Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO

The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions.

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Ron’s Rants

This Labor Day I Stand in Solidarity with the “Rednecks” on Strike in Texas

This Labor Day I Stand in Solidarity with the “Rednecks” on Strike in Texas

The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City. According to the New Jersey Historical Society, Matthew Maguire, a Machinist who was the Secretary of the NYC Central Labor Union, was the Father of Labor Day. Congress established Labor Day, as a holiday, in 1894 as the fist Monday in September to highlight the social and economic achievements of American workers. This Labor Day I want to talk a little bit about our labor history as well as the labor history our workers make every single day. As a country boy from the hills of Arkansas with a good bit of Southern twang in my voice, I’ve been called a redneck a time or two in my life. I’m sure those who chose to refer to me as a redneck didn’t do so as a compliment, I have to say though, that I am proud to be a redneck. And, if you were up on your labor history, you might be too. I’m proud because I know that in labor history it means I’m a ‘union man.’ You see, the coal miners in north and central Appalachia created the term ‘redneck’ in the early 20th century by wearing red bandanas as a sign of solidarity in the strike-ridden coalfields to identify a union man, and they called themselves rednecks. We all know the term redneck has since been used as a derogatory term, used primarily as an insult referring to everyday working people in the south. However, this year, nearly 1,200 nuclear workers in Amarillo, Texas, adopted the term and the symbol of the...
Nuclear Workers at DOE Amarillo Plant Vote to Strike

Nuclear Workers at DOE Amarillo Plant Vote to Strike

Contact: Ron Ault, Metal Trades Department President 202-341-2036 Or Clarence Rashada, Amarillo Metal Trades Council President 806-674-1763 Amarillo, TX–After more than seven months at the bargaining table with Consolidated Nuclear Security Pantex (CNS), 87 percent of the unionized workers at the Amarillo, Texas, facility have voted to strike. The Amarillo Metal Trades Council represents workers at the Department of Energy (DOE) Pantex facility. Workers have been in contract negotiations with CNS Pantex since January 2015. In early August, CNS Pantex representatives put forth what the company called their “best, last and final offer.” That proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by a 10-1 margin by the workers. The ratification vote took place late last night, with 93 percent of those eligible to vote casting ballots. Since voting down the last contract offer, the Amarillo Metal Trades Council negotiating team and company representatives have met, but the two sides remain at an impasse. “Wages are not the issue,” says Clarence Rashada, president of the Metal Trades Council. “Benefits, sick leave, medical coverage, prescription drugs, those are the issues.” Rashada pointed out that the employer is asking to eliminate defined benefit pensions for new hires and to increase healthcare costs for retirees. Workers at CNS Pantex are responsible for the nuclear weapons life extension programs; weapons dismantlement; development, testing, and fabrication of high explosives components; and storage and surveillance of plutonium pits. “These workers face dangerous situations every day when they go to work. The Department of Energy and CNS Pantex know that these workers risk exposure to cancer-causing chemicals daily, yet the DOE has imposed a ridiculous policy upon its contractors that...

The Union Advantage

Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 27 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts.

Unionized workers are 60 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions.

More than 79 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but less than half of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

Unions help bring workers out of poverty and into the middle class. In fact, in states where workers don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.

  • Wages are 27% higher than non-union 27%
  • Unionized workers are 60 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions 60%
  • More than 79 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits 79%

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