iMail for Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buffenbarger Welcomes Obama’s Jobs Initiatives

“President-elect Barack Obama has got it exactly right and I can’t applaud him enough, even before he’s taken the oath of office, for providing some inspiration and leadership on this issue,” said International President Tom Buffenbarger in a wide-ranging interview with newsman and author Bill Press about a proposal by Barack Obama to create 2.5 million jobs by January 2011.

Click here to listen to the interview.

“It’s going to take blue-collar jobs and white-collar jobs,” said Buffenbarger of the work ahead. “We’re talking about roads, bridges, the water system, the power grid and the supply of energy. We’re also talking about re-tooling America’s manufacturing base.”

Both Buffenbarger and Press spoke up on behalf of U.S. autoworkers at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, who are facing layoffs, shutdowns and worse in the wake of the global credit crisis. “This is an outrage,” declared Buffenbarger about the double standard that is allowing banks and investment firms to access billions in emergency federal funds while automakers are being required by Congress to provide detailed restructuring plans.

“The thing is, they (U.S. automakers) have a plan,” said Buffenbarger. “They are retooling their industry. They have an idea what it’s going to take to make the cars that people want to buy, and with that, generate all the cascading jobs that supply that industry.”

Buffenbarger reserved his strongest criticism for lawmakers who see the crisis in the auto industry as an opportunity to shred labor contracts and shift auto production to states with low wages and few benefits.

Guide Dogs Fundraiser Marks 60 Years

Nash B. Gills of Gray, GA is the winner of a 2008 custom-built Harley-Davidson that was raffled off at the 28th William W. Winpisinger Charity Banquet in Las Vegas, NV, to help celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Guide Dogs of America (GDA).

Gills, a member of Local 1034 in Macon, GA, was asleep when the call came to let him know he had won the Harley raffle, which raised nearly $125,000 to benefit GDA. “He called me back ten minutes later,” said GDA President Jay Borman, who notified Gills. “He was sure someone was pulling his leg.”

The winning ticket was drawn at the banquet by GDA graduate Lorri Bernson and her dog Nigel, where more than 1,000 people cheered a record number of locals, districts, companies and even individual GDA graduates like Diane Ryan and her dog Fiesta, who gathered to support the IAM charity that provides trained guide dogs free of charge to blind individuals.

In addition to the Harley raffle and the individual presentations, the annual GDA banquet is an opportunity to honor individuals whose support was especially important to the work of Guide Dogs of America. Recipients of the 2008 “Gift of Sight Award” this year were IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart, District 190 Executive Secretary Joyce Day and the Boeing Company.

“I don’t think there’s a charitable organization – anywhere – that does more for the people it means to help, while giving back as much to the people who support it,” said GST Warren Mart, who accepted his award on behalf of the thousands of IAM members who step up every time a hat is passed, or an event is planned, or the opportunity arises to talk about this great organization. “Their generous support – in word and deed – in good times and bad – is nothing short of extraordinary,” said Mart.

Machinists Win Multiple ILCA Media Awards

The Machinists union won several top honors in the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) annual Media Awards contest which honors the best in labor journalism. The ILCA is a professional organization that supports labor communicators in North America and is an allied organization of the AFL-CIO. The annual ILCA Journalism/Media contest is open to ILCA member publications from dozens of local and international unions.

The IAM Journal won four different awards along with a nod to the 2007 IAM Calendar. IAM-produced videos won four awards and the IAM website won one.

Click here for a complete list of winners in the 2008 ILCA Labor Media Awards.

2008 ILCA Media Contest IAM Award Winners:

Print publications:
First Place – Saul Miller Award, Best Political Action Story: “Choices ’08 – Conversations With the Candidates” (IAM Journal, Fall 2007).
Second Place – Best News Story – “Enough – A Day of Action and Protest” (IAM Journal, Summer 2007).
Honorable Mention: Best Publication Design “Choices” (IAM Journal, Fall 2007)
Honorable Mention: Best Collective Bargaining Story – “Wichita Windfall at Spirit AeroSystems” (IAM Journal, Spring 2007)
First Award – Best Use of Graphics – 2008 IAM Calendar

Video Productions
First Award – Best Labor History Video: “Ralph Fasanella: A Painter of Working Class People
Second Award – Best Short Videos : “Pushing State Politics
Third Award – Best Short Videos: “The Dogs Take Vegas
Honorable Mention – Best Short Videos: “Thousands Rally for Employee Free Choice Act

Honorable mention: General Excellence –

Tennessee Members Can Help Vought Strikers

IAM members in Tennessee can help support a fair contract for workers at Vought Aircraft Industries in Nashville, TN, who have been on strike since September 27, 2008.

Tennessee residents can click on the link below to send a message to their Senators and Congresspersons to ask them to stop Vought’s unfair tactics against their workers and demand that Vought bargain an equitable agreement.

Here’s the link. A letter is pre-written for you if you wish, or you can add to or change the letter as needed. Let’s let the elected officials in Tennessee know that they need to support the working families of Tennessee.

District 10 Wins Big at Crown Cork and Seal

District 10 in Milwaukee, WI, brought 37 new members into the IAM with an organizing win at Crown Cork and Seal in Oshkosh, WI, on November 20, 2008. The new members work in production and maintenance and will become members of Local 1947 in Fond du Lac, WI.

Members at the Oshkosh facility are seeking better wages and pension benefits. “Our new members are very aware that we represent workers at eight other Crown Cork and Seal plants,” said IAM Midwest Territory Organizing Leader Steve Nickel. “They knew of our reputation for negotiating good contracts and for solid representation.”

Nickel thanked all those who helped in the win. “This win would not have been possible without the generous support we received from our members at the other Crown plants.  IAM members from the Mankato, MN, La Crosse, WI and Owatona, MN plants came to meet with the workers at Oshkosh and gathered support petitions from their own individual plants.”

“We sincerely appreciate the hard work by District 10 Directing Business Representative Mike Hornby, Business Representative Russ Krings along with Grand Lodge Representatives Steve Nickel and Russ Wittkop,” said Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber.

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