More than 200 delegates and guests from 28 local lodges around the country gathered in Phoenix, AZ this week to hold their annual convention and to celebrate the trials and triumphs of one of the largest districts in the Machinists Union.
“Our history is nothing less than the history of the airline industry itself,” said District 141 President Randy Canale, only the seventh president and directing general chairman since the district was chartered in 1946.
Phoenix was chosen as the site for this year’s convention to commemorate the addition of 2,200 America West Fleet Service workers to District 141 following the merger of US Airways and Phoenix-based America West.
The three-day conference included bylaw proposals, committee reports and remarks from Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr., who praised members for their achievements and urged delegates to prepare for a new round of airline mergers. “Make no mistake, there are additional mergers coming and this union will be prepared,” said Roach. “The IAM Merger Team, formed at the direction of IP Buffenbarger, has the skills, the resources and the hard won experience to protect our members no matter what type of merger is proposed.”
If you’re a single mom working to keep a roof over your kids heads and food on the table, you know how hard it is to make ends meet. You might be juggling two jobs on top of a full schedule at home that includes errands, food shopping, helping with homework and doctor appointments. And that’s just on a slow day. So who has time to think about politics, much less voting in the November 7 election?
It’s not that working women don’t care – they feel the politicians don’t care. The top three concerns in a recent AFL-CIO survey of working women included the cost of healthcare, the rising cost of living and disappearing retirement security… all basic economic issues – all issues the Republicans have been fighting tooth and nail.
“This GOP-led Congress just doesn’t get it,” said Cheryl Eastburn, IAM Women’s Department Director. “What concerns women concerns us all, the struggle to meet family responsibilities and balance work life and home life. If you think our leaders in Washington aren’t doing enough to help working families, you need to vote and let your voice be heard!”
For more information about candidates in your area and voter registration information, go to the “Who’s Got the JUICE” section of www.goiam.org.
Three-term U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka stopped by the October membership meeting of Local 1998 in Honolulu, Hawaii last week to thank IAM members for their support in his recent Democratic primary win. “We really appreciated his visit,” said GLR Maria Santiago Lillis. “He had just gotten off a plane and came directly to the Local. We’ve worked hard to keep Senator Akaka in office so we’ll continue to have a voice that speaks up for us.”
Senator Akaka has a long voting record in favor of the IAM and working families. He spoke about shrinking the gap between the rich and the poor; reversing the rash of cuts in education, health care, social services, law enforcement, environmental protection and ensuring that our returning veterans have access to the benefits and services they need.
“For Senator Akaka to visit Local 1998 and spend time sharing his views and thanking our members for their support only shows the enormous character that we need more of in Washington, DC,” said Western GVP Lee Pearson. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to help him bring a voice of sanity to national politics, and I’m extremely pleased that he hasn’t forgotten what being a Senator is supposed to be about.”
Auto shows are a natural audience for automotive and truck technicians and Local 1486 members in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area take every opportunity to reach out to nonunion techs.
Their latest effort was at the annual United Parcel Service Auto Show in Laurel, MD that attracts more than 2,000 car exhibitors and even more visitors. Each year, UPS turns over their sprawling facility to car enthusiasts to benefit area United Way charities.
Local 1486 member Joe Brame was joined by fellow member Paul Kelly, who shows his IAM-customized Harley-Davidson, District 4 Business Rep. Lonnie Vick, Local 1486 Shop Steward Milton Payne and other Local 1486 members who manned an information booth stocked with Brame’s collection of vintage auto repair tools and IAM literature. Local 1486 represents metro-area UPS truck technicians who keep the Big Brown trucks in top operating shape.
“Besides letting auto and truck techs know about the benefits of belonging to the IAM, we’re trying to raise awareness about the need for vocational training and apprenticeship programs to keep the industry’s ever-growing skill level up-to-date,” said Brame. “These shows are a great way to talk to auto and truck technicians and organize more shops in the area.”
Members of Local 794 in Albuquerque, NM made the Machinists union’s presence known when they set up a booth and chatted with visitors at the New Mexico State Fair.
“The New Mexico State Fair draws thousands of people from throughout the state and beyond,” said Directing Business Representative Ernest “Red” Dow. “It is a prime opportunity to get our name out into the state’s communities and try to solicit future members for this organization.”
Western Territory GVP Pearson agreed “This is the kind of community outreach that can pay big dividends for the IAM. Organizing is hard work, but this local found a way to reach out to their community and have a good time doing it. Great job by everyone involved,” said Pearson who credited DBR “Red” Dow and his membership for their work in the Albuquerque area.
Local 794 members Anthony Sanchez and Kenny Sanchez were just several of the many volunteers who helped promote this very important “Organizing” endeavor.