Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am writing to you in an environment of fear and uncertainty. Many of our members in the U.S. and Canada have already been impacted by the fallout from the coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic. Undoubtedly, more effects will be felt by our membership, by our two countries and globally as this crisis unfolds.
I want to first assure you that the IAM—at every level—is fighting to ensure that employers respond to this pandemic in a way that provides for the safety and health of their employees and the communities in which our members live and work.
I also recognize that the pandemic poses a significant threat to our economy and to the economic security and livelihood of our membership. On this front we are working with employers to ensure that they are not using this national emergency to advance their economic interests. I am pleased to report that, at least anecdotally, many employers are responding in a reasonable and thoughtful matter.
We are also working on Capitol Hill and on Parliament Hill to ensure that all economic relief packages afford appropriate protections for our members who actually do the work. We are closely monitoring legislative activity in Washington, DC and in Ottawa to ensure that working people are protected both financially as well as with appropriate safety and health provisions.
I am also writing to you as a husband, father and grandfather. I share the deep concern you have for your families. In this time of uncertainty, taking care of our loved ones is of the utmost importance. I encourage you to follow guidelines and recommendations from public health officials at the federal, state, provincial and local levels. We can, by our collective actions, reduce the risk of transmission and infection of the coronavirus.
Listed below are science-based resources from public health officials:
– World Health Organization COVID-19 Situation Reports
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Situation Summary
– U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Overview
– Canada Public Health Coronavirus Disease Resources
I also recognize that this current emergency is a source of additional stress for our members and their families. Fortunately, we have within the IAM our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Addiction Services Programs ready to assist and support members and their families struggling to cope with this situation. I encourage you to utilize these resources should you experience stress that is overwhelming or paralyzing.
In closing, I want to reiterate that the IAM is working very hard every day to address the economic, financial and public health impacts of this crisis. We are listening to you and will be providing updates and resources on a daily basis until we are through this pandemic. There has and will be changes to the way our union operates as we move forward, and we pledge to keep you informed throughout this entire process.
Please check the IAM Coronavirus Resource Center frequently for updates and announcements. Members should also subscribe to our email newsletter, iMail, and follow the Machinists Union on Facebook and Twitter for continuous information.
Our two countries, our union and our families have confronted and overcome many difficult and challenging times. I am confident that we will get through the challenge that is now before us. I would ask that you take care of yourself, your coworkers, your family, and your community. Together, in solidarity, we shall overcome.
Robert Martinez Jr.
IAM International President
19 March, 2020