iMail for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kourpias Honored at Transportation Conference

Delegates to the 2007 Transportation Conference celebrated retired International President George Kourpias’ work on the Northwest Airlines Board of Directors. Air Transport District 143 and Northwest Airlines each presented tributes to Kourpias, who was unable to attend the conference due to an illness.

“George Kourpias advanced the labor movement for all Americans,” said District 143 President Stephen Gordon, who noted the multitude of positions Kourpias has held since his early days as a member of Local 1637 in Sioux City, IA. “Your work on behalf of thousands of employees at Northwest Airlines will never be forgotten.”

Kourpias served on the Board from 1997 until the airline emerged from bankruptcy this past May. International President Tom Buffenbarger and General Secretary Treasurer Warren Mart accepted the presentations on Kourpias’ behalf.

Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater also spoke as a guest at the conference, praising Kourpias as a friend and valued ally on the NWA board. Slater was first appointed by the IAM as a non-voting observer to the Board of Directors in 2005, and remains on the Board as an independent director.

Government Bus Deal Snubs Canadian Workers

More than 1,000 Machinists of Local Lodge 1953 employed by Motor Coach Industries (MCI) in Winnipeg are outraged by the Canadian government’s decision to use a German company to supply the Department of National Defence (DND) with 30 new buses.

MCI has been supplying the Canadian military with buses for more than 25 years with no complaints, according to Pat Martin, MP for Winnipeg Centre. “The DND just took delivery of 12 MCI coaches in February, so why now is there a sudden need to buy offshore,” Martin said.

“I find it absolutely disgusting that our tax dollars are going into the pockets of a foreign company to pay for a product that can be made right here in Canada,” said General Vice President Dave Ritchie. “I asked the Prime Minister in March to implement a ‘Buy Canadian’ procurement policy to help our manufacturing sector which is losing 192 jobs daily – obviously, he is not listening.”

Second Time is the Charm in Midwest Organizing Wins

Local 701 in Countryside, IL brought 43 new members into the IAM by winning a second organizing attempt at Howard Orloff Imports in Chicago, IL. The new members are automotive and auto body technicians.

“These technicians held strong,” said Business Representative Ken Malette. “I’m very proud of their determination. We tried to help this group three years ago, but the dealer made all kinds of promises. Well, the dealer did not follow through on those promises.”

In another second-attempt organizing victory, District 9 in St. Louis, MO recently brought eight new members into Local 1345 with their victory at Technical Products International Inc. These new members build high-tech medical equipment, working in machining, assembly, quality control and the warehouse.

The District tried to organize Technical Products and McCormick Scientific at the same time, as both are part of Cortex holdings. They won at McCormick, but tied at Technical Products.

“We’ve had a contract at McCormick for a little over a year now,” said District 9 Organizer Michael Hahn. “The professional representation and the collective bargaining agreement put in place there had a positive affect on the outcome of this recent election at Technical Products.”

“Mechanics Local 701 DBR Dennis Jawor, BR Ken Malette and BR Steve Tyeptanar, as well as District 9 DBR Roger E. Poole and Organizer Michael Hahn, all do a first-class job,” said Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “We are very proud of their commitment to organizing and growing our organization.”

District Lodge 6 Inks New Deal – Ends Strike at Prince Hydraulics

Local Lodge 1426 members in Sioux City, IA voted to ended their three-month strike at Prince Hydraulics and ratified a new four-year deal. The members, who make hydraulic cylinders and hand pumps for construction, agriculture, moving equipment, etc., rejected the company’s final offer back in March because the proposed wage increase would not have covered the increased employee cost in health insurance.

The new agreement includes a $1.90 general wage increase over the next four years, a better pension plan and company concessions on the insurance issue. “It is important to our members that the insurance increases be spread out more evenly so that higher prices in fuel, food and housing can be budgeted with less of a hardship,” said IAM District 6 Business Representative John Herrig. “I am pleased that Prince came to the same realization.”

New Grand Lodge GDA Chapter Debuts at Staff Conference

International President Tom Buffenbarger has announced that Grand Lodge is chartering a Guide Dogs of America (GDA) National Chapter to be known as International Guide Ride (IGR). To kick it off, GVP Bob Martinez and the Southern Territory are hosting the inaugural Poker Run and Rally in conjunction with the IAM National Staff Conference. The Ride will be held in Orlando, FL on Saturday, August 25, 2007, and is open to all staff, members, family and friends.

“We’re excited about our GDA National Chapter, International Guide Ride,” said Buffenbarger. “Our goal for this first event is to raise big money for a worthy cause and for everyone to have fun.” Orlando Ride participants will become charter members of IGR. Each will receive an arm patch with the new IGR logo and a rocker emblem indicating his or her respective IAM Territory.

The Ride will start at 7:00 a.m. at the Orlando Harley-Davidson Historic Factory dealership, 3770 – 37th Street, Orlando, FL 32805. Plan to get there early to register. After registration, the Ride will head out to Harley-Davidson at Destination Daytona, 1637 North U.S. Highway 1, Ormond Beach 32174. Departing there at 11:00 a.m., the Ride will continue on to IAM District Lodge 166, 271 Taylor Avenue, Cape Canaveral 32920, where participants will enjoy food, fun and prizes. Riders will leave District 166 at 4:30, and arrive back at the Orlando Harley-Davidson dealership by 6:00 p.m.

Click on the necessary Pledge Form and Registration Form, fill them out,and bring them with you to Orlando. Any questions regarding the Orlando Ride should be directed to Southern Territory GLR James “Rody” Rodehorst at 316-841-8313, or

If you want to participate, but can’t bring your bike, reserve one today by clicking here:
. Special arrangements have been made with Orlando Harley-Davidson for a limited number of one-day rentals for the discounted price of $116.00 (including tax and insurance). Please indicate in the comment section “GDA” to get the discount. Deadline for reserving a bike is August 18, 2007.

Activities and events for IGR will be coordinated through the IAM’s Automotive Department, and all proceeds will benefit GDA. If you should have any questions about IGR, please contact Automotive Coordinator Boysen Anderson at 301-967-4570 or

Communicators Class Full, Advanced Web Rescheduled

The IAM Communications Department’s Communicators class scheduled for September 30 through October 5 at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center is full. The Advanced Web Design class scheduled for September 16 through 21, 2007 has been rescheduled for 2008. Applicants for the 2007 class will be given priority for spots in the 2008 class. Dates for the 2008 class will be available when the Winpisinger Center releases its 2008 schedule this Fall.

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