Retired Grand Lodge Auditor Theron Black has received the Machinists Union’s 70-year Veteran award for his many years of service as an IAM member.Former IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Don Wharton presented 94-year-old Black with his award and honorary pin.“It was a pleasure to present Brother Black with his 70-year member pin in appreciation for his loyal service and contributions to the labor movement,” said Wharton.Theron Black first initiated into the IAM as a member of Local 733 in Wichita, KS, in 1941. He worked as a Flight Line and Assembly Mechanic for the Beech Aircraft Corp., known today as the Beechcraft Corp. In 1942, he decided to serve his country by joining the military and served a four-year stint in World War II. Upon his return, Black held various union positions including Recording Secretary and Trustee. In 1961, he was elected Local 733 President. In 1963, he became District 70 Secretary-Treasurer. By 1969, he was appointed Grand Lodge Auditor where he served for 15 years before retiring in 1984.“The 70-year IAM Veteran pin is not an honor often bestowed,” said IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr. “It’s a rare achievement that deserves the highest recognition possible. The IAM thanks Brother Black for his many years of service and continued dedication to working families throughout America.”“Congratulations to Theron Black on receiving the 70-year IAM Veteran pin – a lifetime achievement given for a lifetime of work,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “May your many years of service continue to serve as a testament to all of us fighting the good fight. Thank you for all you have done.”
The Machinists Union applauds the election of IAM Local 700 member Lori Pelletier to become the next Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.
Pelletier becomes the first openly gay woman to lead a state labor federation in the United States. She is the co-president of Pride at Work, an AFL-CIO constituency group that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers.
“For close to three decades, Lori Pelletier has fought for IAM members and working families in Connecticut,” said IAM International President Buffenbarger. “The Connecticut AFL-CIO will be well-served by such a devoted public servant and strong voice for equal rights and the middle class.”
Before becoming Secretary-Treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO in 1999, Pelletier worked in the quality assurance department at Pratt & Whitney’s plant in Middletown, CT. After joining the IAM in 1986, she served as Shop Steward, Recording Secretary and eventually Vice President of her local.
Pelletier was also a delegate to the Connecticut State Council of Machinists and the New England Conference of Machinists, and has served the IAM on political, legislative and organizing initiatives. She was appointed to the Blue Ribbon Commission by President Buffenbarger and has been honored by the Coalition of Labor Union Women twice.
Currently, Pelletier serves on the Board of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women, girls and their families to achieve equal opportunities in their personal and professional lives. She also represents the Connecticut AFL-CIO on the executive committee of Citizens for Economic Opportunity and serves as Vice-Chair of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut.
A new study confirms what America has been feeling for decades: the rich are getting richer while the rest of the country struggles to make ends meet.
The study, released by economists at UC Berkeley, shows the wealth gap between the top 1 percent of earners and the bottom 99 percent is the widest it’s been since 1928. Between 1993 and 2012, real income for the top 1 percent rose 86.1 percent, while the bottom 99 percent saw their income rise by only 6.6 percent.
The top 1 percent, defined as households with incomes of over $394,000 in 2012, also recovered from the Great Recession faster than anyone else. Ninety-five percent of income gains reported since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent.
Ultimately, the study says, the choice of how much inequality we tolerate is up to us.
“A number of factors may help explain this increase in inequality, not only underlying technological changes but also the retreat of institutions developed during the New Deal and World War II – such as progressive tax policies, powerful unions, corporate provision of health and retirement benefits, and changing social norms regarding pay inequality,” wrote UC Berkeley Researcher Emmanuel Saez. “We need to decide as a society whether this increase in income inequality is efficient and acceptable and, if not, what mix of institutional and tax reforms should be developed to counter it.”
Click here to read the full text of the study.