iMail for Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Machinists Strike North Carolina Plywood Plant 

Nearly 200 Machinists employed at Moncure Plywood in Moncure, N.C., are on strike after rejecting a proposal from the company that would have increased health care costs and instituted an “hours worked” clause that could make a 60-hour work week mandatory.

Members of Local W369 have been manning picket lines since Sunday night, dealing with temperatures topping 100 degrees in addition to demanding a fair contract.

“Wages were not the major issue for this group,” said IAM District W2 Business Representative Melvin Montford. “We can’t understand how this company could include language that increases health care costs to a point where many members would be forced to drop their family coverage, as well as create a 60-hour work week that could force members to work seven consecutive days for weeks without a day off.”

Other issues opposed by the membership, according to Montford, include the company’s use of temporary workers and the company’s refusal to agree to a joint safety committee to improve safety at the plant.

The three-year contract with Moncure Plywood expired April 30. Both sides continued negotiations with the assistance of a federal mediator before talks ceased last week.

IAM Testifies on China’s Aerospace Industry

The IAM Director of Trade and Globalization, Owen Herrnstadt, testified before the U.S.-China Economic Security and Review Commission last week and noted China’s rapid development of its own regional and large commercial aircraft. “The transfer of technology and production by Western aerospace companies to joint ventures operating within China continues to play a major role in this effort,” said Herrnstadt.

Dismissing skeptics who are not concerned with China’s growth in the aerospace industry, Herrnstadt offered this reminder: “Forty years ago, the notion that Europe would be home to one of the top two commercial aerospace companies in the world would have been hard to believe. No one finds it hard to believe now. Is China next?”

Midwest Flood Relief Reminder

IAM members and local lodges responded with generosity to the appeal for donations to assist fellow members impacted by historic flooding in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. While the rivers have receded and roads are now largely passable, many IAM members and their families are still in need of assistance.

“The floods that hit the Midwest may not be front page news any longer, but the families that lost everything are still struggling to put their lives back together,” said IAM Community Services Director Maria Cordone.  “I want to extend my deepest thanks to those who have already contributed to the relief fund and to remind everyone that the crisis is not past and the need is still great.”

Please send donations to the “IAM Disaster Relief Fund” in care of the Community Services Department, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772.

Missouri Machinists Back Harris for Attorney General

From left Local 778 DBR Claude Harris, GLR Rod Hoffman, Representative Jeff Harris, Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber and Mike Louis, District 9 BR & President of the Missouri State Council of Machinists.

Members of Local 778 in Kansas City, MO, recently welcomed guest speaker and Missouri House Democratic Leader Representative Jeff Harris to their monthly meeting. Harris, who has been endorsed by the Missouri State Council of Machinists, is running for the seat to be vacated by current Attorney General Jay Nixon who is running for Governor.
In his introduction, IAM Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber praised Representative Harris saying, “Jeff Harris has some big shoes to fill, but he is the person to fill those shoes. Jeff is a man who knows and respects labor, the issues of middle class America and the state of Missouri.”

Harris graduated from Cornell Law School in 1991 and was elected unanimously as House Democratic Leader in 2004 and again in 2006. Before being elected to the Missouri House, Jeff served as an Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Jay Nixon.

Your Chance to Win a New Harley

Don’t miss out on a chance to win a Vivid Black Rocker C Harley-Davidson. Tickets are on sale now for $5 each or six for $20. Proceeds of the raffle will help fund the 37th Grand Lodge Convention.

The Host Committee will draw the winning ticket during the Grand Lodge Convention in Orlando, FL.  The Rock C is “the next degree of custom,” according to Bill Davidson, son of Willie G. and great grandson of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A Davidson. Tickets are available at your District and/or Territory office.

White Sands Missile Workers Ratify First Agreement

Seventy-nine members of Local 2515 in Alamogordo, NM, who are employed by C. Martin Co. at the White Sands Missile Range, recently ratified a first agreement with wage gains of $1.50 to $2.00 per hour and improved health and welfare benefits.

“I’d like to personally thank everyone involved for their hard work in organizing and helping these new members get a first contract,” said Local 2515 DBR Bud Duryea, who cited  GLR Claudio Figueroa,  Randy Rodriquez, Pete Garcia, Mike Sale and the negotiating committee for all the hours they put into getting this contract.

Also in the news at the White Sands range are four employees who were carved out of their bargaining unit due to the creation of a new joint venture company.  Despite the disruption, the members were able to obtain increased benefits and wages while maintaining their IAM representation under the Service Contract Act.

“Congratulations to our members in both units at White Sands and thanks to DBR Duryea, GLR Claudio Figueroa and most importantly our negotiating team members for their solidarity and hard work on these first agreements,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson.  “The IAM is proud of what we are able to do to help represent our members in the Service Contract sector.  It’s good for them, and it’s good for their families to have these guaranteed wages and benefits in place.”

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