District 1 Officer & Steward Appreciation Night

On November 1st a small delegation of Officers and Stewards traveled to Scranton PA, to represent Local 2424 at the annual District Officer & Steward Appreciation night. There were many heartfelt speeches given by those who keep this union running but the highlight of the evening was the attendance of International President Robert Martinez, Jr.

Intl President Robert Martinez, Jr (center) , District 1 Directing Business Rep Tony Armideo (right) and Business Rep Billy McIntosh (left)

President Martinez shared his vision of the future of the I.A.M. A vision that includes changing and growing to meet the challenges of the future. He spoke about the importance of being involved in not only political battles on Capitol Hill but those for the State, and Local Legislatures. He talked about improving the education program and increasing how many members can benefit from it. Mostly he was there just to thank the officers and stewards for the time and effort they spend in the name of fairness, dignity, and justice on the job.



October 2017 Communication

Hello Everyone,

This is the monthly communication going into October. The next
general meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 4th.

A request has been submitted for one thousand dollars ($1000) for an
ad in the program for District 1’s stewards’ appreciation night in
November. Another request has been submitted for one thousand dollars
($1000) for the education fund for the Winpisinger Center. I expect
that we will also have a motion to give three hundred dollars ($300)
for the IAM member emergency fund for hurricane relief for IAM members
in the Houston/ Southern Texas area and Florida. Additionally, I
expect that motions will be made to cover costs of three delegates
attending the Maryland State AFL/CIO convention in Reisterstown this
November. Also I expect to have a motion to cover the costs of the
stewards and officers that wish to attend the stewards’ appreciation
night. Each should be around one thousand dollars.

I expect the Executive Board to make recommendations for delegates for
the Maryland AFL/CIO convention. The members will vote on the board
recommendations at the local lodge general meeting.

Last month I wrote about health insurance and it seemed to spark some
questions and interest. Not all of our members have language in their
collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to have health insurance outside
what your company offers. But if you are interested in exploring what
is possible, talk to a steward on your CBA. It may not currently be
available and there may be other issues at work that prevent that
option, but talk to your steward.

I also encourage you to look at and work on your health insurance
options now, so that during open enrollment period you know what
options work best in your situation. In many cases you can look at
the healthcare exchanges and compare to your company’s plans. Ask
questions now. I encourage you to plan ahead.

In closing I want to remind you that we are now fourteen months away
from the next election of local lodge officers. Our By-laws state
that candidates for officer positions must attend at least half of the
general lodge meetings one year prior to the election, which means
that if you want run for a position you have to start attending
meetings now. In an established organization, like our local lodge,
change comes from within. Hurling complaints and insults doesn’t
change much, but putting in work does. Step up and get involved! It
is the best way to affect the change you want to see.

Respectfully and Fraternally,

Bill Harkum
President, IAM&AW Local Lodge 2424

Happy Labor Day ! – (Brought to you by the Labor Movement)

Enjoy your time off with your friends and family but take a second to remember the reason for this day. The men, women, and yes even children, who’s hard work and perseverance paved the way for the rights and protections that the American worker has today.

Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s lowest points. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks just to scratch out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories, and mines across the country, only earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

We have come a long way since then.

September 2017

Hello Everyone,

This is the monthly communication going into September.  The next general meeting is scheduled for September 6th, which is the Wednesday after Labor Day.

A motion has been submitted to sponsor a charity walk for one hundred dollars ($100).  The charity is in support of CHIARI MALFORMATION, a neurologic disorder affecting more than three hundred thousand Americans.  The walk will be held on September 23rd at Capa Field on Aberdeen Proving Grounds.  Should the motion pass at the general meeting we will be sponsoring one walker for one hundred dollars.

What good news can I bring you?  In July I told you about the contract negotiations between STC and the fabrication and painting members of our local.  Negotiations continue at this point, but it appears that talks are proceeding in a respectful manner now.  The details are not finalized at this point, so I am choosing not to get too far ahead of the deal, but it is good to hear that progress has been made.  Also, local lodge members that work at Phillips Army Airfield for Akima Support Operations (ASO) also are finalizing their next contract.  So the hard work our members have put in over the past few years and in the future is being recognized!

I want to talk about health insurance next.  Rising costs for health insurance has been the largest drain on take home pay for the past two decades. The members of the ATSS contract are about to undergo a significant change during the open enrollment for 2018.  After extensive research and discussion the negotiating committee for the current contract has agreed to proceed with the adoption of alternative insurance plans as negotiated in the current CBA.  This means that the ATSS companies will not offer health insurance to union members for Plan year 2018. As of right now other coverages, like dental and vision insurance, will still be offered by the ATSS companies. That being said, the ATSS negotiating committee will still be actively shopping for better rates and coverage on those types of plans in order to save the membership even more money if they can.

