Nearly 4,500 IAM members of Local 733 in Wichita, KS will continue working under terms of their existing contract with Raytheon Aircraft Co. following the Dec. 21 sale of the company to a partnership formed by Toronto-based Onex and Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs.
The $3.3 billion deal, expected to be completed later this year, will create Hawker Beechcraft Corp. and include Raytheon facilities in Salina, KS, Dallas, TX and Little Rock, AR as well as fixed base operations in the U.S., Great Britain and Mexico. IAM members and representatives welcomed the announcement by the new company that all hourly workers would be retained.
“The preservation of existing jobs is a concern any time ownership of a large company changes hands,” said Aerospace Coordinator Ron Eldridge. “We developed a good working relationship with Onex during the sale of Boeing’s Wichita operations in 2005 and we expect that relationship to continue at Hawker Beechcraft.”
IAM leaders requested meetings with the new company’s leadership to discuss long-term issues, including outsourcing and equity sharing opportunities at the new company. “We’ve seen Wichita’s aerospace industry change over the past couple of years with new work coming in rather than work constantly being outsourced,” said District 70 President Steve Rooney. “It’s been good news for employees and the community but it’s ironic that a Canadian-owned company should take the lead in protecting U.S. jobs.”
The William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center will ring in the new year with a new Director, Chris Wagoner. Wagoner succeeds Jim Leslie, who retired at the end of 2006 after serving twelve years as Director. “We are pleased that Chris Wagoner will be leading the Winpisinger Center,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “He will build on the Center’s successes and keep the IAM’s education program a leader in the labor movement.”
Wagoner has served as the Assistant Director at the Winpisinger Center since 2005 and was an instructor at the Center from 1988 to 2005. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Louisville; a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois and is a candidate for a PhD from George Washington University.
“This is a great honor,” said Wagoner. “Our dedicated staff makes the Winpisinger Center the best in the labor movement. I look forward to moving the Center forward and making it even better.”
Since it opened in 1981, more than 44,000 IAM members have attended classes at the Winpisinger Center, the facility has doubled in size and many of its courses are certified for college credit.
“When you are standing out in the cold at midnight, clothed only in your pajamas, robe and slippers, watching your home of 43 years go up in flames…” Thus began a heartfelt letter of thanks from Mr. and Mrs. Jim Dunleavy to members of Local 933 in Tucson, AZ for the gift cards, sympathy and offers to help after a devastating fire destroyed their home and belongings.
The Dunleavy’s are the parents of Michael Dunleavy, a 20-year member of Local 933 and one of nearly 1,400 IAM members on strike against Raytheon Missile Systems. “Michael has been a strong member of this local for a long time and while we are sad for the family’s loss, we are pleased we were able to respond with some help for them,” said Local 933 President Harry Anthros.
The strike, now in its 11 th week, began when the profitable defense firm refused to modify contract demands that included sharp increases in employee health care costs and eliminated pensions for new hires.
“We are very grateful that no one was injured in the fire, but the loss of a home is not unlike the loss of a family member or a close friend,” said Local 933 DBR Bobby Martinez. “We want to do what we can to help and to let them know our hearts are with them during this difficult time.”
Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson praised the strikers for their resolve on the picket line and for preserving their identity as a community service organization. “The strikers of Local 933 have made a practice of helping others during their strike, including sponsoring of a Red Cross blood drive that raised over 30 pints of blood for the community,” said Pearson. “Even during these times of trouble and struggle, the message of the labor movement is clear: we are part of a large family that depends on each other.”
Eighty-two employees at Crown Cork and Seal in Owatonna, MN, voted to join IAM-represented employees at other Crown Cork and Seal locations for a voice on the job and the benefits of an IAM contract. The new members will be represented by District 77 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.
“The IAM represents employees at other Crown, Cork and Seal facilities, including the Mankato, MN facility. We were able to show employees at Owatonna the union difference,” said District 77 Directing Business Rep. Gary Schmidt. “Business Rep. Steve Galloway met regularly with a large core group of employees and using the Crown Cork and Seal Master Agreement and our organizing materials, we were able to stay ahead of the company’s anti-union campaign.”
“Congratulations to our new IAM members at Crown Cork and Seal, USA,” said Midwest GVP Phil Gruber. “When we organize at locations where our members work, it helps everyone. The new members get the benefits of an established IAM contract and it helps protects the agreements we already have. District 77 did a great job on this organizing drive.”
Three new agreements negotiated for Technicians, Service and Parts Department employees will make Colerain Ford in Cincinnati, OH the first unionized automotive dealership in the Cincinnati area.
“On behalf of the Eastern Territory, I want to welcome these new members and extend our thanks to GLR Dave Porter, who overcame every obstacle from start to finish to secure these agreements,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “Thanks and congratulations are also due to Business Rep. Steven Graham and Chief Steward Gary Shuler for their tireless work on this important and historic campaign.”
The IAM mourns the recent death of retired Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative John McGrath in an auto accident. McGrath, 66, retired in 2001, after 22 years as a Grand Lodge Representative. He became an IAM member in 1967.
“On behalf of the IAM, I want to extend our deepest condolences to Brother McGrath’s family. We truly appreciate his years of service to this Union,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez.