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The IAM; the Machinists Union and the IAMAW are accepted, proper names for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO/CLC.


The IAM is the certified bargaining agent for approximately one hundred fifty (150) agreements covering U.S. national air carriers, national service companies, foreign flag carriers, commuters and airline servicing companies in the United States. The IAM also has collective bargaining agreements with fifty seven (57) rail carriers.


Organizational Structure: Workers belong to one of more than 1,000 IAM Local Lodges that typically represent employees at one or more local companies. In the Transportation sector, District Lodges represent workers nationwide on specific airlines. There are three airline Districts and one railroad district in the United States and one airline district in Canada. The District Lodges negotiate and administer the agreements with the carriers under their jurisdiction.


History: The history of the Machinists Union is intertwined with the history of commercial transportation in the United States. Founded in 1888 by 19 railroad workers in Atlanta, the Machinists signed its first airline industry contract with Eastern Air Lines in 1939. Since then, the IAM has grown to be the largest and most diverse airline union in North America. Current and former Machinists Union members are employed at every major airline in the United States.


More than 180,000 IAM members manufacture civil air transport, military and general aviation aircraft; perform non-routine and overhaul aircraft maintenance at airlines and independent MROs; load cargo and perform various airport support functions; take airline reservations; check in passengers and provide critical safety functions in flight.


IAM members serve the travelling public as flight attendants, aircraft mechanics, fleet service workers, reservation agents, stock clerks, passenger service agents, office & clerical employees, aircraft fuelers, flight simulator technicians and food service employees. IAM members maintain the Space Shuttle and support Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base.


The IAM is the certified bargaining agent for approximately one hundred fifty (150) agreements covering national air carriers, national service companies, foreign flag carriers, commuter airlines and airline servicing companies in the United States.


Some of the airline and airline service companies that employ IAM members include Aer Lingus; Air Wisconsin; Alaska Airlines; Allied Aviation; Aramark; Atlantic Aviation; Avis; British Airways; Bahamasair; Continental Airlines; Continental Micronesia; Comair; Delta/Northwest Airlines; El Al; Great Lakes; Gulfstream; Hawaiian Airlines; L-3 Aviation; Philippine Airlines; Midway Instruments; PSA; Signature Flight Support; Southwest Airlines; Swissport; United Parcel Service; United Airlines and US Airways.


Some of the aerospace companies the IAM has contracts with include BAE Systems; Boeing Co.; Bombardier LearJet; Cessna Aircraft; DynCorp; Embry Riddle; Aeronautical University; Flight Safety Services; General Dynamics; General Electric; Goodrich Aerostructures; Hamilton Sundstrand; L3 Vertex Aerospace; Lockheed Martin Training; Northrop Grumman; Pratt and Whitney; Raytheon; Rolls Royce Engine Service; Sikorsky Support Services; United Launch Alliance.


IAM members are an integral part of the aviation industry – from the time a design leaves the drawing board until a beverage is served in-flight, and every step along the way the Machinists Union is involved.


The IAM is affiliated with the AFL-CIO; Canadian Labour Congress (CLC); International Labor Organization; International Metalworkers Federation; International Transport Workers Federation.





Local Lodges

The Local Lodges is the basic building block of the IAM. This is where IAM members meet, every month, to share and debate ideas, vote on issues and elect officers for all levels of the union, right up to the International President. The Local Lodge develops committees and programs to better service the membership.


There are 1,149 IAM Local Lodges in every region of the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and Panama. Local Lodges range in size from fewer than 100 members to more than 10,000 members.


The Local Lodge has major responsibilities in the process of negotiating and enforcing the contracts that determine the wages, benefits and other terms and conditions under which our members are employed. But most Local Lodges do much more than negotiate contracts and process grievances.


Local Lodges keep members informed and involved through union newsletters and a wide range of clubs and committees covering everything from legislation to health and safety, apprenticeships, community services and recreational events.


Your Local Lodge can be anything you want it to be. You can make this happen by attending meetings and becoming involved.


Your Local Lodge Officers are nominated and elected by you and your fellow members in a secret ballot vote. The officers include a President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Conductor Sentinal and three Trustees. The officers’ duties are spelled out in “Article C” of the IAM Constitution.



