Tacoma honors Machinists for community service
TACOMA – The city of Tacoma has honored Machinists Union District Lodge 751 with one of its 2013 “City of Destiny” awards.
“I can’t think of another group that’s more deserving,” said David Curry, the chief executive of The Rescue Mission in Tacoma.
“Of course the Machinists are a very important part of our industry in this area, but they’re also a huge part of our community,” he added. “They’re helping The Rescue Mission and probably dozens and dozens of other charities.”
District 751 received one of nine City of Destiny awards given by Tacoma’s mayor and City Council at a May 7 awards ceremony. Union volunteers were honored for their support of Northwest Harvest, The Rescue Mission in Tacoma, and the Special Olympics and the Emergency Food Network in Pierce County.
The union has a “tremendously robust volunteer program,” said City Council Member Victoria Woodwards, who presented the award.
“They’re a fantastic group,” said Northwest Harvest Communications Manager Andrea Flatley. “Without volunteers like the Machinists, we could not do what we do.”
Union volunteers play a big role in the annual KING-TV Hometeam Harvest food drive, which is one of Northwest Harvest’s biggest events of the year. Machinists come out in droves to area shopping centers help the food bank collect both cash and food donated during the drive, then more volunteer to help sort and package the donated food for distribution around the state.
In addition, small groups of volunteers come to Northwest’s Harvest warehouse in Kent for a few hours each week to help sort and package donated food.
“They all work hard in their day jobs, providing great service building airplanes for Boeing, but they also give back to our community in a big way,” Flatley said. “Their philosophy is prevalent throughout the organization. Volunteering and giving back to the community is part of what they do.”
Community service organizations have learned to count on District 751 Machinists, Curry said.
“Here at The Rescue Mission, we’re happy if someone comes to volunteer once,” he said. “What makes the Machinists so amazing is their dedication. They show up regularly: not just month after month, but year after year.”
District 751 Administrative Assistant Jim Bearden accepted the award – a blown-glass trophy – on behalf of the union.
“Our motto is ‘Building Better Communities,’” he noted. “That is truly what our members try to do, give back to the communities.”
They’ve succeeded in that, said Patty Rose, the secretary/treasurer of the Pierce County Central Labor Council. “Really, the quality of life for folks in Tacoma and Pierce County has been greatly improved by the volunteer work of District 751.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 33,000 working men and woman at 49 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2012, members of the Machinists Volunteer Program at District 751 gave more than 10,500 hours of community service, while also raising a record $299,000 for Guide Dogs of America, the union’s charity of choice.
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