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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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.

May 2017 Communication

Hello Everyone,

This is the monthly communication going into May 2017. The April communication did not make the deadline to notify members one week in advance of any spending motions, but no motions for spending money other than ordinary bills were passed at the last meeting. I am responsible for the missing the deadline, and you have my apologies. The next general meeting is scheduled for May 3rd, which is next Wednesday.

There are two items for the agenda that will spend more than one hundred dollars. First, I am asking for up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) to spend for the Aberdeen Proving Ground Centennial Celebration. One thing we want to do is provide water and sodas for workers and the public. We want to make sure our union brothers and sisters working the event get beverages for free, and we also want to give free beverages to the public waiting to ride buses to and from the celebration site.

A second motion has been submitted to spend three hundred dollars ($300.00) to support local youth baseball players’ travel to Florida to participate in training and tournaments. The donation will be made to BaseballFactory.com < Caution-http://Factory.com > This motion was proposed last month but our by-laws require seven days notice to spend more than one hundred dollars for things other than ordinary bills. We supported this group last year with a similar motion.

What good news can I bring you? The union has had several successes in the past months for our members. Some members of ATSS companies may have heard before Thanksgiving 2016 that management was adopting a new policy on lateness of employees reporting to work. The implementation was unevenly applied. Chief Steward AJ Begunich and Business Rep. Billy McIntosh had discussions and meetings with the company’s rep. There was no real pattern or history of lateness on the entire group of ATSS employees, and the companies really only had concerns with a few specific incidents. So it seemed a full-scale policy shift was not warranted. So the issue was withdrawn by the companies, which I consider a win for those members.

That being said, we must make sure that we do not give the companies more ammo to bring that discussion back. Report to work on time and leave on time, and if you have an issue on a specific day notify your supervisor. If you have an on going issue with caring for a family member or your own medical needs – you may qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA is unpaid leave, but if your situation qualifies for it, you should ALWAYS get the documentation on the books with Human Resources, even if you never use it. Why would you submit paperwork to make it official if you never intend to use it? Because you never know if that FMLA status could save your job. It gives the union a starting point to defend you.

Other news. Sometimes grievances take a long time. We recently had a couple situations where members got the companies to put agreements into writing. Written agreements are good, but it is better to also have a steward represent you in dealing with management – every time. Not just when the agreement falls apart. The union has seen a couple situations where there was an agreement in writing to settle a situation, but it has taken months to bring the situation to a successful conclusion. One of the situations involved the ATSS companies and the Military Differential Pay policy shift I discussed last year. An agreement existed in one case, and yet when the time came to actually use that agreement, the prime contractor and the sub contractors passed the agreement around like a hot potato. No one wanting to actually cut the check to make things right. It took months to resolve this one, and the member had to wait to see who would take responsibility for paying. In the end it worked out, and we are glad to see that our men and women that serve our Country got a small fraction of the respect they are due. And it is frustrating for everyone who has to deal with a grievance that is taking months to resolve with no news in between, but unfortunately that is how this works at the larger level. But just know the union is still working on the overall shift in military differential pay policy.

We need more volunteers and help. There are several committees and positions within the local lodge that need members. Some committees do not require much of your time, others do. If you want to help out, contact a steward or contact me. We need more people helping – period. I compare this to a homeowners association or the local PTA. You have a few people that show up all the time getting things done, and you have a lot of people who complain about what gets done and how it gets done. You can complain, but what have you done to change it? You can say you are busy with this or that, and you don’t have any time to do more. But this Union is fighting for your job, wages, and benefits – which pays for you to be able to do this or that. And if you team up with a few of your work friends, you can spread the actions out. One person can attend a couple meetings, another friend can make the plans to accomplish a task, and another friend can accomplish the actual task. A little effort can go a long way.

The local lodge t-shirts are still available. Summer is coming so get yours now.
Any further questions just ask a steward or have them get in contact with me.

If you have any questions, contact your steward and as always you are all welcomed at the monthly general meeting, May 3rd, at the American Legion Hall in downtown Aberdeen, starting at 5:15 PM. We’ll talk again next month.

Respectfully and Fraternally,

Bill Harkum
President, IAM&AW Local Lodge 2424

February 2017 Communication

Hello Everyone,

This is the monthly communication going into February 2017. The next general meeting is scheduled for February 1st, which is next Wednesday.
I expect the Local Lodge’s budget for 2017 will be ready for a motion at this month’s meeting. There was a general lodge meeting on January 4th, 2017. Five members showed up, which is the minimum for quorum. But because so few people were there and the 2017 budget was not ready, we passed a motion to continue paying the bills we have until the budget is adopted. I hope to pass this budget motion at the February general meeting.

Our members that work for Nakuurug are switching to a new contractor, Science and Technology Corporation (STC). Andy Powell has said there is a bridge agreement in the works that will change the language in the CBA to reflect the new company. That CBA is set to expire this fall so we expect negotiations will begin on that CBA in the future. I will give you more information as we have it.

I have continued to work on the military differential pay issue on the ATSS contract. One of our members had an agreement in writing with the company to honor the old policy because the military orders involved were dated before the change in policy. Unfortunately, the company did not honor their written agreement while the member was deployed overseas – literally involved in fighting Isis. A significant amount of time was spent by the member and the union trying to get the ATSS companies to honor their agreement. The member is back now safe and sound, but the financial strain on the member and family was only worsened by the lack of attention by the companies involved.

I have been in contact with various organizations seeking help. One agency, called Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) actually has a website where Jacobs and ATSS are listed as award winning employers for their support of Guard and Reservists. If you feel that ATSS/Jacobs/TridentTechnologies no longer belong on that list of award winning companies you can contact Maryland ESGR at 410-576-1452 or email stephen.a.majchrzak.ctr@mail.mil < Caution-mailto:stephen.a.majchrzak.ctr@mail.mil > and let them know how you feel about these companies treatment of our member. This is just one step we take as a union to fight for our military reservist members. More to come.

As for good news I can bring you, with the passage of our 2017 budget motion and plans going forward, we are in healthy financial shape. I know that some disagreed with the increase in monthly dues, but I hope at least this year you had an explanation of what drives those increases and how it is handled at the different levels. Any further questions just ask a steward or have them get in contact with me.

Trustee Andy Powell is still looking for volunteers for the veterans committee! Andy has the experience and connections with the local community and the veterans movement within the IAM to really do some great work. We are always looking for ways to help veterans within this local lodge and those veterans that need help in our local communities. Andy has the projects – he just needs the talent to carry them out. And you do not need to be a veteran to be on the committee, just a sincere desire to help! So contact Andy Powell at awpowell55@gmail.com if you want to help out.

As I mentioned in December, we begin our 46th year anniversary of our local lodge is this year! In the fall of 1970 the founding members of this local lodge filed their application to bring the workforce at Aberdeen Proving Grounds into the IAM&AW. The Charter was approved December 1st, 1970 and our work force joined the IAM&AW in January 1971. So we have been building since then, but more work is required to maintain and grow what has been left to our stewardship of this local lodge. 2017 can be a good year for this local lodge with your help. Get involved!

If you have any questions, contact your steward and as always you are all welcomed at the monthly general meeting, February 1st, at the American Legion Hall in downtown Aberdeen, starting at 5:15 PM. We’ll talk again next month.

Respectfully and Fraternally,

Bill Harkum
President, IAM&AW Local Lodge 2424