iMail for Thursday, July 16, 2009

Aerospace Members Focus on JOBS Now!

Amid one of the most turbulent times in the aerospace industry’s history, delegates from across North America gathered in San Diego, CA, for the 2009 IAM Aerospace Conference to focus on keeping and creating good-paying jobs, increasing organizing efforts and preparing for the future in the aerospace industry. “ North America’s aerospace industry stands unique from other industries,” said International President Tom Buffenbarger. “It is the heart of our manufacturing and industrial know-how and we must protect it.”

In less than a year, major sectors of the aerospace industry like Wichita, KS, have gone from backlogs of orders to mass layoffs with devastating impacts on families and their communities. Key to turning around the aerospace industry and the economy in general is a second economic stimulus program and stopping short-sighted efforts to cut vital defense programs like the F-22 Raptor. “We need to let politicians know that working families need jobs – not banks sitting on bailout money,” declared Buffenbarger. The IAM has launched a JOBS Now! campaign to demand a second stimulus program that includes investments in manufacturing and transportation to create jobs more quickly and a major commitment to vocational training to make sure workers have the skills they need to keep North America’s industrial capacity strong.

A critical vote in the Senate for funding additional F-22 fighters is imminent. Click here to send a message to your Senators to let them know that America cannot afford to undermine the strength of its industrial base or to short change its national defense. You can also call your Senators at 202-224-3121.

Click here to send a message to your Representative, Senators, and President Obama to support JOBS Now!

Obama Announces Community College Plan

President Obama is calling for five million new college graduates by 2020 – the highest graduation rate in the world. And, he’s proposing a $12 billion community college program to help make it happen.

The president says the new American Graduation Initiative is part of his plan to put the country on the road to economic recovery.

“Time and again, when we placed our bet for the future on education, we have prospered as a result,” President Obama said during a speech at Macomb Community College in Warren, MI, focusing on education and jobs. Michigan’s unemployment rate of 14.1 percent is currently the highest in the country because of the state’s struggling auto and auto parts industry.

“Some of the jobs that have been lost in the auto industry and elsewhere won’t be coming back. They’re the casualties of a changing economy,” the president said. “That only underscores the importance of generating new businesses and new industries to replace the ones that we’ve lost, and preparing our workers to fill the jobs they create.”

President Obama’s speech comes on the heels of a Council of Economic Advisers’ report which found that jobs requiring at least an associate degree will grow twice as fast as those only needing a high school diploma.

Obama says the program includes grants aimed at encouraging community colleges to design new innovative programs and curriculum, funds to develop new online courses and $2.5 billion for new construction and renovation. Spending is expected to begin early next year.

“It’s encouraging to see our president emphasizing the importance of education and skills,” says IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “For years, the IAM has been shouting from the rooftops that America’s edge is our skills and our children. And this initiative recognizes that fact.

“Our hope is that in an effort to move our country forward, that same thinking can be crafted into a larger, more holistic, program aimed at creating jobs now rather than later, while at the same time prepare our workforce for the future,” concluded Buffenbarger. “The Machinists will continue our call for a stimulus package targeting the areas in which many of the men and women taking part in the president’s new community college initiative will be looking for work after graduation – the manufacturing and transportation sectors. What good is a highly-skilled pipe fitter or maintenance mechanic if there aren’t any jobs for that person to fill once they’ve received that quality education?”

Workplace Death in Local Lodge 660

Public services and private remembrances are taking place in Illinois this week for Michael B. Niswander, a Local 660 member of East Alton, IL, who died in an industrial accident at Global Brass and Copper Saturday, July 11, 2009.

Niswander joined the IAM in 1993. He served as Shop Steward, Committeeman and member of the Union Label committee. He was also active in the community as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7678, the Wood River Moose and the Alton Eagles.

Niswander, a single parent, is survived by his 14-year-old son Zachary.

“Brother Niswander was one of those rare individuals who was always there to help out his Union, a friend, a co-worker or just someone who needed a hand,” said IAM District 9 Assistant Directing Business Representative Mark Conner. “He will be deeply missed by all of his family, colleagues and friends. The Staff and Officers of District 9 would like to send our condolences to all of his family.”

IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber offered his deepest sympathy to the Niswander family saying, “In the difficult times ahead, rest assured that Michael’s family will be in our thoughts and prayers.”

The Union Difference: More Family-Friendly Workplaces

A new study has found unions help make workplaces more family-friendly, providing one more reason to support the Employee Free Choice Act.

The report entitled “Family-Friendly Workplaces: Do Unions Make a Difference?” focused on work-life balance issues, paid leave and health benefits. Researchers Jenifer MacGillvary of the Labor Center at the University of California-Berkeley and Netsy Firestein of the Labor Project for Working Families found that “yet as has been the case with virtually all other aspects of employment, labor unions are leading the way in setting new standards. Unionized workers receive more generous family-friendly benefits than their nonunionized counterparts.”

According to the report, unions promote compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Unionized workers are 1.3 times as likely as nonunionized workers to be allowed to use their own sick time to care for a sick child, they are 50 percent more likely than nonunionized workers to have paid personal leave that can be used to care for sick children, and companies with 30 percent or more unionized workers are five times as likely to pay the entire family health insurance premium.

The Employee Free Choice Act, legislation currently making its way through Congress, would help to protect the ability of all workers to care for their families. The bill would enable workers to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by strengthening their rights to form unions.

Click here to tell Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

For more on the “Family-Friendly Workplaces” report, click here.

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