Wroblewski: Fight back against union busting
“If these union-busting politicians are successful in stripping away the rights of public sector workers today, you can be sure they’ll team up with their corporate campaign donors to do the same for private sector workers tomorrow,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “Working people are working people, whether you’re a (Boeing) machine operator in Auburn or a (city) building inspector in Woodinville.”
District 751 Legislative Director Larry Brown agreed.
“The fact is, we’re fighting the same fight,” he said. “The same kinds of politicians who attack public employees in Wisconsin are here in Olympia, trying to cut our workers comp benefits, cut our unemployment benefits, and cut our health and safety regulations.”
Their comments are included in this month’s AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.
The fight over union rights in places like Wisconsin has been well-chronicled. But even in Washington, where typically labor-friendly Democrats control the Legislature and Governor’s Mansion, corporate lobbyists have had sucecss pushing for legislation that would gut Washington’s workers’ compensation system — even though Washington voters soundly rejected similar changes in the November 2010 election.
Labor unions have been fighting the proposed “starve and release” rules, which would allow companies to deny all workers’ comp claims until an injured worker is forced to settle for a one-time payment instead of a lifetime pension. “If we don’t fight back, we lose the legal protections that make Washington a good place to live and work,” Wroblewski said.
Wroblewski and other District 751 leaders are encouraging union members to get involved in the fight for worker rights, either by joining rallies planned for around Washington state in early April, or by contributing to the union’s political action committee, the Machinists Non-partisan Political League.
Contributions to MNPL are voluntary, Wroblewski stressed. Under the law, unions cannot spend dues dollars to support political candidates or causes, which is why District 751 holds separate fundraising drives and events to support the fund.
“I pledge to you that every dollar we collect in this drive will go toward protecting the rights of working people, and creating more jobs,” Wroblewski said.
District 751 members will also take part in at least three rallies planned to show solidarity with workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Idaho and other states where workers rights are under attack. The rallies will be:
- 2 p.m. April 2 at the Peace Arch in Blaine;
- 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 4 at Martin Luther King Park in Seattle (2700 S. Walker St.); and
- noon to 2 p.m. April 8 on the steps of the Capitol in Olympia.
Working together through the union, individual people can have a greater impact on our nation’s future, Wroblewski said. “When one person cries out for justice, he’s a nut job, but when 10,000 cry out together, it’s a movement.”
- A report on how District 751 Machinists have been honored by the White Housefor their community service work, and reports on recent volunteer projects, including cooking and serving dinner for more than 300 homeless people in Tacoma;
- Reaction from Machinists with Boeing in Everett who watched the first 747-8I’s first flight on March 20;
- An update on progress toward a first union contract for workers at defense contractor URS at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station;
- Stories featuring the work of District 751 members in Eastern Washington at B&B Truck Service in Spokane and for irrigation districts that are part of the Columbia Basin Project.
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, Machinists District 751 now represents more than 26,500 working men and women at 44 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2010, District 751 members ratified new contracts with 22 of those employers, without a single workday lost to strikes.
To contact a District 751 officer for information on how a union contract could help you, click here.