The Western Territory and the IAM Healthcare Department have embarked on a joint nationwide healthcare organizing campaign in an effort aimed at organizing Military Family and Life Counselors, or (MFLCs). MFLCs provide critical counseling services to veterans and their families.

The MFLCs face many problems that are prevalent in working people’s lives, especially those in the healthcare industry. Some of these issues include no regular pay increases, no sick leave, and no tuition or continuing education reimbursement. Most significantly, they face issues of understaffing.

Understaffing problems cause heavier workloads and results in diminished services delivered to America’s heroes and their families. The appearance is alarming—companies valuing profits over fulfilling staffing needs required to deliver the level of service deserved by our veterans.

To date, 158 MFLCs have joined the IAM, giving them the opportunity to negotiate working conditions, benefits, and pay along with the prospect of better serving America’s veterans and their families. This power is only possible when workers along with union organizers come together. 

Grand Lodge Representative Mark Ward has spearheaded the campaign. The initial three wins were scored by Colorado’s Local Lodge 47. The next victory was in Tacoma, WA for District W24 under the leadership of President and Directing Business Representative Noel Willet, along with District W24 Organizer Jeff Wagner. The other three wins led by Healthcare Department Associate Organizer Randa Ruge were two in San Antonio and one in North Carolina.

“We’re excited to partner with and support the Western Territory in ensuring that these behavioral healthcare professionals have a strong voice on the job,” said IAM Healthcare Director Martí Garza.

“We are honored to help improve vital services provided by the MFLCs,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “In consideration of the service they provided our country, our nations heroes have the right to access the highest level of healthcare available. Only through collective bargaining workers can enhance the workplace and improve their lives and that of their families.”