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What Is an Aerospace Machinist Union?

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  • Written By: A. Garrett
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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An aerospace machinist union is a labor union that negotiates employment terms, lobbies state and federal governments, and provides benefits exclusive only to machinists working in the field of aeronautics. The aerospace machinist union is essentially comprised of workers seeking to achieve desirable salaries, work hours, and working conditions as a single unit rather than as individuals. Due to their specialized skill set, uniting in this way gives machinists leverage in negotiations with employers.

The primary purpose of the aerospace machinist union is to secure equitable employment terms and conditions for members. Machinists elect other members to represent their interests during these negotiations and pay dues that go towards hiring legal representation. Employers are not required by law to accept every term and condition offered by the aerospace machinists union, however if the union deems the terms of employment unfair, members will go on strike. Since the supply of aerospace machinists is exclusively control by the union, a delayed work stoppage can be costly for the employer and compel them to reach a reasonable agreement with the union.

In terms of working with governments, certain policies can positively or negatively impact aerospace machinists. The union seeks to influence politicians to approve favorable legislation by lobbying. Aerospace machinist unions often push for increased tariffs on aerospace products imported from foreign countries where the cost of labor is cheaper. This discourages manufacturers from outsourcing machinist jobs to other countries.

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An aerospace machinist union also seeks to limit the supply or attractiveness of low-skilled workers to aerospace manufacturers. Unskilled workers can be employed for less than the wages required for high-skilled employees like machinists. The union typically seeks strict immigration policies to limit the influx of low skilled workers entering the workforce. It also lobbies politicians to increase a region's minimum wage so that the difference in cost between hiring skilled and unskilled workers is negligible.

Joining an aerospace machinist union has other benefits as well. The union provides discount healthcare insurance for members and their families. A machinist can also contribute to a pension fund that invests on their behalf and pays a certain amount of the earnings to the machinist or his beneficiaries upon his retirement. Members may also receive union-sponsored machinist training so that they can continue to improve their skills and marketability to employers.

Being a member of an aerospace machinist union can be very beneficial to the machinist. Union members usually earn higher salaries and receive more benefits from their employers than their nonunion counterparts. Health and retirement benefits at favorable rates are also often provided by unions. In addition, members take solace in the fact that they are a part of an organization created for them and by them and that their best interests are represented by their peers instead of company management.

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