St. Louis, Thursday, April 9, 2020 – Members of Machinist Union (IAM) District 837 employed at Boeing in St. Louis are volunteering to work overtime in order to help build face shields needed by health care workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The more than 2,000 workers – who build F15 and F18 fighter jets and other defense equipment – will be using eight hours of volunteer overtime each week to assemble medical-grade face shields, which will then be packaged and shipped directly to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Boeing announced it is activating its additive manufacturing network in order to create the parts needed for the face shields using 3D-printing. The company is targeting an initial production rate of several thousand a week.
IAM District 837 members will be responsible for taking the 3D-printed parts and assembling the shields. All assembly will take place outside of normal defense production hours and will be done via volunteer overtime shifts. To date, more than 300 IAM members and counting have volunteered to take part in the emergency effort.
“On behalf of IAM District 837 members at Boeing, it is an honor to have been selected as the final assembly site for this effort,” said IAM District 837 Directing Business Representative Earl Schuessler. “These parts will be coming from many different Boeing locations to be assembled and shipped from right here in St. Louis. It’s a matter of pride for our members to be able to help our first responders in this manner. And especially heroic of them as workers who are leaving their families and coming to work each day while faced with the ever-growing health and safety concerns of this pandemic.”
This is about doing their part to flatten the curve, says IAM District 837 members at Boeing.
“I volunteered because I want to help provide protection for our first responders,” said IAM District 837 member Jim Staggs, a Munitions Mechanic. “I’m proud to be a Machinist Union member and this is an honor to assemble these face shields.”
“I understand how vital these face shields are for our healthcare workers,” said IAM District 837 member James Walden, an Assembly Mechanic. “Prior to working at Boeing, I was a surgical tech. This is about helping people.”
“Our union couldn’t be more proud of the members of IAM District 837 at Boeing, doing what they can to support their country and the men and women on the frontlines of this deadly disease,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “They, like so many other essential union workers continuing to do their part in helping the world turn, are the real heroes of this pandemic. Their dedication and sacrifice will not go unnoticed.”
“The sound of solidarity is ringing out from IAM District 837 members in St. Louis,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “These men and women see our nation and our world in crisis and they are answering the call. I am so proud of their efforts and they give us all hope that by working together we will emerge from this dark time stronger than ever.”