iMail for Tuesday August 8, 2006

IAM Touts Governors in Chicago

IAM leaders met with Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and a pair of leading gubernatorial candidates at the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Chicago this week. The event is part of an IAM campaign to raise awareness among union members about the high stakes in 36 upcoming gubernatorial contests.

“More than almost any other office holders, governors can directly affect issues that matter most to our members,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger introducing Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland and Iowa democratic candidate Chet Culver. “From controlling utility rates and spending on job creation efforts to authorizing collective bargaining rights for public employees, the right governor can make a night or day difference in the lives of working Americans.”

Rep. Strickland (D-OH) is seeking to fill the seat being vacated by current Republican Gov. Robert Taft, who is term-limited from seeking re-election. Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver is hoping to build on the labor friendly record of current Gov. Tom Vilsack.

“We plan to do everything possible to make sure these candidates and these contests get the attention, the support and the resources they deserve,” said Buffenbarger.


US Airways Warned Over Merger Plans

The IAM cautioned US Airways that it must resolve transition negotiations before it can enter into another airline merger. US Airways and America West Airlines merged in 2005, but integration of Fleet Service employees from each airline is being stalled by US Airways’ management.

“ US Airways recently declared in the press that it is ready for another merger deal,” said IAM District 141 President Randy Canale. “Until US Airways negotiates a transition agreement with their Fleet Service workers there will be a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign hanging around this airline’s neck. The needs of IAM members will not be shelved while US Airways searches for its next deal.”

On May 11, 2006, the National Mediation Board certified the IAM as the collective bargaining representative for the combined airline’s Fleet Service employees. Negotiations to bring each airline’s Fleet Service employees under a single contract began on June 7, 2006.

“ US Airways management is threatening this airline’s future,” said Canale. “Management must understand the urgent need to resolve critical integration issues at the bargaining table before the promise of a prosperous US Airways can be fulfilled.”


NLRB Certifies IAM Victory at AK Steel

On August 4, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) officially certified the results of the July 26-27 election in which a majority of the Armco Employees Independent Federation (AEIF) voted to join the IAM. The AEIF, formally the nation’s largest independent steelworkers union, will henceforth be known as AEIF/IAM Local 1943.

The formal certification by the NLRB concluded a months-long campaign that pitted the IAM against the United Steelworkers of America (USW) for the right to represent nearly 2,200 AEIF members who have been locked out from AK Steel Corp’s Middletown Works since March 1.

Meanwhile, negotiations between Local 1943 and AK Steel are scheduled to resume on August 10-11. Additional information about IAM Local 1943 is available at AEIF-IAM.


LCLAA Activists Meet in Wichita

The 16th National Membership Convention for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) was held in San Antonio, TX from July 31 to August 5th. The IAM’s largest delegation to date, 40 people, attended the conference, including Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez and Human Rights Department Director Charlotte Sund.

LCLAA delegates voted to support and participate in the Machinists 2007 Transportation Day of Action to be held in in Washington, DC on May 17, 2007.

At the conference, Jose V. Rodriguez was elected as a Vice-President to LCLAA and Brother Gary Allen, Tony Padilla and GVP Bob Martinez were elected as Executive Board Members to LCLAA.

“This was a fantastic conference,” said GVP Martinez. “I want to thank our local lodges across the country that sent delegates. Latinos are an important part of the American labor movement and the Machinists are proud of our growing participation in LCLAA.”


Tennessee Machinists on Strike at Boeing

Nearly 300 members of Local 2709 are on strike at the Boeing Company facility in Oak Ridge, TN, after voting to reject a new contract with the Chicago-based plane maker. The IAM members in Tennessee manufacture subassemblies for commercial airplanes, including flight deck consoles for 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 jets. Both sides expressed hope that a settlement can be reached, however, no new talks are scheduled to resolve the first-ever strike at the facility.


Senate Passes Pension Bill

The U.S. Senate voted on August 3 to pass the Pension Protection Act, a 900-page bill that provides bankrupt airlines Northwest and Delta with 17 years to make up funding shortfalls and gives other employers seven years to fully fund their single-employer defined-benefit pension plans. President Bush indicated he will sign the bill.

Despite the lofty rhetoric and the lopsided vote to approve the legislation, there are concerns that companies will balk at offering defined benefit pension plans in the future rather than adhere to the new funding requirements.


Two Named to Midwest Territory Staff

Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber appointed Steve Nickel to be Special Representative and Ed Manhart to become the territory’s new Education Representative. Nickel will fill the vacancy created by the promotion of GLR Roger Nauyalis to Administrative Assistant and Ed Manhart will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former Education Representative Edward Lewis, Jr.

Prior to his appointment, Nickel served as a Business Representative and Assistant Directing Business Representative at District 10 in Milwuakee, WI. Nickel joined the IAM in January of 1979 and worked as an assembler at Beloit Corporation. He is a member of IAM Local 1266 in Janesville, WI.

Ed Manhart was formerly the Communicator for District 142 in Kansas City, MO where he was editor for the District newsletter and website. Ed formerly worked at TWA and in September of 1988 he became a member of IAM Local 949 in St. Louis, MO. Manhart was chairman of the local legislative / MNPL committee in addition to serving as local lodge editor. Both Nickel and Manhart are assigned to the Midwest Territory office in Naperville, IL.