The following is an excerpt from a joint statement from the respective leaders of the National Union of Healthcare Workers and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers:
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) have signed a letter of intent concerning a potential affiliation of NUHW with the IAM.
The signing of the letter of intent, approved by the Executive Boards of both unions, initiates a process whereby representatives of each union will begin to work out the terms of a possible affiliation. Any final decision on affiliation will be subject to approval by the leadership of the IAM and a membership vote of NUHW. Immediately, IAM and NUHW will begin working together to organize the unorganized, and each union will provide mutual support in collective bargaining and in other areas.
Both NUHW and IAM put a high value on member democracy, fighting for and protecting workers’ contractual standards, and organizing the unorganized.
With 700,000 members in North America, the IAM, founded in 1888, is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, and is the leading union among aerospace and transportation workers. The IAM is one of a handful of international unions in which members have the right to directly elect their international union officers. The IAM has been at the forefront of protecting workers’ rights and has been actively organizing the unorganized, including winning a tough representation election at IKEA in Maryland, the first victory in the United States against the giant retailer.
The National Union of Healthcare Workers was created in January 2009. Since its founding, NUHW has become the fastest growing healthcare workers’ union in the country, representing more than 9,000 caregivers in California and Michigan.