District Lodge 776 Machinists ratified a three-year agreement with Lockheed-Martin Sunday, April 9, in Fort Worth Texas. The new agreement covers about 3,700 Machinists working on the F-16, F-22 and F-35 programs.
Highlights of the agreement include raises of four percent the first year, and three percent in each of the following years, a $2,000 signing bonus, and a ten-dollar bump on pension, bringing the pension up to $68 per month per year of service. The contract also holds a strong line against health care costs, with only a minor rise in employee health care costs.
The contract was ratified with an 82.5 percent “yes” vote.
“Strong unions make for strong contracts, and the strength of the members at Lockheed won the day,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Congratulations to everyone for a great contract for the members of DL 776!”
The IAM has filed an application with the National Mediation Board to become the collective bargaining representative for Mechanic & Related workers of Spirit Airlines.
“Spirit workers are demanding fairness on the job and a voice in their future,” said IAM General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “As the largest airline union in North America, the Machinists union has the experience and resources to provide Spirit mechanics with the necessary tools to take control of their careers.”
Based in Miramar, Florida, Sprit Airlines employs 150 mechanics at airports in Florida, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Once the National Mediation Board confirms that the IAM has applied with the required authorization from at least 35 percent of the bargaining unit the Board will conduct a secret ballot election.
The IAM also has an active organizing campaign underway.
Representatives from the IAM met with Florida Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings on Tuesday April 11 about the creation of an Aerospace Development Fund, which is designed to spur economic development and create jobs in Florida’s space industry. The IAM delegation included IAM Strategic Resources Director Steve Sleigh, Southern Territory GLR Lou Brogna, District Lodge 166 BR Jeff Rainey, Local 2061 President Lynn Beattie and Mike Williams of the Florida Building Trades Council.
The Florida state legislature has proposed a $250 million commitment to help rebuild Florida’s space industry. The IAM and other unions have joined together to leverage state money and private money from institutional investors to secure Florida’s pre-eminent place in the nation’s space program.
“We are encouraged by the Lt. Governor’s attentiveness to our proposals,” said Brogna. “Our members and future members are relying on us and the political leaders of Florida to make an investment in Florida’s future.
The Railroad Local Chairmen’s seminar, held annually at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education & Technology Center, took on added significance this year with the inclusion of representatives from the Transportation Communication Union (TCU). This is the first joint IAM-TCU educational program conducted since the TCU affiliated with the IAM last July.
“The IAM is proud that our TCU Sisters and Brothers are taking advantage of the premier educational facility in the labor movement,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “We look forward to working closely together on more projects in the future.”
Instructors from the IAM and TCU were assisted by outside experts to cover a variety of topics including the Railway Labor Act, railroad retirement, grievance handling, legal responsibilities and legislative issues. Specific issues of individual carriers were also discussed.
“This seminar is a historic moment for both of our great unions,” said TCU President Robert Scardelletti. “The participants’ enthusiasm and exchange of ideas is testimony of both unions’ commitment to developing educational programs that address the needs of the membership.”
“The IAM and TCU are two strong rail unions whose combined knowledge and experience is unmatched in the industry,” said IAM Transportation General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “Working and training together will greatly benefit the members of both organizations.”
Early voting to determine the mayor of New Orleans kicked off yesterday, giving residents displaced by the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina the chance to vote on the future of New Orleans.
Displaced New Orleans residents can vote Monday April 10 though Thursday April 13 and Saturday April 15 at satellite voting locations throughout Louisiana. Locations include East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Caddo, Lafayette, Rapides, Calcasieu, St. Tammany, Ouachita, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne Parishes.
Traditional election-day voting in New Orleans will be held on April 22, 2006. Absentee ballots are also being accepted and must be returned by April 21.
After months of making unreasonable demands during contract negotiations, Medco Health Solutions locked out about 500 members of the United Steelworkers and USW Local 675 at its mail order pharmacy in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 5, 2006. More than six million union members and their families are covered by one of the firm’s prescription plans, which accounts for more than 25 percent of Medco’s total client base.
Medco says it will use “temporary employees and additional supplemental staff” to fill prescriptions at the Las Vegas facility, one of Medco’s three main dispensing pharmacies.
“Due to the risks of having inexperienced replacements filing mail-order prescriptions through Medco, I am strongly recommending that people consider filling their prescriptions at a retail pharmacy whenever possible until this dispute has been resolved,” USW President Leo Gerard wrote in a letter to other unions.
“If Medco does not soon end this illegal lockout—which we believe puts the lives of millions at risk—we need to let Medco know that we will be actively seeking other prescription plan providers.”
During negotiations, Medco illegally retaliated against employees for participating in solidarity actions and unilaterally changed employee benefits. The National Labor Relations Board has issued a complaint that will go before an Administrative Law Judge.
To help end the lockout, call or write to Medco Health Solutions CEO David Snow, requesting that the company end the lockout and negotiate in good faith. Address letters to:
David Snow, CEO
Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
100 Parsons Pond Drive
Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
The History Channel has produced, and will be airing in April, a series of one-hour documentaries called “10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America.” On Wednesday April 12 at 10pm EDT and 9 Central, the series will feature the Homestead Strike of 1892. In this strike, union members faced off against a private army of Pinkertons and scabs hired by mill-owner Andrew Carnegie and his partner Henry Frick at Carnegie’s premier steel plant outside Pittsburgh, PA. “You can’t tell the story of American history without telling the story of labor,” said Director Rory Kennedy. “And this day, when the workers decided they were going to rise up against one of the most powerful people in America, tells an important part of that story.”
The cutoff date for room reservations for the IAM’s Legislative Conference is Friday, April 14, 2006.