Dear “Essential” Machinist Member,
As you have witnessed, the Worldwide Pandemic we have endured the last 2 months has changed our workplace safety practices. We now live in a very different world that requires each one of us to adopt new safety measures as we move forward. While some of these changes may seem challenging, a safe work environment is what we are expecting from the company.
Being designated as “essential employees” during this pandemic I have continually pressed the Company to recognize the dangers of exposure to my members. I continue to appeal for hazard pay, appreciation bonuses, additional preloaded sick time, and more for you the membership.
Recently, Boeing announced potential layoffs could occur throughout the Company. I have been assured that as of today these potential impacts are not targeting the IAM 837 membership. In fact, I am encouraged to see the St. Louis site continues to hire new workers with plans to hire hundreds more this year.
I did encourage the company to offer the Voluntary Lay Off provision of the contract to all IAM 837 members who were qualified. But, after much confusion, only a handful of maintenance classification was formally given the opportunity to volunteer. Again, the response I was given is the St. Louis site cannot afford to lose any union employees because of a greater manpower need.
Last week the union received the arbitrator’s decision in favor of the company over the proper assignment of work. This involved the union’s contention of a lower- rated job classification performing the work of a higher labor grade in St. Charles. While I am disappointed in the results, this by no means will stop your union from fighting for all of our members. We have several other grievances on a multitude of issues we are pursuing to arbitration.
I have signed an agreement with the company that states COVID-19 related absences will not be considered for Overtime Out Of Balance reporting. In exchange, the company will continue its current attendance policy practice concerning COVID-19 related absences. This agreement is in effect through June 26, 2020, and can be extended if both parties agree.
Finally, as the pandemic begins to slow and society slowly re-opens I urge every member to continue established safety practices in the workplace and at home. These include frequent hand washing, practice social distancing, wear a mask, limit your exposure and practice common-sense safety practices.
Be safe everyone,
Earl Schuessler, PDBR
IAM District 837