That’s not just bad news for unions as organizations or for current union members. It’s bad news for an American workforce facing wage stagnation. It’s bad news for women, too:

The gender gap between what unionized male workers make and what unionized female workers make is just 9.4 cents, meaning that women working full time make more than 90 percent of what men do, according to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.Among non-union workers, on the other hand, the wage gap is 18.7 cents, about double the gap between union workers. And while the gender wage gap overall hasn’t improved in five years, it’s been shrinking among workers who belong to a union, declining 2.6 cents between 2013 and 2012.

Whatever the strengths or weaknesses of unions, they’re one of the few forces standing in the way of corporations driving down wages and working conditions to the bare minimum required by law, and then most likely turning to Congress and state legislatures to weaken the law further. Unions reduce inequality, which makes their decline—a decline caused by an all-out war against them waged by corporations and Republican politicians—bad for all of us.