Unions more relevant than ever, says IAM 751 chief

Unions have never been more relevant than they are today, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 said in a recent message to members of the union for aerospace Machinists.

PSD Javier Flores S Springfield“This union brings value to its members and the companies they work for and the communities they live in,” said District 751 President Tom Wroblewski. “It happens because we work collectively, as a union, each of us doing our part for the greater good.”

Wroblewski’s comments are included in the current edition of the AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.

To illustrate his point, Wroblewski encouraged union members to consider the kinds of things the union did in June:

  • The union lobbied the federal government for assistance that will allow Machinists laid off from Boeing to train for new careers outside aerospace, and also went to arbitration on behalf of union members working at Joint Base Lewis-McChord who the union says were improperly denied vacation benefits they were owed by their former employer;
  • Boeing workers utilized programs negotiated by the union to make major improvements to the company’s safety, quality and productivity, with one group in Auburn improving its production rate by more than 1,000 percent, while a group with workers in Everett and Renton celebrated going more than 2 million hours without a serious injury; and
  • The Machinists Volunteer Program at the union helped community service agencies to provide toys to homeless children, feed hungry families, build a wheelchair ramp for a Seattle family adopting a special-needs child and raise nearly $45,000 for Guide Dogs of America with two fundraising events, including Tania Finlayson’s 300-mile wheelchair ride.

Paul inspect 2Wroblewski said he gets frustrated when he hears union-bashers claim that unions may have been important once, but they’re no longer needed today, because there are laws to protect workers.

“By that logic,” he wrote, “we shouldn’t need police officers and court systems. After all, we have laws against theft and assault, even murder — so those crimes don’t happen anymore, right? And there are laws that govern how companies treat their investors and their workers and the environment, and companies never break those laws do they?”

To think that is “ridiculous,” Wroblewski scoffed. “Crime still happens, so we need police in the streets — and regulators in government — to stand up against the wrong-doers and fight to make things right. That, in large part, is what unions do too.”

He encouraged union members that “next time you hear some know-it-all talk about how ‘maybe there was a time when unions were good for America,’ you can tell them yes, this is true. And that time is today.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 33,000 working men and women at 49 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.

To talk to a District 751 officer about how a union contract could benefit you, click here.

 

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