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Q. What are some major industries employing IAM members?
A. Aerospace, air transport and auto repair are three industries where the Machinists Union is the largest, or among the largest, union representing employees. They work in occupations ranging from front office, computer, clerical, medical and technical positions all the way to the shop floor as tool and die makers, machinists, production, maintenance and security jobs.
Machinists Union members are also employed in metal products manufacturing facilities, on the railroads, in the Federal, state and local government, and in design, construction, repair, support and maintenance work in an almost endless variety of skills and occupational endeavors.
Q. How many employers have contracts with the Machinists Union?
A. A total of 6,338 employers have contracts with the Machinists Union. They cover members in the smallest one-employee shops to workers at giant multi-billion-dollar conglomerates - most of them on Fortune Magazine's list of the nation's top 500 corporations.
Q. Are most Machinists Union members actually machinists?
A. No. Originally, Machinists Union members were all skilled craftsmen. Today, however, the "union'' membership includes, professional, office, clerical, computer, technical, and medical employees, as well as journeymen and apprentice craft-persons, helpers, production, maintenance and specialists of all kinds. Membership includes women and workers from nearly all racial, ethnic, and religious groups.

Q. When I sign an Authorization Petition will it be submitted to my employer?
A. No! Your employer is forbidden by law from asking if you signed an authorization petition. 'A' petition, as they are referred to in the Union, are used as proof of majority support. The petitions are necessary to receive recognition from the employer of the IAM. If necessary, the petitions will be submitted to the National Labor Relations Board (also called the NLRB, or Labor Board) along with a formal document to request a secret ballot election.
Authorization Petition Sample here .doc
Authorization Card Sample here. jpg

Q. What is the NLRB/Labor Board?
A. The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector.

Q. If I sign an authorization Petition, does this mean I have joined the Union?
A. No. Joining the Union is a separate and distinctly different action. Before joining the IAM, you must complete a membership application.

Q. If I sign an 'A' petition, does this obligate me to vote for the Union in the secret ballot election?
A. No. We hope, of course, that all employees vote for the IAM, whether or not they signed an 'A' petition. The Labor Board election is a secret ballot, and you are free to vote as you choose in privacy. However, signing an 'A' petition should be a sincere commitment to support the organizing campaign.

About Your Secret Ballot Election

Q. If a majority of employees vote YES in the Labor Board election, do we automatically become members of the Machinists Union?
A. Again, the answer is no. A 'Yes' vote in the secret ballot election by you and a majority of your fellow employees means only that you win the right to be represented by the Machinists Union, to have a voice in determining your wages, hours, benefits and working conditions. As we mentioned before, joining the Union is a separate and distinct action.
Q. Why do employers fight so hard to defeat employees' efforts to join the Machinists Union?
A. Because they know that the Machinists Union provides a balance of power between you, the employee, and the employer. They know the Machinists Union brings skills and training to the bargaining table that results in contracts with improved wages, sound working conditions, outstanding pensions and substantial health insurance benefits. To summarize: the employer fights so hard because they simply don't want to pay you what you're worth.
Q. Will anyone know how I voted in the election?
A. Absolutely not. As we pointed out earlier, the election is conducted by the Labor Board by secret ballot. No one - neither your employer nor the Union - will know how you voted.
Q. If my fellow employees and I vote for the Union, what happens if we're not satisfied later on?
A. The same law that gives you the right to vote for union representation also gives you the right to vote it out if you're not satisfied.

About Initiation Fees and Dues

Q. Will we have to pay an initiation fee?
A. No, representation of newly-organized groups may, and in most instances do, request the International to waive the customary initiation fee for all employees employed at the company, regardless of whether they supported the Union during the campaign or not. As far as paying dues, no dues will be required until a contract is negotiated and ratified by the new unit and then everyone will be required to begin paying dues.
Q. What happens to dues money paid to the Local Union?
A. A portion of it pays the salaries of Business Representatives and office staff. The largest portion pays for rent of office space and equipment, representation, legal fees, grievance and arbitration fees, office supplies, printing costs, transportation, strike fund benefits, etc. The members must, in accordance with our Constitution, approve every dollar spent.
Q. How are dues calculated?
A. Your District bylaws state, per the IAM constitution, that your dues will be a uniform rate equal to 2 times the weighted average wage + 1.10. So, if the average wage negotiated for your group is 20/hr, then the dues would be 20 X 2 + 1.10 = $41.10. This equates to approx.
$ .25/hr. A small price to pay for a better standard of living.

About Your Contract

Q. After we win the secret ballot election, does my employer have to negotiate with us?
A. Federal Law requires that employers "negotiate in good faith." And while some employers try to circumvent the law any way they can, the Machinists Union has a remarkably good record of successfully helping employees achieve a first contract.
Q. What is a union contract?
A. A union contract is a legal document that is binding by law. It is negotiated with the employer and provides for, among other things, wages, benefits, hours, and general working conditions.
Q. Who draws up our contract?
A. You do with assistance from skilled, trained professional Union negotiators. All employees in the bargaining unit contribute their ideas for the proposals. Areas where there is usually room for improvement include, but are not limited to:
· Wages and inflation protection
· Health insurance for employees and their dependents
· Effective grievance procedures
· Job security
· Seniority provisions
· Paid holidays
· Paid sick leave
· Vacations
· Work rules that spell out your rights on the job
Q. Is there any limit as to what we can ask for in regard to wages and/or benefits?
A. No. Keep in mind, however, that what you ask for should be reasonable and justified.
Q. Who will do the negotiating?
A. The employer and his designated representative on one side of the table. On the other, a negotiating committee made up of your elected officials, together with your Representative.
Q. Do we have to accept what has been negotiated?
A. NO! If you do not feel you have gained enough in negotiations, you have the right to vote to reject the contract offer.
Q. If we vote to form a union, can the employer cut our wages or reduce the few benefits we now receive?
A. NO! That would violate Federal Law! Therefore, you will negotiate UP from current wages and benefits.
Q. If there is no union, what will the policy of the employer be as to wages, working conditions and fringe benefits?
A. Without the union, you are at the mercy of your employer to decide wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. Just think how much further ahead you would be now if you had a union contract to cover you for the past year. Vote YES.
Q. What if some union goes on strike elsewhere? What happens to us?
A. Nothing. You would continue to work. Your Collective Bargaining Agreement is exclusive to you and your co-workers.

The following text appeared in a booklet entitled
"We were asked...Q and A." 

Q. Who are the members of the Machinists Union?

A. Approximately 700,000 men and women who work in more than 350 job classifications or industries, as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, in the commercial, manufacturing, non-manufacturing, private, public, Federal, state and local government sectors of our nation's economy. They live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the 10 provinces of Canada. Although the Machinists Union began as a railroad union, today it has one of the most diversified memberships of any organization of its kind.