Labor Day: ‘You are the union; you have the power’

Unions have changed every workplace in America for the better, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 said.

However, unions aren’t some abstract third party that works on behalf of working people, IAM 751 President Jon Holden wrote in a Labor Day message to his union’s members.

DogJogJon“Unions are all of us — those of us who have been here 40 years or longer and those who just hired in,” Holden wrote. “It is not ‘the union’ that has achieved great things, but the determination and solidarity of every member working together.”

Holden’s message is printed in the September issue of the AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.

The gap between the haves and have-nots in America is growing, Holden wrote.

“Americans hear every week that the millionaires and billionaires are getting richer while workers struggle to survive,” he wrote. “More and more often, we hear of people having to work two jobs to make ends meet, rather than simply having one job that provides a good family wage with benefits.”

The solution — standing together to take collective action — as part of a union, or social movement like the one promoting a $15 an hour minimum wage.

“Solidarity works,” Holden wrote. “Our power is in the people, and each of our members standing together, united in a common goal.”

By standing together, workers in previous generations established basic principals like the 40-hour work week, weekends, overtime pay, paid vacations and sick leave, and health care and retirement benefits.

SeattleTownhallHThis generation of workers can protect those things, and build on them, Holden wrote.

“You are the union. You have the power. Take responsibility for our union, get involved, believe in that power and use it to maintain and improve our standard of living.”

Also in this month’s AeroMechanic, you can read:

  • A report on the start of negotiations for a first union contract at Cadence Aerospace-Giddens in Everett;
  • A feature on how IAM 751 work transfer representatives showed Boeing Co. management that it was more cost-effective to keep 777 work in Everett rather than outsource it, saving dozens of union jobs;
  • Updates on union community service activities, including a recent charity horseshoes tournament and a wheelchair ramp construction project for a family in Chehalis.

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 52 employers across Washington and California.

Think you’d be better off working under a union contract? Click here to talk to an IAM 751 representative about how to join the Machinists Union.


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