iMail for Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pickets Protest New Piper Shareholder’s Meeting

IAM members picketed the American Capital Strategies (ACS) shareholders meeting in Bethesda, Maryland this morning to show support for workers at New Piper Aircraft who were denied their freedom to join the union. 

ACS owns New Piper Aircraft and has allowed an anti-worker management team free rein in the company administration. New Piper management has rung up dozens of unfair labor practice charges, has bargained in bad faith, and has run a systematic campaign of harassment of union supporters.

“We’ve asked ACS to intervene and treat their workers with dignity,” said GVP Robert V. Thayer. “They said it’s their policy not to interfere with local management. They ought to change that policy. We don’t intend to go away.”

Strategic Resources Director Steve Sleigh said the company had run a “totally anti-union campaign,” that included more strictly enforcing solicitation and distribution rules against union supporters, promising benefits to employees if they vote to get rid of the union and encouraging employees to sign a decertification petition even as management was supposedly bargaining in good faith.

“The IAM members at New Piper have stuck with the company through hurricanes and wage cuts, and helped it rebuild,” said Thayer. “They deserve much better than this.”


IAM Slams Whirlpool for Maytag Closure

Machinists union leaders reacted sharply to Whirlpool’s announcement this week that it was closing its Maytag washer and dryer facility in Herrin, IL and moving the work to its Whirlpool facilities in Clyde and Marion, OH. The IAM represents about 800 production workers at the Herrin, IL facility.

“This closure is the direct result of the Bush Administration’s abdication of its oversight responsibility when it allowed the merger of two companies that would end up with almost 80 percent of the U.S. market share for washer and dryer manufacturing,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “It also underscores this Administration’s opposition to a meaningful industrial policy to protect America’s manufacturing sector.”

Whirlpool acquired Maytag in March 2006 after a takeover battle that started in May 2005. The Bush Administration ignored objections to Whirlpool’s takeover bid on grounds the new company’s giant market share would cost jobs and harm consumers. The Justice Department’s Anti-Trust Division approved Whirlpool’s bid in March 2006.

“Lousy trade policies and a complete lack of enforcement of anti-trust and other measures to protect jobs and consumers are leaving American communities devastated as family-wage manufacturing jobs are sent overseas or consolidated by multinational companies,” said IAM Midwest Territory GVP James Brown.

“We will immediately begin meetings with our federal, state and local leaders to pressure Whirlpool to reverse its misguided decision. We will also demand meaningful steps to protect U.S. manufacturing jobs, including an end to millions of dollars in bonuses to top executives for flushing good American jobs down the toilet.” 

IAM, TWU Reach US Airways Accord

The IAM and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), AFL-CIO, reached an agreement this week over future representation rights for the close to 8,000 active and furloughed fleet service workers at the merged US Airways and America West Airlines.

As part of the accord, the TWU is withdrawing its application with the National Mediation Board (NMB) seeking representation rights for the merged workforce, and has agreed to work with the IAM leadership on a seniority integration process to ensure a smooth transition of representation services between the TWU and the IAM.

“The IAM will work closely with the TWU’s International and Local 580 representatives to ensure a smooth transition into a single, unified workforce,” said IAM Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “The IAM and TWU have worked together for many years, and that relationship will continue.

“A major part of this process will be negotiating a transition agreement with US Airways that covers all Fleet Service workers,” said Roach. “Current TWU Local 580 representatives from the former America West will participate in the transition negotiations alongside IAM District 141 representatives. The TWU representatives’ knowledge and experience will be invaluable.”

TWU International President James C. Little said that the TWU International Administrative Committee made the decision after recognizing that an NMB-conducted election would possibly result in no union for the merged workforce.

IAM Hosts Global Transportation Conference

The IAM hosted the 2006 International Transport Workers Federation’s (ITF) “Alliance Strategy Conference” at its headquarters in Upper Marlboro, Maryland this week, offering ITF members a forum to come together and strengthen their ability to face the international alliances formed by airlines.

GVP Robert Roach, Jr. greeted the group, inviting them to help offer real solutions to the challenges facing the transportation industry.

“Air transport workers from around the world are facing unprecedented layoffs, mergers, bankruptcies and outsourcing,” said Roach. “There are global forces affecting aviation workers, and unions must work to develop innovative global solutions.”

During the two-day event, IAM representatives met with more than fifty trade union colleagues from around the world, including Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; the Czech Republic; France; Germany; Great Britain; Jordan; the Netherlands; Norway; Portugal; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland and Thailand.


Letter Carriers to “Stamp Out Hunger” on May 13

Letter carriers and other postal employees in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America will collect non-perishable food items donated by customers and deliver them to local community food banks, pantries and shelters. “Stamp Out Hunger” is the largest annual one-day food drive in the world.

“Because we are out among the people every day, letter carriers see the silent suffering that hunger brings to millions of the less fortunate right here in our neighborhoods,” said National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) President William Young.

“I’m proud that tens of thousands of carriers and tens of thousands more of our brother and sister postal employees and other volunteers come together so we can ‘Stamp Out Hunger.’

To participate, simply place canned goods and non-perishable items in a bag and leave it by your mailbox on Saturday, May 13, 2006.


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