Ohio Machinists Rally to Stop Right to Work

More than 100 union members, families and representatives braved subfreezing temperatures and strong winds Tuesday at IAM Local 1943 in Middletown, OH to rally against so-called “right to work” proposals. The anti-worker laws are under consideration in the U.S. Congress, the Ohio General Assembly, as well as several Ohio townships and city councils.

“It’s an attack on the voice of workers that puts more money in the hands of corporations,” said Neil Douglas, President and Directing Business Representation of Local 1943. “We can’t have that, and we’re going to oppose it at every level.”

Local 1943 members are employed at AK Steel, Pilot Chemical, RMB Trucking and Cummins Bridgeway.

“Right to work, sisters and brothers, is wrong,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga, “It’s wrong because in states that have right-to-work laws, workers earn $600 less a month than in states like Ohio. Right to work is wrong because workplace fatalities are 49 percent higher in right-to-work states. Right to work is wrong because educational attainment drops and poverty levels rise.”

Lori Kakaris, chair of the Local 1943 Women’s Committee says she would have struggled to raise her children without a strong union contract.

“A good union contract that provided me with wages and benefits in order to provide a home and better life for my kids,” said Kakaris. “Right to work is nothing but an attempt by corporate-driven greed to take that away from working families like mine all across the U.S.”

Middletown Vice Mayor Dora Bronston attacked the very idea that right to work is meant to help workers.

“How can it help us if we can’t pay our bills, if we can’t put food on our tables?” asked Bronston. “It reduces our buying power and to me, right to work is wrong. It hurts our local businesses. I’m here as a councilperson to encourage and compel people to come into Middletown and open businesses, but less wages for workers means that less spending will be at our local business level. That hurts us all.”

“Union members and working families know when they are under attack,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “They aren’t fooled by the misleading label of right to work, they know it is corporate greed run amuck, and an attack on their hard earned wages, and benefits. Today, and every day going forward, we’re here to say ‘No! Right to work is wrong for me, wrong for Ohio and wrong for every worker in the U.S.”

TAKE ACTION: Ohioans can reach their House Member by dialing toll-free 844-213-8172 and telling them “Right To Work Is WRONG!

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NLRB: Federal Law Preempts Wisconsin Right-to-Work Law, Metalcraft Ordered to Pay Back IAM Dues

An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled against Wisconsin metal fabrication company Metalcraft’s union busting tactics and has ordered the company to pay back union dues owed to IAM Local 2053 of Iron Ridge, WI.

The judge found that Metalcraft broke federal law by canceling IAM Local 2053 members’ voluntary dues “checkoff” – the system whereby an employer regularly deducts a portion of an employee’s wages to pay union dues or initiation fees.

Metalcraft suspended members’ checkoff on June 4, 2016, under its wishful interpretation of Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, which went into effect in 2015.

IAM District 10 immediately filed charges with Region 18 of NLRB, and the region issued an official complaint in September 2016 alleging Metalcraft was in direct violation of the federal National Labor Relations Act, which allows voluntary dues checkoff for collective bargaining employees.

The judge’s ruling states that Metalcraft committed several unfair labor practices by its refusal to check off union dues, failing to bargain in good faith and attempting to undermine the union by bargaining with union employees directly.

Metalcraft must pay all union dues it refused to collect dating back to June 4 – plus interest.

“While Wisconsin law allows revocation of a dues-checkoff authorization upon 30-days’ notice, federal law permits dues-checkoff agreements that are irrevocable for one year,” said NLRB Administrative Law Judge Charles J. Muhl. “The two provisions are directly at odds with one another. I conclude that the provisions of Wisconsin’s law addressing that topic are preempted.”

“This is no doubt a great decision for Wisconsin workers,” said IAM District 10 Directing Business Representative Alex Hoekstra. “I’d like to thank Region 18, my staff and, most importantly, our members at Metalcraft for their solidarity and patience during this battle.”

“It’s not complicated,” said Hoekstra in a previous report . “Metalcraft’s unilateral decision to cancel dues checkoff takes a page out of Scott Walker and his cronies’ playbook for hurting Wisconsin workers. The company hid behind an intentionally misleading right-to-work law, whose dues deduction provisions are preempted by federal law. Wisconsin families have paid dearly for Walker’s arrogance, now Metalcraft can pay for their union busting tactics. Management’s plan was destined to fail from the start. Instead of destroying us, our proud members are stronger than ever.”

Metalcraft employs approximately 370 IAM members, who make lawn mower decks for Scag Power Equipment and John Deere.

“Congratulations to the members of IAM Local 2053 and District 10 on the administrative law judge’s ruling,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “Thank you to Directing Business Representative Alex Hoekstra and his staff for your leadership, diligence and hard work. Since the passage of Wisconsin’s unfair right-to-work law, you have consistently gone to bat time and time again for working families. And time and time again, you’ve won. Today anti-union companies, Scott Walker and the state GOP are on notice – right-to-work is wrong for working families. And the Fighting Machinists will never back down.”


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IAMAW Western Territory William L Curtis Retirees Club San Diego, CA Honors Veteran Members

Pictured from left to right, IAM Retirees Joe Reilly, Wayne Ihrig, President of the William L Curtis Retirees Club and Rudy Casados

On February 2, 2017 Wayne Ihrig, President  of the William L Curtis Retirees Club in San Diego honored IAM retirees Joe Reilly and Rudy Casados for their service to our Country during World War II. Both brothers served in the United States Army during World War II and are still active in their union today.

Joe Reilly currently serves as Trustee of the William L Curtis Retirees Club and Rudy Casados has been a member of the Retiree’s Club since District 725 formed in 1994.

The flags were provided by request of brother Ihrig from California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Brother Ihrig presented both brothers with flags that were flown over the United States Capitol on Veteran’s Day November 11, 2016.

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