iMail for Thursday, April 26, 2007


Hartford Goes Green with Hydrogen Fuel Bus

Commuters in Hartford, CT are enjoying the first hybrid electric fuel-cell bus in New England, built by Local 1746/District 26 members working at UTC Power in South Windsor. Fuel cell technology combines hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity without creating clouds of exhaust.

Development of the quiet, clean and smooth-riding 40-foot bus was funded by a federal grant, and its reliability is being monitored and evaluated. The zero-emission bus is one of only a few dozen in the world.

“With the price of gas and diesel going through the roof, and our existence as a planet literally at stake,” observed District 26 Directing Business Representative Everett Corey, “Fuel cells are going to become an increasing part of the solution to this crisis. And without a doubt, our members are the most experienced and skilled fuel-cell manufacturers in the world.”

IAM members at UTC have been working on fuel-cell technologies for decades and while fuel cell-powered autos are still on the horizon, that horizon is getting closer all the time. “Within the next two years, Connecticut will have the largest installations of stationary fuel cells for power generation in the world,” says Local 1746 member and GrowJobsCT Director John Harrity, as well as the beginning of the most comprehensive ‘hydrogen highway’ for mass transit and state fleet vehicles. Connecticut is leading the world in this technology, and IAM members are making it happen.”

GrowJobsCT is one of the founders of the Connecticut Hydrogen/Fuel Cell Coalition, which brings together the state’s fuel-cell manufacturers to promote industry in Connecticut.

IAM Women Stand Up for Pay Rights

Gender-based wage discrimination is largely a thing of the past in union workplaces, but that hasn’t stopped IAM activists from demanding equal pay rights for all workers. In the video A Level Playing Field at http://www.goiam.org/index.php/news/latest-videos/video-archive/178-a-level-playing-field, IAM members recall personal experiences with wage discrimination and describe why they’re fighting to eliminate it.

Caption: Equal pay for equal work is a personal issue for participants in the IAM Women’s Specialized Training class at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Southern Maryland.

 

Gas Prices Causing ‘Severe Hardship’

While oil giants continue to rack up record profits, working families are struggling to keep up with gas prices that jumped another eight cents the past two weeks to a national average of $2.87 a gallon.

Two-thirds of Americans say that rising gas prices are causing hardship for their families, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Poll released last week. Nearly 20 percent of those polled said the rising gas prices were causing them “severe hardship.”

Also released last week was Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 500 largest corporations. Oil giants ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, whose income is impacted by gas prices, all found themselves in the top five. National gas prices, which many experts expect to increase even further in coming months, have skyrocketed 69 cents since late January.

 

Workers’ Memorial Day is April 28

This Saturday, April 28, is Workers’ Memorial Day. Now observed internationally, the commemoration was established by the labor movement as a day to remember those who were killed, injured or became ill because of their jobs.

Tens of thousands of people around the world will be taking part in memorial activities. Because April 28 falls on a Saturday this year, many unions, including the IAM, will recognize Workers’ Memorial Day on Monday, April 30. The IAM’s memorial service will be held at the William W.Winpisinger Education & Technology Center.

“We’ve come a long way in workplace safety, but too many are still killed or injured each year,” said Mike Flynn, IAM Director of Safety and Health. “As we continue to fight for a safer, healthier working environment for our members, it’s important that we pause and remember those we’ve lost.”

 

CBO Study Finds Middle Class Wages in Free Fall

For many middle class families, wages are not only stagnant, they are taking a complete nose-dive. A report prepared for Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Jim Webb (D-VA) by the Congressional Budget Office found that roughly one-in-five workers saw their earnings fall by more than 25 percent between 2002 and 2003. About one-in-seven saw their earnings fall by more than 50 percent.

For workers with lower levels of education, the volatility in earnings was even more prevalent. Twenty-six percent of workers without a high school diploma saw their earnings decrease by at least 25 percent, and 16 percent saw their earnings drop by at least 50 percent.

For those who finished high school, nearly 21 percent saw their earnings drop by at least 25 percent and more than 12 percent saw their earnings drop by more than 50 percent.

The CBO used Social Security Administration records for their report, allowing them to cover more people and produce more reliable results.

Edward Kuss Named Special Representative

Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker, Jr. has announced effective May 1, Edward J. Kuss will begin serving as a Special Representative for the Eastern Territory.

Kuss, who joined the IAM in 1988 with Local Lodge 585, has served as a Business Representative for District 65 in Buffalo, NY since 2005. Prior to assuming that post, he spent two years as an Apprentice Organizer and 11 years as President of his local.

Kuss also served on the IAM Blue Ribbon Commission and as Area Vice President and Public Relations Director for the New York State Council of Machinists.

 

New Web Address for GrowJobsCT

Home to nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs and a long history in the aerospace, firearms, hand tool and shipbuilding industries, the State of Connecticut remains a hub of high wage jobs despite relentless efforts by corporations to move home grown manufacturing jobs to overseas locations.

GrowJobsCT, a key ally in the fight to keep jobs where they belong, is a coalition of business, labor and community groups and elected officials who are focused on keeping and expanding manufacturing jobs in Connecticut.

The coalition was launched by District 26, and is supported by the District and the Grand Lodge, in addition to grants for funding various projects.

For more information about jobs in Connecticut and the effort to keep them there, visit the GrowJobsCT new website at http://www.growjobsct.org