District Lodges

Your District Lodge is the next building block of the IAM. A District Lodge is typically made up of several Local Lodges across a large geographical area. The District Lodge is responsible for governing the negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreements within their district.


IAM District Lodges use the principle of “strength in numbers” to better serve the membership. Uniting a number of Local Lodges into a single, larger unit allows more services to be delivered more efficiently to more members.


Because a district represents many workers across a large area, its members speak with a louder voice when dealing with elected officials at the local, state and national level.Districts are set up in different ways. Some include all Local Lodges in a city, metropolitan area or state. Others are made up of Local Lodges whose members work for a specific airline or railroad.


With very few exceptions, all IAM Local Lodges are affiliated with a District Lodge.


Your Business Representative or General Chairperson is employed full-time to protect, defend and advance the interests of the IAM membership. Among other duties, they negotiate contracts, process grievances and organize new members.


Business Representatives and General Chairpersons (as they are called in the transportation industry) are chosen according to local or district lodge by-laws. In larger districts, a Directing Business Representative or a General Chairperson typically oversees several Business Representatives or Assistant General Chairpersons.


The people holding these positions are primarily responsible to the local and district union membership, but they also serve under the general supervision of the IAM General Vice President in charge of their territory. In most cases, a portion of their salary is supported by the Grand Lodge (see below).




Your Territory. The IAM is divided into eight territorial jurisdictions, each headed by a General Vice President. Five of the Territories are geographical regions (Eastern, Midwest, Western, Southern and Canadian); one is industrial (Transportation) and one (Headquarters) has jurisdiction over IAM Headquarters operations in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the U.S. Organizing staff and the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center at Placid Harbor, in southern Maryland.



Grand Lodge

Your Grand Lodge Representative (GLR) is one of the full-time staff employed by the IAM and assigned to the General Vice Presidents in the various territories. GLRs are responsible for contract negotiations, organizing, arbitrating grievances, and representing the IAM before the National Labor Relations Board and other vital activities. Before being appointed as a GLR, a person must have held continuous membership in the IAM for five years. They are paid directly by the Grand Lodge.


Your Grand Lodge Auditor (GLA) is one of the 17 full-time staff assigned on a geographical basis by the General Secretary-Treasurer to assist and serve the Local and District Lodges. The GLA’s duties include auditing local and district financial records and training financial officers.


The Grand Lodge or International is a term commonly used to refer to the top IAM leadership or to IAM Headquarters. Actually, the term Grand Lodge properly refers to the IAM Executive Council and the Local Lodge delegates duly elected and seated at regular or special IAM conventions. The term “the International” properly refers to the entire IAM organization, which (spanning the U.S., Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and Panama) is international in scope.


The Executive Council is comprised of the seven General Vice Presidents (see above), the International President and the General Secretary-Treasurer. The Executive Council is elected every four years by a direct, secret ballot vote of the entire IAM membership.



Some Other Key Pieces Of Your Union

The major building blocks of the IAM are: the Local Lodge; the District Lodge; the Territory and the Grand Lodge. But there are other components of your life in the IAM you should know about, right up front.


Your Contract will be one of more than 6,000 legally-binding agreements currently in effect between various employers and the IAM. Your contract secures your wages, hours and working conditions. But most contracts also provide an extensive array of benefits, rights and protections, including: job security, vacations, holidays with pay, life insurance, medical benefits, pension rights, sick leave, severance pay, maternity leave, shift differentials, transfer and promotion rights, time off for voting, jury duty, savings plans, moving allowances, call-in pay and many other benefits vital to the welfare of you and your family.


As an IAM member, you have the right to propose changes to your contract when it comes up for negotiation. You have the right to help elect your negotiating committee. And you have the right to vote to approve or reject any contract under which you will work. And whenever a new contract is negotiated, you have the right to receive a copy.


Non-union workers must live at the whim of the employer. Union workers have a legal, binding contract and an organization ready to back it up. Comparative studies of contracts negotiated by other unions show IAM contracts are as good as any, and better than most.


Your contract is your bill of rights on the job. Get a copy. Study it. Know it.



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