iMail for Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Labor College Honors IAM Graduates

Ten IAM members who earned Bachelor’s degrees from the AFL-CIO’s National Labor College (NLC) in Silver Spring, MD were honored at the College’s eighth annual graduation ceremony. The IAM members were part of a 106-member graduating class who earned Bachelor of Arts degrees and 16 union members who earned masters degrees. There were members of 33 different unions represented at the ceremony.

This is the second year that the NLC coordinated their program with the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center, allowing IAM students to use the Center to complete part of their course work. Many of the Winpisinger Center programs are now accredited and can be used for college-degree programs.

“IAM members are always eager to learn, and this is a great opportunity we now offer to help them earn their college degrees,” said IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart, who represented the IAM at the ceremony along with Winpisinger Director Jim Leslie and Educational Representative Charlie Micallef. “This year’s group of graduates worked hard and sacrificed a lot. We are extremely proud of what they’ve accomplished,” said Mart.

More than 900 working men and women have earned degrees through the NLC program, the nation’s only union-based college. For information about earning a college degree through the National Labor College, contact Charlie Micallef at 301-373-3300.

 

Appeals Court Throws Out DHS Personnel Rules

Federal employees won a major victory against the Bush administration’s attempt to gut collective bargaining and civil service rights at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling that sections of the new rules went beyond Congress’ authority and illegally stripped federal employees of their collective bargaining rights.

“The appeals court ruling effectively ends DHS’s effort to impose these unjust rules that would constrict employees’ workplace rights and further erode their morale,” said National Treasury Employees’ Union President Colleen Kelly. NTEU led the suit and is part of the United Defense Workers Coalition, a coalition of federal employee unions fighting the unfair personnel rules at DHS and the Department of Defense. “The bottom line is that working against the best interests of your employees is never a winning strategy,” said Kelley. “It’s high time the administration abandoned this losing proposition.”

The latest court decision against the new personnel rules at DHS and a lower court ruling against similar rules, the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) at the Defense Department have slowed the Bush administration’s attempt to expand the unfair rules to all federal workers through a bill called the Working for America Act (WFAA). The bill has stalled and has not garnered a congressional sponsor.

Pearl Harbor Machinists Ratify Lockheed Martin Pact

Members of Local 1998 in Honolulu, HI employed by Lockheed Martin COMS at Pearl Harbor ratified a three-year contract with the company. The accord marks the first collective bargaining agreement for the unit. 

“The negotiations committee worked diligently for five months preparing for the contract,” said Maria Santiago Lillis, GLR assigned to Hawaii. “They were successful in addressing almost every issue identified in the survey of the members.” Representation and protection from arbitrary layoffs were the members’ top two concerns.

“This contract rewards the faith that these workers placed in us when we first started working with them,” said GVP Pearson. “This is a good contract, and it shows the talent and hard work by all the people involved.” 

The agreement includes pay raises of 18 percent in the first year, three percent in the second and third years. Medical-related insurance premiums will be paid in full by the company until January 2007, when employees will pay a percentage of the premium. The contract also contains language governing layoffs be seniority, shift premiums, vacation, holidays and union representation. The company will make a two percent contribution of base weekly pay to a 401(k) for each unit member.  GLR Santiago Lillis expressed thanks and appreciation to the entire negotiating committee, including:  Aerospace Coordinator John Crowdis, Chief Steward Lester Aczon, Alternate Steward James “Willie” Wilson, and Alternate Co-Negotiator Vernette Sierra.

Labor Department Linked to Anti-union Lobbyist

Officials at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are scrambling to explain their relationship and contacts with Richard Berman, a former alcohol and tobacco industry lobbyist and current front man for the anti-union website, UnionFacts.com.

Information uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reveal a lengthy chain of correspondence between Berman and DOL officials, including aides to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

Documents obtained by CREW detail what they describe as a “close and supportive” relationship between the two entities, including correspondence showing a meeting was set up between Berman and DOL staff. The Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group filed the FOIA lawsuit after reports surfaced about DOL officials promoting Berman’s website in emails to DOL employees.

Berman’s organization, the Center for Union Facts, is responsible for newspaper and TV ads using actors posing as union members to blame union leaders for factory closings, bankruptcies and jobs being sent overseas by companies in search of cheap labor.

Apprentice Program Returns to Honeywell

After a hiatus of nearly ten years, the Tool and Die Apprentice Program at Honeywell FM&T in Kansas City, MO is turning out graduates once again.

District 778 Business Representative Mike Roepke, who negotiated reinstatement of the program, recently attended the graduation of Jeff Cetto and John Vincent, the first two IAM members to complete the 8,800 hours of hands-on and classroom training.

Apprentices rotate working alongside Journeyman Tool & Die Machinist, learning from their decades of experience. Honeywell officials realized that skilled Tool & Die Journeyman had been retiring at a high rate and the few still working were fast approaching retirement age. By working closely with District 778, Honeywell is assuring the presence of a highly-skilled workforce far into the future.

 

Ft. Stewart Range Workers Win IAM Representation

The Southern Territory gained forty new members with a voluntary recognition agreement with AHNTECH at Ft. Stewart, GA. The workers maintain the ranges for live firing exercises. Ft. Stewart is the home of the Third Infantry Division.

Organizers Ray Moffatt and Al Granado handled the effort. “We have contracts with AHNTECH at thirteen other locations,” said Moffatt. “AHNTECH understands the success of a company is based upon a strong, committed workforce that is treated fairly and with respect. The IAM has a good working relationship with AHNTECH, and we’re already setting dates for negotiations.”

“We’re proud to work with companies like AHNTECH, which supports the rights of workers,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Congratulations to the company and the organizers for a job well done, and I want to welcome our newest members.”