iMail for Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Strike Looms at Kennedy Space Center
Two countdowns are underway at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, FL. One for the launch scheduled on Friday for NASA’s Space Shuttle and one for a strike deadline for 600 members of Local 2061 in Cocoa, FL. IAM members provide support services for the Shuttle and are employees of the United Space Alliance (USA), a joint venture of the Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin. IAM members rejected USA’s substandard contract offer last weekend and voted to authorize a strike that could occur this weekend if the USA does not improve its offer.

“Unless they decide to come to their senses, I’m sure that it’s likely,” said District 166 Directing Business Representative Johnny Walker. “I would urge NASA not to let the United Space Alliance put them in a bad situation.”

Key issues for the Space Shuttle workforce include job security and retirement concerns in the wake of plans by NASA to shift from the current Space Shuttle program to next generation Ares/Orion systems after the Shuttle program concludes in 2010.

After members rejected USA’s contract offer, the IAM gave USA a five-day notice of intent to strike. That period ends this weekend. “The IAM is ready to meet and negotiate with the United Space Alliance. Hopefully, the USA will re-evaluate their position and come up with a fair agreement rather than force picket lines to go up,” said Aerospace Coordinator John Crowdis.

Join National Call-In for Employee Free Choice Act

IAM members, their families and friends can help get the landmark Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) passed by joining a nationwide call-in this week sponsored by the AFL-CIO. The proposed bill will strengthen employees’ rights to form unions free from employer harassment. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to start floor debate on the EFCA this week and could vote soon. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed its version of the bill.

The AFL-CIO has sponsored a toll-free number that will connect you with your U.S. Senators. If you live in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania or Virginia, dial: 1-800-774-8941.

Residents of other states can call 1-800-718-1008. Please thank senators who are co-sponsors of the bill. Click here for a list of co-sponsors.

IAM Welcomes New FlightSafety Members
IAM District 171’s presence in Oklahoma is growing after an organizing win at FlightSafety International at Altus Air Force Base in Altus, OK. The 88 FlightSafety employees provide instruction, support and maintenance services to the United States Air Force for the KC135R tanker aircraft.

“This is our first win here in Altus, and it was a long time coming,” said DL 171 Business Representative and Organizer Tony Bennett. “We expect this just to be the beginning here at Altus. We couldn’t have done it without the hard work of our committee, but I really want to thank Monte Clason and Robert Leguillon for their hard work to organize their fellow workers.”

“There’s a great deal of potential for growth at Altus,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Bob Martinez. “The workers at Altus deserve the strong IAM contracts workers at Vance AFB and Tinker AFB already enjoy in District 171 in Oklahoma. I want to welcome our newest members!”

Greer Named to Oregon Labor Hall of Fame
Retired Western Territory GLR Gerry Greer is the newest member of the Labor Hall of Fame; an honor bestowed by the Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council (NOLRC) and the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO. 

Greer, who retired from the IAM in 2005 and now lives in Washougal, WA, first joined the IAM as a welder for Caterpillar and quickly became president of the Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties Central Labor Council. He also served as a business agent for IAM Districts 163 and 24.

In 1989, Gerry joined the International staff of the IAM as a Grand Lodge Representative, servicing members in Arizona, New Mexico and Southern Nevada. Gerry then worked out of the Western Regional office in Sacramento. From there, he handled assignments in many states of the territory, including Hawaii, and was the territory coordinator for the can industry. 

“We congratulate Gerry on his induction into the Hall of Fame, and wish him continued happiness in his retirement,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson.

Ralph Fasanella: Working Class Painter
Whether it’s a strike or life on the factory floor, former union organizer Ralph Fasanella devoted his life to painting the lives of working men and women. Fasanella, who is considered America’s best self taught artist, completed hundreds of pieces of work dedicated to jobs and justice. Click here to watch “Ralph Fasanella: A Painter of Working Class People.”