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IAM Local Lodge 1635
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

Local Lodge 1635


Transportation Communications Union Affiliates with Machinists Union
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today announced an historic agreement that will bring nearly 46,000 members of the Maryland-based Transportation Communications International Union (TCU) into the Machinists Union. Today's agreement concludes months of discussions between leaders of the two AFL-CIO unions and will boost the IAM's membership to nearly 700,000 active and retired members.

"This affiliation makes sense on so many levels," said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. "We're joined by our common heritage as rail unions founded more than a century ago and by our growth over the years to include workers throughout the transportation industry. This 'union of unions' will also give us greater strength to face the economic challenges that confront our members and workers everywhere."

TCU represents workers at virtually every major rail company in North America, including Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern, BNSF, Union Pacific, Canadian National and most commuter rail lines. The IAM represents more than 11,000 rail workers among its 140,000 airline and railroad members across North America.

TCU was founded in 1899 as the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks and grew over the years to include a diverse roster that includes clerks, carmen and supervisors. Among the unions that joined the TCU since its founding were the Order of Railway Telegraphers, the American Railway Supervisors Association, the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen and the legendary Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

"The men and women of TCU come from many backgrounds, but we share the dreams of working people everywhere," said TCU International President Bob Scardelletti. "This affiliation with the IAM gives each one of us a better shot at turning those dreams into reality."

The Machinists Union was founded by railroad workers in 1888 and today represents workers in dozens of industries under more than 4,000 individual agreements. Both unions are politically active, calling for fair treatment for rail workers governed by the Railway Labor Act. "That law is being undermined by an anti-worker political agenda aimed at rolling back hard-won collective bargaining rights," said IP Buffenbarger. Earlier this year, the IAM sued the National Mediation Board (NMB), charging the federal agency with obstructing negotiations for rail workers.

The IAM-TCU action comes as AFL-CIO member unions debate voluntary affiliations versus forced mergers. "This voluntary affiliation between two AFL-CIO unions serves as a good example of the kind of consolidation that honors our democratic traditions and avoids the complications of forced mergers," said Buffenbarger.

For information about the Transportation Communications International Union, visit

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Last modified: 2/18/2010

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