In light of the increasing threats working people face from corporate-driven attempts to push right-to-work (RTW) legislation across the country, the IAM and the Winpisinger Education and Technology Center have developed a new training program for use for a wide variety of situations.
“This type of training is critically important and it’s imperative that our membership understands what is at stake,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “So-called right-to-work legislation is a direct assault on our ability to negotiate fair contracts which provide for a decent standard of living and a secure retirement.”
As part of the center’s Train-The-Trainer program, the Right-To-Work Field Education Module (RTW FEM) was introduced last month in two sessions that included representatives from each U.S. territory, and members from districts and locals from across the country. The program is designed to provide a curriculum, notes and a discussion guide which can be adapted for use with many types of audiences.
“Coming off the delivery of our signatures to the Missouri secretary of state’s office, I wasn’t sure what to expect walking into this class,” said Kansas City Local 778 Trustee Brian Simmons. “I was pleasantly surprised with the offering. Mostly I was fascinated with the overall message that the only way to effectively combat these unrelenting attacks is to organize. We not only have to grow our membership, but we also have to reinvigorate and reengage our membership.”
“Learning from my brothers from Kentucky and Missouri who are in the thick of the right-to-work fight was extremely beneficial,” said District 142, Local 1635 General Chair Jessica Morris. “Coming from transportation and having been shielded by the Railway Labor Act, this seminar was very relevant to educate our members more thoroughly.”
“The idea that every participant leaves the W3 Center with a ready-made training module, that they can take right to the field or use as a resource for ideas and inspiration, was great,” said Midwest Territory Education Representative Joe Gruber. “Here in the Midwest Territory we are faced with a lack of knowledge of what RTW truly means. Our members know ‘it’s bad’ but are craving the knowledge on how to fight RTW.”
“In the Western Territory we have a mix of states that are right to work and free bargaining,” said Western Territory Education Representative Melissa Campbell. “The training this week provided the tools necessary to build our army. We are able to tailor the training to our needs; it’s not just a cookie cutter presentation.”
“Coming from a non-RTW state it was very eye opening to hear both the discouraging and the encouraging things happening in those states,” said Minnesota District 77 Directing Business Representative John Steigauf. “Having the opportunity to put together our own presentation, and receiving input from the instructors and participants to enhance, it was extremely helpful and served to increase my confidence as I prepare to present this information to our membership. This class is a must if we are to continue to be the union of the future.”
“Corporate interests and their friends in state legislatures and the halls of Congress want to turn back the clock and lower our standard of living,” said Martinez. “There is a direct connection between RTW and lower wages, more expensive health insurance, and less retirement security. Our members must understand that connection and how they can fight back – this educational module makes clear that connection and shows our members shows ho