iMail for Thursday March 1, 2007

Tentative Agreement Reached at AK Steel

After weeks of intense bargaining and exactly one year after the lockout at AK Steel began, the IAM announced a tentative agreement on behalf of members of newly chartered Local 1943 in Middletown, Ohio.
Voting on the agreement will take place via mail-in ballot to provide ample time for members to make a decision to accept or reject the offer. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) will oversee the counting of the ballots.

“This agreement is the result of sacrifice, hard work, and support of the community,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., who was instrumental in bringing the parties together and fully endorsed the agreement. “The Mayor of Middletown, David Schiavone, his Council, Sheriff Jones and Commissioner Fox were all committed to help bring a fair and just settlement. Ohio Governor Strickland and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) were in touch with the parties during the sessions and we have extended our thanks to them for their input.”

IAM Journal Makes ‘Focus’ the Issue

The American labor movement built Middle-Class America, allowing millions of families to enjoy good wages, healthcare benefits and a secure retirement. But that contribution is being ignored, according to “FOCUS,” the feature article in the Spring 2007 IAM Journal.

“Improving the lives of its members is the first imperative of any union and we do that at the bargaining table every single day,” said Tom Buffenbarger, IAM International President. “And yet, organized labor’s role in creating, maintaining and defending North America’s broad middle class goes unrecognized. That must change.”

“FOCUS” chronicles the successes of collective bargaining and the solid return on investment that union membership brings. From high–profile battles with airline and aerospace giants to small shops with a handful of workers, union members have carried the fight for workplace rights and economic fairness to a new level.

“Now is the time to focus on our members,” said Buffenbarger. “Their courage, their sacrifices, their willingness to fight for their families makes these men and women the indispensables of the American Labor movement. They deserve a new spotlight that is focused on them and their accomplishments on behalf of all workers.”

A Salute From the Border

Tennessee National Guardsman Willie Burris is among hundreds of guardsmen and reservists currently assigned to patrol the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona, California and New Mexico. Back home in Loudon, TN, Burris is a member of Local 2545 and employed by Maremont Exhaust Products, where members are on strike over a proposed two-tier wage system and sharply higher health insurance costs.

Earlier in February, Maremont sent Burris a letter threatening to permanently replace him if he didn’t report back to work immediately. Although the company quickly moved to say that it was a “mistake” to send the letter, Burris’s response left no doubt about where he stood on the matter.

“There’s just no way I would go back in with my co-workers standing out there. It’s the principle of the thing,” declared Burris, who said he’ll join the union’s fight if the strike is still going on when he returns in June.

 “Our members are holding together very well,” said District 711 Business Representative George Mays. “We have a strong local, and we’re determined to get a fair contract.” Talks between IAM negotiators and Maremont are expected to resume today.

“Guardsman Burris deserved better than the threatening letter he received from Maremont,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “He deserves our respect and thanks for the risks he’s taking and a good job to come home to when his assignment ends.” A local news story about Guardsman Burris is currently available at

GVP Martinez Named to LCLAA Leadership Post

Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez will serve as National Vice President for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the official Latino constituency group of the AFL-CIO and the first national organization to represent the views of Latino trade unionists seeking justice at the workplace. GVP Martinez was nominated and elected following the retirement of Western Territory GLR Jose Rodriguez, who previously held the position on the LCLAA Executive Board.

GVP Martinez will serve alongside Transportation Department GLR Dora Cervantes, who was nominated and elected to the LCLAA Executive Board position previously held by GVP Martinez.

“GLR Rodriguez served our membership very well in his capacity at LCLAA,” said Martinez. “We wish him well. I’m proud to be a representative of the IAM with LCLAA, and I look forward to working with LCLAA to provide social justice to all our members.”

District 142 Shop Stewards Meet at WWW

Sixty-eight IAM Shop Stewards participated in Air Transport District 142’s 2007 Southwest Airlines Shop Stewards Conference, held this week at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center. More than half the participants are attending their first conference.

The Stewards developed goals and strategies in advance of the 2008 contract negotiations for more than 6,000 IAM-represented Customer Service and Reservation agents.

“This will be the most difficult negotiations we have ever seen at Southwest Airlines,” said GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “The Grand Lodge, District Lodge and Local Lodges must display solidarity and unity at all times. We must work as a team to ensure that Southwest Airlines understands that they must deal with our members’ issues at the bargaining table.”

Machinists in Ontario Sign New Agreements

Members of two IAM local lodges in Ontario, Canada, have signed new collective bargaining agreements that increase wages, benefits and pensions while providing a rock solid case for workers considering IAM membership.

The 69 members of Local Lodge 2243 in Mississauga, ON, ratified a new three-year collective agreement with Filamat Composites Inc., that provides wage increases of 2.5 percent in the first and second year respectively and 3 percent in the third year. Other contract highlights include an IAM Pension Plan increase of five cents in each year of the contract, increased shift premiums, improved eye care benefits, improved short-term disability benefits and an additional floating holiday.

The 14 members of Local Lodge 235 in Toronto, ON, also signed a new two-year agreement with Revco Worldwide Inc. that boosts wages by 4 percent over the life of the accord and raises IAM Pension Plan contributions by 5 cents per hour in each year of the agreement. Members there also won eye care and pension language improvements.

The 14 members of Local 235 are employed as set-up operators and machinists for the sprocket manufacturer located in the east end of Toronto.