iMail for Thursday, June 12, 2008

IAM Survey Highlights Latino Voter Priorities

The IAM today released results of a poll in four key western states that found Latino voters would reward any presidential candidate who promoted vocational and technical training programs as part of their campaign.

The survey, conducted for the Machinists by the The Mellman Group, surveyed 1,200 likely Latino voters in California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, and found overwhelming support for a proposal to “guarantee every American of any age two years of free training or vocational education after high school.” The IAM represents more than 50,000 members in California, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

Eighty-two percent of those polled favor such a publicly-funded program and seventy percent are willing to support a presidential candidate who shares their view.

Seventy-one percent of Latino voters polled also identified improved training as “one of the most important” or “very important” things that could be done to improve the economy, ahead of proposals to expand international trade, cut taxes or cancel unfair trade agreements.

“There is an enormous hunger among blue collar voters everywhere for a new approach to education that is not based on the pursuit of a four-year college degree,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “The employment opportunities are well established, with ninety percent of American manufacturers reporting moderate to severe shortages of skilled production workers. What we need now are programs, funding and an awareness that this nation relies on a highly skilled workforce.”

The lack of vocational and technical training opportunities prompted the IAM to launch “America’s Edge; Our Skills, Our Kids,” an issues initiative designed to draw attention to the growing skills crisis. More information about America’s Edge is available on the IAM website.

IAM Mourns Former General Counsel

Joseph “Joe” Manners, the prominent Miami labor attorney and Justice Department official who successfully argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court before serving nine years as IAM General Counsel, died on May 25 after a long and distinguished career.

Manners hit the ground running in 1980 after being named to the IAM’s top legal post by then International President William Winpisinger, with just weeks before the opening of the 1980 Grand Lodge Convention.

An IAM member of Florida Local 701 since 1963, Manners represented Districts 100 and 146 as well as Locals 701 and 971 in cases that ranged from insurance liability and duty of fair representation to airline issues.

Prior to his career as a labor side attorney, Manners served with the 106th Infantry Division during World War II, where he fought and was captured in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he earned a law degree from the University of Miami and served as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida and Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General, where he headed a task force on organized crime.

Allegheny National Forest Employees Vote NFFE-IAM

Months of hard work paid off this week when a majority of eligible Forest Service employees at the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania, voted in favor of representation by the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM). 

 A new local lodge will be chartered for the approximately 105 bargaining unit members, who will be covered by the master agreement between NFFE-IAM and the Forest Service, and will enjoy access to the training and other resources available from NFFE’s Forest Service Council. 

 “This was truly a grassroots effort,” said Business Representative Gary Johanson, who helped organize the unit.  “A few employees who had worked in NFFE-IAM-represented forests in the past were instrumental in this victory.  They recognized the value of union representation, contacted us, and we worked from the ground up to make this happen.”
 The new local, with approximately 105 bargaining unit members, will be covered by the master agreement negotiated between NFFE and the Forest Service, and will enjoy access to the training and other resources available from NFFE’s Forest Service Council.  NFFE Business Representative Gary Johanson, who helped organize the forest, will be returning in a few weeks to help get the local up and running and put interim officers and stewards in place. 

“Special thanks and congratulations are due to BR Johanson, Forest Service Council Region 9 Vice President Jozef Drozdowski and the involved employees of the Allegheny National Forest for all their hard work,” said Richard Brown, President of NFFE-IAM Federal District 1.

IAM Family Members Win Union Plus Scholarships

Two IAM family members and one IAM member are among 108 winners from 40 unions who were awarded a total of $150,000 in the 2008 Union Plus Scholarship program.

This year’s IAM winners include Alyssa Vance of Santa Clara, CA, whose mother is Gina Micle of Local 93 in San Jose, CA; Toni McBroom of Defiance, OH, a member of Local 956 in Archbold, OH and Brittany Lyp of Palm Harbor, FL, whose father Gary Lyp is a member of Local 1487 in Chicago, IL.

Alyssa Vance, who won a $1,000 Union Plus scholarship to pursue a degree in education, recognizes the value of belonging to an IAM family. “My mother has always been able to support me and my brother, thanks to her union job,” she says. “I would not have the opportunities that I have now if it was not for my mother and the union.”

Alyssa, Toni and Brittany were among more than 4,200 entrants vying for this year’s scholarships, which are granted to students attending a two-year or four-year college, graduate school or recognized technical or trade school. Winners are based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and a 500-word essay.

“The Union Plus scholarship program has been helping IAM members and their families to reach their educational goals since 1992,” said GST Warren Mart. “I want to extend my congratulations to this year’s winners and wish them every success.”

Visit for more information about the Union Plus Scholarship program and to receive a notification when the application for next year’s scholarship application is available.

Organizers Win a Pair in Ontario

IAM organizers turned challenges into opportunities at two locations in Canada where workers were looking for the same thing; fair treatment, a safe workplace and respect on the job.

At Dylatech Incorporated in Mississauga, ON, the IAM used translators to ensure 21 machine operators and painters had all the information they needed about their rights and the benefits of collective bargaining. “All of these workers are new Canadians and English is not their first language,” explained District 78 Organizer Scott Jackson. “Fair treatment from their employer is the desire of any worker in any language and Organizer Roy Bhansignh was able to deliver our message through the use of translators and that was the key to this organizing victory.”

In Stoney Creek, ON, It took only one week to sign up the nine workers at Stoney Creek Coatings after Apprentice Organizer Ralph Martin explained how the union could improve their wages as well as health and safety in the workplace. “Your first victory as an organizer is always the tough one and Ralph Martin deserves the credit for bringing this group to the Machinists,” explained District 78 Organizer Scott Jackson. The newest members of Local 1922 paint manufactured plastic parts for the automotive industry.

Steve Galloway Joins Midwest Territory Staff

Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber this week announced the appointment of Steve Galloway to the position of Special Representative, effective June 1, 2008.

Galloway, an IAM member since 1987, began his membership in Local 459, District 77, as a brewer working at the Stroh Brewery Company in St. Paul, MN.  During his eleven years at Stroh’s, he served as Union Steward, Bargaining Committeeperson and as Bargaining Committee Chairperson, Local 459 Executive Board Member and President of District 77. In 1998 Galloway was elected Business Representative for District 77, and in 2007 was elected District 77 Directing Business Representative.