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International Association of Machinist.JPG
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Founded 1888
Members 646,933 (2006)[1]
Country United States, Canada
Key people R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president
Office location Upper Marlboro, Maryland

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is an AFL-CIO/CLC trade union representing approx. 646,933 workers as of 2006 in more than 200 industries.


Formation and early history

The IAM was formed in 1888 by 19 machinists meeting in a locomotive pit in Atlanta, Georgia calling themselves "The Order of United Machinist and Mechanical Engineers." The organization remained secret for several years due to employer hostility toward organized labor. Despite the secrecy, the membership continued to grow thanks to "boomers", men who traveled from place to place looking for work on the railroads. Within a year 40 locals were established. At that point machinists made 20 to 25 cents an hour for a ten hour day. In 1889 the first Machinist Union convention was held with 34 locals represented, Georgia State Senator Tom Talbot was elected "Grand Master Machinist" and the IAM monthly journal was started. Also, at the convention the union's name was changed to "National Association of Machinists." The next year, 1890, the first Canadian local, Local Lodge 103, was chartered in Stratford, Ontario as well as locals in Mexico. Since The NAM had spread all over North America the union once again changed their name, this time to "The International Association of Machinists." The national headquarters was then moved to Richmond, Virginia.

Recent history

October 1982

A boycott was initiated by the IAM against Brown & Sharpe, a machine, precision, measuring and cutting tool manufacturer, headquartered in Rhode Island. The boycott was called after the firm refused to bargain in good faith (withdrawing previously negotiated clauses in the contract), and forced the union into a strike, during which police sprayed pepper gas on some 800 picketers at the company's North Kingston plant in early 1982. Three weeks later, a machinist narrowly escaped serious injury when a shot fired into the picket line hit his belt buckle.

The National Labor Relations Board later charged Brown & Sharpe with regressive bargaining, and of entering into negotiations with the express purpose of not reaching an agreement with the union.

On September 7, 2008 the union began a strike against Boeing over perceived issues with outsourcing, job security, pay and benefits.

See also


External links



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