iMail for Thursday, May 1, 2008

Virginia Auto Parts Strike Yields Gains 

A short strike in Blacksburg, VA, yielded a stronger contract for 200 members of Local Lodge 2533. The four-year agreement at Federal Mogul, an auto parts manufacturer, expires in 2010, but the contract had a wage opener in April. The company offered a $500 lump sum for 2008 and a 25 cent increase in 2009.
The Bargaining Committee rejected the offer, and the local voted overwhelmingly to strike, and set up pickets Sunday, April 13th. Bargaining resumed on Monday, and on Tuesday, the Union reached a tentative agreement with the company that included a 42 cent increase in 2008 and a second 42 cent increase in 2009. On Wednesday, the membership ratified the agreement, and returned to work starting on second shift.

“The membership was strong and showed solidarity on the picket line and great support for the bargaining committee,” said District W-2 Directing Business Representative Leon Blocker. “Our Bargaining Committee did an excellent job, and we were able to make our point with a short strike.”

Aloha says Goodbye

After more than 60 years in existence, Aloha Airlines this week converted its recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring to a Chapter 7 liquidation case. This means that a trustee will dispose of the airline’s assets.

Since Aloha is liquidating, other entities can pick and choose which assets, if any, they want. Unfortunately, purchasers of assets in Chapter 7 liquidation are not required to hire Aloha employees or honor collective bargaining agreements.

“Aloha Airlines is the latest casualty of airline deregulation,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “Under deregulated market conditions, the airline industry as a whole cannot be both profitable and competitive. Since this industry is essential to our nation’s commerce, the government must step in and introduce some sane controls before more airlines and airline jobs disappear.”

The IAM will continue fighting to protect as many jobs as possible, and assist those that lose their jobs as a result of Aloha’s demise. The Machinists Union’s Department of Employment Services is assisting members affected by Aloha’s shutdown.

“The Machinists Union will not abandon our Aloha members,” said Roach.

National Agreement Inked with Interstate Brands

Bargaining Committee from left to right Business Representative (BR) Todd Fichera, District 98; Coordinator Jim Price, IAM Collective Bargaining Department; Research Economist Taz Hurst IAM Strategic Resources Department; BR Pat Camardo, District 8; BR Mark Martin, District 190; BR Gary Kuepper, District 947 and Director Neil Gladstein, IAM Strategic Resources Department.

Although it is uncertain if Interstate Brands Corporation will emerge from bankruptcy or be bought out by other investors, the IAM successfully went to the bargaining table to bring some stability to nearly 271 members who work for the company under 32 different IAM collective bargaining agreements.

The result of these negotiations was a “National Agreement” that set economic and other terms that apply to each local agreement.  This settlement was approved by IAM members with a 70 percent “yes” vote. Details of the agreement have not been publicized since this settlement still needs to be approved by the Bankruptcy Court.
“This was a total team effort and the outcome shows what happens when we all work together,” said Jim Price of the IAM Collective Bargaining Department. “Our Bargaining Committee, working in concert with representatives from all IAM locations, was able to negotiate solutions to tough problems. They were able to obtain some real benefits for our members even if the settlement did include some sacrifices in recognition of the company’s difficult financial condition.”

Montana Helicopter Techs Ratify New Contract

Back row left to right:  Nate Eby, Bob Berg, Buc Eckhart, Rob Huston, Shelly Clemens, Mike Mroz, Bill Wood, Mike Tucker, Dick Aspinwall, George Maher. Front row left to right:  Bob Rivers, Mike Stalsberg, Russ Fry, Stacy Vernon, DJ Laverdure, Roger Courteau, Mike Coleman, Bob Davison,  missing from photo Bob Everhart

Nineteen helicopter mechanics who maintain the 40th Helicopter Squadron’s fleet of seven helicopters at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana, reached a new three-year accord recently that boosted wages, health care benefits and shift premiums.
The technicians, all members of Local 88 in Butte, MT, are employed by Doss Aviation.

The new agreement, which was negotiated under the Service Contract Act guidelines, brought significant wage increases to the Supply Tech, Aircraft Mechanic I/II/III and QC Inspector classifications – in some cases as high as 21.8 percent. The initial wage increases go into effect October 1, followed by 3.5 percent increases in each of the final two years of the agreement.

“Michael Coleman, our steward, did a great job,” said Western Territory Special Rep. Kevin Cummings.  “His energy, along with the skills and support of the members in this unit, were central to gaining all the improvements they will now enjoy.”

San Diego Ship Builders Christen New Accord

IAM machinists and electricians, bargaining together under the IAM banner for the first time, made solid gains in a new agreement with General Dynamics NASSCO this week.  Highlights of the five-year agreement - which was ratified overwhelmingly – include ratification bonuses, general wage increases totaling $3.80 over the life of the contract, pension increases, out-of-pocket limitations on medical costs and additional stewards.  A wage and pension re-opener was negotiated as well, three years into the agreement.

Negotiations opened January 8, with a focus on strengthening contract language and improving working conditions. ”It’s clear to me,” commented Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson, “that the hard work of this negotiating committee accomplished exactly what they set out to do.  DBR RichardSanchez, Special Rep. Bobby Martinez and GLR Steve Cooper led this dedicated team of members as they forged an agreement that should truly ‘chart the course’ well into the shipyard’s future.”

IAM members at NASSCO, the only major ship construction yard on the West Coast, specialize in building auxiliary and support ships for the U.S. Navy and oil tankers and dry-cargo carriers for commercial markets.

Eastern Territory Announces Staff Changes

Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., announced changes to the Eastern Territory Staff. On May 1, 2008 District 60 BR Mark Ward will become a Special Representative and take over as the Automotive Coordinator for Special Rep. Ed Kuss.

Ward was previously a Ford Motor Company Master Certified and ASE Master Certified Auto and Heavy Duty Truck Technician for over 20 years.  His education background also includes Machine Tool Technology and Industrial Maintenance at Ivy Technical Institute.
“Mark brings a wealth of knowledge to the Automotive Coordinator position,” said GVP Tucker. “His background and expertise in the field will benefit our current automotive members and improve the territory’s organizing ability in that area.”

GVP Tucker appointed SR Ed Kuss to assume the duties of Eastern Territory Organizing Leader (TOL). Kuss joined the IAM in 1988 with Local Lodge 585 while working at Calspan, located in Buffalo, NY.  Kuss was appointed Apprentice Organizer in 2003, and became a Business Rep. for members of District 6 in 2005.

“Ed brings an extensive background and knowledge to his new assignment,” said GVP Tucker. “His prior experience as an organizer will enhance the organizing goals of the Eastern Territory and the IAM.”

GLR Brian Bryant has been assigned the responsibility for handling all the NLRB duties for the Eastern Territory and will work out of the regional office in Cincinnati, OH.

GLR Bryant joined the IAM at Local S6 in 1989 while working as pipe fitter for Bath Iron Works, in Bath, ME. Bryant served on various committees before being elected Local S6 President in 1996. In 1998, he was elected as DBR of District 4 and was appointed Special Representative on Sept.1, 2004.

“These appointments reflect the changing needs of our union,” said GVP Tucker. “They will allow us to meet the challenges that lie ahead, which will add to the continued success of this organization.”

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