We’re all accountable for better union, Holden says
Each member of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 must play a part in making the organization stronger, said union President Jon Holden in his monthly report.
“In our union, the work gets done by the people who show up. So if we want a better union, each of us has to take responsibility and be accountable for doing our share to accomplish that,” he wrote.
Holden’s message is included in the current edition of the AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.
Accountability is a concept Machinists Union members are familiar with, Holden wrote.
“When we make or install a part, we’re accountable for doing it correctly,” he wrote. “When an inspector signs off on a job, that’s their name on the line, and they’re accountable. … We cannot succeed as aerospace workers unless we are willing to accept that accountability.”
Union members have every right to hold their leaders accountable, Holden said. And by the same token, the union itself is committed to holding elected officials and aerospace companies in Washington accountable for what they do with the $8.7 billion in tax breaks the state Legislature approved last winter.
The union will pursue legislation to put a minimum wage floor under aerospace jobs at companies that take the tax break, and it also wants companies to commit to keeping jobs in Washington — similar to the way Boeing agreed to job-creation requirements in return for tax breaks in South Carolina.
“I’m quite confident that the citizens of Washington state aren’t interested in giving away billions of dollars to subsidize poverty-wage jobs,” Holden wrote. “I’m also confident that Washington voters aren’t pleased with the way Boeing is taking the tax incentive — and taking vital engineering jobs away from our state.”
District 751 will work with the rest of organized labor to draft and introduce the legislation, and if elected officials don’t support the effort, “we will hold them accountable as well, at the ballot box.”
But union members themselves need to help make the changes they want to see in their union, Holden said.
“If you’re unhappy with the direction of our union, then change it,” he wrote. “Get involved. Come to the meetings and speak out. Apply to become a steward. Get on a committee. Don’t just sit back and let things happen.”
- A report on how Machinists at AIM Aerospace in Sumner won average 5.6 percent wage increases in their first union contract;
- A recap of the Rescue Race: Vennie Murphy 5K, which raised more than $30,000 for The Rescue Mission in Tacoma;
- A roundup of IAM 751 efforts in support of Oso Mudslide surviors;
- A feature on Eastern Washington Machinists who are building a new irrigation canal to relieve pressure on the depleted Odessa aquifer.
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 at women at 50 employers across in Washington, Oregon and California.
Think you want to join the Machinists Union? Click here.