iMail for Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Reserve Now for 2008 IAM Legislative Conference

This year’s IAM Legislative Conference will be held May 19-22 at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. Delegate registration begins on May 19 at 9:00 a.m. and again on May 20 from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.

The conference will kick off on May 19 at 1:30 p.m. with opening remarks by Headquarters GVP Rich Michalski, who will serve as permanent chairperson. IP Tom Buffenbarger will deliver the keynote address.

The general session will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 12 noon on May 20 and 21. There will be no afternoon sessions scheduled those days so that delegates may lobby on Capitol Hill. Call the hotel at 202-737-1234 to make your room reservations. Cut-off date for reduced room rates is April 11.

For a copy of the official call letter, click here.

Watch ‘America’s Edge’ Videos on

The IAM’s four-day, seven-state sojourn to promote vocational training and apprentice education around the country generated favorable media coverage at nearly every stop. In Wichita, KS, Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL, local news crews turned out to record speakers and members who spoke passionately about the need to preserve precision skills training for the next generation of blue collar workers.

In Wichita, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius welcomed the IAM effort as essential to filling the thousands of aerospace job openings that are expected in the wake of a looming wave of retirements. In Washington state, Governor Christine Gregoire announced a proposal to add $3 million to the state’s budget for training and technology programs. Finally, in Chicago, high school students at Austin Polytechnical Academy put a human face on the job seekers of tomorrow.
In addition to media coverage, the IAM documented the events in each location. Go to to see IAM videos of America’s Edge events. Be sure to check back often as additional videos will be added in the coming days.

Air Transport Committee Tackles Safety Issues

The Joint Air Transport Safety Committee met in Chicago this week to continue its work to improve working conditions for IAM members in the aviation industry. Taking part were representatives from District 140 in Canada and Districts 141 and 142 in the U.S., representing flight attendants, mechanics, ramp service and customer service workers.

“We want to ensure a safe workplace for our members,” said Committee Chairman Paul Kempinski. “Part of that process is educating both the company and our members that a safe workplace not only protects workers, but also leads to a more productive operation.”

The committee last year worked with the federal government’s General Accountability Office to study runway incursions and ramp safety. Topics covered this week include the development of common contract language proposals to be incorporated into IAM airline collective bargaining agreements.

“This committee is reviewing worker safety protections in current contracts, both IAM and from other unions, and formulating the strongest possible safety provisions for our negotiators to bring to the bargaining table,” said Kempinski.
The Joint Safety Committee’s ongoing mission includes establishing safety committees at every airline, dealing with FAA and OSHA representatives and ensuring IAM members can perform their jobs safely without fear of reprisal from their employer.

Missouri Workers Win IAM Representation

District 9 of Bridgeton, MO, celebrated another organizing win after employees at Imperial Manufacturing in Alton, IL, voted to join the IAM. Imperial makes sheet metal products for heating and cooling systems, such as duct work, vents, and stove pipe.

Key issues for the 58 new members who work in production, maintenance, assembly and shipping, were better wages, health insurance and working conditions.

“Our in-plant team really stood strong,” said District 9 Organizer Mike Hahn. “They held things together despite pressure from the company.”

“We welcome our new members into the IAM,” said Midwest Territory GVP Phil Gruber. “We appreciate the hard work and dedication demonstrated by District 9 DBR Roger Poole and Organizer Mike Hahn. Local 660 Secretary-Treasurer Dean Webb also deserves special recognition for his role in making this campaign a success.”

Wisconsin’s Kathy Diel Named ‘Sister of the Month’

Kathy Diel, the IAM Sister of the Month for February, has been a proud Machinist for almost 30 years. A member of Local 1377 in Waukesha, WI and affiliated with District 10, Diel has held a seat on the local’s executive board for the past 10 years.  She began as the Conductor/Sentinel, and currently serves as the Secretary-Treasurer.

Working as an assembler at P.M. Plastics Co., Inc., in Pewaukee, WI, Diel first became involved when she was asked to serve on the shop committee.  Later, she was elected Shop Chair and has served her lodge sisters and brothers ever since.

Diel says one of the most important things when serving as a lodge leader is to meet and talk to all the members in your shop.  “Get to know them, get to know their issues,” says Diel, who adds that it is important to attend union meetings and let the membership know they can count on you.

Diel has also attended many of the educational trainings offered at the Winpisinger Education and Technology Center.  She highly recommends all members take advantage of this opportunity if presented to them.

In her spare time she enjoys auto racing and volunteering at the Milwaukee Mile.  In addition, she has been credited with donating over 100 pints of blood to the Red Cross – literally giving her blood, sweat and tears to improving the community.

St. Louis Unions Rally for Valley Ford Strikers

Hundreds of union members from more than a dozen organizations were joined by city officials recently to oppose union-busting tactics at Valley Ford in Hazlewood, MO.

IAM members of Local 777, District 9 have been on strike at the St. Louis-area dealership since November 1, 2007, after the dealership proposed to gut workers paychecks from 10 to 25 percent.

Other takeaways included replacing current pension contributions with a measly nickel-an-hour donation to the company 401 (k) plan and eliminating family health care for an inferior plan that would increase out-of-pocket expenses by more than $500.00 a month.

“Valley Ford has a clear strategy to break the union,” said Roger Poole, District 9 DBR. “I cannot stress the importance of standing together against union busters like Valley Ford. The industry is watching this strike very closely and workers everywhere should be paying attention, too.”

Despite sub-zero temperatures, the members of Local 777 have remained strong in their fight against the dealership. “These members have manned the picket line throughout the holidays, said District 9 ADBR Tony Rippeto. “Even in snow and freezing conditions, these members, their families and the community, have kept the pressure on Valley Ford.”

Sources say that the dealership has sold less than 14 vehicles in the more than three months since the strike began.

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