iMail for Tuesday, December 19, 2006

IAM Supports Goodyear Strikers

IAM and other union members showed their support for the 15,000 United Steelworkers (USW) on strike against Goodyear Tire by rallying with the strikers at 150 Goodyear Tire locations throughout North America.

Despite huge profits, Goodyear refuses to back away from its contract demands that include shutting its third U.S. plant in four years and gutting retiree health care. Meanwhile, the company is importing tires from its plants overseas, including China, where its workers earn 42 cents an hour.

“They are literally stealing the money out of our retirees’ pockets. We will not let them rob our members of their dignity in their retirement years,” said USW President Leo Gerard. “As these giant corporations desert North American communities, the middle-class is dying a painful death, deprived of the dream of good jobs and retirement security,” said Gerard.

Goodyear workers in the U.S. and Canada went on strike October 5 after talks broke down. Negotiations between the USW and Goodyear are scheduled to resume this week.

‘Buy American’ Book Bound for 3rd Printing

Florida IAM member Roger Simmermaker returned from a shopping trip in 1994 stunned by the absence of American and union-made products on his local store shelves. The experience ultimately led him to write “How Americans Can Buy America, The Power of Consumer Patriotism.” The book, now in its third printing, is a guide to finding union-made products in the U.S. and a warning about the consequences of failing to do so.

“We have to find and buy the products that are built and assembled by the Middle Class or that Middle Class will go away,” declared Simmermaker, whose book lists hundreds of products made in the U.S. and hundreds more masquerading as U.S.-made products.

Simmermaker also believes individual consumer decisions are a potent form of political power. “We only vote once every two or four years at the polls, but we vote every single day at the store or over the Internet with our dollars,” said the Machinist / author.

In an essay published this week in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Simmermaker defends U.S. auto makers Ford and GM against criticism from the automotive press, which regularly touts the quality of Japanese and German-made cars. “Ford and General Motors have taken turns besting the Toyota Camry in quality surveys for the past two years, but if you talk to many Americans, especially the ones who would never consider supporting home-based auto companies, you’d never know it,”

Simmermaker provides encouraging statistics for U.S. automakers’ build quality, and fuel efficiency, when compared to their European and Asian rivals. “The J.D. Power 2006 Vehicle Dependability Survey reports that Mercury, Buick and Cadillac (in that order) grabbed the No. 2, 3, and 4 spots to beat Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW and everyone else (except Lexus) in having the least number of problems per 100 vehicles.”

Click here to view “American Pride,” an IAM interview with Roger Simmermaker.

Machinists at Volvo/Mack Truck Win Pension Plan

Members of Local 2243 in Mississauga, Ontario, are looking forward to a secure retirement with the IAM National Pension Plan (NPP) as part of a new agreement at Volvo/Mack Truck.

“Our members have placed their faith in the IAM defined benefits pension plan,” declared District 78 Directing Business Representative Gary Hynes. “They agreed to roll their current pension plan and their cost of living allowance into the IAM pension plan.” The new four-year agreement calls for a 2 percent pension increase in the first year, a 2 percent lump sum wage increase in the second year, a 2 percent pension increase in the third year and a 2 percent wage bonus in the fourth year. The 12 members who provide shipping and receiving services ratified the agreement by a 99 percent margin.

Grand Lodge Sets Holiday Closing

IAM Headquarters will be closed for the holidays from 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20, 2006, until 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2007. Best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Ontario Local 2113 Ratifies Pact with AutoLiv Canada

The two hundred sixty-two members of Local 2113 in Markham, Ontario, have a new collective agreement with Autoliv Canada Inc. The three-year accord provides wage increases of 2.75 percent in each of the first two years and three percent in the third year. Other highlights include increased pension benefits, vacation allowances and health care improvements. Local 2113 members at AutoLiv Canada manufacture airbag module safety restraints for the automotive industry.

Almeida Named to National Academy of Social Insurance

Beth Almeida, Assistant Director of the IAM Strategic Resources Department, has been named to The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on Medicare, Social Security and Workers’ Compensation.

The mission of NASI is to “promote understanding and informed policymaking on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training and the open exchange of ideas.”

The group of 750 is made up of members affiliated with universities, government agencies, labor unions, businesses, think tanks and advocacy organizations.

“NASI is extremely fortunate to have a large and very diverse group of new members, said Anna Rappaport, Chair of the Membership Committee and member of the NASI Board of Directors. “This will help us to focus on a range of programs and bring balanced perspectives to all of our projects.”