International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

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International Association of Machinist.JPG
Full name International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Founded 1888
Members 646,933 (2006)[1]
Country United States, Canada
Key people R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president
Office location Upper Marlboro, Maryland

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is an AFL-CIO/CLC trade union representing approx. 646,933 workers as of 2006 in more than 200 industries.

Formation and early history[edit]

The IAM was formed in 1888 by 19 machinists meeting in a locomotive pit in Atlanta, Georgia calling themselves "The Order of United Machinist and Mechanical Engineers." The organization remained secret for several years due to employer hostility toward organized labor. Despite the secrecy, the membership continued to grow thanks to "boomers", men who traveled from place to place looking for work on the railroads. Within a year 40 locals were established. At that point machinists made 20 to 25 cents an hour for a ten hour day. In 1889 the first Machinist Union convention was held with 34 locals represented, in the chambers of the Georgia State Senate. Tom Talbot was elected "Grand Master Machinist" and the IAM monthly journal was started. Also, at the convention the union's name was changed to "National Association of Machinists." The next year, 1890, the first Canadian local, Local Lodge 103, was chartered in Stratford, Ontario as well as locals in Mexico. Since the NAM had spread all over North America the union once again changed their name, this time to "The International Association of Machinists." The national headquarters was then moved to Richmond, Virginia.

Recent history[edit]

IAM membership nearly doubled in the 1950s, in large part due to the burgeoning airline industry, from 501,000 members in 1949 to 903,000 members in 1958. As a result of the influx of members from the airlines and the new American space program, the delegates voted to change the name to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at the 1964 convention.[2]

In 1982, due to individual and corporate bankruptcies IAM membership dropped to 820,211 from a high of 927,000 in 1973.[3] Also, in 1982 boycott was initiated by the IAM against Brown & Sharpe, a machine, precision, measuring and cutting tool manufacturer, headquartered in Rhode Island. The boycott was called after the firm refused to bargain in good faith (withdrawing previously negotiated clauses in the contract), and forced the union into a strike, during which police sprayed pepper gas on some 800 picketers at the company's North Kingston plant in early 1982. Three weeks later, a machinist narrowly escaped serious injury when a shot fired into the picket line hit his belt buckle.

The National Labor Relations Board later charged Brown & Sharpe with regressive bargaining, and of entering into negotiations with the express purpose of not reaching an agreement with the union.

From 1981 to 1990 the union owned and operated an Indy Car racing team, Machinists Union Racing.

On September 7, 2008 the union began a strike against Boeing over issues with outsourcing, job security, pay and benefits.

See also[edit]



External links[edit]

Media related to International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at Wikimedia Commons