iMail for Tuesday, October 10, 2006

San Francisco Local 1781 Celebrates 60 Years

IP Tom Buffenbarger and Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. joined California Reps. George Miller, Tom Lantos and more than 300 guests for the 60th anniversary celebration of San Francisco’s legendary Local 1781.

“The Air Transport sector of the IAM rose to greatness thanks to the solidarity and strength of lodges like Local 1781,” said GVP Roach. “Tens of thousands of IAM members have passed through this local and it’s not unusual for 2 and 3 generations of the same family to have belonged. It is an honor to celebrate the struggles and the achievements of this local’s first 60 years.”

Chartered in 1943, the 51 original members of Local 1781 ratified a groundbreaking agreement with United Airlines in 1946, ushering in the 40-hour work week for employees at United.

NFFE-IAM Kicks Off Oklahoma Organizing Campaign

Local 273 NFFE-IAM, Federal District 1, members at Fort Sill, Oklahoma are gearing up for a base organizing drive to let fellow federal workers know the benefits of being a NFFE-IAM member. About 1,800 civilian employees at Ft. Sill perform a wide range of jobs, from food preparation to air traffic control.

“Federal workers face a number of challenges such as contracting out their jobs under the A-76 process and an unfair National Security Personnel System,” said IAM Government Employees Director Frank Carelli. “It’s more important than ever for every federal worker covered by a NFFE-IAM collective bargaining agreement to join up to protect their jobs and their rights.”

The Local 273 Organizing Committee held its first meeting to train organizers and formulate plans for the upcoming drive. The Local volunteers are being assisted by Special Representative Ann Walsh and the IAM’s Organizing Department. “This is a motivated group that represents workers from all over Ft. Sill,” said Local 273 President Zelda Cozart. “We’ve already had a positive response and it should just get better as we get this campaign going.”

Local 2462 President to Lead Scranton, PA Labor Council

Local 2462  President Nancy Krake has been elected President of the Scranton Central Labor Council in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “We are very proud to have Nancy as the President of Scranton Central Labor Council,” said District 1 Directing Business Representative Danny Chmelko. “No one deserves the job more.”

Chartered in 1971, Local 2462 represents clerical employees at Scranton’s City Hall.

As Local 2462 President, Krake has been a politically involved union activist from day one, helping to organize the labor coalition in Scranton and bringing about a labor-friendly City Council and Commissioners. “If somebody says you can’t fight city hall, they don’t know Nancy,” added Chmelko.

“The IAM encourages all members to become active on the local, state, and federal level and to always remember that no matter how well your union negotiates a contract, it can be wiped out by a single stroke of a politician’s pen,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “Our congratulations and thanks go out to Nancy and the labor coalition in Scranton.” 

Members Make a Winner Out of Schneider Electric

Local 2069  members employed at Schneider Electric in Peru, IN deserve to take a bow after Industry Week (IW) announced their facility has been identified as one of this year’s ten best manufacturing plants in North America. The IW Best Plants award will be presented at a ceremony later this month. Schneider, best known by its flagship Square D brand, has more than 550 employees at the plant.

 “It’s quite an honor,” said District 90 DBR John Silhavy. “We’re proud of the work our members do at Schneider/Square D, and it’s great to see the industry recognize their excellence.”

The IW Best Plants award program recognizes plants that are innovative in their efforts to make quality products, boost customer satisfaction, reduce costs, create stimulating and rewarding work environments, and are unrelenting in their focus to continually improve. This year’s winners “tell a tale of manufacturing excellence,” according to Industry Week. “They hire the best people and then provide training so they will be even better.”

The Peru plant’s win is a testament to a solid union/management relationship. The company, whose primary product is electrical panel boards, has improved the work flow using visual aids, such as labels and color-codes, reconfiguring workstations to put material racks within arm’s reach.

Women’s Dept. Honors October’s Sister of the Month

The IAM Women’s Department has named Mary A. Sansom of Air Transport Local 1833 in Bloomington, MN as U.S. Sister of the Month for October 2006. Sister Sansom, an IAM member for 32 years, has been active in her union for most of that time, and Lodge Recording Secretary for the last five years. Kathryn McCarthy is the Sister of the Month for Canada, who is chosen quarterly.

An Equipment Service Employee (ESE) at Northwest Airlines, Sansom became involved in the union to fight discrimination, harassment, injustice and employer intimidation. Sansom draws strength from the members she’s been able to help. “That’s why I stay involved,” says Sansom.

Sister Sansom was the first woman to chair the Labor Division of the National Safety Council and the second woman to receive their highest safety recognition award, the Distinguished Service to Safety Award. She’s served as Delegate to Grand Lodge Conventions, Democratic National Conventions, state labor conventions and District 143 Conventions.

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.

Foreign Policy Poised to Muddy 2006 Elections

Rising casualties in Iraq plus news that North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon are fueling expectations by some analysts that U.S. voters will flock to the polls on Election Day. Not so, according to one respected pollster, who claims the renewed focus on foreign policy threatens to drown out economic concerns and could be a deciding factor in the upcoming midterm elections.

“For nearly 50 years, poll after poll has shown that the Democrats have very limited credibility with the American public on foreign policy issues – particularly among the swing voters who have a disproportionate say in the outcome of U.S. elections,” said Democratic pollster Vic Fingerhut in a Washington Post editorial.  “It may seem unjust that the party of victory in World War II, of the Marshall Plan and of NATO does not enjoy much credibility on foreign policy. But that’s the way it is – and has been for quite some time.”

Fingerhut cites historical examples of the phenomena and notes the rebound in public approval numbers following recent speeches by President Bush on the War on Terror. He also points to equally broad and steady support among voters for Democratic candidates on economic matters, based on a recent poll he did for the Machinists Union.

“The same swing voters who indicate such overwhelming faith in Republican on terrorism, Iraq and foreign policy simultaneously express strong Democratic preferences when it comes to basic economic and pocketbook issues,” said Fingerhut, who expects the President to use a series of speeches, announcements and visits by foreign dignitaries to keep voters’ attention on issues that benefit GOP candidates.