iMail for Tuesday April 4, 2006

GST Mart Elected to Institutional Investors Board

General Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart was elected to serve as Secretary of the labor caucus to the Council of Institutional Investors (CII) and the Board of CII. GST Mart will serve with the President of UNITE-HERE, Bruce Raynor, in leading labor’s voice among the giant public and corporate pension funds that make up CII.

The CII provides an organized voice on corporate governance issues, including executive compensation, shareholder access to proxy voting, holding corporations accountable to workers, shareholders, and communities, and protecting retirement security.

“The IAM has taken an active position on these issues over the years,” said Mart. “Our participation in CII will ensure that workers have a voice on critical issues, especially in protecting the defined benefit pension system that is the heart of retirement income security for IAM members and other workers.”

Unions Files for Election at Reynolds Tobacco

A unique alliance of two major unions is calling on the Reynolds American Tobacco Co. in Winston-Salem, NC to grant union recognition and begin bargaining for a contract covering more than 2,000 production and maintenance workers there.

The United Tobacco Alliance for a Voice and Freedom (UTA), a joint effort by the IAM and the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM), is also prepared to go forward with an election if Reynolds refuses to grant union recognition.

“The current National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election process is needlessly prolonged and frequently used by companies to conduct hostile anti-union scare campaigns,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “These workers expressed their desire for union representation in a neutral atmosphere and we believe their desire for a voice at work should be respected.”

Workers at Reynolds approached the IAM and the BCTGM following last year’s divisive NLRB election at Reynolds. Both unions have a long history representing the highly-skilled workers at cigarette-manufacturing plants throughout the United States. Additional information is available at www.utavoice.org.

DeLay Announces His Resignation

Tom DeLay, once the most feared politician in Washington, announced he will resign his seat in Congress. DeLay is now the one to be afraid. A federal prosecution team is following the Abramoff plea bargain directly into DeLay’s House office. In the past few months, DeLay’s former Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff and one of his most prominent political contributors have pleaded guilty to several federal crimes including conspiracy; wire, tax and mail fraud and corruption of public officials, as reported by the Washington Post. The federal investigation has unearthed a sordid network of lavish trips, contributions and perks in return for favorable action on federal legislation.

DeLay is also facing charges in his home state of Texas relating to illegal laundering of campaign cash. Delay won his primary fight with 62 percent of the vote, but trails heavily in polls against Democratic opponent Nick Lampson. By resigning now, DeLay gives the GOP a good chance of retaining the seat and federal law allows DeLay to transfer all of his campaign cash to his legal defense fund.

“From running cover for sweatshop operators on Saipan to weakening safety and health laws here at home, Tom DeLay has been no friend of working families,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “The Republican party is addicted to the corrupt lobbying system that champions the rights of corporations over all else. DeLay’s resignation is the first step. Let’s finish the job this November and make working family issues a priority again.”

Judge Orders Foster Farms to Bargain

A federal judge in California ordered Foster Poultry Farms to recognize and bargain with the League of Independent Workers, an affiliate of the IAM, on behalf of more than 2,000 workers at a poultry plant in Livingston, California.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Wanger found reasonable cause to believe the employer committed the alleged unfair labor practice of withdrawing recognition from the league following its affiliation with IAM. He also found the possibility of irreparable harm to the union without the injunction.

The League of Independent Workers was certified as the representative for the workers in November 2004. Bargaining for a first contract began at the end of 2004, and negotiations reached impasse in early May 2005. On Sept. 11, 2005, workers voted 918-21 in favor of affiliating with the IAM. On Sept. 30, the company withdrew recognition from the union, saying it did not recognize the affiliation.

 

IAM-Lockheed Martin Contract Expires April 9

Negotiations are coming down to the wire for 3700 members of District 776 employed at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX. IAM members there build the F-16 fighter jet and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as well as a major portion of the F-22. The current contract expires at midnight on Sunday, April 9th. Members will vote on a last, best and final offer from Lockheed Martin that afternoon.

As in the rest of the aerospace industry, the main sticking points in negotiations are retiree health care, pensions, and health care costs.

