Workers’ rights include the right to join and form a union, good paying job, healthcare, safety, paid leave, and retirement security, among others. Workers’ rights should include the freedom to join together to negotiate with co-workers for better wages and working conditions. Everyone who wants to work has the right to a good job where we earn a fair return on our work and receive a wage that allows us to support ourselves and our families.
We need legislation that will strengthen protections for employees that engage in collective action and facilitates a process where workers and management can reach a first agreement in a reasonable amount of time, plus provides for penalties for employers who break the law.
Stop So-Called “Right to Work”: The Machinists Union vehemently opposes all so-called “Right to work legislation because these laws are harmful to working families and they deteriorate the rights of American workers – both union and nonunion.
Today, “Right to Work” laws in 26 states prohibit workers and employers from negotiating union security clauses, which ensure all workers who receive economic benefits and rights at work through union representation, share the costs of maintaining the union. In states without these laws, private business and employees can freely negotiate to make sure everyone who benefits from a union contract, pays their fair share of the costs of obtaining and protecting those benefits.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has devastated manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and Canada as corporations have moved hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs to Mexico to take advantage of workers who do not have the right to form a real union, collectively bargain fair wages, be free from discrimination and work in safe and healthy places.
The IAM has submitted several recommendations to trade negotiators to ensure that a new NAFTA will benefit all workers in North America and stop providing incentives for corporations to move work to Mexico. To date, these recommendations have not been included in the renegotiated text.
The current text does nothing to stop the outsourcing of aerospace, manufacturing, electronics, call centers and other jobs to Mexico. It adopts the same weak and ineffective labor standards in past trade agreements. It also does not contain an effective enforcement provision.
The IAM demands a reopening of NAFTA 2.0 negotiations and to adopt the recommendations we have been calling for. If the current text of the agreement is not strengthened to dramatically improve labor standards, provide for effective enforcement of those standards, and remove incentives for corporations to outsource work to Mexico, among other things, the IAM will oppose the agreement.
PROMOTING GOOD JOBS
Buy America: In order to fully harness the economic benefits of U.S. defense spending and provide the highest quality products to our nation’s warfighters, the Machinists Union strongly advocates for strengthening Buy American requirements for federal defense procurement. The Machinists Union supports 100 percent U.S. content requirements on all U.S. defense procurement programs and the elimination of loopholes that reduce the effectiveness of domestic content requirements.
Export-Import Bank: A fully staffed, fully functioning Export-Import Bank is vital in supporting U.S. exports and U.S. manufacturing jobs. The Machinists Union strongly urges decision makers to reauthorize the bank and move with great speed to fill the bank with a board of directors that believes in the bank’s job-creating mission.
It’s Time for Medicare for All: For decades the IAM has strongly supported a single-payer, universal healthcare system as the best, most efficient way to ensure access to healthcare for all Americans. While the Affordable Care Act has been successful in providing access to millions of previously uninsured Americans, an estimated 29 million people in this country remain without health insurance. The exorbitant cost of healthcare in the United States creates major challenges at the collective bargaining table.
End the Excise Tax: The IAM’s main concern in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the 40 percent excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” healthcare plans. Increasing taxes on comprehensive healthcare plans, like the ones many IAM members have, would dip directly into the pocket books of working people. Currently, the tax is scheduled to go into effect in 2025. Employers have already begun to lower the value of their health plans to avoid paying the tax. We must end the excise tax now.
Reverse the Corporate Tax Giveaway: The IAM supports repealing the huge corporate tax cuts for wealthy corporations and the 1 percent. The corporate tax plan provides an enormous tax break for U.S. multinational corporations that outsource production and American jobs. These misguided provisions do nothing to close existing loopholes that encourage the outsourcing of U.S. jobs, but in fact incentivize companies to move even more jobs offshore. Any real tax reform plan should eliminate these outsourcing incentives in order to encourage investment in domestic manufacturing, production, infrastructure, human capital, and employment.
Back Pay for Federal Contract Workers: The Machinists Union represents tens of thousands of government contract workers, thousands of whom were impacted by the recent needless government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history. In January, Congress rightly passed legislation to ensure that federal government employees will receive back pay for their lost wages. Unfortunately, the legislation did not include any provisions to provide a similar resolution to government contract workers, and the majority of the 1.2 million impacted government contract workers still have not been rightly compensated. We must immediately provide back pay to every employee of a federal contractor who was impacted by the shutdown.
Fairness for Federal Employees: Federal employees have sacrificed a tremendous amount in the name of deficit reduction in the last decade. Years of substandard pay adjustments have led to federal workers making an average of 31 percent less than private sector workers performing the same jobs, according to the Federal Salary Council. The Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act would provide federal workers with a modest but much-needed 3.6 percent average pay adjustment in 2020.
Save Amtrak: Amtrak leadership has repeatedly put forward proposal to gut the railroad’s national network and render long-distance service a fond memory. Eliminating the national network would affect service for millions of Americans in rural states, trigger thousands of layoffs at Amtrak, and destroy the political dynamic that has balanced Amtrak’s existence for almost 50 years. We are opposed to outsourcing good, union jobs at the expense of its dedicated employees. A massive employment hit to Amtrak would also threaten the longevity and solvency of the Railroad Retirement system.
The IAM supports solutions that would fund insolvent multi-employer pension plans and avert a looming retirement crisis for millions of Americans. One of those solutions includes the Butch Lewis Act, which would offer federally subsidized loans to multi-employer plans in danger of becoming insolvent. It would also maintain the health of well-funded multi-employer plans, like the IAM National Pension Plan, and adequately fund the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) without making any cuts to the earned benefits of current or future retirees. Plans would invest the money from these loans and use the investment earnings to pay retiree benefits and improve the plan’s financial health.
The IAM also opposes any legislation that would cut programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and Railroad Retirement, including the adoption of the so-called chained CPI or raising the retirement age.