iMail for Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Negotiations Begin for 6,000 at Lockheed Martin

IAM Leadership (L to R – GVP Headquarters, Rich Michalski, IP Tom Buffenbarger, Aerospace Coordinators John Crowdis and Ray Moffatt) at opening round of negotations with Lockheed Martin.

After months of preparations and in the midst of record-breaking profits for the aerospace industry, IAM leaders this week launched the opening round of negotiations for a new contract covering nearly 6,000 members at eight Lockheed-Martin locations. Union members cited pensions, health care, wages and job security as top concerns.

“These negotiations are the opportunity for workers and management to establish levels of compensation and respect that are essential to continued success in this volatile industry,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger at the initial meeting with Lockheed representatives. “It is also critical to provide this sophisticated workforce with the training and technology that will allow them to be as productive in the future as they have been in the past.”

Signaling the importance of the Lockheed Martin contract, Buffenbarger was joined by IAM General Vice President (GVP) Rich Michalski, Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson, Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez and local IAM representatives from Palmdale, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz and Vandenberg AFB California; Cape Canaveral, Florida; Marietta, Georgia; Meridian, Mississippi and Clarksburg, West Virginia.

“The importance of these negotiations is profound,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinator John Crowdis. “What happens here will set the standard for aerospace negotiations over the next three years.”

A special IAM website  will provide updates on the progress of negotiations, which will continue through February 27, with IAM members at all locations expected to vote simultaneously on March 2. The current three-year agreement expires at midnight on March 2, 2008.

Labor Leaders Prepare for Possible Airline Mergers

AFL-CIO union leaders declared they would use any and all options to oppose airline merger proposals that failed to meet the needs of employees and the traveling public.

“Through decades of experience, we know that corporations will pursue their own interests and ignore the impact of their decisions on employees unless the workers are at the table with a strong voice through strong unions,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard L. Trumka and AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Ed Wytkind in a joint statement following a meeting of AFL-CIO transportation unions. “We will review the implications of all possible airline mergers on jobs, on collective bargaining rights, on service to the flying public and on the communities that rely on this industry for transportation needs.”

Airlines that only recently emerged from bankruptcy are now clamoring for a massive restructuring that could leave passengers with fewer choices, communities with less service and employees facing a new round of cost-cutting efforts.

The AFL-CIO leaders pledged an all-out effort to oppose any “poorly conceived” merger proposal that does not protect workers’ collective bargaining rights. “We will engage elected officials at the highest level to ensure the voices of workers are not drowned out by voices of greed and Wall Street who may seize this moment as a chance to create wealth for a few at the expense of many,” said Trumka and Wytkind.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) also weighed in on the possibility of airline mergers, coming down squarely on the side of airline workers and passengers. “If carriers decide to combine in order to cut costs and increase their market clout, we will have to take a hard look at the potential effects on workers and consumers,” said Sen. Clinton. “It is important that we preserve choice and competitive pricing in the airline industry. It is also vitally important that any proposed merger preserve the jobs and worker protections on which thousands of families rely.”

Newsletter & Website Contest Winners Announced

The results of the 2007 IAM Newsletter & Website Competition are in and leading the pack are District 751, NFFE Federal District 1, Local 1781 and Local 698.

District 751 and Local 1781 won in the category of General Excellence for their newsletters, Aero Mechanic and Trade Winds, respectively, and taking top website honors are NFFE Federal District 1,, and Local 698,

“Congratulations to those locals and districts who won,” said Communications Director Rick Sloan. “IAM lodges are on the cutting edge of getting labor’s message out, and they’re getting it out with style and sophistication. We truly appreciate all who undertake this responsibility.”

For a list of all the 2007 winners and the judges’ report, click here.

Take Action to Stop the U.S.-Colombia FTA Vote

President Bush is threatening to force a vote on the deeply flawed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Columbia, where more than 2,200 trade unionists have been murdered during the past two decades.

Take action now by clicking here to send a message to your representative urging them to oppose the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Last year alone, nearly forty trade unionists were assassinated.  Since January 1, 2008, a trade unionist has been murdered almost every week in Columbia. Ninety-seven per cent of cases where trade unionists have been murdered have gone unresolved. Even when the murderers are caught, penalties were weak.

The Bush Administration’s argument that Columbia’s human rights record is improving is simply offensive.  It ignores the daily horror that exists for thousands of Columbian trade unionists and their families.

Tell Congress and the Bush Administration that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! 
In addition to sending an e-mail message above, union members can also call (202) 224-3121 and ask the Capitol Switchboard operator to connect you to your Senators and Member of Congress.

Click here to find out who represents you in Congress.

District 9 gains new members in Troy, MO

IAM District 9 brought 10 new members into the IAM with two successful organizing campaigns in Troy, MO.  Both organizing successes came as a result of former members’ desire to belong to the IAM and take advantage of the District 9 pension fund.

The technicians and service writers at Jim Trenary Chevrolet voted for the IAM because they wanted guaranteed wages, benefits and working conditions.  Several of them were vested in the District 9 pension and wanted to continue to accrue benefits.  This is the second Trenary dealership to go IAM.

At Grand Prix Auto Body in Troy, MO, two former members were vested in the District 9 pension.  They wanted to work in a union shop and enjoy the security of a District 9 contract. That new contract went into effect on January 1, 2008.

IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber praised the District 9 staff saying, “We appreciate the continued hard work and dedication of DBR Roger Poole and Organizer Mike Musgrove.  They continue to build strong union membership among technicians in the St. Louis metro area and Southern Illinois.”

Ontario Local 905 Ratifies Contract with Messier-Dowty

Movement by the company at the last minute produced a settlement for 207 members of Local 905 in Ajax, ON, who manufacture aircraft landing gear at Messier-Dowty Limited. The tentative agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by the membership.

“A strike was a certainty until the company added significant value to its offer in the late stages of mediation,” explained Canada GLR Bill Shipman.

The three-year agreement provides for wage increases of 2.75 percent in the first year retroactive to October 1, 2007, 2.75 percent in the second year and three per cent in the third year.

Other agreement highlights include: increased short term disability benefits; increased long term disability benefits; increased safety shoe allowance and increased vision care benefits.