Victims of the tornado that cut through Southern Alabama nearly 3 weeks ago are doing everything they can to put their lives back together. But that can be a tall order when all that’s left are the clothes on your back and a pile of sticks where your house once stood.
Nineteen IAM members from District 75 were among scores of area residents whose homes were completely demolished by the Category 3-4 tornado. Winds approaching 200 mph tore roofs away and emptied homes of their contents in a matter of seconds. In some cases, a bare foundation was all that remained. Dozens of IAM members’ homes in and around Enterprise, AL, suffered serious damage.
“It’s hard to describe how quickly the tornado hit or how destructive it was,” said Local 2003 Administrative Secretary Pam Williams who watched the tornado pass overhead before it struck the nearby community of Echo, AL. “One minute we were fine, next minute we were a major disaster area.”
A special IAM Tornado Relief Fund has been established to give locals, districts and individual members a chance to demonstrate once again that generosity is among the most enduring hallmarks of IAM membership.
“When Katrina hit in 2005, the members of this district were among the first to deliver aid to their fellow members on the Gulf Coast,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “These same members were out in force even before the tornado’s winds died down, assisting in rescue and recovery efforts in the hardest hit areas. They displayed extraordinary courage under incredible circumstances and I extend to all of them my deepest appreciation and admiration.”
To make a contribution in any amount, please send a check to the “IAM Disaster Relief Fund” and mail it to: IAM Community Services Department, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-2687. All funds received will be distributed directly to IAM members affected by the tornado.
The May 17, 2007, Transportation Day of Action is drawing closer, and hotel rooms are going fast. The Day of Action Hotel Committee is urging District Lodges, Local Lodges and members who need hotel accommodations to make reservations right away.
Hotel rooms in the D.C. area can be expensive and hard to find, but the Hotel Committee has negotiated special rates for a limited number of rooms at several hotels for Day of Action participants. Hotel, parking and rally information is available on the Enough is Enough page at www.goiam.org.
Additionally, the official 2007 Transportation Day of Action T-Shirt is available for purchase. Attached is the order form for the t-shirts that range from $7-$11 and the embroidered polo shirts that range from $30-$38, depending on the size. Women’s shirts are also available. Members and locals are encouraged to order and purchase early. Due to National Park Service regulations, Day of Action shirts will not be sold at the event. Purchases must be made in advance. Download a printable order form here.
Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson announced that long-time Grand Lodge Representative Jose Rodriguez is retiring, effective March 31, 2007. Rodriguez has served as full-time representative for more than 30 of his 41 years as an IAM member. Rodriguez worked as organizer and servicing agent, concentrating his efforts in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California. GLR Rodriguez also served as a Vice President of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).
“Jose has been a tireless advocate for working people, and an ambassador for the IAM,” said GVP Pearson. “He has been a leader in the Latino community, and families all across our territory are better off today because of his work. We all wish Jose and his family a long, happy and healthy retirement.”
Donald Gresham, a member of Local 519 in Phoenix, AZ, is joining the IAM Organizing Department staff as Special Representative, coinciding with Ray Moffatt’s move to Aerospace Coordinator.
Gresham’s career in the U.S. military (Air Force) and as a long-time employee under the Service Contract Act (SCA) gives him a distinct perspective in dealing with issues employees face under the SCA.
“Organizing under the SCA has its unique challenges,” said GVP Rich Michalski. “We’re extremely glad to have Don’s inside know-how in this area.”
Over the past nine years, Gresham has served as IAM shop steward and chief negotiator while working for both Boeing and Lockheed as an instructor at Luke Air Force Base.
At a recent town hall meeting, IAM District 9 representatives in St. Louis, MO had an opportunity to sit down with Congressman Jerry Costello (D-12th) to discuss the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and how it will affect the union’s basic right to organize new members.
“Congressman Costello is a true friend to working families in Illinois,” said District 9 DBR Roger Poole. “At a time when the middle class is disappearing, what could be more important than restoring workers’ freedom to join unions?”
Costello, a leading supporter of EFCA and other labor issues, has developed an excellent voting record on legislation affecting working families.
In a victory for Transportation Communications Union (TCU) District 1908 and the other five labor organizations that represent employees at Disney World in Orlando, FL, Disney will pay nearly $120,000 to settle an Unfair Labor Practice complaint over outsourcing.
The case was filed by the Service Trades Council in its ongoing struggle to stop Disney from contracting out members’ jobs. At issue was Disney’s late 2005 hiring of outside contractors for overnight-shift custodial work, eliminating 170 jobs.
“A settlement in this amount of money is a good sign,” said Council President Morty Miller. “The money will be divided among the affected workers according to their wage rates at the time.”
To publicize the success of the recent win, the Trades Council rallied members outside Disney World gates on March 2.