All across America ceremonies and vigils (http://www.goiam.org/index.php/news/iam-news/2006-iam-news-archives/3515-video–remembering-9/11) marked the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. “Let us honor all of the victims of this terrible tragedy and never forget the great loss suffered by their families. Our union lost two members, Marianne MacFarlane and Jesus Sanchez, who were on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center. We will never forget them. And we will never forget all those in the transportation and other industries whose lives have been forever changed by the senseless acts of violence five years ago,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.
Soon after 9/11, the IAM produced Everyday Heroes. (http://www.goiam.org/index.php/news/latest-videos/video-archive/202-everyday-heroes) a documentary about union members who answered the call to help. On that fateful day, thousands of working men and women from every corner of the nation descended on the scarred cities to lend a hand.
Donations from the sales of “Everyday Heroes” went to help treat those who worked at Ground Zero. Five years later, first responders and thousands of volunteers who helped in what’s called “the greatest rescue mission in the history of the world” are still suffering.
According to reports recently released by the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, many of these men and women are sick from working in the harsh environmental conditions at these sites in the days and months following the attacks.
The Alliance for Retired Americans held its national convention in Washington, DC, this past week, where delegates voted IP Tom Buffenbarger to a third four-year term on the organization’s board of directors.
The Alliance, headed by former IAM International President George Kourpias, is a grassroots organization representing more than 3.1 million retirees and seniors nationwide. Headquartered in Washington, DC, their mission is to advance public policy that protects the health and economic security of older Americans by teaching seniors how to make a difference through activism.
Since its founding in May 2001, the Alliance has chartered 24 State Alliances and 1,026 local chapters. Never shy about making its voice heard, the Alliance is at the forefront of battles over Medicare, prescription drugs, Social Security and affordable health care.
A primary objective of the Alliance is to mobilize retired union members and other seniors into a nationwide grassroots movement advocating a progressive political and social agenda. Learn more about the Alliance and its work at www.retiredamericans.org.
Eighty-six Local and District Lodge Officers last week attended the Transportation Department’s Principal Officers’ Conference at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Maryland. The annual conference allows the officers to meet with the entire Transportation Department staff and offer feedback and suggestions for new initiatives.
“The Transportation membership has gone through major upheavals in the last five years,” said General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “We must collectively develop strategies to respond to the continuingly changing air and rail industries. This conference provides another avenue for officers to identify areas where we can better address the membership’s needs.”
Some suggestions include increased face-to-face communications, more specialized training programs, initiatives to mobilize the membership and vigorous organizing activities.
“The local leaders have spoken and the Transportation Department staff has already begun implementing their ideas,” said Roach.
The official announcement and call for the 2007 leadership and Train-the-Trainer programs at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center is on its way to IAM local and district lodges throughout the United States and Canada. New to the 2007 leadership schedule are two sessions of Spanish Leadership I. Leadership programs fill quickly and locals and districts should submit enrollments as soon as possible.
The Winpisinger Center has also released the 2007 schedule of staff and departmental programs. New to the 2007 staff program schedule are two programs to support organizing – Internal Organizing and First Contract. Also new to the 2007 schedule is a program addressing a key area of concern to IAM members — Contemporary Issues in Pension Negotiations.
The full schedule of programs for 2007 as well as enrollment forms for the leadership and train-the-trainer programs is available on the Winpisinger Center website at http://winpisinger.iamaw.org/courselist/
The IAM is part of a group of unions representing workers at our nation’s rail carriers that have initiated a coordinated campaign to counter rail management’s union-busting agenda during intense contract negotiations.
“There would be no U.S. rail industry without rail labor,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “Despite our impressive record of successes that benefited the entire industry, management is trying to drive a wedge between workers and their unions. The rail carriers have undertaken an enormous propaganda campaign to distort facts and mislead their workers and shareholders.”
Rail labor supported the creation of Amtrak and railroad subsidy programs that provided billions of dollars for the carriers. A recent bill eliminating a federal tax on diesel fuel, which saved the carriers $180 million a year, would not have passed Congress without labor support.
“Rail labor is united in our fight to achieve fair contracts for our members and rebutting the carriers’ lies,” said GVP Roach. “We will stand together, stay strong and remain united.” Additional facts about rail labor’s integral role in the industry are available herehttp://www.goiam.org/uploadedFiles/Rail.Abuse.pdf?LangType=1033.
More than 35 salaried technical employees of GE Hydro have become the newest members of IAM Local Lodge 1660.
The service agreement between the Technical Association of GE Hydro, an independent union and IAM District 11 had a procedure to facilitate the process for the technical employees to join the IAM. “The support given by District 11 during the last three years in defense of the member’s rights was a major factor in making the decision to join the Machinists,” said District 11 Business Representative Yves Raymond .
The 225 production employees of GE Hydro are already represented by IAM Local Lodge 1660. “It was a logical choice for these new members to join this local and by grouping their strength with ours, they will now be better equipped to negotiate their next collective agreement which expires at the end of this month,” said Raymond.