Recently your union has been fighting on a number of difficult fronts including finalizing and ratifying a number of collective bargaining agreements and making sure workers come first in important legislation.
Every merger and ensuing joint contract negotiations is difficult. But, the TWU-IAM Association contract talks after the American Airlines-US Airways tie up was, by far, the most complex in airline industry history. Five contracts from two different unions covering 32,000 workers. Many transportation unions are forced into concessions during joint contract negotiations. Yours is not one of them. In spite of the most difficult of circumstances, we were able to achieve historic gains and protections for every member. It’s overwhelming ratification this week capped five years of intense bargaining.
And in a time of cataclysmic economic and health crises and social upheaval the likes of which this country has never seen, the Machinists Union spearheaded the effort to improve the Senate’s economic relief package to protect your jobs and your family’s financial security. No other industry was able to achieve the level of support that air and rail labor secured in this package, which will help IAM members maintain their livelihoods through these most difficult of times.
In the midst of this crisis, your Transportation Department Staff, along with District and Local Lodges across the country, continued doing what we do best; providing our members with excellent representation. American Airlines was only one of three collective bargaining agreements ratified this week, along with Swissport PHX and Signature MDW. We are engaging with our foreign flag carriers who do not qualify for the federal aid, and working with all employers to ensure our members have the ability to stay home when ill.
Our nation, our industry, and our union will face trying times ahead. These collective bargaining agreements and our achievements in the economic stimulus package have put us on strong footing. But only through true solidarity, coming together as one union, will we be able to weather this storm and make even more gains in the future.
Many thanks to the IAM’s safety representatives who have worked tirelessly to protect IAM members safety during this critical time, IAM EAP representatives who are always available to help members during times of great stress, IAM legislative representatives who worked at the national and local level to protect all airline workers and IAM shop stewards and local committees who are always there for our members, seven days a week 24 hours a day.
And the biggest thanks goes to all IAM members for your solidarity and support. Thank you for staying the course. Our fight never truly ends, but together we can achieve incredible things.