Safety is a core value of the labor movement, and because of that Machinists Union District Lodge 751 is determined to win a better contract for its members at Hytek Finishes, the union’s leader said.
“It’s unfortunate that now that we’ve found common ground with Boeing and are enjoying an improved relationship with the company, one of the smaller Boeing suppliers has decided to pick a fight with us over such a fundamental issue as safety,” said Tom Wroblewski, the union’s district president.
“But if that’s the case, so be it,” he continued. “District 751 Machinists certainly know how to fight and win labor disputes.”
Wroblewski’s comments were part of his monthly message to union members that was published in the current issue of the AeroMechanic newsletter, which is now available online.
In the wake of two serious accidents at Boeing, Wroblewski urged all Machinists Union members to make safety their “top priority for every job, every day.”
“Manufacturing is an inherently dangerous occupation,” he wrote. “Just about every job Machinists do at Boeing — and the other companies where we work — carries with it some type of risk for injury.”
The work done by the Machinists at Hytek — an Esterline Corp. subsidiary — is similar to that done by Machinists working for Boeing at Auburn. Wroblewski noted that “it’s potentially very hazardous, involving hundreds of dangerous chemicals and materials.”
Boeing workers at Auburn have a joint IAM/Boeing health and safety committee looking out for them, he said. But the Machinists at Hytek don’t have anything like that.
The company does provide them with a minimal level of personal protective equipment, but it falls far short of the “safety standards and protocols that protect our members at Boeing,” Wroblewski said.
Given that, the union is pushing the Esterline subsidiary hard for safety improvements, he said, as well as “market-rate pay and improvements to a benefit package that bankrupts as many workers as it helps.”
This month’s AeroMechanic also includes a reports on how Hytek management has refused a federal mediator’s offer to help move the talks forward, and on 200 union members who formed an informational picket at Hytek on March 21.
In addition, you can read about:
- How 11 Machinists Union members have been honored by the White House for their community service, including five of them who received the nation’s top honor for volunteer work;
- Upcoming union community service efforts, including plans for a charity golf tournament and fun run this summer, along with a spring food drive;
- How aircraft maintenance technicians from Boeing — all of them Machinists Union members — took home honors at the AMT Society’s annual skills competition;
- District 751′s support of a plan proposed by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank;
- The training that Machinists working for URS Corp. at Joint Base Lewis-McChord received as they prepared to negotiate their first union contract; and
- Training District 751 officers and staff in Eastern Washington received to help them understand changes in Washington’s workers compensation program, and the IAM National Pension Plan.
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 31,000 working men and women at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In December, District 751 members ratified a four-year contract extension with Boeing that ensured the 737 MAX will be built in Puget Sound.
For more information about District 751, read the Machinists News.