iMail for Thursday, April 23 2009

New Contracts Cover C-17 Workers in Nine States

Many of the 313 members in nine states who maintain Boeing C-17 aircraft for the U.S. Air Force will see their pay increase dramatically under new IAM contracts recently negotiated under Service Contract Act (SCA) guidelines. While the majority of first year pay raises under the new contracts are between 15 and 30 percent, some members will see their pay jump by as much as 78 percent.

“This first contract is a huge improvement for these members who were previously salaried, non-union employees,” said Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin. “Most previous rates were well below the Area Wage Determination (AWD), with no standard rate.”

In addition to significant pay increases, the new agreements include traditional first contract benefits, including seniority protections, a grievance procedure, negotiated vacation language, paid bereavement, a retirement savings account, overtime provisions and more.

“It’s quite amazing to consider we went from considering organizing in mid-January to a ratified collective bargaining agreement by mid-April,” said new member Jim Schneller, who praised the organizers and negotiators who worked together with members to produce the first agreement. “It was critical that the initial organizers who built rapport with our units stay on the case.”

The C-17 workers are employed at Altus AFB in Oklahoma, Jackson AFB in Mississippi, Charleston AFB in North Carolina, Dover AFB in Delaware, McChord AFB in Washington, March AFB in California, Travis AFB in California and McGuire AFB in New Jersey. In addition to the eight Boeing locations, IAM members who perform C-17 work at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK, also ratified a new agreement.

TCU Leaders Applaud High Speed Rail Initiative

Transportation Communications Union (TCU) International President Bob Scardelletti and International Vice President Joel Parker attended the recent unveiling of President Barack Obama’s High Speed Rail initiative. The initiative’s goal is to build a network of high-speed rail corridors across America.

“This investment in America’s future and the inclusion of labor in the announcement show the determination of the administration to create a new beginning for high-speed passenger travel across the country,” said Scardelletti.

Ten major corridors were identified for high-speed rail projects as well as improvements. The projects selected for funding were based on merit and benefit of investment. Among the states and regions that would benefit are California, the Pacific Northwest, South Central U.S., the Gulf Coast, and Northern New England. Click here for a hi-rez map showing the corridor locations and here for the plan highlights.

Local 701 Organizes First Student Mechanics

Mechanics who maintain school buses for First Student in Naperville, Yorkville and Grand Ridge, IL, voted overwhelmingly to join Mechanics Local 701 recently, adding 17 new members to the IAM’s Automotive Division.

According to Local 701 Business Representative Armando Arreola, the new members worked for Laidlaw before the firm was bought out by First Student. ”Our organizing efforts at First Student seem to be snowballing as more and more potential members hear of the good contracts we are negotiating at other locations. They are interested in our health and welfare package, the pension program and they’re looking for better wages and working conditions.”

IAM Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber welcomed the new members and congratulated Mechanics Local 701 for their organizing efforts. “The organizing efforts at Mechanics Local 701 are continuous and we thank Directing Business Representative Dennis Jawor, Business Representative Armando Arreola, and the rest of the Local 701 staff for their hard work and dedication. We welcome our new members into the IAM family.” 

IAM Workers’ Memorial Day Ceremony April 28th

Workers Memorial Day is commemorated each year on April 28 with services, speeches and prayers to remember the thousands of workers killed or injured in workplace accidents.

The IAM holds its own unique service at the William W. Winpisinger Center, where bricks inscribed with the names of fallen members are placed alongside the hundreds of other IAM members who died since the memorial was dedicated in 2001. This year, families and friends will gather to honor the memories of eighteen fallen

IAM Brothers and Sisters and former IAM Communications Director Bob Kalaski.

The IAM Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony will be held on Tuesday, April 28th at 12:40 pm at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, Maryland.

Contact the IAM Safety and Health Department at 301-967-4704 for more information.

A. Philip Randolph Institute Recognizes Jack Marion  

The Asa Philip Randolph Institute in North Carolina (NCAPRI) recently honored retired IAM member Jack Marion with the institute’s award for community service at the organization’s 35th Annual Award Banquet. Marion currently serves as a field organizer for the Alliance for Retired Americans in North Carolina.

“I feel extremely honored to be recognized by the A. Philip Randolph Institute,” said Marion, who credited the Machinists Union, the AFL-CIO and the Alliance for Retired Americans for giving him the opportunity to help make his community a better place to live.

The APRI was founded by labor leaders Asa Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin in 1965 as a non-profit, non-partisan organization of black trade unionists to fight for racial equality and economic justice. Today the APRI has approximately 150 chapters in 36 states, including North Carolina. APRI chapters provide support for local unions during organizing campaigns, provide outreach programs and services – including an officially certified NC food bank – for community members in need and runs voter registration drives and GOTV efforts.

“Brother Marion is a true trade unionist, and it’s great to see his hard work recognized,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “The Machinists Union is very proud to have him as a member, and he’s very deserving of this award.”

Wear Red in Support of Equal Pay on April 28

April 28 is the day to wear red in support of equal pay for women. Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. Even though a full day’s pay should be the same for men and women working in the same jobs, to earn the same wage as a man, the typical woman must work for all of 2008 and then four more months into 2009 – until April 28th – to earn what the typical man earned in 2008 alone. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.

According to U.S. Census statistics, women earn 77.8 percent of what men earn for performing the same work. That gap means families lose an average of $9,575 per year and $434,000 over a working career. The new Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ensures that victims of discrimination have fair access to the courts, however, women and minorities still have far to go to close the wage gap.

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