While these newly offered plans will be a benefit to the majority of the ATSS employees currently taking company insurance , I encourage all local lodge members, not just the ATSS contract members, to start looking at health insurance needs for yourself and your families now.  You only have a short time to make a decision, and you should get as much information as possible to make the best decision for your needs.

I also want to tell you that the International President of the IAM&AW, Robert Martinez, Jr., has announced in a letter sent to all local lodges, that he has retired the private jet that has been available to the International President for air travel since the 1990’s.  In his letter he explained the cost of the jet verse commercial travel, and he also pointed out that the jet in question was actually built by IAM&AW members when the IAM stepped up to order a jet from a company that employs our brothers and sisters.

I also want to encourage you to do what you can for disaster relief and charity.  At APG we have done a Veterans Drive to collect small items for Vets in our local VA hospital.  Way to go!  Thanks to all who donated!   But as we see in the news, our Brothers and Sisters in Houston are enduring a once in a thousand year flood.  This is when the best in America comes out, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranded victims of flooding.  You can always donate to organizations like the Red Cross, or the IAM&AW emergency relief fund.  If you wish to donate through the IAM&AW emergency relief fund ,  your funds will go directly to IAM&AW members in the disaster area, contact a steward and they will point you in the right direction.  Even a small donation goes a long way to making someone whole again, so thank you in advance!

In closing I want to wish all of you and your families a safe and enjoyable Labor Day! I will remind you that as I told you last year that Labor Day is a holiday that honors workers in the United States, but the origin is the deadly end of the Pullman strike in Western America that brought Congress to unanimously enact the Holiday Nation wide in 1894, making it the first Monday in September.  So on Monday you will have a day off to celebrate the labor that the American Worker provides to our economy and way of life.  Enjoy it!  You earned it!

Respectfully and Fraternally,

Bill Harkum

President, IAM&AW Local Lodge 2424

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What: The Conquer Chiari Walk Across America “Team Baltimore”

Why: To raise awareness of Chiari Malformation and to raise money for valuable research. We are proud to say that 80% of the money raised will be used directly to fund research.

Who: Everyone is invited to participate. Participants are asked to pre-register online at www.conquerchiari.org. Choose Baltimore, MD for walk site location, then choose “team Baltimore”. T-shirts will be provided to those who pre-register by 8/16 and contribute at least $25.

Where: The local walk is being held at Capa Field – Aberdeen Proving Ground, Jessup Road – Gunpowder, MD 21010
Walk/Run distance is 5K, walk/run at your fitness level.

When: Saturday, September 23rd, 2017. Registration begins at 10:00 am. Walk/Run starts at 11:00 am.

Contact: Tierra Hardin at (202) 487-1953 or conquerchiari.baltimoremd@gmail.com.
For those unable to attend, please feel free to donate.
Thank you for you support!


July 2017 Communication

Hello Everyone,

This is the monthly communication for July 2017. There was no general lodge meeting this month, as our Local Lodge By-Laws call for no scheduled meetings in July and August. The next scheduled general meeting is in September.

There is still important information to let you know about. One topic is the contract between STC and the fabrication and painting members of our local lodge. Contract negotiations for that CBA with STC have already begun, and our normal process is for those members to ask for a Strike Sanction Vote. That happened during our last general meeting, and the strike sanction vote was unanimously approved. I will explain more in detail below.

I also want to let all of you know that on Wednesday, July 19th the mobile food truck that comes to the work sites will be providing free drinks for that day’s inventory of coffee, soda, water, and energy drinks on that truck. This is done from the money set aside for morale in our budget. So I hope that this effort reaches more members that may not be aware of our website and an effort to reach out and communicate with members.

Also, at our last general meeting a motion was made and approved for the funding arbitration on a grievance from the ATSS contract. We have to protect some information about this grievance, but it revolves around a member that returned to work after a long-term absence that is protected under Federal law. The Union member was told that they could be placed back in their previous position over a period of time since certain certifications are required for that type of work. After that member jumped through several hoops they were told that they could not be placed back in the same or similar position. It’s basically a position funding issue between the Government and the Company with our member stuck in the middle. The law is on our side and it is worth fighting for and so we head to arbitration.

So what is happening with the STC contract? Science and Technology Corporation (STC) recently won the contract bid for that group of Union members that work for the Aberdeen Test Center in the weld shop and painters. STC’s media release states that the contract has an initial value of 38 million dollars and is for five years. The prior collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for that work is still in place but will be expiring in the fall of 2017. Representatives for STC reached out to the union representatives to open negotiations for the new CBA. Unfortunately STC took some hardline stances coming into negotiations.

