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Ohio, West Virginia Machinists Focus on the Future

Delegates from across Ohio and West Virginia gathered in Cleveland last week for the annual Ohio State Council of Machinists (OSCM) meeting. A full house gathered to prepare for the 2020 elections.

OSCM President T. Dean Wright, Jr. set the tone early, explaining the foundations for how the labor movement has traditionally chosen candidates endorsed for elections—standing on the principals the IAM fights for every day, decent jobs, and a strong economy—only to have our own message “jobs and the economy” stolen from labor in the 2016 election.

“During my time in the labor movement, we have always sought candidates focused on our message of jobs and the economy. Why wouldn’t we?” said Wright. “Everyone, regardless of their gender, sexuality, race or religion, no matter how they identify wants a job! Not just any job, good jobs that provide for their families, with good benefits.”

Wright reminded delegates of the need to look for a candidate that prioritizes affordable healthcare, higher education and vocational training, a higher standard of living for U.S. citizens, and union and worker’s rights.

“Whoever we endorse will be held accountable on the issues that matter most to us,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr., who spoke about the IAM’s new member-driven endorsement process. “These candidates are going to have to earn our trust and understand that 600,000 Fighting Machinists are watching, listening and voting.”

“Pension funds are in a crisis in the United States,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “It’s something I worry about every day. I feel it is my responsibility to make sure our members don’t just get a pension now, but that they get it for life. The coming election will have a lasting effect on retirement plans, and I worry about that, too. Our members are being fooled by politicians that continue to make changes that hurt working families the most. If you take the handcuffs off of Wall Street, they can make a lot of money by taking bigger risks on the future of workers”

The Ohio State Council of Machinists (OSCM) is an organization of 32 local unions that represent over 20,000 manufacturing, steel, automotive, aerospace and other workers across Ohio and West Virginia. On July 1, 2016, the West Virginia State Council of Machinists was affiliated into the Ohio State Council of Machinists.

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Ohio Members at Gradall Ratify Contract, Ending Strike

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Eastern Territory, April 10, 2018 – Nearly 200 members of Local 1285 overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new three-year agreement with Gradall Industries, bringing an end to the month-long strike. The New Philadelphia, OH workers went on strike after rejecting a so-called “last, best and final offer” from the excavator manufacturing company.

The new contract keeps the current healthcare package for the life of the agreement, which was a major point of contention between the parties. Highlights of the agreement include yearly wage increases and an increase in contributions to the IAM National Pension Plan.

Key factors in the dispute were healthcare, including benefit coverage, and employee contribution rates. The company has proposed the ability to arbitrarily change the level of benefits within a plan yearly, at the time of renewal beginning this August of the agreement.

“Our membership held the line on their healthcare,” said IAM District 54 President and Directing Business Representative T. Dean Wright Jr. “Their solidarity, resolve – the support from this community, family, and friends – was nothing short of amazing, and helped to secure this important victory.”

“Congratulations to these members,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro Sr. “Holding the line on healthcare took tremendous courage and solidarity from the members and their families. My thanks go out to PDBR Wright, BR Don Riffee and the negotiating committee for a job well done. This effort took solid leadership. The proof is in the outcome.”

Members began reporting for shifts beginning Sunday, April 8.

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Latest from iMail: Bikes 4 Kids

Ohio Machinists Making Holidays Merry for Many

For the 13th year, Newark, OH IAM Local 1280, along with the Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers (GMP), bought and assembled 106 bikes, 14 tricycles, and helmets for the Salvation Army’s “Bikes for Kids” drive.

The tradition is carried on in the memory of deceased IAM member Dave “Stinky” Pugh, who along with his wife would donate several bicycles each holiday season to the program. The members, employed at fiberglass-manufacturer Owens Corning, raised money for the bikes through employee donations, contributions from other unions, local businesses and other organizations. Management has joined in by raffling off a vacation day, which has become a popular tradition in the effort.

“Thanks go out to all the members, of Local 1280, that not only donate money and time to make this a successful project, but also put the finishing touches on the bikes,” said President/Directing Business Representative T. Dean Wright, Jr. “A big thank you goes to our retirees, the other unions, and management at Owens Corning, who pitch in to see that this is a success each year.”

Over the years, the Newark team has assembled, and donated more than 1,200 bikes to the program. Nearly $7,000 was raised this year which includes a donation from Arboris, LLC.

“What a great thing to do for kids,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “Helping children in any way is one of the most rewarding things union members can do in their communities. Providing them with the classic gift of a bicycle at a time when they might not otherwise receive any gifts is even more special. My personal thanks, and praise to everyone involved in this effort.”

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