iMail for Thursday, November 15, 2007

Labor Board Rulings Spark Outrage, Protests

A three-block long column of union members, religious leaders and civil rights activists marched on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today in Washington, DC, to protest a series of anti-worker, pro-business rulings by the federal labor board. Simultaneous rallies took place at NLRB offices in more than 20 cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Denver.

“The recent string of anti-worker decisions from the Republican-dominated NLRB are a blatant assault on the most basic worker rights,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “America would be better off with no NLRB than having to contend with one that is totally hostage to the Bush administration and its corporate agenda.”

Having already stripped 8 million workers of the right to organize by expanding the definition of supervisor, the NLRB recently issued decisions that make it harder for workers to use majority sign up and easier for employers to discriminate against union organizers.

“Under Bush, America’s labor board has so failed our nation’s workers that we must now turn to the world’s international watchdogs to monitor and intervene,” said AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. “There is no historic precedent for such aggressive efforts by the board to curtail workers’ rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.”

Ft. Bragg Simulator Techs Ratify New Accord

Members of Local 2296 in Havelock, NC, have ratified a new bargaining agreement with Pulau Electronics Corp., a contractor providing flight simulator services for the U.S. Army at Ft. Bragg, NC. Among the highlights of the three-year agreement are an 11 percent pay raise and increased shift differential for three classes of technicians at the base. Top pay for a Class III Technician will increase to $30.95 in the third year of the contract.

In addition to wage and benefit improvements, successor language in the contract has the potential to provide job security in the event the Army engages a new contractor. The new contract also contains language to prevent the company from subcontracting work normally performed by bargaining unit members.

Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin praised the Local 2296 Negotiating Committee and credited assistance from District 75 DBR Steve Pridgen, who recently negotiated an agreement with the same employer at Ft. Rucker, AL. “The contract in Alabama helped pave the way for what we accomplished in North Carolina,” said Blondin. “This is an example of good communication and coordination paying off for IAM members.”

Schmelzer Named IAM Service Support Manager

GST Warren Mart announced this week that IT Support Specialist Brad Schmelzer has been named Service Support Manager, effective December 1, 2007. Brad’s responsibilities will include managing the Help Desk team at IAM headquarters and researching new technology for IAM purposes.

Schmelzer joined the IAM in 2001 as a machine operator for Collis Inc. in Evansville, IN. As a member of Local 153 in Evansville, Schmelzer served as Shop Steward and Communicator before coming to Grand Lodge in 2004 as an IT Support Specialist.

“The IAM is fortunate to have professionals like Brad on our IT team,” said GST Mart. “I am confident his skills and experience will help keep the IAM on the cutting edge of IT technology for years to come.”

GLR/Mayor Smith Elected to 6th Term

Eastern Territory GLR James Smith was recently re-elected to a sixth term as Mayor of South Lebanon, OH.

The 32-year IAM member has a long history of public service. A graduate of the Lebanon Police Academy and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Smith was appointed Special Representative for the Eastern Territory in 1999 after holding various leadership positions at the local and district level. Smith was first elected mayor of South Lebanon in 1982.

Smith also serves as the Political & Legislative Representative for the 14 states in the Eastern Territory and provides membership training and education on the importance of participating in political activity.

“Jim brings so many skills to the table, including a keen understanding of the connection between politics and paychecks,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “He knows that almost anything in a labor contract, including wages and pensions, can be altered in the legislative arena. For more than 25 years, Jim has been an outstanding advocate for workers’ rights. It’s an honor and a privilege to have him on our team.”

Ira Levy to Join Transportation Staff

International President Tom Buffenbarger announced the appointment of District Lodge 141 General Chairman Ira Levy to the position of Special Representative in the Transportation Department effective December 1, 2007.

“Ira brings a wealth of experience to the department,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “His skills in negotiating, organizing and political action are great assets as he continues serving the IAM membership in this new role.”

Levy, currently a member of Local Lodge 1886, began his career in 1977 as a Ramp Serviceman for United Airlines (UAL) in New York while simultaneously earning a degree in accounting from Hofstra University. He held local lodge positions of Shop Steward, Grievance Committee member and Grievance Committee Chair before being elected a District 141 Assistant General Chair in 1995.

At District 141, Levy was the lead negotiator for the initial United Airlines Fleet Technical Instructor agreement. He was also instrumental in organizing UAL Public Contact Employees and then serving as a negotiator for their first contract.