iMail for Tuesday, June 6, 2006

NLRB Orders Foster Farms to Bargain with the IAM

The National Labor Relations Board has again ruled that Foster Farms violated the National Labor Relations Act when it refused to recognize the IAM as the representative for more than 2,000 workers at their Livingston, California facility.

In addition to ordering Foster Farms to bargain with the IAM, the NLRB called for the union’s certification year to be extended to allow time for the bargaining process to take place. In September 2005, the workers voted overwhelmingly to affiliate with the IAM, and Foster Farms has refused to follow NLRB and court orders to recognize the vote.

This latest ruling follows a series of decisions that found the poultry company’s actions to be in violation of federal labor laws. This decision comes two months after a federal judge in California issued a temporary injunction under Section 10(j) of the NLRA, ordering the company to recognize and bargain with the IAM. 

“We are continuing to fight the same battle time and again with this employer,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson. “You would think they would obey the law, especially after the workers expressed such overwhelming support for the IAM. We will win in the end, and we applaud the NLRB for again standing up and demanding that this big company follow the same rules that everyone else has to play by.”

GVP Pearson praised District 190 DBR Jim Beno and his staff for their hard work and the workers themselves for not giving up. “We will stay the course until we bring them their justice,” declared Pearson.


Trojan Workers Ratify First Contract

After five months of bargaining, IAM members of Local 10 in Richmond, Virginia voted overwhelmingly to ratify a first-ever agreement with Church & Dwight Co., makers of Trojan-brand condoms and personal care products.

The accord provides for guaranteed raises totaling 13.4 percent over the life of the contract and calls for new hires to reach top pay in one year. In addition to pay raises and employer contributions to a savings plan, IAM members also won contract language clarifying accumulation and use of vacation and personal days.

“This negotiating committee did an exceptional job on behalf of their fellow employees,” said Local 10 Business Representative Jeff Agee, who helped guide the Local 10 committee to their first contract. “The contract they produced is a testament to their determination and the determination of the membership.”

Agee also credited support throughout the negotiations from IP Tom Buffenbarger, Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez and from the Strategic Resources department at IAM headquarters. “This agreement clearly shows the range of resources the IAM has to offer new members.”


WWW Center Welcomes Flight Attendants

More than sixty Continental Airlines, ExpressJet and Continental Micronesia Flight Attendants participated in the first IAM Flight Attendant Seminar at the William W. Winpisinger Education & Technology Center in Maryland.

“We are working hard to extend and customize our educational programs,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “It is our hope that participants will bring the information they receive back into the workplace so we can reach as many members as possible.”

Members at the seminar learned about the IAM National Pension Plan, legislative action, the Family Medical Leave Act, grievance handling, merger issues, organizing and IAM history.

“It was eye opening,” said Houston-based ExpressJet Flight Attendant Joseph Shunk. “The combination of people who have been here from the beginning to people who are new to the industry made this a memorable experience.”

The seminar was open to all IAM-represented Flight Attendants and previous union activity was not necessary to attend. Participants’ industry experience ranged from one to more than 35 years.

“The facility is wonderful,” said Cleveland-based Express Jet Flight Attendant Nicole Washington. “It felt good to be around all the knowledge. There is so much that I learned here that I plan on sharing with the membership.”


Six Win Union Plus Scholarships

Six children of IAM members were selected from among 5,800 applicants to receive Union Plus Scholarships worth $500 to $3,500 as part of the 2006 Union Plus scholarship competition. The six will join an elite group of 108 winners from 44 unions this year who were awarded a total of $150,000 in scholarships.

The IAM winners are: Michael W. Amolins, son of Local 1833 member Douglas Amolins of Sioux Falls, South Dakota ($3,500); Michelle Anderson, daughter of Local 41 member Kenneth Anderson of Fenton, Missouri ($500); Spencer D. Moon, son of Local 1998 member Colleen L. Magdaloyo of Pearl City, Hawaii ($500); Michael J. Peluso, son of Local 20 member Joseph Peluso of Floral Park, New York ($1,000); Kevin Rongish, son of Local 639 member Steven J. Rongish of Wichita, Kansas ($1,000) and Margaret Tran, daughter of Local 839 member Chinh Tran of Derby, Kansas ($1,000).

IP Tom Buffenbarger congratulated the winners and praised the scholarship program as a valuable benefit for union members. “While we continue to fight to restore the American Dream for all of working America, Union Plus scholarships provide crucial help to many women and men in the labor movement seeking to realize their dreams.”

In addition to demonstrating academic ability, applicants are required to submit essays of no more than 500 words describing their career goals and their relationship with the union movement.

The Union Plus Scholarship Program has awarded more than $2 million since 1992 to students of working families who want to begin or continue their secondary education.


FAA Imposes Contract on Controllers

Twenty-five years after Ronald Reagan fired striking PATCO Air Traffic Controllers, the Bush Administration picked up where Reagan left off by abandoning negotiations with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and unilaterally imposing contract terms on 14,500 controllers.

Bush-appointed managers at the Federal Aviation Administration are demanding $2 billion in cost reductions from the employees who oversee the safety of 90,000 flights each day and more than 600 million people per year.

FAA management has stonewalled negotiations, declared an impasse and now imposed its draconian contract terms on employees. The shortsighted move will cause more controllers to retire and make it harder to recruit new employees, dangerously straining an already overburdened air traffic control system.

Congress is considering legislation, H.R. 5449 in the House and similar legislation in the Senate, to stop the FAA from unfairly imposing contract terms and restore good faith collective bargaining in the dispute. Click here for more information and to send a letter to your legislators to stop the FAA’s war on its workers.

La Sala, Duval Share IAM Sister Honors

Patricia R. La Sala (left) is the IAM’s June Sister of the Month for the U.S. La Sala, President of Local Lodge 1 in Federal District 1, came to the IAM when the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) joined hands with the Machinists Union.

Raised in a union family, La Sala works as a registered nurse at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Since taking over as president, she’s grown the membership from 27 RNs to 243 members in 21 different professional groups.

La Sala advises members who want to get involved in the union to “take advantage of every learning opportunity that comes along” and “make it a point to go to meetings, get involved and stay visible.”

Diane Duval is the current Canadian Sister of the Month. (Canadian honorees are named quarterly rather than monthly.) She was featured in the May 9, 2006 iMail and in the Sister of the Month section of the IAM website.