iMail for Tuesday, May 9, 2006

IAM, Bombardier Learjet Launch Contract Talks

With tough negotiations in the offing, IAM leaders attended the contract opener for LL 639 at Bombardier’s Learjet plant in Wichita, Kansas. The contract expires October 2.

“Our member’s top concerns are job security, health care, pensions, and wages,” said Southern Territory GVP Martinez. “We are prepared to bargain hard to win a fair and equitable contract for everyone.”

In 2003, LL 639 agreed to a wage freeze, increased health care costs and other concessions to keep the plant in Wichita. Since then Learjet has returned to profitability.

“We have taken the pain to bring back this great industry,” said IP Buffenbarger. “Everybody worked together. Everybody has a reason to expect some modicum of reward for the hard work they do.”

The Bombardier plant in Wichita manufactures the Learjet 60 and assembles the Learjet 40, 45 and 45XR. The company also operates a Flight Test Center and service center.

Buffenbarger and Martinez were joined by GVP Bob Thayer, Aerospace Coordinator Ron Eldridge, and District 70 DBR Steve Rooney.

District 160 Scores Organizing Win

District Lodge 160 racked up another organizing win when more than 134 workers at Commercial Vehicle Group, Inc. (CVGI) in Seattle, WA voted 85 to 35 in favor of joining the IAM. The new IAM members at CVGI manufacture state of the art heavy-duty truck cabs for customers like Kenworth and Perterbilt.

“District 160 Directing Business Representative Don Hursey, DL 160 Organizer Cristina Tangonan and Western Territory Organizing Leader Steve Cooper worked tirelessly with this group and their hard work paid off,” acknowledged Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson.

DL 160 has won the Western Territory Organizing trophy two years in a row, and is committed to winning again this year. The trophy is awarded to the top organizing district in the territory. Organizer Tangonan won the award for top organizer in the territory last year.

“DL 160 continues to exhibit outstanding leadership in setting the pace and accomplishing the organizing goals established by the IAM Executive Council and leadership,” said Pearson. “I commend DBR Hursey for showing that our goals are realistic and can be achieved.”


Air Canada ATS Workers Join IAM

After a long, hard-fought campaign, 372 Air Canada Administrative and Technical Support (ATS) employees are the newest members of IAM District Lodge 140. The Machinists were victorious in a vote conducted by the Canada Labour Relations Board on April 7, 2006.

The vote results ended almost six years of effort by Air Canada to have the ATS workers declared non-union after its merger with Canadian Airlines International in 2000. Air Canada felt that with the merger, the number of its non-union ATS workers were in a clear majority and the Canadian ATS workers, represented by the IAM, should be absorbed as non-union.

Since the merger, the IAM fought off Air Canada’s efforts to decertify and won a vote by the CLRB to settle the issue. “Since the merger was completed, the non-union workers were constantly targeted for layoffs or staff reductions,” said IAM District 140 President and Directing General Chairperson of Jim Coller.

“Even though the non-union ATS workers were still in the majority, I think many of them realized they had a better future as members of the IAM and the vote results reflected this.”


Midwest Territory Sets Auto Contract Standards

After a five-week strike, management threats to union supporters, and plenty of member solidarity, sixteen IAM-represented automotive technicians at Napleton Autowerks in Schereville, Indiana have a brand-new, union contract.

The technicians approached the IAM in January 2006 after deciding something needed to be done about rising health care costs, lack of a pension plan, no weekly guarantee, and working under a total commission basis.

Once the technicians filed for representation, the company offered piecemeal increases in benefits to sway them from voting union. The IAM won the representation election unanimously.

In March, the company made substandard offer which was defeated. The technicians went on strike on March 22. They returned to work April 28 with their first union contract and the first union car dealer contract in Indiana.

In St. Paul Minnesota, District 77, representing over 750 auto technicians, bodymen, and service employees inked a new three-year “Standard Automotive Agreement” today with the St. Paul Auto Dealers Association.

According to Assistant Directing Business Representative Don Yetman, the new agreement includes an increased employer contribution of $26 per employee per month toward our members health insurance premium, each year of the agreement includes an increased employer contribution to the IAM Pension Plan for a total increase of 50 cents per hour, and wages will increase each year two percent on average over the term of the agreement.

“This was a difficult negotiations. Our membership should be extremely proud of the committee’s hard work and dedication,” said Yetman.


IAM Names IAM Sisters of the Month for May

The IAM’s Women’s Department named LL 700’s Shirley Dickes its U.S. Sister of the Month for May, 2006. LL 901’s Diane Duval was the pick for Canadian Sister of the Month (where the honored sister is picked quarterly).

Sister Dickes has been LL 700’s Recording Secretary for the last eight years. She also helps her lodge maintain contact with sister lodges in the area and gets more women involved by planning educational luncheons with speakers and open forums for sharing information.

Sister Duval has been with the IAM for 16 years and currently serves as a Trustee on the Executive Board of IAM LL 901. She encourages other IAM women to become more involved by regularly attending meetings and becoming active in union business and activities.

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 for Sister of the Month, download the form and submit it to the IAM Women’s Department.

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