Picket Lines Solid at Crown Cork and Seal
Nearly 200 members of IAM Local 10 have been on strike for almost two months at a Crown Cork and Seal facility in Winchester, VA. The picket lines went up when the company insisted on huge increases in healthcare coverage, according to Steve Spaid, Local 10 president.
“Those hikes would have wiped out the pensions for many of our retirees,” he said. In addition, he said members had only one small pay hike over the past six years and refused to see their healthcare and pensions go down the drain.
“I’ve never fought for anything like this ever before,” declared Linda Pennington, a tow motor driver who’s spent 29 years at the facility. “I’ve put my whole working life into this company. I’ve worked hard, given my best. They have no respect for me. That’s just not fair. I’ll be here till the bitter end.”
Truck horns blared as passing drivers signaled support for the strikers. Passenger vehicles, too, joined the chorus as motorists lifted clenched fists and flashed V-for-victory signs.
For a time, the
picketers had the support of a giant inflatable rat. They draped a Crown
Cork and Seal sign about its neck and parked it in a prominent position
near the company’s facility. “ We got lots of comments about that rodent,”
laughed Howard Schluter, a striking mechanic. “It’s as simple as can be.
We want a fair contract and we want it now.”
Medicare Bills Draw
“Seniors don’t like what they’re seeing, hearing and reading about the proposed Medicare reform legislation,” according to George J. Kourpias, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans. A recent Harris poll supports that assessment. The survey found that 52 percent of those polled think it would be better to oppose the plan and fight for a more generous benefit even if it is unlikely to pass any time soon.
“That’s good news for
older Americans,” Kourpias said. “When the actual details finally see the
light of day, there is no way retirees and their families will accept the
dismantling of Medicare in exchange for a prescription drug benefit that,
for millions, will leave them worse off than they are now.”
“It makes us feel good to do things like this and give back to the community,” said Sharon Conners, Local 700 Community Services Chairwoman, who helped organize the volunteer effort and recalled the support from local residents when members of her union walked picket lines during a December 2001 strike at Pratt & Whitney. “We had a lot of support (during the strike), and this is kind of a way of giving back – to say thank you.”
The timely donation
came as a welcome surprise to food bank volunteers, who helped IAM members
unload the cases of cereals, juices and canned goods. “This is
incredible,” said Amazing Grace program coordinator Kathleen Kelly. “We
IBM Pension Ploy Panned
predict that, if upheld, the ruling would essentially make such
cash-balance plans illegal. IBM is expected to appeal the decision.
Machinists Rejects US
“Any attempt to subcontract this work, which falls under the jurisdiction of the IAM-US Airways Agreement, shall be considered a major dispute under the Railway Labor Act,” wrote Roach. “The IAM will take whatever measures are necessary to protect any and all work that should be performed by IAM mechanics at US Airways.”
Roach criticized US
Airways management personnel for making comments related to farming out of
work that clearly falls under the jurisdiction of the IAM. “Any attempt to
usurp the boundaries of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, as envisioned
by the negotiators, will be met with an opposite and equal legal
District 97 Wins Jobs,
Back Pay and Bargaining Order
The NLRB settlement specified $30,522.35 in back pay for the employees fired following a successful organizing drive at the Michigan auto dealership. Additionally, the board issued a new certification year for the IAM on top of the order compelling the company to bargain in good faith.
On behalf of the
Eastern Territory office and its members, GVP Lynn Tucker extend
congratulations to District Lodge 97 Directing Business Representative
Pete Jazdzyk, Organizer Beau Jencks, Grand Lodge Representatives Dave
Porter and Karl Heim, and to the courageous members for their united stand
against this company.
Celebrate Union Label
For more information or to download materials on Union Label Week 2003, visit www.unionlabel.org.