iMail for Thursday, February 15, 2007

Machinists Strike Tennessee Muffler Maker

Two hundred and twenty members of Local 2545 in Loudon, TN voted to strike Maremont Exhaust Products after the company proposed a wage freeze and a two-tier pay scale in addition to insurance premiums that would hike workers’ premiums by up to 300 percent.

“These workers are simply fighting for a fair contract,” said District 711 Directing Business Representative George Mays, who praised members for their determination and solidarity on the picket line despite frigid temperatures.

 “I’m so proud of these men and women,” added Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “They are standing up and fighting for what’s right. Our International Headquarters and the Southern Territory office will give them whatever support they need.”

The local’s negotiating committee is scheduled to meet with the company Feb. 15 and 16. Additional information and photos are posted on the Local 2545 website at


White House Vows to Oppose Employee Free Choice Act

Despite a bipartisan list of 233 co-sponsors in the House and overwhelming public support, the Bush administration is lining up with corporate interests to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.

The House Education and Labor Committee voted yesterday to send the Employee Free Choice Act to the full House for a vote in the coming months. Shortly before the bill advanced, Vice President Dick Cheney told a meeting of the National Association of Manufacturers that President Bush “will veto the bill” if it is sent to him.

The Employee Free Choice Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation for working families in years. It would enable workers to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by restoring their rights to form unions.

“There are different factors contributing to this middle class squeeze, but there is no question that one critical factor contributing to the squeeze is the difficulty that workers experience when they want to earn the right to bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions,” said George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.


Register Now for IAM Aerospace Conference

The deadline for hotel reservations for the IAM Aerospace Conference is February 19, 2007, to receive the special room rate of $135 for a single or double. Local and District Lodges who have not made reservations can call the Hilton Portland & Executive Towers at 503-226-1611, or toll free at 1-800-HILTONS.

The Conference begins Wednesday, March 28, at 9:00 a.m. and will adjourn by 12:00 p.m. Saturday, March 31. Registration will take place March 27 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m., and again on March 28 from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. The Conference, chaired by GVP Rich Michalski, will focus on “Targeting Our Future – Growth, Dominance and Retirement.”

In addition, the Conference plans to honor retiring Aerospace Coordinator Dick Schneider with a dinner the evening of March 30. Contact Karen Peek in the IAM Aerospace Department at 301-967-4097 should you have any questions.

Local 701 Sponsors “Chi-Town” Pit Crew Competition

Auto Mechanics Local Lodge 701 in Chicago, IL, once again sponsored the annual “Chi-Town Teardown Pit Crew Competition”, now in its seventh year of showcasing the best in high school, college and tech school auto mechanics.

The standing room only event is held each year at McCormick Place during the World of Wheels Custom Car Show, with twenty-one high schools and eight college/tech schools competed this year to show off their skills. With the crowd shouting encouragement, each team raced the clock to disassemble and rebuild a Ford engine. Teams were graded on overall accuracy of the rebuild, with most of the judges and timers being Local 701 volunteers.

“The IAM designed and sponsored the event in an effort to promote our trade among race fans and the general public,” said Local 701 Directing Business Representative Dennis Jawor. “We also wanted to encourage young people to consider the automotive trade for a career, and promote the schools that are teaching automotive technology.”

Ford Motor Company donated the engines and awarded a Ford Mustang to the school whose students randomly drew the right key. Participants also received gifts from Local 701, including a 2007 Pit Crew Champion leather jacket, and each winning team gets to keep and display at their school the coveted Local 701 Pit Crew Competition Trophy.

Ohio Local 1628 Secures TAA Funds

Local 1628 in Zanesville, OH, recently received a federal grant under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program to help members affected by layoffs at Lear Corporation.

District 34 Business Rep. Joe Gresham and Local 1628 President Mark Chema filed for TAA benefits, which helps workers unemployed as a result of increased imports, or shifts in production out of the United States. Much of the work at the Zanesville plant was moved to Mexico and Taiwan, in a move that affected more than 300 workers.

“This goes back to employees who were laid off as far back as November 30, 2005, and certification runs through December 29, 2008,” Chema told the Zanesville Times Recorder. “All Lear employees, whether hourly or salary, in any department, are eligible for this.”

The TAA program offers reemployment services to help workers obtain suitable employment including, job search and relocation allowances, income support and other reemployment services, according to the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Members of the Zanesville facility have made mechanical and electrical automotive input controls since 1963 when Local 1628 was first chartered.

Penske Workers in Michigan Vote to Join IAM

District 60 brought ten new members into Local Lodge 698 by organizing workers at Penske Truck Leasing Company located in Plymouth, Michigan. The IAM represents the employees at more than 40 Penske Truck Leasing locations throughout the U.S.

“Congratulations to the workers at Penske Truck Leasing and to District 60 DBR Bobby Atanasovski, Organizer Beau Jencks, and all of the team for a job well done,” said Eastern GVP Lynn Tucker. Penske Truck leasing provides full-service truck leasing, contract maintenance and commercial and consumer truck rentals.

Colorado Governor Vetoes Union Rights Bill

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. (D) turned his back on working families last week when he vetoed a bill that would have removed an archaic provision of Colorado law that provides an unnecessary barrier to workers seeking collective bargain rights.

Currently in Colorado, all union representation elections must be voted on by employees twice before they receive the benefits of a union contract. The second vote must pass by a simple majority of all those employees eligible to vote or by 75 percent of those who voted, whichever is greater.

The Labor Peace Act, which Ritter vetoed, would have removed this provision. Ritter had promised Colorado’s unions he would sign the bill during his campaign for governor, but ultimately caved in to corporate pressure to halt the bill.