iMail for Tuesday, July 31, 2007


IAM Members Can Vote in Online Presidential Poll

Beginning today, IAM members can visit GOIAM.org (http://www.goiam.org/content.cfm?cID=10949) and vote for the presidential candidate they would like to see win their party’s nomination. 

The poll comes weeks ahead of the IAM’s “Conversations with the Candidates,” in which both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates will appear before nearly 600 IAM leaders at the IAM National Staff Conference in Orlando.

The candidate conversations in Orlando, coupled with the new poll on GOIAM.org, will help guide the IAM leadership as they move forward in making a historic dual-endorsement in the primaries.

“We want each and every IAM member to let us know who they think should be this country’s next president,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “It is time for a fundamental change in the way this country is run and our members know the importance of electing a president who cares about jobs, health care, trade and other issues that impact America’s middle class.”

The flurry of activity surrounding the 2008 presidential primaries is a direct result of the accelerated schedule of primaries that could lead to Democratic and Republican nominees as early as mid-February. Twenty-five states will hold primaries or caucuses between January 14 and February 5, 2008, with another sixteen voting by March 4, 2008.

The IAM will make its customary recommendation for U.S. President and Vice President following input from elected delegates at the IAM Convention in September 2008.

Southern Territory Organizes Florida Auto Technicians

Automotive Technician’s at Ed Morse SawGrass located in Sunrise, FL., voted overwhelmingly on July 27th to join the Machinists Automotive Technician family consisting of over 40,000 highly skilled Auto Techs. “This was a very unusual campaign,” said Southern Territory Automotive Coordinator Dave Porter. “These Techs really respect their employer; they also respect the advancement of their profession. From the beginning they said they only want a fair and just written contract with their employer.”

The 27 technicians are the cream of the crop and certainly deserve a good contract. They smashed all company production records the week the petition was filed, they are number three in the nation in tire sales, they are rated in the top 10 in a field of six thousand auto dealers in 10 different categories relating to service.

“This is an historic win,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Bob Martinez. “We’ve proven we can win in the automotive sector in the South. Congratulations to Brother Porter and his team, including the District 166 staff and District 166 Organizer Javier Almazan for a job well done. And welcome to our newest members, the Automotive Techs in Sunrise, Florida!”

APRI Conference Spotlights Health Care Disparities

The A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) will open its 38th National Education Conference tomorrow at the Oakland Center City Marriot in Oakland, CA, where distinguished leaders of the African American labor and civil rights movements will come together to focus on addressing the huge disparities in health care among the black and minority communities.

Congressional leaders, celebrities and influential health care organizations will also participate in the conference, which is set to run through Sunday.

Problems associated with HIV and AIDS, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other illnesses is a prevalent issue for many within the minority community who are not receiving quality health care.

“The ability to receive quality health care is a huge problem, not only for African American workers, but for all workers,” said IAM Executive Assistant Diane Babineaux. “The Bush administration continues to cater to big business and special interests, while turning its back on middle class families of all races”

New Contract at Harley-Davidson in Kansas City

IAM members of Local 176 at the Harley-Davidson plant in Kansas City, MO have a new five-year agreement, effective August 1, 2007, covering the company’s Vehicle and Powertrain Operations. The new agreement, which runs through July 30, 2012, replaces the existing five-year contract.

The new pact provides 3.5 to 4.0 percent wage increases in each of the five contract years and employees will continue to pay no monthly premium contribution for healthcare coverage. Other contract benefits include a retiree medical savings plan, holiday improvements, better short-term disability benefits, a safety shoe allowance and vision care improvements.

IAM and US Airways Request NMB Facilitator

The IAM has filed a joint request with US Airways for the National Mediation Board (NMB) to facilitate negotiations for transition agreements necessitated by the carrier’s 2005 merger with America West Airlines. The NMB assigned mediator Linda Puchala to work with the parties when negotiations resume on August 1, 2007, in Washington, D.C.

“We are encouraged by the carrier’s willingness to utilize a facilitator to assist in negotiations,” said IAM District 141 President Randy Canale. “The IAM welcomes any assistance the NMB can provide to help produce a transition agreement for our members.”

Negotiations to bring US Airways and former America West Fleet Service and Mechanic & Related employees under common agreements have been underway for more than a year. The NMB facilitator can make non-binding recommendations and assist the parties to resolve outstanding contract issues.

“This process has gone on for far too long,” said District 142 President Tom Higginbotham. “Working with a facilitator is a positive step toward ensuring IAM members share in US Airways’ success.”

IAM Pro-Street Bike Heads for the Black Hills

The IAM custom Pro-Street bike, built as a fundraiser for Guide Dogs of America http://www.guidedogsofamerica.org (GDA), is touring the nation to give the public an opportunity to see the spectacular bike in person, and where would it be this time of year but in Sturgis, South Dakota for the 67th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to be held August 6-12, 2007!

If you plan to be one of the half-million people attending this mother-of-all Rally in the Black Hills of South Dakota, be sure to stop by and see the IAM-made bike at the GDA booth on Lazelle Street, by the Arlen Ness booths, across from the J & P Swap Meet. GDA reps Grace & Steve Cohan will be manning the booth August 2-12, and would love for IAM members and friends to stop by and say hello (and buy a raffle ticket). You can contact the Cohans at 818-822-9274 for further information.

This one-of-a-kind motorcycle will be raffled off at GDA’s annual banquet on November 17, 2007 (winner need not be present). You can get more information about the bike and see how it was built by going to http://iamawbikebuild.com. All proceeds from this fundraising effort will go directly to Guide Dogs of America for their mission to provide professionally-trained guide dogs to blind and visually-impaired individuals at no cost.

Workers at Rugby Manufacturing Vote “IAM Yes”

District 5 brought 71 new members into Local 2525 in Fargo, ND through an organizing win at Rugby Manufacturing Company. These new members manufacture truck bodies and hoists, working in welding, painting and assembly.

“Rugby had promised the workers wage and benefit increases in an attempt to stop our effort,” said District 5 Organizing Coordinator Kevin Murch, “but they didn’t fall for that old song and dance. About a year ago, the workers received a raise, but the employee cost of health insurance went up so much that they are actually taking home less money.”

According to Murch, health-care costs weren’t the only issue. ”They want respect from the employer,” said Murch. “They are seeking professional representation from the IAM and the guarantees that come with a union contract.”

“This win was made possible by our team members inside the facility,” continued Murch. “They made it happen. They took it upon themselves to educate their fellow workers on the value of joining the IAM.”

“We thank all involved for their hard work and dedication in growing our great union,” said Midwest General Vice President Phil Gruber. “Thanks to GLR Joe Cooper, SR Jorge Saenz and District 5’s DBR Dennis Walworth and Organizing Coordinator Kevin Murch, who led the campaign. But special thanks must be said to the Local 2525 Organizing Committee: Milt Carlson, Steve Allard and Todd Boucher. Their plant was on shutdown, and they used their own vacation to make house calls in the campaign. We can’t thank them enough. They are true trade unionists and this campaign would not have been successful without their selfless commitment to the IAM.”