iMail for Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Take Action to Help Save Auto Industry Jobs

Help save a key sector of America’s manufacturing base and the millions of jobs the go with it by contacting your Senators and Representative and urge them to pass legislation to save America’s auto industry.

American auto companies support millions of jobs in the American economy and thousands of IAM members are employed in the industry and at car dealerships across the nation.

“We’ve spent billions of dollars bailing out Wall Street, now Congress must act to protect the millions of jobs in American communities that depend on a healthy auto industry,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “We cannot afford to let another vital part of our manufacturing base slip away.”

Click here to send a message to your Senators and Congressperson or use the toll-free number 877-331-1223 and tell your representatives to save jobs during this economic crisis.

Machinists Mall Offers Big Savings for Members

IAM members have a unique opportunity this holiday season to shop and save without facing long lines, crowded stores and winter driving conditions. At the Machinists Mall, IAM members can shop online and save on name brand products in addition to earning Rebate Dollars that can be converted into cash.

Among the companies taking part are Sirius Satellite Radio, Barnes and Noble, and dozens of others. Click here to learn more and view a list of stores and savings.

When you make purchases through the Machinists Mall, a portion of your purchase is credited to your account as Rebate Dollars. On a quarterly basis, if you have accumulated at least $10 in Rebate Dollars, and you’re a member in good standing, the Machinists Mall will convert the Rebate Dollars to a check and mail it to you.

There is no limit on the amount of Rebate Dollars you can earn by shopping at the Machinists Mall.

Learn More | Enroll Here | Machinists Mall

Government Outsourcing Reaches Record Levels

Among the issues that will confront President-elect Barack Obama when he takes office on January 20, 2009, is the unprecedented number of contracts the U.S. government has signed with private contractors to provide services previously performed by civilian government employees.

While federal outsourcing did not begin with the current administration, no president has moved as much government work into the private sector as President Bush. Last year alone, contractors were paid more than $400 billion to provide everything from tax collection at home to armed security in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since taking office in 2000, the Bush administration has doubled the number of contracts with private industry, a move that accelerated the dramatic downsizing of the federal workforce from 2,250,000 in 1992 to 1,871,000 in 2007.

“As the union representatives for both government employees and contract employees, we’ve seen this phenomena take shape over the past decade,” said IAM Government Employees Director Frank Carelli. “Our greatest concern is the number of no-bid contracts the government has awarded and the lack of oversight.”

According to an investigative report released this week by National Public Radio (NPR), the Bush administration awarded the majority of last year’s $400 billion in contracts to companies that were not required to compete for it, or faced only limited competition.

“While many of the private contractors are actually former government employees who successfully bid for their old jobs as government workers, the system can be rigged to favor a company with political connections at the expense of taxpayers and federal employees,” said Carelli. “We will urge the new president to review this process to eliminate favoritism, protect taxpayers and give workers on both side of the issue the respect they deserve.”

Unions to Honor MLK in New Orleans

The 2009 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., holiday observance will take place in New Orleans, LA, on Jan. 15–19, just days before Barack Obama is sworn in as the first African-American President of the United States.

As in years past, community service will be a key feature of the week-long observance honoring Dr. King’s life and work. In addition to workshops and speakers, two days are set aside for community service projects in New Orleans and Gulf Coast neighborhoods still struggling to overcome the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

“Hurricane Katrina opened this nation’s eyes to the arrogance and indifference of the Bush administration toward working people in this country,” said IAM Executive Assistant Diane Babineaux, who is urging IAM members to take part in this year’s observance. “There is no better place than New Orleans and the Gulf Coast for union members who want to roll up their sleeves and demonstrate their commitment to the ideals of equal justice and human rights that Dr. King lived and died for.”

Members wishing to take part in this year’s activities can get started by downloading a registration form. A special rate of $123 plus tax has been negotiated with the Astor Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown New Orleans. The deadline for reduced rate hotel room reservations is December 20, 2008.

Illinois Award Recognizes HPWO Success Story

Quincy Compressor in Quincy, IL, recently received a special commendation from the Illinois Employer Association. The “Mid-Size Employer of the Year” award recognized the contributions of the 132 members of Local 822 who are employed there and their High Performance Work Organization (HPWO). 

At the award ceremony, Quincy Compressor Plant Manager John West spoke to the group of more than 450 people. “That if not for the partnership the Company now has with the Machinists union and the HPWO system we work under where everyone works together as equals, we would not have survived the economic problems this country has now,” said West.

While each HPWO partnership is customized, the steering committee at Quincy Compressor holds meetings every two weeks while the shop holds meetings every morning and every afternoon. The union members on the shop floor now schedule their own work and overtime as needed. The machine shop at Quincy Compressor now operates without a supervisor.

Machinists Grow with Ontario Auto Dealers

Office staff and shuttle car drivers employed by Maitland Motors Limited in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, are the newest members of IAM Local 2332.

“I credit the efforts of Grand Lodge Representative Pat Murphy and the members of the Local 2332 Executive Board for the addition of these nine people to our membership,” said District 78 Organizer Scott Jackson.

“When you consider that they weren’t getting annual pay increases or pension benefits like their unionized co-workers, their decision to join the union wasn’t that difficult.”

The new members join 83 other mechanics, body men, painters, car cleaners, parts department staff and office workers employed at five auto dealerships in Sault Ste Marie.