Pennsylvania Machinists Ratify New Contract

Nearly 300 IAM Local 1842 members recently voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract with modular and manufactured home builder Commodore and Colony Homes.

The new five-year agreement includes wage increases, pension increases and continued health care coverage with cost containment measures. The contract also has increases in life and accidental death insurance and sickness and accident benefits.

“We were able to put to use all the tools available to us as IAM members for this negotiations,” said District 98 Assistant Directing Business Representative Tim Buck. “We conducted a bargaining survey, attended negotiations prep class, printed a negotiations handbook for the membership and made solidarity t-shirts. Each of these were beneficial to a successful negotiations.”

“A huge thank you to the membership, the bargaining committee and all those who had a hand in helping with these negotiations,” said District 98 Directing Business Representative Robert Miller. “From the member activism on the shop floor to the readiness of the bargaining committee, this group was determined to get a good contract, and they did. Special thanks to ADBR Buck for preparing everyone for the round of bargaining.”

“We are very proud of the solidarity that was shown by these Sisters and Brothers,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “Unions work best when all members are involved at every level. Wearing their union shirts on a certain day sent a clear message of solidarity to the company. Without a doubt, these actions helped the bargaining committee at the table.”

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IAM Local 701 Trains Next Generation of Auto Mechanics at 2018 SkillsUSA Competition

IAM Mechanics Local 701 hosted another successful year of the 2018 SkillsUSA Automotive Service Technology competition in Springfield, Illinois.

More than 60 high school and post-secondary students competed for the title this year in the automotive category. This year’s competition consisted of 20 stations on everything from brakes to air conditioning, electrical, wheel alignments and balancing to job prep. Students were given 15 minutes to complete each station.

Watch 360° video of Local 701 Business Rep. Mark Grasseschi instructing students on the AC and battery testing station

See photos from the 2018 SkillsUSA Competition

“Personally, the hardest part for me is the interview,” said Joliet Junior College Student Rachael Bass. “I’m okay with the hands-on stuff. The trickiest part for me is having to talk about myself.”

“The hardest station was either the scope or a lot of the parts,” said Brady Wytrwal from Minooka Community High School. “They gave so many parts – 15 minutes to measure all of those parts was like a time crunch. But, I gave it my all and that’s all you can really do.”

Electrical stations dominated the competition this year. It’s like having a computer on wheels, says Lead Instructor for the IAM Local 701 Automotive Training Center, Louie Longhi.

“It’s very important that they get a good grasp on electrical and electronics because that’s where everything is going,” said Longhi. “There isn’t a part on the car now that doesn’t deal with electricity.”

But none of this would be possible without Local 701 members who volunteer their time to lead the stations. They enjoy giving back and mentoring the next generation of mechanics.

“I like seeing kids achieve,” said Local 701 retiree Mike Rojek. “I ask them what are their career goals and talk to them about the benefits of a union.”

One of the best things about being an auto mechanic, says Rojek, is the work can’t be outsourced. If you need your car serviced, you aren’t going to send it to China.

For these future auto mechanics, programs like the SkillsUSA Competition, as well as the IAM Local 701 Automotive Training Center, are essential, says Longhi. It’s an ideal route to the middle class.

“The nice thing about this is it’s showing the schools and students that vocational trades are still there, they’re still a viable option,” said Longhi. “They can make more money sometimes than if they were to go to college. Most of them don’t come out with huge debts like they do when they go into a four-year college.”

More 360° video of the 2018 SkillsUSA Automotive Competition

For more information on the IAM Local 701 Automotive Training Center, click here .

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Contract Flip in Canada Nets New Contract and New IAM Members

The IAM has turned the tables on the latest contract flip at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport by securing voluntary certification, a new collective agreement, and new members.

Contract flipping is common practice at Pearson allowed by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) which normally means job loss for some of the affected workers, reduced wages and benefits for others. This contract flip involved Smarte Carte, the firm responsible for passenger baggage carts at the airport, who lost in a contract flip to Clarrion. However, instead of possibly losing their jobs or having reduced wages and benefits with the new employer, the Smarte Carte workers, members of the IAM, not only retained their jobs but their wages, benefits, seniority as well as their union, thanks to the IAM.

“It took six weeks of extremely hard negotiating with the employer, the GTAA and several face to face meetings with our members, “ explained IAM Transportation District 140 Organizer Sam Jabbar. “IAM Transportation District General Chairperson Tal Rayat and I made it very clear to the employer and the GTAA that we were not going anywhere and they would not be able to start their operations without our members. We also made it known our members would not start their jobs without the IAM as their union representatives.”

“We have raised the bar with this agreement,” explained Rayat. “To achieve voluntary certification is a tremendous victory for us. We have provided a smooth transition for our members to their new employer while increasing our density at the airport with 35 new additional members.”

The new three-year collective agreement provides wage increases of 3 percent in each year, this is in addition to the wages they had with Smarte Carte. All seniority and benefits remain unchanged. In addition they will receive an annual boot allowance of $120 and the employer has agreed to pay for 24 hours a month for union activists to attend monthly membership meetings.

“We have shown once again why we are the largest union at Pearson and we continue to grow,” said a satisfied Jabbar. “We have turned another lemon into lemonade once again.”

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