iMail for Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Machinists Approve New Contract at Hamilton Sundstrand

IAM members of Local 743 at Hamilton Sundstrand in Connecticut overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract with annual pay raises of 3.5 percent, an $8 increase to members’ monthly pension benefit and a $3,000 signing bonus that can be matched by 50 percent if the money is placed in an employee savings plan. Nearly 800 members voted by 96 percent to ratify the new agreement.

“We ended up with a real decent contract,” said District 26 Assistant Business Representative and Chief Negotiator James Parent, who said health care costs and retirement security were key concerns for members and the local negotiating committee.

Additional improvements include new job security language, new job posting language and the creation of a joint committee to identify and track job-based training.


Raytheon Shareholders Target Executive Pensions

IAM representatives presented a proposal at the May 3rd meeting of Raytheon’s shareholders and Board of Directors to allow shareholders to vote to accept or reject any supplemental senior executive pension plan or SERP (Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan). The proposal won support from 49.17 percent of the vote, narrowly missing a passing vote.

“Paying out lavish retirement benefits to executives is unnecessary given the already extremely high levels of executive compensation at Raytheon,” said IAM Research Economist David White. “In addition, Raytheon’s SERP gives certain executives enhanced benefits and credits that are not provided by the company’s other defined benefit plans.”

For more than a decade, companies have been setting up SERPs and allowing senior managers to defer compensation amounts that are above and beyond limits set by federal tax law. The IAM, in cooperation with union-affiliated investment funds and other activist shareholders, will continue to support efforts to reign in SERPs.


Florida & California Locals Ratify ULA Contracts

Nearly 160 members of Local 610 in Cape Canaveral, FL and Local 2786 in Santa Maria, CA, ratified new contracts with the United Launch Alliance (ULA), which operates Atlas Launch Operation facilities at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The three-year agreement includes a four percent general wage increase in the first year and a three percent increase in the second and third years; a $2,000 ratification bonus; increased COLA supplements; increased pension benefits from $60 to $70 per month per year of credi ted service and numerous other improvements. The 91 percent ratification vote followed negotiations for both locations in Cocoa Beach, FL.

The new contract is the first with the new Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture company. “These negotiations were unique from the start,” said Aerospace Coordinator John Crowdis. “It took a collective effort from IAM representatives from locals and district on both sides of the country who worked together and brought their expertise to the bargaining table. We also got great support from the Western and Southern Territory offices and the rank and file members from both locations.”

Carter and Byrne Named “Sisters of the Month”

The IAM Women’s Department has named Linda Carter of Local Lodge 1689 in Albuquerque, NM and Valerie Byrne of Local 1295 in Toronto, ON as May’s Sisters of the Month for the U.S. and Canada, respectively.

An active 18-year IAM member, Linda Carter has been serving as Secretary-Treasurer of Local 1689 for the last six years and as Recording Secretary for the previous seven.

Carter’s advice for women thinking about becoming more involved? “Go for it,” she said, and adds that a good plan to get star ted is to join lodge committees, ask questions and learn, utilize the resources available through the union, and take advantage of every educational opportunity.

Valerie Byrne has been a member of Local 1295 for nine years, serving as Recording Secretary for the last year. She has also served on the Executive Board as Trustee, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Safety Committee.

Byrne recommends union women learn as much as they can. She also adds that it’s a leader’s duty to share that knowledge with fellow members. “You can’t be a good leader if you don’t learn to communicate,” said Byrne.

The IAM “Sister of the Month” is an effort to motivate women to become more involved in their union by recognizing their hard work and dedication. If you’d like to nominate someone, download the nomination form and submit it to the IAM Women’s Department.

Members Send Strong Message to Triumph Composites

Local Lodge 86 members who are employed at Triumph Composites in Spokane, WA sent a clear message to company negotiators by voting 100 percent to authorize a strike if the final contract offer from the aerospace company fails to meet members’ expectations when the current contract expires on May 31, 2007.

The IAM members at Triumph are former Boeing employees who took a 15 percent wage and benefit concession to keep the plant open and protect the more than 300 jobs after Boeing threatened to close or sell it four years ago after the fallout from 9/11.

“The sacrifices of our members not only kept the plant open, they have kept Triumph highly successful through hard work and process improvements,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin. “They have lived with over four years of concessions, now it’s time for Triumph to share the profits these workers helped generate.”