The Ironworkers Local 854, an affiliate of the Tidewater Federal Employees Metal Trades Council (TFEMTC) NAVFAC Groton Facility has been running an internal organizing campaign to sign up employees that had been nonpayers. The Local has successfully signed up 50 new federal employees of the 76 possible. Congratulations to the local, Ironworkers organizer Ed Jones, and the crew of internal organizers that worked on this campaign.
“Good things happen when you reach out to workers,” said Metal Trades Department President James Hart. “The Local started with two dues paying members in this unit. Now, because of the hard work of brother Jones and his organizers, the unit is almost 100 percent organized. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Labor Day marks a time to celebrate America’s workers for all they do to keep America moving. President Kennedy once said “labor unions are not narrow, self-seeking groups. They have raised wages, shortened hours, and provided benefits. Through collective bargaining and grievance procedures, unions have brought justice and democracy to the workplace.”
And, after decades of declining union membership and reckless anti-union rhetoric from corporate shills, workers are on the rise. It appears a new generation of workers have discovered that it is better in a union.
Standing together with coworkers in a union makes a tangible difference in our daily lives. And, after years of inequity and economic insecurity across occupations, we are seeing workers in every profession from video game developers and baristas to medical interns and veterinarians say ‘Enough is enough! We deserve better.’ And they do. We all do.
Union workers on average make 18 percent more than their nonunion counterparts. They are more likely to have healthcare benefits, safer working conditions, and job security. And they are generally more satisfied with their job. It is better in a union. And our futures are brighter when we work union.
As you can see in the recently negotiated contracts across our metal trades councils, we are securing better wages and benefits for our represented employees. We are helping families across North America afford the costs associated with inflation, save money for retirement, afford groceries, and seek out medical care when needed. We are providing a brighter future through collective bargaining.
President Biden and Vice President Harris have proven to be the most union-friendly administration in U.S. history and their efforts to craft legislation that supports workers has been reflected across the Metal Trades with historic contracts and federal wage improvements that allow our members to thrive, not just survive. It’s better in a union.
So, this Labor Day, I implore Metal Trades nation and unions from coast to coast to spread the word and show off your union pride. Join a parade, fly your union flag, and let America know: it is better in a union!
On behalf of the officers and staff of the Metal Trades Department, I’d like to wish you a happy and safe Labor Day weekend. #ItsBetterInAUnion!
Metal Trades Department Executive Vice President and IAMAW International President Robert Martinez, Jr., announced his retirement effective January 1, 2024. IAMAW Resident General Vice President Brian Bryant will succeed Martinez as the union’s next international president.
Martinez’s historic tenure as the IAMAW’s 14th International President includes forging through some of the most challenging moments in the history of the union and the labor movement. He is the first Latino international president of a major American labor union in the history of the American labor movement, the first Latino elected to the Union’s Executive Council, and the first international president of color in the history of the IAMAW.
“I wish President Martinez a long and happy retirement,” said MTD President Jimmy Hart. “The Metal Trades Executive Council has been privileged to have President Martinez serve as a Vice President for the last eight years and we will surely miss his wise counsel and leadership.”
In a statement issued by the IAMAW, President Martinez said, “As I reflect on my incredible journey as the International President of the IAM, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the privilege and honor to serve our dedicated members across North America. The time has come to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders. It has been an honor to stand alongside our skilled and hardworking members and fight for their rights, livelihoods, and a better future for themselves and their families. As I bid farewell to this amazing chapter of my life, I feel proud of our collective work to grow our union and strengthen its foundation built on the spirit of solidarity and justice. My dedication remains steadfast, and I eagerly anticipate our great union’s continued growth and prosperity.”
“I have been fortunate to work with Vice President Brian Bryant over the years and he is more than qualified to lead the IAM into the future,” said President Hart. “I look forward to working with him as he takes the helm at the IAM and joins the Executive Council at the Metal Trades.”
The Metal Trades Department also wishes IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace and IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway well as they embark on retirement. “The IAM is saying farewell to a slate of immensely qualified and incredibly dedicated union leaders. Their decades of hard work and leadership will be missed but I am buoyed by the fact that the IAM has mentored, trained, and supported leaders that are ready to take on the challenge.”
The MTD congratulates Chief of Staff Craig Martin who will succeed Wallace and Special Assistant Sam Cicinelli who will succeed Galloway. Longtime aerospace negotiator and leader Jody Bennett will become the IAM Resident Vice President succeeding Bryant.
The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers announced on August 23 that Kathy Stapp was unanimously elected by the organization’s International Executive Council to serve as the union’s International Secretary-Treasurer. Stapp is the first woman ever to hold this executive office, one of the union’s highest offices.
Stapp was formerly the director of Human Resources and Benefits Programs and served as administrative assistant to the International Secretary-Treasurer. She joined the union in 1994 as a “floater,” covering the switchboard and mail room, eventually working her way into the Accounting Department.
“I am honored that International President Fairley and the International Vice Presidents have chosen to entrust such an important office to me,” Stapp said. “The Boilermakers Union has been more than a job for me — it’s been entrenched in nearly every aspect of my life, and I care very deeply about the future of this organization, both professionally and personally.
“I am fully committed to serving my colleagues, the local lodges, and the membership to the best of my abilities in this new role.”
Stapp is a member of Boilermakers Local 627 (Phoenix). She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in English from Kansas State University and the University of San Diego.
The Wiregrass Metal Trades Council (MTC) has ratified what Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart calls the “best contract in the history of the department, full stop.”
The new five-year agreement between the Wiregrass MTC and Fort Novosel (Ruckers) includes a five percent wage increase in the first year and an annual increase of $3.00 per hour for each of the remaining years of the contract.
MTD General Representative Dale Troll negotiated the contract with Tech Systems, Inc., the government contractor and employer at the Army base. “The nearly three-month negotiation was challenging as it broke new ground, but in the end, both sides came to a productive and amicable agreement,” says Troll. “The company worked with us to ensure that employees represented by the Council would see substantial enhancements to their wages and benefits, as well as new leave and certification/licensing reimbursement policies.”
Wiregrass MTC-represented employees are members of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 653, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2152, and the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 559.
“At Fort Novosel, some employees will see as much as a 98 percent increase in pay and benefits over the life of the contract,” says Hart. “I am so proud of this agreement. It proves what we’ve been saying all along, working union makes a difference.”
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO (MTD), is proud to announce its partnership with Employee Benefit Systems Union College Benefit (EBS) program to offer our Metal Trades Council members college tuition discounts on more than 50 programs.
“We are delighted to offer this union benefit to our members and their families that wish to pursue higher education,” said Jimmy Hart, MTD President. “This unique opportunity offers our union families a chance to follow their dreams for personal or professional advancement by helping them secure affordable tuition at a network of colleges and universities. The EBS Union College Benefit is also a great resource for veterans interested in fully online programs.”
Union members and their families can earn a certificate, associate, bachelors’, or masters’ degree while attending school part-time or full-time. EBS has a network of colleges and universities offering programs in a myriad of studies.
Programs include business administration, criminal justice, human resources management, organizational leadership and management, and more.
The EBS Union College Benefit is part of the EBS family of benefits. The benefit is powered by through EDUTrust Network, a system of carefully selected colleges and universities. The program has been crafted for adult students and offers more than 50 online programs. Upon enrollment, all students will receive a personal admissions experience with a college or university admissions counselor, career counseling, financial aid counseling, and more. Veterans interested in utilizing the program will work with the dedicated Veteran Team at the college or university to ensure that they select a program at which they can use Veteran benefits.