iMail for Tuesday, June 19, 2007

NASA Gambles with Safety at Kennedy Space Center

United Space Alliance has restarted assembly of space-shuttle components inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, FL, without the benefit of key staff, according to sources inside the facility. 

IAM Representatives have been told that NASA is nowhere to be seen while replacement workers perform dangerous crane operations.  Nearly 570 IAM members of Local 2061 who normally perform safety-sensitive functions at the Kennedy Space Center went on strike June 14th.

Their work at KSC is currently being performed by engineers, management and others who do not normally operate the massive cranes. In an Associated Press article that raised the safety issue, a United Space Alliance spokesperson said all the replacement workers have previous experience, a claim that won her Local 2061’s first “Pinocchio Award.”

The Machinists are concerned that the so-called ‘training’ of crane operators consisted of moving an empty hook around, with no load. This does not follow the United Space Alliance certification process nor does it begin to approximate the experience of moving a fully loaded fuel canister or any of the other normal duties of a KSC crane operator.

Act Now for the Employee Free Choice Act

With the Senate moving closer to a vote on the Employee Free Choice Act, it’s time to send a message to your Senator urging passage of what may be the most important piece of working family legislation in years.

Workers can also take part in a virtual rally for the Employee Free Choice Act and help make the final push needed to get this important law passed.

The Employee Free Choice Act, which the House passed earlier this year by a vote of 241-185, would enable workers to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by strengthening their rights to form unions.

“It’s time to return to a world where workers obtain their fair share of the nation’s economic growth,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA). “The best way to do this is to give them a stronger voice in the workplace. Unions mean the difference between an economy that is fair and an economy where working people are left behind.”

Ohio Rally Calls for Family-Friendly Immigration Reform

IAM members in Painesville, Ohio, took part in a Father’s Day march and prayer vigil in support of Latino fathers who were forcibly separated from their families as a result of the government’s Operation Return to Sender. The marchers included labor, religious and community activists who called on Congress to pass immigration-reform legislation while respecting families and protecting workers.

“We are appalled that our federal government has undertaken a national campaign to incarcerate and deport tens of thousands of Latinos across the country,” said Veronica Isabel Dahlberg, director of Hispanas Organizadas de Lake y Astabula (HOLA). “Operation Return to Sender is no different than Operation Wetback of the 1950s, a large-scale immigration raid that targeted Latino neighborhoods and workplaces.”

Launched last spring by the Department of Homeland Security, Operation Return to Sender claims its goal is to increase the enforcement of immigration laws in the workplace, however, many women and men who have no criminal records are finding themselves in its cross hairs. More than 18,000 people have been deported since the operation began last year.

The resulting deportations have highlighted the fact that a third of the nation’s 6.3 million so-called unauthorized families include illegal immigrant parents with at least one child who was born in the U.S. and is therefore a citizen, according to statistics by the Urban Institute and Pew Hispanic Center.

In addition to taking part in the Father’s Day march, representatives from District 54 and IAM headquarters met with the HOLA leaders to determine ways to ensure the immigrant workforce is not abused by employers and used to lower the pay, benefits and working conditions for all workers.


Cincinnati Hosts 2007 Union Industries Show

This year’s AFL-CIO Union Industries Show was held at the 200,000 square-foot Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH. The annual event exhibits the best in union-made products and services, showcasing the skills of millions of American union workers in a myriad of industries.

Tens of thousands of people came to the three-day event where they caught a glimpse of the men and women of organized labor and the fine products they produce.

“We had the largest number of IAM-represented companies ever participate,” said General Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart. “We thank them for taking part, and we thank our members for the fine craftsmanship and high quality evidenced in their products and services. This was one of the best-ever Union Industries Shows. We can all be proud.”

Over $200,000 worth of product samples and prizes were freely given away. IAM-made products were a big draw, including the always popular Harley-Davidson motorcycle and colorful IAM-made John Deere lawn tractors. Other popular IAM exhibitors – and great examples of why American union-made products are still worth looking for – included Advanced Business Systems, Inc.; Aeronca, Inc.; Amana; American Unions’ Embroidery, Printing & More, LLC; Corwin Knives; Entrust Mortgage Partners; Guide Dogs of America; IAM Benefit Trust Fund; IAM National Pension Fund; Peerless Chain; Trane Air Conditioning; Union Office Solutions; USA Coffee Co.; and York Unitary Products.

New Mexico Local 2515 Scores Organizing Win

Eighty-five workers at C-Martin, who perform service contract work at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, have voted overwhelmingly to join the IAM. 

Local 2515 organizing Chairman Randy Rodriguez led the campaign, and brought home the win.  “This is a great example of the talent and dedication that is in our Local Lodges,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson, “Randy took hold of this campaign and joined with DBR Bud Duryea to win this thing.  This is great teamwork.”

GLR Rod Weigand assisted with the campaign, which was the second time the workers had reached out to the IAM. “During the campaign, the company fired one of our campaign leaders and tried to discourage the workers with threats and other intimidating tactics, but the workers stuck together and the vote came down exactly in line with the ‘Yes’ petition signers,” said Weigand. “Our program really proved to be accurate, and Randy and Bud worked it perfectly.”

Deadline Extended for IAM Photo Contest

Get your cameras ready, the deadline for the 2007 IAM Photo Contest has been extended to June 29 2007. Winning photographers will receive a cash prize and their photos will appear in the 2008 IAM calendar.

Click here ( for complete contest rules and entry forms. Be sure to follow the instructions for submitting photographs, especially in digital format. Digital photos must be taken with a camera with at least three megapixels’ capacity, and the camera set on the highest-quality photo setting (and don’t forget to turn off the date stamp!). Low resolution digital photos may be disqualified. Call the Communications Department (301) 967-4520 for more information.

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