Fast Track to Nowhere
The debate over free trade agreements is back on the nation’s front pages as the Bush administration seeks fresh “Fast Track” authorization to broker sweeping trade deals without input from labor activists, human rights advocates or even elected officials.
Clickhere to see an eye opening video that cuts to the core of the issue and explains why transnational corporations are so anxious for the U.S. Congress to roll over one more time and give George Bush the power to write the rules that govern international trade.
It’s not a pretty story but it is an important one. With 3 million manufacturing jobs lost since 1994 and a stunning 2.4 million more projected gone by 2015, the time to put the brakes on this Fast Track train wreck is now.
Negotiations Open at Hamilton Sundstrand
“Hamilton Sundstrand is a highly successful company thanks to the skill and dedication of generations of union workers,” declared Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. at the opening session of contract negotiations between Local 743 and Hamilton Sundstrand in Windsor Locks, CT. The IAM represents approximately 1,050 members at Hamilton Sundstrand. The current agreement expires on May 5, 2007.
Attending the March 6 opening session were Aerospace Coordinator Frank Santos; GLR Bill Rudis; District Lodge 26 DBR Everett Corey; Assistant DBR James Parent; Business Representatives Luther Collins, Steve Merrick, and Mike Stone; Local 743 President Mark Hebert and his local negotiating team.
District 947 Kicks Off Organize Drive in Long Beach
District 947 in Long Beach, CA conducted a training session recently to kick off its campaign to bring agency shop recognition to 2,000 technical and office workers employed by the City of Long Beach. The District currently represents five other occupational groupings in the city. The office and technical group is the only one that does not have an agency-shop provision.
Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson presented the participants with an overview of the IAM’s organizational structure, from Local Lodge to Grand Lodge. Western Territory AA Gary Allen, District President Richard Sanchez and Local 1930 President Chris Miller also took part in training and encouraging the nearly thirty participants.
City of Long Beach technical and office workers cover a wide range of occupations – from police and fire dispatch to parks and recreation personnel. Last year, District 947 successfully brought agency shop to the professional unit of city workers. Since the election, the District has been able to secure improvements in wages, training and classification titling.
Buoyed by the support and information gained at the training session, participants began the very next morning meeting with their co-workers getting the IAM message out.
Could this be Your Road King?
Time is rapidly approaching for the drawing for a 2006 Harley-Davidson Road King. The Grand Lodge Convention Host Committee is sponsoring the raffle to raise funds for the 2008 Convention held inside Disney World Orlando. The winning ticket will be drawn during the Legislative Conference held this May. If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, hurry! Contact your District or Territorial Offices for tickets. Tickets can be mailed directly to your home by contacting GLR James Rodehorst or Southern Territory AA Gaylon Allen.
Karen Lovelace Named Sister of the Month
International Women’s Day, March 8, is the perfect occasion to announce that the IAM Women’s Department has named Karen Lovelace of IAM Local Lodge 1165 in Lincoln, IL the U.S. Sister of the Month for March.
A 37-year IAM member, Sister Lovelace currently serves as the Secretary-Treasurer of the local lodge. She has also served as Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President and President under District Lodge 123 and E-Board Member-at-Large for District Lodge 55.
Sister Lovelace has also participated in six Grand Lodge Conventions, two Women’s Conferences, two IAM Blue Ribbon Commissions, as well as numerous state councils, legislative and territorial conferences.
The Canadian sister is selected every other month and Jacqueline Schmidt of Local Lodge 1927 in Ontario remains the pick for Canada.
The IAM “Sister of the Month” is an effort to motivate women to become more involved in their union by recognizing their hard work and dedication. If you’d like to nominate someone, download the nomination form and submit it to the IAM Women’s Department.
Bobby Martinez Joins Western Territory Staff
Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson announced this week that Robert “Bobby” M. Martinez will join the Western Territory staff as a Special Representative, effective April 1, 2007. Bobby recently received his Bachelor’s degree from the National Labor College and has served as Directing Business Representative for IAM Local 933 in Tucson, AZ, since 2000.
“We have been very impressed with the skills and results that Bobby has shown as the DBR in Tucson. His organizing efforts along with his political skills and representation abilities will be a welcome addition to our staff,” said Pearson. “He has been a bright spot with his organizing work, and when you consider that he is in a right-to-work (for less) state, it becomes even more significant.”
Log Truckers Get Boost from Court Ruling
The Washington State Supreme Court gave a legal boost to worker-friendly log trucker bills in Washington and Oregon being supported by the Northwest Log Truckers Cooperative and the IAM-Woodworkers Union, District W-1.
The Court rejected the Washington Truckers Association (WTA) argument that federal truck deregulation laws preempt state action regarding prevailing wage law for truckers.
The two bills (HB 2497 in Oregon and HB 2247 in Washington) will ensure the economic health of rural communities in Washington and Oregon by giving log truck drivers the right to collectively bargain with the state’s large forest products companies.
Go to www.goiam.org/woodworkers to send an email message to either the Washington or Oregon state legislature.
Bazillionaire Calls for Unlimited Foreign Worker Visas
Testifying before a Senate hearing on U.S. competitiveness, Microsoft founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates said that he didn’t think there should be any limit on H1B visas issued to foreign tech workers. Most Senators agreed, but lamented the fact that Congress would likely only double the H1B visa limit.
Doubling the H1B visa limit would mean 130,000 jobs lost to lower-paid, temporary visa holders. We don’t have to guess at the result. Fewer jobs for American tech workers and professionals, lower wages for those who have jobs, and less emphasis on educating and developing future Americans as innovators and technology experts.
You can read Bill Gates’ comments at: http://help.senate.gov/Hearings/2007_03_07/Gates.pdf