IAM to Congress: Airport Customer Service Agents Deserve Protection

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill being debated in Congress isn’t complete until the Senate includes language protecting airport Customer Service Agents from assault, write IAM Transportation General Vice President Sito Pantoja and Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind in The Hill.

READ: FAA Authorization Should Not Move Forward Without Commonsense Protections for Customer Service Agents (The Hill)

“These working people, who serve customers and play a big role in keeping air travel safe and efficient, deserve the peace of mind that their employer and government are doing everything possible to protect them from assault,” write Pantoja and Wytkind.

Disturbingly, attacks by travelers against Customer Service Agents are on the rise at airports across the U.S. Without federal protections, it’s up to local jurisdictions to decide when or if to prosecute attackers — if the incidents are reported at all.

“Lawmakers have the power — and we would argue, the responsibility — to help curb this senseless violence,” write the pair.

Democrats and Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the change, but Senate lawmakers have failed to include a similar provision in their version of the bill.

TAKE ACTION: Send a message telling Congress to stop assault on Customer Service Agents at U.S. airports, then call the Senate Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Fallen IAM Members Mourned on Workers' Memorial Day

A rose sits on a newly laid brick in honor of fallen TCU-IAM Local 5092 member Peter Adamovich, a 34-year Amtrak employee who was killed on the job while trying to save a colleague.
IAM International President Bob Martinez speaks offers condolences and a promise to continue to fight for safer workplaces at the IAM Workers’ Memorial Day Observance held at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, MD.
Teresa Console places a rose on the brick commemorating her mother, Susan Console, an IAM Local I460 member and Recording Secretary who passed away in February 2016.

The labor movement recognizes April 28 as Workers’ Memorial Day to honor the thousands of workers killed, injured or sickened on the job each year. It’s a day to mourn deeply personal loses, and also a day to strengthen our resolve to ensure workers everywhere are given the safest workplace possible.

The IAM observed Workers’ Memorial Day at its Workers’ Memorial on the grounds of the Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Southern Maryland. IAM Safety and Health Director Jim Reid presided over the ceremony.

International President Bob Martinez spoke about the importance of honoring the fallen and fighting to protect the living.
“Today we come together as a family, to draw strength from each other,” said Martinez. “And while we are here to remember the lives of these good men and women, we are also here to recommit to our obligation to create safer workplaces.”

Friends, family and fellow brothers and sisters gathered to honor the nine men and women who died this past year, including: Dianna Blevins, NFFE-IAM Local 178; David Budzinski, NFFE-IAM Local 178; Brian Hallman, TCU-IAM Local 6633; Peter Adamovich, TCU-IAM Local 5092; Ronald Osborne, Jr., TCU-IAM Local 6731; Susan Console, IAM Local I460; Michael Owens, IAM Local 2135; Eric McClellan, IAM Local 10; and Ian Henrey, IAM Local 2323.

Each member’s name was read aloud and inscribed on bricks surrounding the Workers’ Memorial Lighthouse.

Also given special remembrances were retired Southern Territory Administrative Assistant Leslie “Les” Schroder, Bill Winpisinger, Jr., Richard “Dick” Presser, James Ingram, Joe Minardi and Ernest Yazhe, an IAM lifetime member and Navaho Code Taker who served in the U.S. Marines during World War II.

General Vice President Diane Babineaux gave the closing comments and the invocation and closing prayer was delivered by Father Eamon Dignan of St. John’s Parish in Hollywood, MD.

The first Workers’ Memorial Day was observed in 1989. April 28 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the day of a similar remembrance in Canada. The IAM’s Worker Memorial was dedicated in 2001.

Machinists Union Applauds Congress for Acting to Stop NAI Scheme

Washington D.C., April 28, 2016 — IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja issued the following statement regarding Congress’ action to halt Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) entry into the U.S. aviation market:

“The Machinists Union applauds Congress for acting to stop the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) ill-conceived decision to pave the way for NAI’s entry into the US aviation market. Any airline that registers its aircraft in foreign countries with lax safety and security standards and ‘rents’ its cabin crews from countries with no labor laws to lower costs shouldn’t be welcome in the United States.

IAM members thank Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) for sponsoring H.R. 5090 and standing up for US airline workers.

Make no mistake: NAI’s scheme to gain entry into the US aviation market will unleash downward pressure on the wages, benefits and working conditions of airline workers here in the United States and cause airline workers to lose their jobs. That is unacceptable.

It’s time for Washington D.C. politicians to stand up for US airline workers and H.R. 5090 is a good start. I call on all IAM members to contact their U.S. Representatives and demand they support H.R. 5090.”

The IAM is the largest transportation union in the world, and among the largest labor unions representing approximately 620,000 members.