President Obama is moving swiftly to restructure key government agencies once dominated by anti-union appointees from the Bush Administration. Federal agencies like the National Mediation Board (NMB) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) play key roles in overseeing labor relations for millions of workers.
At the National Mediation Board, which has jurisdiction for workers in the railroad and airline industries, President Obama has nominated Linda Puchala as an NMB member. Puchala currently serves as a senior mediator with the NMB and is the former president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. The NMB will play an important role in any representation elections resulting from the pending merger between Delta and Northwest Airlines. Click here to send a message to your Senators to confirm Ms. Puchala.
In January, President Obama nominated Wilma Liebman as Chairwoman of the National Labor Relations Board. Liebman’s appointment renews the once Republican-controlled agency and revitalizes its mission and responsibility of protecting workers’ rights. Liebman has eight years of experience on the board, as well as several years experience at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. She began her legal career as an NLRB staff attorney, and has also served on the legal staff of two unions.
“The sweeping changes at the National Mediation Board and National Labor Relations Board are proof that elections make a difference,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “These nominees will restore much-needed balance and fairness at these agencies and they will put the priorities of America’s working families first.”
A small but important group of technicians who work on the grounds of the legendary Ft. Knox recently voted for IAM representation to secure pay rates that are only available in a contract negotiated under Service Contract Act guidelines.
“Without a union, Service Contract employees’ wages and benefits are limited by the government’s Area Wage Determination,” said District 27 Organizer Christopher Bradley, who organized the Weather Observation/Forecast Support technicians employed by Black Box Technology Inc. “They knew they needed a union with experience negotiating SCA contracts, and no union has as much experience as the IAM.”
In addition to the Ft. Knox contract, District 27 also negotiated a first contract for 16 federal workers at Bluegrass Station in Lexington, KY.
“They work for SOFSA – Special Operation Forces Support Activity,” said District 27 Business Representative Billy Stivers. “They support special ops around the world. They can’t – and don’t – talk about what they do, but America is obviously well served by them.”
“They wanted a voice on the job, a grievance and arbitration procedure, and terms and conditions spelled out in a contract,” said Stivers. “That’s what we did.”
“The best way to grow our union is to organize, and then follow up with strong contracts,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “This is exactly what District 27 is doing. Congratulations to everyone involved for a job well done.”
IAM Executive Assistant Diane Babineaux and Community Services and Retirees Department Director Maria Cordone met recently with the EEOC’s Stuart Ishimaru (pictured left) and other union representatives at an AFL-CIO Civil and Women’s Rights Directors/Representative meeting. Ishimaru was designated by President Obama to serve as the EEOC’s Acting Chairman after having served as an EEOC Commissioner since 2003. During the meeting, he outlined his mission of focusing on large, systemic cases involving civil rights issues, equal pay, age discrimination, and persons with disabilities. He also pledged to reinvigorate the Commission’s work on race discrimination issues.
“It was such a pleasure to hear Mr. Ishimaru speak to some of the issues experienced by working men and women each and every day,” says Babineaux. “The IAM looks forward in working with his office in ensuring every worker is treated fairly and equitably on the job.”
The IAM takes a strong position in the support of diversity and dignity on the job. In 1976, Grand Lodge Convention delegates mandated a department at Grand Lodge to “coordinate, foster and develop” union-wide action against discrimination. This includes a directive that standing human rights committees be maintained at the local and district lodge levels.
For additional information, contact the IAM Women’s & Human Rights Department at 301-967-4747.
The Basic Newsletter Development Course originally scheduled for May 10-15, 2009 at the William W. Winpisinger Center Education and Technology Course has been rescheduled for August 2-7, 2009.
Applications already on file will be held for the new course date. The deadline for new applications is May 1, 2009. Local or district lodges who want to start a newsletter or train editors for existing newsletters are encouraged to apply. The course covers writing and editing, effective layout and design techniques and desktop publishing.
Click here for the course description and to download the official call and course application. For more information, call the Communications Dept. at 301-967-4520.
District 9 and Local 777 in St. Louis, MO recently added 61 new members with an organizing win among employees who work in the city’s Fleet Maintenance, Parks, Fire, Ambulance and Refuse facilities.
According to District 9 Organize Mike Musgrove, the main issues in the drive were gaining professional representation, increased wages and the lack of training opportunities.”They are very concerned with the lack of training and difficulty in attaining certifications at work,” explained Musgrove. “The result is outsourcing, which is unacceptable.”
Musgrove praised the individuals who led the campaign from inside the city departments saying, “The in-house organizing team was solid as a rock. It was their hard work and determination that got this done.”
“We commend DBR Roger Poole along with Organizers Mike Musgrove and Mike Hahn for a job well done,” said Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber, who extended his thanks to everyone involved. “We welcome our new members into the IAM and appreciate their courage and dedication to win the professional representation, better wages and working conditions they deserve.”
On May 16-17, 2009, the IAM Midwest Territory will host a weekend of events in and around St. Louis, MO, to benefit Guide Dogs of America (GDA). The event has been designated the “Spirit of the Midwest, Rides for Guides” and will kick off on Saturday morning (May 16) with a 150-mile motorcycle ride through Missouri’s scenic wine country. The day will conclude with dinner and dancing at the District 837 Union Hall in St. Louis, MO.
The benefit weekend will continue on Sunday, May 17, with a Classic Auto Show at the District 9 Union Hall in Bridgeton, MO. The event, set to begin at 9 am, will feature cars of all types and include raffles, drawings and prizes.
Locals and districts throughout the Midwest Territory are asked to support the GDA benefit by providing members with information about the event and by taking action in your local lodge by donating at an amount your lodge feels they can support, for the benefit of GDA.
For more information contact, GLR Rod Hoffman at 630-548-2450, 314-378-9366, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Russ Wittkop at 630-842-4970, email@example.com, or Mike King at 630-548-2450, 630-842-9376, firstname.lastname@example.org.