First, and most troubling is the issue that since STC has taken over the contract and payroll for those members, STC has been withholding the employees contributions for the union pension fund. STC has not yet sent that money over to the pension fund as required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, also known as Federal ERISA law. STC representatives are saying that their company is not in the “pension business”. Unfortunately because this is a violation of Federal law our local lodge has been forced to file a “board charge”, with the National Labor Relations Board, in order to begin the process of holding STC accountable for their actions.

Of course, this means we have to expend funds on lawyers and other paralegal representation, but that is why we pull together as a union. But one of the worst things a company can do is play with the money that employees have earned, and even as a bargaining position in negotiations, not putting the union member’s money where it belongs is unethical.

Another troubling stance from STC is on payment of fringe pay, in lieu of benefits. And this one should catch every member’s attention. STC is claiming there is some legal opinion and legal foundation that under the changing healthcare law, (whatever that may end up becoming), for their company, STC, to give employees fringe pay to cover benefits, like health care, those payments would amount to a bribe. I would really like to meet the legal genius that came up with that opinion! Especially since the healthcare law is currently in flux and nobody knows what it will look like before Congress is done with it, and tax-free benefits have been part of the American workforce since World War II. Under current law all the companies that work under the Service Contract Act, like STC, are paid for each hourly employee with an amount with benefits included. So for STC to take a stance that they intend to stop paying fringe in future CBA’s is just totally untenable! They will get the money from the Government – they just won’t pass it along?! They will be holding our EARNED benefit money for themselves. For those of us that are Union members this is a standard we fought for and won and giving it up now would cost members more than twelve thousand dollars in take home pay a year. No deal! And we are certainly not going to set the other contracts up to have to deal with that kind of proposal in the future!!

So what does that mean to Union members on other contracts? Each CBA normally has a no strike clause during the duration of the agreement. But that doesn’t mean we can’t support our Brothers and Sisters in other ways.

We are going to fight smart and hard. And we are going to fight them in ways that they don’t expect and do not involve the out dated tactics. In the Internet era, there are plenty of ways to fight back against a tone-deaf company. So there is more to come on our fight with STC. And hopefully the other companies we deal with will see that we are together and focused on our future.

Again, try to find the mobile food truck at your work site on Wednesday, July 19th. You all work hard. It is appreciated. And free drinks are just a small token of appreciation for all that you do everyday!

Respectfully and Fraternally,

Bill Harkum
President, IAM&AW Local Lodge 2424

June 2017 Communication

Hello Everyone,

You found our Local Lodge website!  Now, we continue to develop this website to meet your needs, but some may notice that not all contract tabs contain the same level of details.  The website is growing.  And some chief stewards have pointed out valid reasons they may not be able to share the same level of detail as some other contracts.  If you have questions about why, contact a steward on your contract.

What good news can I bring you?  Well everyone seems to agree that the live fire demonstration for the APG Centennial Celebration was an outstanding success!  I thank all of you that were involved, and I do not want to leave out any of the team members that provided support to this event.  Whether you pulled the trigger on a combat vehicle or pulled five straight days of twelve hour shifts to set up the area – you ALL did an amazing job of showing what APG does best!  You all should be very proud of how well these live fire events went.  Thank you ALL!

We were also pleased to serve the team in return and provide free water and Gatorade for the events.  That seemed to go well, so thank you for bearing with us as we tried to reach as many of you as possible.

So what do we have to look forward to in the coming months?  When the lodge meets again in September we will be just over a year out from the next cycle of Local Lodge Election of Officers and also a year out from the opening of negotiations on a couple of our largest contracts.  If you want to get involved in these processes you need to step up soon.  One of the requirements for being a candidate for Local Lodge Officer is to attend a majority of general lodge meetings in the year prior to election.  So when we meet in September you will have to attend meetings regularly to meet this requirement.  And, of course many people want to supply input into negotiations preparation for ATSS and DCSS. That will be starting shortly after we meet again, so again – now is the time to step up.  We will communicate more as those events get closer, but they are closer than you think, so now is the time to start making the commitments to be involved!

The local lodge t-shirts are still available.  Summer is here so get yours now.

If you have any questions, contact your steward and as always you are all welcomed at the monthly general meeting, June 7th, at the American Legion Hall in downtown Aberdeen, starting at 5:15 PM.

Respectfully and Fraternally,

Bill Harkum

President, IAM&AW Local Lodge 2424

Veterans need our help

7 Million, I say again 7 Million veterans will lose their health care tax credit if the ACA is replaced today.
This is not a partisan issue, this is an issue effect millions of veterans and citizen a like.
Peoples health and lives are being used as a political ploy please join me in taking action today.
Call your congressperson at 844-432-0883 and tell them to VOTE NO.
Tell them you do not support health care being taken away from 7 Million Veterans.
Yes, we need to fix health care but let’s to it in a bipartisan thought out way.