iMail for Thursday, July 5, 2007

Machinists on Strike at Freightliner in Portland

Anger over decisions earlier this year to move production of a top model to Mexico and lay off more than 630 workers are contributing factors in a strike that began this week at Freightliner’s Portland, OR, facility.

Members of Local 1005 in Portland are walking picket lines for the first in more than 30 years at the company’s main facility, after rejecting a contract that phased out medical benefits for future retirees.

Freightliner terminated production of the prestigious Coronado model in April, triggering a mass layoff at the Portland facility. Many of the workers impacted were second and third generation workers from the same family. The U.S. Labor Department has twice certified that previous Freightliner production has gone to Mexico as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Additional information can be found at the Local 1005 website at

Minnesota Hawgs for Dogs Announces 18th Annual Ride

IAM members are welcome to take part in the 18th Annual Hawgs for Dogs Ride of the Minnesota Chapter of Guide Dogs of America (GDA), which will be held July 14-15, 2007, beginning at the Twin Cities Harley Davidson South in Lakeville, MN and proceeding approximately 500 miles to The Bluffs Inn in Decorah, Iowa. For more information and to register, click here. (

Initiated in 1989 when IAM members, including current Chapter President Steve Cohan, came up with the idea to raise money for GDA, the Minnesota Chapter holds claim to holding the very first Hawgs for Dogs, a motorcycle ride dedicated to GDA ( and its mission to provide guide dogs and instruction, free of charge, to blind and visually impaired men and women in the United States and Canada. Since then, 15 other Hawgs for Dogs have been established (some go by other names) across North America, and the Minnesota Chapter alone has raised over $1,500,000.

GDA Chapters are groups of volunteers dedicated to support the mission of GDA through fundraising and public outreach. Chapters are often started and run by IAM members who provide leadership and volunteers for the Chapter. The intent is to not only support the GDA, but also publicize the IAM in a positive public-action role for the good of the community and to help emphasize IAM-made Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

Massachusetts Truck Mechanics Ratify Three-Year Pact

Automotive mechanics at Patriot International Truck in Medford, MA, recently reached a first agreement after receiving recognition from the employer in April, 2007.

“Most of the mechanics belonged to the IAM at the previous operation,” said BR Russ Gittlen. “The owner chose to recognize the IAM and every employee who wanted a job returned to work at Patriot. Thanks to BR Jim Foley, who negotiated the agreement, this membership will continue to grow.”

The new members of District 15 ratified a three-year agreement providing wage increases of 16.5 percent over the next five years.  The contract also provides for a $3.10 an hour pension contribution and significant health care provisions in the benefit plan.

“Securing our members’ jobs and their retirements is the number one goal of the IAM,” said GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “Thanks to the hard work and determination of Area Director Russ Gittlen and BR Jim Foley, we met that target.”

National Press Club Welcomes Lou Dobbs

For decades Lou Dobbs has been a force in the news business. In a recent speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., he focused on immigration and why for the first time in history, most middle class parents don’t believe their children will have it better than they did. Dobbs also urged viewers to register to vote with his trademark directness.

“It matters not who you vote for, whether you decide you’re going to vote for a Republican or a Democrat, but my God, don’t be taken for granted by these proxies for what is simply corporate power and the power of special interest,” said Dobbs. Watch National Press Club Welcomes Lou Dobbs (

IAM Tugboat Builders Ratify Shipyard Contract

It took three trips to the conciliation table but the members of Lodge 1934 in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, finally have a new collective agreement with East Isle Shipyard Limited.

“We began contract talks last September and we’ve just ratified this agreement,” explained GLR Brian Beaton. “Monetary issues were the constant stumbling blocks to coming to an agreement everyone could live with. This was the most difficult set of negotiations I have been through in many years.”

The three-year accord provides for a wage increase of four percent in each year and increased vacation pay. Other contract highlights include: work clothing allowance increased to $125 per year and bereavement leave to include a worker’s brother and sister. The 78 members of Local 1934 manufacture stern-drive ocean-going tugs for the world market.

New Report Documents Katrina Wage Abuse

A new report from Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) and recent testimony before the House has provided a closer look at the abuse and exploitation of the workers who took part in the New Orleans rebuilding effort in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The IWJ report, Working on Faith: A Faithful Response to Worker Abuse in New Orleans (, surveyed more than 200 post-Katrina workers and found that 47 percent of them did not receive the pay they were entitled to, 55 percent did not receive overtime pay and 58 percent were exposed to dangerous substances such as contaminated water and asbestos.

At a House Oversight and Government Reform Domestic Policy Subcommittee, IWJ public policy director Ted Smukler and Subcommittee Chairman and 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said it was a set of decisions by the Bush administration that set these workers up to be exploited.

“In addition to getting cost-plus and no-bid contracts, the corporations receiving federal contracts and subcontracts also benefited from the suspension of many labor laws and non-enforcement of others,” said Kucinich.

New Mexico and Missouri Members Win SCA Raises

IAM members of Local 2515 in Alamogordo, NM, and Local 778 in Kansas City, MO, who work for M-A/LSSI have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new three-year agreement that will provide them with annual pay raises of four percent, increased pension plan contributions and improved medical and dental plans.

The members are Service Contract employees who are spread out among Holloman AFB in New Mexico, Beale AFB in California and Whiteman AFB in Missouri.

“Through coordination and continued assistance from all involved, these negotiations were highly successful for our members working under this collective bargaining agreement and set a high standard to be matched in other area contracts,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinator Ray Moffatt.