Below is text of letter that was sent this week to the board of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in solidarity with the international campaign for the right to unionization of Embraer’s employees in the US.
July 21, 2016
São José dos Campos – Brazil
To: Robert Martinez Jr – President of the International Machinists and Aerospace Workers and
Owen E. Herrnstadt – Chief of Staff to the International President
On behalf of the Metalworkers Union of São José dos Campos and Region, we send our solidarity to the campaign for the right of unionization for Embraer employees in the United States.
The Metalworkers’ Union, affiliated to the federation CSP-Conlutas, represents around 37,000 workers. Among them, more than 14,000 are Embraer employees, distributed in three plants (Headquarters, Eugenio de Melo district and Eleb).
Embraer in Brazil is renowned for its disregard of the organizational freedom of their workers and unions. In 2006, Embraer tried to remove the legitimate Metalworkers Union representation, but we were victorious in our struggle against this maneuver.
During the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations the company maintains uncompromising positions and does not negotiate directly with the union.
Embraer has intensified its presence in several countries. The US plant is one of the oldest and the one which has received the most investments in recent years. There are three units in the state of Florida.
In 2014, we participated in the exchange program with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and we observed the company’s all-out efforts to hinder the U.S. workers’ unionization.
Last April, I visited the Embraer plant in Melbourne and I kept in touch with IAM District Lodge leaders Johnny Walker and Kevin DiMeco. At that meeting, we observed the differences in the working conditions at Embraer and other companies of the same sector. Union leaders also publicized the difficulties in unionizing Embraer workers in the US. These facts have concerned us. We would highly appreciate our joining the campaign fighting for the right to unionize.
Our union is campaigning in Brazil against what we call Embraer’s production denationalization. The company receives funds from the Brazilian Government and makes investments in other countries. Our criticism is of Embraer’s expansion at the expense of divestments and layoffs in Brazil.
Therefore, we place ourselves at your disposal to assist in the campaign in defense of Embraer employees’ rights in the US. We would like to suggest holding meetings and uniting unions to boost the international campaign demanding respect for trade union freedoms for Embraer employees.
Feel free to tell us the best way that we can join you and help to make feasible such a campaign.
HERBERT CLAROS DA SILVA
Vice-president of Metalworkers Union of
São José dos Campos – Brazil