IAM District 9 an Unexpected Showstopper at St. Louis ‘Working Women’s Survival Show’

Members of the IAM District 9 Community Service and Human Rights Committee were the talk of the town at a recent outreach event, the “Working Women’s Survival Show,” outside St. Louis. Crowds flanked to the table – including an unexpected flash mob of Rosie the Riveters, which drew even more attention to the Machinists booth.

Members of the IAM District 9 Community Service and Human Rights Committee were the talk of the town at a recent outreach event for women in St. Louis. They were among more than 400 exhibitors featured at the “Working Women’s Survival Show” at the St. Charles Convention Center – and their booth could only best be described as a huge hit.

Though initially told by event coordinators that they could not participate because they were a “political organization,” Community Service and Human Rights Committee Chairman Scott Hargis worked with Local 660 members Michelle Windmiller, Community Service Recording-Secretary Jennifer Kahl, and Shannon Anderson; Local 777 members Amy Wokovich and Bethany Alexander; and Peggy Flinn and Dacia Strattered of District/Local 837 to ensure a place for a Machinists Union booth at the expo’s female-tailored event.

Surrounded by food, fashion and fitness vendors from all over the country, District 9 members set up their booth with “IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community” messages, raffle items, bumper stickers, and buttons that read “A woman’s place is in her union” to educate and engage attendants about the value of the IAM, unionization, organizing,

community, and the power of union women.

“They hoped, at best, for general exposure, a chance to mingle with the general population, to teach people a little about union career choices,” wrote the St. Louis Labor Tribune . “What they got was: visitors who called themselves sisters and brothers [and] folks who wanted to help with the union’s community service projects.”

Crowds flanked to the table – including an unexpected flash mob of Rosie the Riveters, a club of women known as the Decade Dames who meet monthly and dress in themes, which drew even more attention to the Machinists booth.

“Others came to the booth to thank a union, to remember how union benefits kept their families strong and how their father couldn’t have survived without his union pension,” wrote the Labor Tribune.

“We had a ball,” said Hargis, noting the event was a last minute decision by the District and that they arrived with only one Rosie to jazz up their booth, but ended up with seven, and a super crowd of people wanting to watch and learn more about the Machinists Union. “This was an ideal place for us to talk about what unions do, the volunteer work we do for the community and what it takes to become a union member. We had a message to deliver, but what I found was that people came into the booth and told us their stories. We went from being a voice to an ear. They wanted to talk to their brothers and sisters of labor. It was an unbelievable experience. It showed that we are all a family and we fight for each other. It was a great day for unions and labor. Just wonderful. I can’t describe it.”

Hargis said organizers estimated nearly 40,000 people were in attendance over the two-and-a-half day event. Visitors to the Machinists booth were also invited to take a selfie in costume and post it on District 9’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

District 9 Directing Business Representative Mark Conner said he was overwhelmed with the success of the booth at a show not typically considered union-friendly.

“We are definitely going to do more things out in the general population, rather than always preaching to the choir,” said Conner. “Our Community Service Committee members have been doing an outstanding job of energizing the various diverse groups within and outside our union.

“Unselfish members and individuals such as these are the ones who will set the ground work for the next generation. I couldn’t be more proud — and they put this booth together at the last minute!”

“Congratulations to IAM District 9 Community Service and Human Rights Committee members on what turned out to be show stopping event,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “Though originally told they couldn’t participate, IAM District 9 members wouldn’t take no for an answer. They recognized an opportunity to engage working women in the St. Louis area and educate them on unions and what the labor movement has accomplished for female workers everywhere – and they seized it. Great job.”


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Latino IAM Members Lead the Way for the Future

Nearly 30 IAM Spanish-speaking members ascended on the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center recently for a week of leadership training in their native language. Every Territory was represented and members from the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico stepped up in a big way.

Participants spent the week learning fundamental basic labor subjects such as Labor History, Human Rights, Government & Politics, Parliamentary Procedure & Organizational Administration, Role of the Steward and Basic Organizing. This curriculum helps form an understanding of labor education and prepares the participant to a leadership role within their lodges and communities.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect in this class because I didn’t think I would benefit from it but I was completely amazed at how much there is to learn and how exciting learning can be,” said IAM Local 2018 member Hilda Golubski. “I am now prepared educate my brothers and sisters at my local lodge. I am going to get more involved and surely come back for Leadership II in Spanish.”

Class participants also visited IAM Headquarters in Upper Marlboro, MD where they participated in the first ever Spanish edition of Activate Live, Activate Latino. Click on the following links to watch the episode on You Tube on Facebook or Twitter .

“Every union member in the country should have to attend this class, that is how important this education is,” said Local 66 member Pablo Bolano. “My eyes were opened to so many issues facing the labor movement today, but more importantly how we can get involved and do something about it.”

The next class, Spanish Leadership II, will take place May 13 to 18. There are several other Spanish programs that target the various levels of union leadership education such as staff classes that include Organizing I offered in Spanish.

Please note that enrollments in any of the Spanish Leadership programs do not count against your lodge’s regular leadership school allotments.

Click here to download enrollment forms in either Spanish or English directly from the Winpisinger Center’s website.

The Spanish classes for 2018 are as follows:

May 13-18  SPANISH LEADERSHIP II   (Enrollment deadline April 13)

June 10-15  ORGANIZING I in SPANISH   (Enrollment by Territory assignment)

Aug  12-17  SPANISH TRAIN-THE-TRAINER   (Enrollment deadline July 13)

Sep    23-28 SPANISH ADVANCED LEADERSHIP   (Enrollment deadline August 24)

Oct    21-26 SPANISH LEADERSHIP I   (Enrollment deadline September 21)

If you have any questions about the Spanish Leadership programs or need any additional information, please contact Edmundo Osorio at (301) 373-8814 or eosorio@iamaw.org

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Save U.S. Aerospace Jobs

Machinists Union International President Robert Martinez Jr. issued the following statement on the administration’s announcement regarding China and intellectual property rights.

“The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has been protesting China’s demands that U.S. manufacturing companies—especially those related to aerospace—transfer jobs and technology to China for many years. These demands, and the apparent willingness of some U.S. companies to comply with them, have cost U.S. workers thousands of high-skilled jobs which have been outsourced to China, a country that does not recognize the fundamental human right to form a legitimate union.   

“Thousands more U.S. aerospace jobs will be lost in the future as China’s aerospace industry grows and becomes a global competitor, built in part on U.S. technology and outsourced U.S. production. The announcement today regarding intellectual property rights and China represents an important step forward to address this critical matter. Much work remains, however. While we will be reviewing the entire report closely to see if it addresses the transfer of technology, production and jobs, we urge the U.S. Trade Representative to pursue a trade violation claim in the WTO to stop China from using these unfair trade practices that are costing U.S. aerospace workers and all U.S. manufacturing workers hundreds of thousands of jobs.  

“We will also to continue to urge the Administration to strike any incentives for companies to outsource work that occur in our tax law. Other actions are also needed, including adequate funding of the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, and inclusion of international labor standards in all trade agreements.”

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents 600,000 active and retired members in the North American aerospace, defense, airline, manufacturing, transportation, woodworking, the federal sector and other industries. Machinists Union members work at Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, General Electric, United Airlines, Harley-Davidson and more. Visit goIAM.org  for more information.

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