My First Picket and Union Rally

I have been a member of the IAM (the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers), for 7 years now. I went to my first picket and rally, yesterday. I know some of you may wonder at me, evil republican that I am. I am doing this because we are going to court in a few days, where they will decide if our contract will be abrogated, in which case we have authorized a strike. The Board of Northwest Airlines is attempting to turn the company into a cheap labor, greyhound-type outfit, regardless of the poor service that ensues. The Board also doesn't smile on the media attention actions, like that of yesterday's picket, can garner.

I was surprised by the support we received by those who passed by the line. The rally was also like something out of a movie.

Notice our emblem. I knew our Union was obviously influenced by Freemasonry. What I didn't know was that, according to our president, as told to me yesterday, most of the 19 men who founded the Machinists' Union were Freemasons.

'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.'

The significance of their meeting place is very interesting to me, btw.

'It is also present in many craft unions. The Carpenters whose symbol includes the All seeing Eye, the level and the angle, and whose motto is Labor Omnia Vincent also shows this Masonic influence. This also holds true for the Brotherhoods such as that of the Railway Carmen, whose union meetings opened with elaborate Masonic style ceremonies, oaths of secrecy, officers in jewels and aprons. This continued until the early 1960s according to one local official. The International Association of Machinists (IAM), began this way as well with elaborate ceremonies, rituals, secret oaths etc. In fact it is reported that at the beginning of the last century the IAM executive divided themselves politically between what they called the Masons and the Catholic board members' - Looking Backwards: The Fraternal Origins of Working Class Organizations In the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism by Eugene Plawiuk

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