iMail for Tuesday, November 29, 2005

IAM Wins Election for 500 in Virginia

Preparations are underway for a first contract following a major Southern Territory organizing win that secured IAM representation for more than 500 workers who make Trojan brand condoms at Church & Dwight Co., in Richmond, Virginia.

Workers at the manufacturing facility rejected a fierce campaign coordinated by a union avoidance firm and voted 277-177 on November 23 for the IAM in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

“It was one of the toughest anti-union campaigns I’ve ever seen,” said IAM Business Representative Jeff Agee, who coordinated the organizing drive. “The company stuffed employee pay envelopes with anti-union literature and required workers to attend twice-weekly captive audience meetings.”

Agee credited the Local 10 Organizing Committee for providing workers at Church & Dwight with a steady flow of literature and accurate information about their legal rights.

“Special thanks should go to Local 10 Recording Secretary Bob Key, Secretary-Treasurer Ben Wells and Office Manager Marie Marshall. They did a terrific job.”

Key issues that led workers to seek IAM representation were rising health care costs, the absence of pay raises and unilateral changes to long-standing vacation policy.

“The men and women at Church & Dwight were already familiar with the benefits of an IAM contract,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez.

“The IAM represents some of the highest paying jobs at major employers in the Richmond, Virginia area, including Phillip Morris, Alcoa, Honeywell and United Parcel Service. We’re looking forward to providing the same kind of first-class representation for our newest members.”

Mobilize Now for December 10 Activities

A special AFL-CIO website is up and running for union members looking for information about local activities leading up to the nationwide mobilization on International Human Rights Day on December 10.

Dozens of events aimed at protecting the right to organize and to support the Employee Free Choice Act are planned in Washington, D.C., and cities around the country.

“If we’re serious about protecting our rights and our future as union members, then we have to get serious about protecting the rights of men and women who are trying to join our movement,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger.

For more information about International Human Rights Day, the Employee Free Choice Act and to locate Dec.10 activities in your area, please visit the special AFL-CIO website and watch for regular updates on www.goiam.org.

Local 1377 Ratifies New Contract at Waukesha Engines

The 430 IAM members of Local 1377 who work as machinists, assemblers and fabricators at Waukesha Engines Dresser Inc. in Waukesha, Wisconsin, ratified a new 5-year agreement recently that marked a significant departure from the last round of negotiations that led to an 89-day strike.

IAM District 10 Business Representative Scott Parr said the union requested negotiations early this time around and the Company agreed to the early request. Both sides agreed to interest based bargaining and utilized a federal mediator as a facilitator.

Wages will increase 3 percent each year of the agreement. Shift premiums, the pension multiplier, life insurance and the weekly disability benefit will also increase each year through term of the agreement. The negotiating team was able to place a cap on the employee portion of health insurance premiums.

In addition to the monetary gains, the union received a letter from the Dresser Inc. Chief Operating Officer stating that the company will bring in two new product lines to the Waukesha facility and will spend 7.5 million dollars on new equipment this year. 

The union was also successful in removing a two-tier pay scale and maintaining retiree health insurance for all current and future retirees.

“This is a huge turnaround from the last negotiations that ended in an 89 day strike,” said Midwest Territory GVP James E. Brown. 

“The credit for these accomplishments goes to our members of Local 1377 for standing up for themselves and standing squarely behind BR Scott Parr and the Local 1377 negotiating committee.”

St. Laurent Workers Join Machinists

Sixty-eight employees at Kuehne & Nagel in St. Laurent have joined the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

“Internal disputes with the employer was the major reason the workers approached the Machinists for representation,” said Robert Savoie, IAMAW District 140 Organizer.

“Everything happened very quickly,” explained Savoie. “The total number of cards required were signed within ten days. They were very determined to have quality representation.”

The St. Laurent facility, a global logistics and customs forwarding warehouse, is the first of the company’s three Montreal area operations to be unionized.

The newest members of IAM Local 2309 perform outsourcing for clients such as Flextronics-Nortel Networks. They receive parts from various suppliers, inspect them, fill out the necessary customs and shipping documents and send them to customers worldwide.

Arbitrator Orders Back Pay for Missouri Member

When Lozier Corporation in Joplin, Missouri terminated longtime IAM member Mary Barry, Local 778 went to bat for her. After being out of work for seven months, an impartial arbitrator agreed with the IAM that Barry had been unjustly terminated and ordered the company to reinstate her with full back pay, benefits and seniority.

The backpay award is worth approximately $19,000 and Sister Barry will have all her medical bills paid as well. The Arbitrator found that that the Company did not have just cause to terminate Sister Barry and their conduct was arbitrary and capricious.

When Local 778 Business Representative Mike Roepke informed Barry of the ruling, she literally screamed with joy. “Thank God for our Union, they are the ones that turned this wrong into a right and without them I would not have gotten my job back,” she said.

“This is a perfect example of the power of a union contract, grievance procedure and dedicated leadership,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President James E. Brown, who also congratulated BR Mike Roepke, Chief Shop Steward Wells and Assistant Shop Steward Nichols for a job well done.