Holden gets Puget Sound union leadership award

SEATTLE — Jon Holden, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751, has been honored by the community activists at Puget Sound Sage for his leadership. JonAward1

Holden received the group’s annual Union Leadership Award at a breakfast in Seattle May 28.

“He took the reigns of (District) 751 at a challenging time, but he has faced the tough issues head-on,” said Washington State Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lynne Dodson.

“He believes in holding Boeing and other employers accountable so that our communities can become better places for all families to live.” Puget Sound Sage is a coalition of labor, faith and community organizations that works to provide good jobs, dignity at work, a clean environment and safe, affordable housing to all people, regardless of race or status.

As he accepted the award, Holden said his union background helps him appreciate that “Puget Sound Sage fights to end the income inequality gap, and fights for racial equality, a stronger democracy, a clean environment and thriving communities.”

Unions can do a lot to raise the standard of living for working people and reduce income inequality, he said. “Every organizing drive we attempt, every new bargaining unit we succeed at winning an election for and every first contract we are able to ratify, closes the gap on income inequality in the community,” Holden said. “This is what unions should be doing.”

Dodson noted that Holden and District 751 have been working with SPEEA on aerospace tax incentive accountability legislation in Olympia, “despite strong resistance from Boeing and other employers … because it is the right thing to do for the citizens of Washington state.”

The unions have made a difference, Holden said. “We have succeeded in changing the conversation around tax incentives, their use and what the community gets in return,” he said. “Accountability and what the community gets in return will be part of every discussion around granting tax incentives going forward.”

District 751 and Sage have worked together on campaigns to raise the minimum wage in Seattle and SeaTac and to push for more affordable housing and transportation options, Holden noted. “I’m proud of the work our unions and Sage are doing to close the income inequality gap, to fight for wage standards in the community and to push for policies and legislation that make life better for the citizens of Washington.”

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 women at 52 employers across Washington and California.

Check out our award-winning IAM 751 YouTube channel.

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