iMail for Thursday, November 02, 2006

Relief Fund Established as Fifth Firefighter Dies

The California wildfire that took the lives of four U.S. Forest Service firefighters last week claimed a fifth victim this week with the death of Pablo Cerda, 23, who suffered burns over 90 percent of his body while fighting the blaze. The IAM is calling on locals, districts and members to contribute to a relief fund established to aid the families of the victims.

Four of the five firefighters who perished on Oct. 27: Jess McLean, 27; Jason McKay, 27; Daniel Hoover-Najera, 20 and Pablo Cerda, 23 were represented by the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) Local 1558.  Also killed was Engine Captain Mark Loutenhiser, 44, a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service.

The death of Pablo Cerda made it the greatest loss of firefighters in a single incident while battling a wildfire since 14 were killed in July 1994 near Glenwood Springs, Colo.

“These men died heroically, protecting their fellow citizens, each other and the land they loved,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “We owe their families all the support and strength we can give them.”

The IAM is urging members to send donations to the IAM Fallen Firefighters Fund c/o Maria Cordone, IAM Community Services Dept., 9000 Machinists Place., Upper Marlboro, MD 20772.

IP Buffenbarger Kicks Off Ohio Rally

International President Tom Buffenbarger and Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland addressed a large labor crowd outside Ohio’s Chillicothe courthouse this week, urging members to go the extra mile to get out the vote on November 7.

“Between now and next Tuesday, Ohio is going to see all of you doing everything in your power to get family, friends and fellow trade unionists to the polls,” said Buffenbarger. “Together, we can elect a government that values American workers and keeps good jobs here at home. And the best place to start is right here in Ohio.”

Strickland pledged to turn Ohio around by giving the state back to working families. “I am going to focus on issues important to every man, woman and child in America – economic security for our families, a chance for our kids to get a decent education and affordable health care for our families,” said Strickland.

Also speaking at the rally was Ohio Senatorial candidate Sherrod Brown, House candidate Zach Space and a host of local politicians.

Kentucky Labor Rally Planned for Nov. 4

With less than 72 hours before voting begins in the critical 2006 midterm elections, GST Warren Mart will join Kentucky state labor leaders and hundreds of union members for a Get Out the Vote Rally in downtown Henderson, KY.

Joining the November 4 rally will be Steelworkers, Mineworkers, Laborers, Carpenters, Operating Engineers, Electrical Workers and members of Kentucky’s Tri County Labor Council, who organized the event. Also speaking at the event will be local officials and Tom Barlow, Democratic candidate for Congress in Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District.

“The issues that matter to union members are all on the line in this election,” said GST Mart. “Good jobs, secure pensions, and collective bargaining rights have been under attack for too long. We need to send an unmistakable message that these things matter, for us and for the next generation.”

IP Calls for Return of Apprentice Programs

IP Tom Buffenbarger visited with members of Local 912 and 162 at the GE Aircraft Engine plant in Evendale, OH, this week and urged everyone to vote on November 7. Accompanied by Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. and District 34 BR Steve Graham, the group also met with management representatives of the engine building facility.

During a meeting with union and company officials, Buffenbarger called for a return to apprentice programs in the workplace. “I get calls every week from employers asking for skilled workers and I have to tell them I can’t help, there just aren’t any,” said Buffenbarger.

GE’s Aircraft Engine Vice-President Scott Ernest provided a review of GEs business and credited IAM members for their help in growing the engine business. Orders are up and so is market share, according to Ernest.

Order Your 2007 IAM Calendar Today!

The 2007 IAM Calendar is hot off the press and ready for individual and bulk orders. IAM members can use an individual calendar order form that can be mailed back with a payment of $7 for each calendar. Lodges can use the bulk order form  and return it by mail or fax. A portion from the calendar sales is donated to Guide Dogs of America. The IAM raised more than $23,000 for the GDA from last year’s calendar sales.

The 2007 IAM Calendar features the winners of the 2006 IAM Photography Contest, go to to view winning photos, including First-place winner Ben Castic of Local 41; Second-place winner Mike Kowalsky of Local 498 and Third-place winner Ed Griffith of Local 2061.

Honorable Mention winners are: Thomas Pinski, LL 837-B; Dave McWaters, LL 1788; David Cummins, LL 2003; Ronald Oliver, LL 837-A; Nicole Callahan, LL 1713; Philippe Deschênes, LL 869; Steve Albrecht, LL 1259; Andrea Gray, LL 1245; Frank Kammerer, LL 912; Joseph Fortunato, LL 1947; and Thomas Ringgold, LL 325.