iMail for Thursday, April 20, 2006

Contract Negotiations Open At PPG

Southern Territory General Vice President Bob Martinez traveled to Lake Charles, Louisiana for the contract opening for Local Lodge 470 at PPG Industries, Inc. The contract covering over 900 members in PPG’s Chemical Division expires May 11.

Prior to the contract talks, GVP Martinez went on a plant tour with DL 161 DBR Terry Taylor and LL President Craig Martin, and met with many members of LL 470. The members told GVP Martinez the major concerns were job security, health care, and pensions.

“PPG is a healthy company with large and growing profits,” said Brother Martinez. “I wanted to send PPG a strong message that LL 470, with their historically solid membership, would receive plenty of support from the Grand Lodge and the Dallas office to ensure a contract that both PPG and the IAM membership can be proud of.”

GLR Heim Named To Michigan Industry Commission

Longtime IAM member and GLR Karl E. Heim (left) has been named a Commissioner to Michigan’s Industry Standards Commission by Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Heim joined Local Lodge PM 2848 in 1977 while employed as a Wood Model Maker at Automotive and Aerospace Tooling Industry. Serving as a steward and active in his local, Heim was elected Business Representative in 1990. He was appointed Eastern Territory Special Representative in 1997 and then in 1998 a Grand Lodge Representative. Heim’s current assignments are servicing locals and districts in Michigan and assisting in organizing.

Dems Urge Bush to Back Anti-Gouging Measure

With American’s continuing to struggle with skyrocketing gas prices that have topped $3 a gallon in some areas, 15 Senate Democrats have sent a letter to President Bush urging him to take action to support federal anti-price gouging legislation. The group of Senators, which includes high-profile lawmakers such as Hilary Clinton, Harry Reid and John Kerry, also renewed their call for a bipartisan energy summit to address the problem of America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Separately, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) called for an investigation into the skyrocketing gas prices and claims of possible price-fixing by oil companies.

Gas prices rose 10 cents last week to average $2.78 a gallon, up 29 cents over the last three weeks and 55 cents higher than a year ago, the government reported on Monday.

Legislation currently before the Senate would give both federal and state regulators the authority to prosecute price gouging in the wake of national energy emergencies. The bill would also put in place measures that would enhance the transparency of our nations fuel markets.


No Breakthroughs Seen From Chinese President Visit

With demonstrators on hand protesting China’s horrendous human rights policies, Chinese President Hu Jintao made his way to visit with President Bush today. Jintao’s U.S. visit comes amid continued concerns regarding the U.S.’s $202 billion dollar trade deficit with China and China’s failure to strengthen their artificially low currency.

Despite weeks of stepped up rhetoric by the Bush administration regarding China’s unfair trade practices, the talks between Bush and Hu are not expected to produce any breakthroughs that would halt China’s currency manipulation and unfair trade practices.

China ’s lack of workers’ rights is also a main concern. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney sent a letter to Bush asking him to use his meeting with Hu to forcefully raise the Chinese government’s suppression of fundamental workers’ rights, especially freedom of association.

China ’s continued unfair trade practices, including undervaluing their currency by as much as 40 percent and their exploitation of cheap labor, has led to massive job loss in the U.S. and a record trade deficit over $200 billion.

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