Nearly 500 members of Local Lodge 2061 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida have been on strike for 55 days and are holding strong in the hot Florida sun against the United Space Alliance (USA). The USA is a joint venture formed by Lockheed Martin and the Boeing Company to provide launch services to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Southern Territory General Vice President Bob Martinez spoke at a rally Sunday as the strikers redoubled their resolve. “It is clear that NASA intentionally undermined the negotiations process between USA and the IAM by committing misconduct and violating the Service Contract Act by injecting themselves into the negotiating process and dictating terms of the economic package,” said Martinez.
“The IAM’s proposals have been reasonable and in line with other related contracts and work. We have asked members of Congress who fund these programs, ‘Who are you going to stand with?’ The people who do the work or the management at NASA that expresses disdain for the law through their actions,” asked Martinez.
“We have a message for United Space Alliance,” declared Martinez. “Our membership stands strong – 91% strong for the same reasons we went out – a fair and equitable contract – and we will stay strong.”
“Our members are committed to resolve this strike in both a reasonable and equitable manner that will place our members and USA on the path to success in the future,” said District 166 Directing Business Representative Johnny Walker. Walker has been asked to appear before the House Science and Technology Committee to testify about issues concerning the workplace at the NASA facility at the Kennedy Space Center.
Nearly 30 IAM members and staff joined hundreds of activists at the 38th A. Philip Randolph Education Conference in Oakland, CA last week, where participants learned better ways to educate American communities about the need for radical health care reform in this country.
Participants heard from a host of labor leaders, politicians and health care experts about the urgent problem of health care disparities that continue to plague minority communities.
“It’s crystal clear that this nation’s health care system is broken,” said IAM Executive Assistant and APRI board member Diane Babineaux. “IAM members and all the activists who took part in this year’s conference must now take what they’ve learned and mobilize others within their communities to let the politicians in Washington know it’s time for a fundamental change in U.S. health care policy.”
A host of health care issues impacting minority communities were tackled at the conference, including HIV and AIDS, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The IAM Women’s Department has named Lisa “Lee” Carter of Local Lodge 706 in Barstow, CA the U.S. Sister of the Month for August.
A four-year IAM member, Sister Carter currently is a Chairperson for the lodge, serving as liaison between Local 706 members and their employer, BNSF Railroad, especially where safety issues are concerned.
Carter is one of a few women working in the railroad industry. Her advice to other members considering leadership positions in a non-traditional occupation is: “Don’t get discouraged. Be genuine in your work to improve conditions for the entire lodge, and conduct yourself such that you earn the respect of your sisters and brothers.”
Also active in her community, Carter serves as an Emergency Medical Technician, is involved with Rally for Life, the Police Activities League and is on-call 24/7 as a volunteer with the National Association of Search and Rescue.
The Canadian sister is selected every other month and Valerie Folk of Local Lodge 2711 in Penticton, British Columbia remains the pick for Canada.
The IAM “Sister of the Month” is an effort to motivate women to become more involved in their union by recognizing their hard work and dedication. If you’d like to nominate someone, download the nomination form and submit it to the IAM Women’s Department.
Ruth Munoz, member of Local Lodge 2339H in Houston, TX, has been selected to receive a Union Plus National Labor College Scholarship to attend the National Labor College (NLC) http://www.nlc.edu in Silver Spring, MD. The NLC is the only accredited college in the world dedicated exclusively to educating union members, leaders, activists and staff.
Since it was created in 2002, the Union Plus NLC Scholarship Program http://www.unionplus.org has provided more than $130,000 to 117 NLC students. Recipients must be current, dues-paying union members and are chosen based on financial need. Munoz was one of five union activists chosen to receive a cash award to put towards her education at the NLC.
“Union Plus is dedicated to the continued growth of the Labor Movement,” said Leslie Tolf, president of Union Privilege, the provider of Union Plus benefits. “Two key ways Union Plus participates in development are by assisting union members who are pursuing higher education and in supporting the National Labor College in its mission to serve them.”
Public outrage is rapidly growing as the Bush administration continues to voice their opposition to increasing funds for the decade-old State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is set to expire this year. Despite broad public support and bi-partisan Congressional support, the President continues to hold a veto threat over a bill that would increase funding for the program.
The $5 billion a year program currently provides 6.6 million children with health insurance. The Senate recently approved a bill that would provide an additional $35 billion over the next five years and extend coverage to 3.2 million more children.
The House passed a bill that includes the full $50 billion allowed under the 2008 budget resolution, which would go even further in addressing the fact that nine million children in the U.S. don’t have health insurance.
“The Children’s Health Insurance Program gets health coverage to low-income, uninsured children who would otherwise go without the doctor visits and medicines they need,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said in a statement. “It’s time for the full Senate and the entire Congress to stand together for kids, and to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program in a way that makes a difference for kids in need.”