Machinists District 837 members volunteer to work overtime to make COVID-19 face shields


More than 2,000 members to participate

ANSWERING THE CALL for help during the pandemic, more than 2,000 St. Louis Machinists District 837 members at Boeing are putting in eight hours of volunteer overtime each week to assemble medical-grade face shields. – Machinists District 837 photo

Members of Machinists District 837 employed at Boeing in St. Louis have been volunteering to work overtime to help build face shields needed by healthcare workers on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

The more than 2,000 workers – who build F15 and F18 fighter jets and other defense equipment – will be using eight hours of volunteer overtime each week to assemble medical-grade face shields, which will then be packaged and shipped directly to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Boeing has activated its additive manufacturing network in order to create the parts needed for the face shields using 3D-printing. The company is targeting an initial production rate of several thousand a week.

District 837 members are taking the 3D-printed parts and assembling the shields. All assembly is taking place outside of normal defense production hours and will be done via volunteer overtime shifts. So far, more than 300 members have volunteered to take part in the emergency effort.

THE MEDICAL GRADE FACE SHIELDS are being shipped to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help healthcare workers on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

“On behalf of District 837 members at Boeing, it is an honor to have been selected as the final assembly site for this effort,” said District 837 Directing Business Representative Earl Schuessler. “These parts are coming from many different Boeing locations to be assembled and shipped from right here in St. Louis.

“It’s a matter of pride for our members to be able to help our first responders in this manner. And especially heroic of them as workers who are leaving their families and coming to work each day while faced with the ever-growing health and safety concerns of this pandemic.”

District 837 members say it’s about doing their part to flatten the curve.

“I volunteered because I want to help provide protection for our first responders,” said District 837 member Jim Staggs, a munitions mechanic. “I’m proud to be a Machinist Union member, and this is an honor to assemble these face shields.”

District 837 member James Walden, who is an assembly mechanic, agreed and said, “I understand how vital these face shields are for our healthcare workers. Prior to working at Boeing, I was a surgical tech. This is about helping people.”

Machinists Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway said the union couldn’t be prouder of the members who are doing what they can to support their country and the men and women on the frontlines of this deadly disease.

“They, like so many other essential union workers continuing to do their part in helping the world turn, are the real heroes of this pandemic,” he said. “Their dedication and sacrifice will not go unnoticed.”

Machinists International President Robert Martinez Jr. said the sound of solidarity is ringing out from District 837 members in St. Louis.

“These men and women see our nation and our world in crisis and they are answering the call,” he said. “I am so proud of their efforts and they give us all hope that by working together we will emerge from this dark time stronger than ever.”


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