With less than a month before Election Day, voters in thirty-six states are poised to choose governors with the power to create jobs, control gas prices, expand (or restrict) collective bargaining rights and bypass the gridlock that routinely stymies lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
“The consequences for union members are enormous,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger in the feature article in the latest issue of the IAM Journal. “From controlling utility rates to raising the minimum wage and preserving jobs, governors have the power to make things happen as soon as they take office.”
The Journal article examines governors’ races in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Illinois and California, where stark contrasts on economic issues define Republican and Democratic candidates. “These five states, with more than 200,000 IAM members, could also determine the outcome of elections in 2008,” said Buffenbarger, who noted the impact governors in Florida and Ohio had on past presidential elections.
While voters may have strong opinions on the latest scandal or national security, it is more often basic pocketbook politics that determines who gets their vote. In a recent IAM survey, likely voters overwhelmingly identified economic issues as what matters most to them. “While the national media is hyperventilating over Senate and House Races, the contests with the potential to affect issues that matter most to voters are governors’ races,” said Vic Fingerhut, who conducted the IAM poll.
Visit www.goiam.org to take part in a unique IAM campaign designed to give governors’ races in 36 states the attention they deserve.
The IAM unveiled a nationwide campaign to help organize more than 6,000 Ramp Service workers at Delta Air Lines.
“Delta’s ramp workers are turning to the Machinists for our hard won experience at other airlines in crisis,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “Our record of protecting pensions during the industry’s latest assault on its employees and the fact that the IAM is an established presence at virtually every commercial airport in the United States was not lost on Delta’s workforce.”
“IAM members at United Airlines, US Airways, Northwest Airlines and Aloha Airlines are the only employees at those carriers to successfully negotiate new defined benefit pension plans in the face of bankruptcy-related restructuring,” said Randy Canale, president of IAM District 141.
“The IAM has the unique resources and industry experience to guarantee Delta’s Ramp workers a voice in these turbulent times.”
In addition to concerns over mergers, pensions, outsourcing and bankruptcy-related restructuring, Delta’s unrepresented employees have endured unilateral pay cuts, benefit reductions, a frozen pension plan and discipline without the benefit of due process.
“This airline has a history of threatening employees who even whisper the idea of a union, but Delta’s Ramp workers are ready to fight back,” said Roach. “The Machinists Union is prepared to assist the carrier’s other workers seeking the benefits of IAM membership as well.”
More information is available at the IAM – Delta Air Lines organizing website, www.goiamnow.org.
International President Tom Buffenbarger and Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart joined workers on the picket line who have been on strike in Wichita, KS, since October 1.
IAM Members of Local 639 assemble Learjets for Bombardier Aerospace. They voted to authorize a strike after rejecting a three-year contract from the Montreal-based plane maker. The strike, which is the first by Machinists at the Wichita facility, was endorsed by 80 percent of the voting members.
The nearly 1,100 IAM members at Bombardier accepted a pay freeze three years ago, when the industry was in a slump and the company claimed it needed to cut costs and threatened to close one or two plants. No new talks are scheduled.
“I’m proud of the determination of the members to achieve a strong contract that is just and fair,” said IP Buffenbarger. “They are fighting for all aerospace workers who face corporations trying to take away from the people who make the profits possible.”
“It is an honor to walk the line with these members,” said GST Mart. “They helped Bombardier when the chips were down, Bombardier should recognize their sacrifices now that times are better.”
Local 933 members sent a strong message to Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ when they overwhelmingly approved strike authorization. About 1,000 members turned out for the strike sanction meeting on Sunday, October, 15 at the Tucson Convention Center. Only four members voted against strike sanction.
Negotiations will continue and the current contract expires November 5, 2006.
Growing and moving forward. That’s where District Lodge 776 is headed, judging from their new headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
The old building was built in 1956. Because it was the height of the cold war, the building doubled as a bomb shelter, and all the offices were underground. The new headquarters is in the lot directly behind the old HQ, and the building is bright and airy, with the meeting hall separated from the offices by a beautiful park-like setting area.
“We paid for the headquarters as we built it; we own it free and clear for the members of our proud District,” said Directing Business Representative Pat Lane.
“Many great IAM leaders and members have walked through the doors of this district,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “We’ve laid the way for a bright future here in Texas.”
In attendance for the dedication of the headquarters were former Speaker of the House Jim Wright, Congresswoman Kay Granger, IP Tom Buffenbarger, GST Warren Mart, GVP Bob Martinez, and former Southern Territory GVPs Roe Spencer and Ed House.
“We’re proud of District Lodge 776, and what they’ve built here. It’s a strong foundation for the future,” said IP Buffenbarger.
The 2006 International IAM Retirees Conference is scheduled for November 14-16 at Bally’s in Las Vegas, Nevada. The registration fee for retired IAM members is $10.00.
Nearly 1,000 retirees are expected to attend. If you’d like to join them, please send your registration fee, along with a completed registration form to: IAM Retirees Department, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772.
Also, if you haven’t already, call Bally’s at 1-800-634-3434 to make your hotel reservations.
During the conference, a dinner will be held honoring former long-time CT Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly, who now serves as President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
This conference will be the first major event after the elections. The makeup of the new Congress will be discussed, as well as ways to advance the issues facing retirees today. You won’t want to miss it.