iMail for Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Money Talks for 6,200 at Spirit AeroSystems 

Seathed on the left for LL839 (l to r) Gary Cochran LL839 Pres., Michael Burleigh DL70 BR, Mark Love DL70 BR, Steve Rooney DL70 DBR, Bob Martinez GVP, Ron Eldridge GLR Aerospace Coordinator, Don Barker GLR, David Eagle LL839 In-Plant Rep., Kathy Petersen LL839 VP

Wichita’s aerospace community will be closely monitoring the progress of talks between Local 839 and Spirit AeroSystems, which opened this week on behalf of 6,200 workers at the former Boeing facility. The trend-setting IAM contract with Spirit, which delivered a $240 million payout to members in 2006, also provided for early negotiation on economic issues.

“We fully expect the next contract with Spirit to reflect the skills and contributions our members have made to the success of this company,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez, who joined the Local 839 Negotiating Committee for the initial meeting with Spirit representatives. “I have no doubt this negotiating committee will fully relay the concerns of the membership throughout the course of these negotiations.”

Key issues included pensions, improved health care, regularly scheduled cost-of-living increases and general wage increases. Any changes negotiated and ratified in the current round of talks would remain in force until the contract expires in June 2010.

In preparation for the talks with Spirit, the Local 839 Negotiating Committee took part in one of the Winpisinger Center’s most innovative training opportunities; a week-long class that included bargaining simulations using real financial data and actual contract proposals. “This committee has already demonstrated how serious they are about these negotiations,” said Aerospace Coordinator Ron Eldridge, who helped guide the training sessions and will take part in the talks with Spirit.

Alabama Members Ratify Ft. Rucker Contract

Local 2003 members cast ballots to ratify new agreement with Army Fleet Support (AFS) in Ft Rucker, AL.

A recent training session at the IAM Winpisinger Center that featured realistic bargaining scenarios and mock confrontations paid real-world dividends for the Local 2003 Negotiating Committee, which just concluded a successful round of talks on behalf of more than 3,000 IAM members employed at Army Fleet Support in Ft. Rucker, AL.

Led by District 75 Business Representative Tony Blevins, the 11-member bargaining committee negotiated an agreement that was overwhelmingly ratified by the IAM membership working at the base, whose work ranges from janitors to test pilots. “The IAM members at Ft. Rucker are extremely proud of their safety record, with nine million flight hours of accident-free operation,” noted Blevins.

The accord includes pay raises of four percent in each of the three years of the contract and a 28 percent increase in company contributions to the IAM Pension Plan. “Our committee put the training from the Winpisinger Center to good use,” said Aerospace Coordinator Frank Santos. “This was tough bargaining, and the committee handled it skillfully and landed a good contract.”

“The contract at Ft. Rucker is one of the largest Service Contract Act labor agreements in the United States,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Congratulations to Local 2003 and the entire negotiating team. They secured an industry-leading contract that is worthy of the men and women they represent.”

Contract Talks Underway for BIW Shipbuilders

International President Tom Buffenbarger, Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. and Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. joined District 4 and the Local S6 Negotiating Committee yesterday in Freeport, ME, for the opening round of contract talks with Bath Iron Works (BIW).

The current IAM-BIW contract covers approximately 3,400 shipbuilders at the nation’s oldest continually operating shipyard, including fitters, welders, painters, electricians, mechanics and other classifications.

According to pre-negotiation surveys, rising health care costs are a serious concern for many members in addition to retirement security and wages.

“This contract negotiation is an opportunity to provide members and their families with a measure of economic stability that is simply not available to non-union households,” said Tucker. “All the resources of this union, from the economic research capability of the Strategic Resources Department to the Legislative Department’s efforts to secure additional contracts for BIW, are at work on behalf of our members at BIW. I am confident this negotiating committee has all the tools to reach an agreement that is worthy of this highly-skilled workforce.”

Members of Local S-6 are scheduled to cast ballots on May 18 at the Augusta Civic Center on the company’s “last, best and final” offer. The current agreement expires on May 18.

Deadlines Near for Photo, Newsletter and Website Contests

Deadlines are fast approaching for the popular Newsletter and Website Contest and the IAM Photography Contest. Entries for 2008 Newsletter and Website contest are due May 9, 2008 but will be accepted until May 16, 2008. The contest is open to all local and district lodges in good standing that have publications that are regularly distributed to members and/or websites that are regularly updated. Click here for complete contest rules and application forms.

The IAM Photography contest deadline is June 1, 2008. It is open to IAM members in good standing and photo entries should be of IAM members at work. Winning entries will win a cash prize and be featured in the 2009 IAM Calendar. Click here for contest rules, applications and release forms. Please read all instructions carefully.

Contact the Communications Department at 301-967-4520 for more information.

Michigan Card Check Speeds Autoport Contract

Employees at Autoport Limited in Pontiac, MI, recently voted unanimously to join the IAM and voted 100 percent to ratify a first agreement. The three-year accord features increases to wages, a solid health and welfare plan at a minimum cost to members as well as participation in the IAM National Pension Plan.
The new IAM members load new autos on rail cars and join workers in seven other Autoport locations who already belong to the IAM.

The recent election took place quickly thanks to a recognition agreement at Autoport that allowed District 60 in Detroit, MI, to proceed to a “consent election” by showing majority interest from employees.

The “consent election” permits an NLRB-supervised election to take place without the lengthy 45-day posting procedure. This streamlined process brings a much faster conclusion and gives negotiators an opportunity to conclude a first contract in a timely manner.

The IAM was also recently able to withstand an attempted raid on Autoport members by the Teamsters (IBT) in Flintrock, MI. The IBT was unsuccessful at swaying members at an Autoport location where workers were represented by the Machinists union for more than 20 years. “Those members recognized the benefit of holding on to their IAM contract,” said District 60 DBR Bobby Atanasovski. “They were unwilling to risk established wages, benefits and a secure pension plan for IBT promises, alibis and excuses.”

IAM Celebrates 120 Years

Machinists marked the 60th anniversary of the IAM, commemorating its founding at a meeting of 19 workers in a railroad pit in Atlanta, GA on May 5, 1888.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers celebrates its 120th anniversary this week. It was on the evening of May 5, 1888 that railroad machinist Tom Talbot held a secret meeting with eighteen fellow machinists in a locomotive engine pit in Atlanta, Georgia. That meeting was the foundation of the IAM.

Unemployment was high in the 1880s and people were still hurting from the ravages of a depression of the 1870s. With 10-hour days, unsafe working conditions and declining wages (journeymen machinists, at $2.00 an hour, were earning about half as much as twenty years earlier), the need for workers to unite and organize was never greater.

First named the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers of America, Tom Talbot became the union’s first president. With the help of “Boomers,” Machinists organizers who traveled by rail, membership grew to 4,000 in just two years.

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