“Our members are fighting to move forward on these issues,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Lockheed Martin is a highly successful company, and the members and the community deserve to share in that success.”

 

Organizing Hat Trick Adds 400 in Canada

A trio of organizing victories in Canada brings collective bargaining rights and a voice on the job to more than 400 workers at three locations in Ontario and British Columbia.
In what is being called a “ground breaking” victory, the IAM was certified to represent all 250 perimeter security guards at Vancouver International Airport. The guards are employed by Securiguard Services Ltd and will become members of IAM Local 16.

“The Machinists wrote new law with this certification,” said Mike Clegg, General Chairperson of IAM District 140. “The Canada Industrial Labour Relations Board ruled that perimeter security at Vancouver International Airport was under the federal jurisdiction of the Canada Labour Code. It took twelve months of hard work but this is a ground breaking victory for us.”

In Midland, Ontario, the need for respect in the workplace drove 116 school bus drivers employed by Laidlaw Transit Limited, into the ranks of the IAM.

The newest members of IAM District 78 are seniors and single mothers who drive school bus routes part-time in the communities of Midland and Elmvale, 150 kilometers north of Toronto. Due to the number of signed union cards collected by the IAM, the Canada Industrial Labour Relations Board granted an automatic certification.

The third win came in London, Ontario, where four service technicians at the Mettler Toledo depot decided to join the IAM. The technicians service and repair Mettler Toledo weight scales used in the food service, mining and trucking industries.

Bagwell Joins Staff at Winpisinger Center

Machinist Henry Bagwell of Amarillo, Texas will bring years of union experience to his newest position as an instructor at the William. W. Winpisinger Educational and Technology Center. Bagwell comes from BWXT Pantex plant in Texas where he performed radiography and other non-destructive testing of nuclear weapons and weapons components.

“I love to teach and there is nothing better than helping my union by teaching members at the Winspisinger Center,” said Bagwell.

Bagwell joined Local 1255 in 1985 while working for Mason & Hanger Corporation at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. During more than 20 years as an IAM member, Bagwell served various leadership positions including Local Lodge Educator, Trustee, Steward and Vice President. He currently serves at the President and Chief Steward of the Metal Trades Council for Amarillo, TX and vicinity.

Bagwell’s extensive educational background includes a Bachelor of Science, Occupational Education degree in Radiographic Technology from Wayland Baptist University as well as an Associate Degree in Applied Science and Certificate in Radiological Technology from Amarillo College. Bagwell also has a thorough labor education including Leadership I, Leadership II and Advanced Leadership at the Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Maryland.

Local 851 Member Honored by Women’s Dept.

The IAM Women’s Department has named Eveleyna U. Washington from Local 851 in Joliet, IL as the U.S. Sister of the Month for April 2006.

Washington served on the Executive Board for Local 851 as Sentinel and now Trustee for the last 9 years. A 31-year Machinist at Catepillar, Inc., she was the first woman elected to Local 851’s Executive Board and has used her position to be an active voice for the membership. Washington is also heavily involved with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, where she is a National CBTU Executive Council Member and the President of the Joliet Chapter.

Local 764’s Noreen Schmitt is the pick for Canada (where the honored sister is picked quarterly.)

The IAM Sister of the Month is an effort to motivate woman to become more involved in their union by recognizing the hard work and dedication of women in the IAM. If you’d like to nominate someone for Sister of the Month, download the form and submit it to the Women’s Department.

Wal-Mart Lawyer Named to Labor Department

In the latest indication of how federal agencies are being staffed to serve a corporate agenda, President Bush nominated Wal-Mart lawyer Paul DeCamp to head the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division.

DeCamp’s biography at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher lists some of his efforts to help big business at the cost of workers’ rights, including representing Wal-Mart in a case trying to prevent 1.5 million women from suing the company for discrimination in pay and promotions.

Bush’s nominee to protect workers’ rights also proposed taking overtime pay away from some workers and suggested easy outs for bosses who misclassify workers as not eligible for overtime pay.

DeCamp has also represented businesses opposing union organizing campaigns and fought for employers on collective and individual actions involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and stage wage and hour laws.