The IAM recently scored a major organizing victory at the Patuxent River Naval Base in Southern Maryland, bringing representation rights to 770 aircraft repair technicians employed by DynCorp International. This win is the latest in a series of organizing wins for the Machinists Union under the Service Contract Act, including last year’s dramatic victory for 600 employees of Eagle Group at Ft. Stewart, GA.
“The IAM is fast becoming the unquestioned leader in organizing new employees and negotiating first contracts under the Service Contract Act,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “Our experience and professionalism are major reasons why government contract workers nationwide are spreading the word about the benefits of joining the IAM.”
Key issues for the employees at the Patuxent River Naval Base included having a voice on the job, rising health care costs and unpredictability over wages. The successful organizing drive drew on the assets of IAM headquarters, located approximately 50 miles north of the base and the William W. Winpisinger Center, located several miles away.
“Congratulations and thanks are due to and all the representatives and districts that helped on this campaign, but particularly to Business Rep. Rick Compher, Apprentice Organizer Jimmy Alexander and District 4 organizer Ron Jacobs,” said District 4 DBR Tony Provost. ‘They worked day and night for months to secure this victory.”
“On behalf of the Eastern Territory and its members, I extend our congratulations and appreciation to GLR Stephen Miller, District Lodge 4 DBR Tony Provost, Business Rep. Rick Compher and all the volunteers who participated in this winning campaign,” said GVP Tucker. “A special thanks also goes out to the in-plant committee at DynCorp for a job well done.”
A delegation from the Puget Sound Naval Bases Association (PSNBA), which includes IAM District 160 and Local 282 representatives from Bremerton, WA, traveled to Pearl Harbor to meet with Admiral Gary Roughead, Commander of the Pacific Fleet. The delegation’s primary purpose was to highlight the cost-effectiveness of home porting the Navy’s next West Coast Aircraft Carrier at Bremerton, where the Navy could save approximately $150 million over the next ten years.
PSNBA’s delegation also met with the head of Pacific Fleet Maintenance, Bill Ryzewic, and the Commander of Submarine Forces/Pacific, Rear Admiral Joseph Walsh to discuss issues vital to IAM members. The delegation attended a luncheon hosted by Rear Admiral Walsh and his staff to celebrate USN Captain (retired) Will Lent and his father for their combined contributions to the Submarine Force. Lent’s father was a notable Submarine Commander in WWII whose picture hangs in the SUBPAC’s Hall of Fame.
The good wages, benefits and secure pension in the Local 701 standard automotive agreement are what helped organize new members at Napelton’s Northwestern Hyundai in Chicago, IL. Local 701 represents automotive professional under the standard agreement throughout the Chicago area.
In Kansas City, MO, Local 778 signed up nine auto technicians at Westfall-Odell Motors in Excelsior Springs. The local represents auto technicians in Kansas City and the surrounding area. “Congratulations to organizer Howard Brown for another win,” said DBR Joe Capra. “He’s doing a great job.”
District 8 in Chicago, IL filled out the hat trick with an organizing win at Ryder Transportation Services in LaSalle, bringing five new members into the IAM. “Our new members were looking for an IAM contract that would guarantee the wages, benefits and working conditions they deserve,” said Business Representative Joe Nuske.
“We have had a good start to 2007 with a series of organizing wins and new contracts due to the hard work and dedication of our Territory staff, District and Local Lodges,” said Midwest Territory GVP Phil Gruber.
Local 2210 Vice President Gwendolyn McMahan has been named Sister of the Month for April. A Reservations Agent for Southwest Airlines, McMahan has held the position of Local Lodge Trustee, Vice President and is currently a Texas State AFL-CIO Board Member.
A union activist to the core, McMahan says she’s always felt a calling to be actively involved. She says she views her work in the lodge to be like that of a minister, providing help and support to others, working to ensure justice on the job and in the community.
McMahan draws motivation from her desire to be a part of better things for the membership. She suggests anyone looking to be more involved start by helping to organize the unorganized. “Nothing makes you appreciate your union benefits more than talking to unorganized workers,” declared McMahan.
At a time when top labor, business and economic leaders are calling for more investment in education and training to close a “skills gap” among American workers, the Bush administration’s Department of Labor is proposing to cut $1.1 billion from training programs in its fiscal 2008 budget.
The proposal baffled Congress members at recent hearings of both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. House Chairman Tom Udall (D-NM) observed that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke each recently made “impassioned statements” that absent improved education and training, the U.S. risks its competitive position in the global economy.
Udall went on to ask why “our business and economic leaders understand the importance of education and training” while the Bush administration apparently does not. At the Senate hearing, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) told Labor Secretary Chao that U.S. competitiveness “depends on the investments we make in the workforce of the future” and that “success requires a genuine commitment of resources, not rhetoric.”
“Last May, leaders from the labor movement, the military and the corporate world gathered at the IAM for a SURGE Roundtable and we discussed the loss of skilled jobs,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “One issue on which we all agreed is the need – the urgent need – for highly-trained workers. The fact is that this administration has consistently pushed to eliminate funding to train our workers, especially at this critical juncture in American history, is an absolute disgrace to those who built this great country.”
As middle-class families continue to struggle with skyrocketing living and housing expenses, recent income gains disproportionately benefited America’s wealthiest families, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
A new EPI report (http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20070328) shows that all of the income gains in 2005 (the most recent year data is available) went to households in the top 10 percent of the income scale.
Furthermore, those who were in the top 1 percent saw the largest gains of all. These households, whose average annual income is already $1.8 million, was up another 16 percent in 2005 alone.
For those families in the bottom 90 percent of the income scale, there was actually a slight decrease in income.
The cut-off date to guarantee hotel reservations for the 2007 IAM Legislative Conference is April 6. Local and District Lodges who have not made reservations can call the Hyatt Regency in Washington, DC at 202-737-1234. Be sure to identify yourself as being with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The room rate for a single or double is $221.00. The Conference will be held May 13-17. Should you have any problem securing reservations, please contact Mary Howell at Metropolitan Travel at 830-964-2453.
The 2007 IAM Communications Conference is scheduled for May 14-18 at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center. The deadline for making hotel reservations is Friday, April 13. Call 410-752-1100, or toll-free at 866-837-5182 to make your reservations. To get the group rate of $172 for single or double, you must indicate you are with the IAMAW or International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.