iMail for Tuesday July 25, 2006

Local 1529 Machinists Revive Flooded NY Factory

When recent flood waters engulfed the 700,000-square-foot Amphenol Aerospace plant in Sidney, NY, members of Local 1529 immediately returned to the facility in canoes, rowboats and worked non-stop to clean up and get the plant back in business.

Despite losing their own homes and vehicles, the employees brought the facility back to where it is now operating at more than 15 percent capacity. Thanks to their efforts, the facility is expected to resume full production by next month.

“Our members working for Amphenol in New York have shown the courage and spirit that exemplifies a ‘Fighting Machinist,’” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker. “They worked day and night to get both the plant and this community back on its feet.” More than 1,200 IAM members work for Amphenol in Sidney, NY.


GrowJobsCT Wins $105,550 Grant

The Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS) has awarded a grant totaling $105,550 to GrowJobsCT, an IAM-initiated coalition that brings together labor, business, community groups and elected officials in Connecticut to keep and grow manufacturing jobs in Connecticut. The grant, which covers the next 18 months, will be used to expand a variety of initiatives being pursued by the organization to sustain Connecticut’s critical manufacturing base.

Since 1990, Connecticut has lost more than 109,000 manufacturing jobs: a loss of 36 percent of the state’s overall manufacturing employment in just 16 years. In just the past four years, Connecticut lost more than 18,000 manufacturing jobs.

In the past 18 months, GrowJobsCT has worked on a variety of issues: promoting a Connecticut-based fuel cell industry; assisting in the effort to find a new buyer for Winchester; working to keep jobs at Hamilton Sundstrand, trying to bring new manufacturers to the state, advocating for the elimination of the property tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment and focusing attention on the need for improved technical training in Connecticut. GrowJobsCT is involved in a major initiative on Universal Health Care, working to bring together business and labor to find common ground on what the coalition sees as a jobs issue.

“We’re honored and excited to receive this grant from FMCS,” said John Harrity, Director of GrowJobsCT. “The fight to keep manufacturing in Connecticut is a crucial concern, both for business owners and workers, as well as the communities they help sustain. This grant will help us keep fighting for jobs, and that’s good for everyone in the state.”


Gas Prices Rise to New High

Gas prices have hit an all-time high, jumping nearly two cents to over $3 a gallon in the past two weeks. The Lundberg Survey of 7,000 gas stations nationwide shows the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.0150, slightly more than the previous high of $3.0117 set in September last year.

The sky-high gas prices, which could move even higher heading into the Labor Day weekend, have caused significant financial stress for working families. A new Gallup poll says that more than half of Americans are experiencing financial hardships as a result of today’s gas prices. Many low-income families have even had to cut back on basic necessities such as food, according to the poll.


AK Steel Lockout No Bargain for Shareholders

The nearly five-month long lockout at AK Steel Corp. has cost Southwestern Ohio communities more than $100 million in economic activity, but the biggest losers could be AK Steel Corp. shareholders.

Lost sales, late deliveries, concerns about the quality of the steel being produced by replacement workers all add up to costs that are not fully reflected in the company’s second quarter report.

“This lockout should have been settled weeks ago,” declared Brian Daley, president of Armco Employees Independent Federation (AEIF), the independent union representing 2,700 workers at AK Steel. “The company is unnecessarily prolonging the dispute and I believe shareholders deserve an explanation.”

Daley will take part in a conference call with business analysts and media representatives today to provide the union’s perspective on the company, the union, status of negotiations and the upcoming NLRB union election.

“The employees and shareholders at AK Steel have a common interest in the long-term success of this company,” said Daley. “It’s bad business for management to let this dispute go on one day longer than necessary.”


Voting Set to Begin for AEIF Workers

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will conduct an election on July 26-27 for more than 2,200 members of the Armco Employees Independent Federation (AEIF), locked out by AK Steel Corp. since February 28.

AEIF leaders are endorsing the IAM as the best choice for its members who are hoping to end the lockout and find a replacement for the company’s seriously under funded pension plan. IAM membership would give members of the 63-year old independent union access to IAM resources and an opportunity to take part in the fully funded IAM National Pension Fund. The NLRB vote will take place over a two-day period with results expected following the close of the polls at 1 p.m. on July 27.


Gulfstream Flight Attendants Join IAM

By nearly a two to one margin, Flight Attendants at Gulfstream International Airlines have overwhelmingly voted for IAM representation in a National Mediation Board (NMB) election.

Gulfstream International, serving 12 Florida destinations and 10 locations in the Bahamas, is one of the fastest growing regional air carriers in the United States and is ranked the 4th largest regional carrier in terms of passengers flown. Gulfstream operates as a code share partner of Continental Airlines, United Airlines and Northwest Airlines.

The IAM also expects to file a petition with the NMB seeking an election to represent Gulfstream’s ramp workers.

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