iMail for Tuesday October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks, Spark of the Civil Rights Movement, Dead at 92

Rosa Parks, the black woman whose refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus and whose subsequent arrest marked the start of the modern civil rights movement, has died at the age of 92.

Parks’ protest in 1955 triggered a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama bus system, organized by the then little-known Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr.

Black citizens had long regarded bus segregation as one of the most onerous local aspects of Jim Crow. City buses had 36 seats. Under Alabama law, the first 10 were reserved for whites. The last 10 were customarily reserved for blacks. The middle 16 were a kind of racial no man’s land, where seating was at the driver’s discretion.

The driver asked Parks to move. When she refused, the police were called and she was arrested.

IAM members from Local PM 2848 restored the bus to its original 1955 condition in 2002. The Cleveland Avenue bus where Rosa Parks made her protest now sits in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Michigan Company Brings Jobs Back From Mexico

After purchasing the assets and relocating an entire assembly operation from a plant in Central Mexico to its existing modern operation in New Hudson, Michigan, new assembly and engineering jobs are accelerating for Cummins Power Products, a design and assembly division of Cummins Bridgeway, LLC. 

The new operation designs and manufactures DC generator sets, which operate on clean natural gas and are used for emergency standby power, primarily for applications in the high technology telecom sector.

“We intend to produce very high quality products, thus nurturing existing customers while capturing new markets,” said Greg Boll, President/CEO of Cummins Bridgeway.

“We are very confident in the efficiency and talent of the workforce in this area and feel it will be a competitive advantage for us.”

The new jobs will be filled by IAM members who already hold mechanic and field testing positions with Cummins.

2006 IAM Calendar Now Available for Order

The 2006 IAM Calendar is now available for individual and bulk orders. A portion of the proceeds from each calendar sale goes to the Guide Dogs of America. The calendar also features winning entries from this year’s IAM Photography Contest.

To purchase an individual copy, send a check or money order for $7.00 to: 2006 IAM Calendar, c/o IAM Communications Dept., 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-2687. Bulk orders of the calendar are also available.

District 15 Organizes Workers at World Yacht

The Eastern Territory notched its 27th organizing win this year as District 15 organized the employees at World Yacht located in New York City. The win brought 73 new members into Local Lodge 447.

“Please join me in welcoming these new members into the IAM family,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynne D. Tucker, Jr. “I extend the congratulations and appreciation of the Eastern Territory and its members to District Lodge 15 Directing Business Representative James Conigliaro. A special thanks goes out to District 15 Director of Organizing Vinny Addeo and all of the team for a job well done.”

IAM Names Editor, Web Steward Award Winners

The IAM has announced the winners of the Editor and Web Steward awards for this year’s IAM Newsletter & Website contest. While entries for the main part of the contest are considered by an independent panel of judges, the editor and web steward award winners are chosen by the Communications Department staff.

“We look for the up-and-comers, the ones who go that extra step. The ones who fly under the radar of the judges,” said Communications Director Rick Sloan.

“These winners may not be from the biggest locals with the most resources, but they produce first-rate newsletters and websites nonetheless.

Editor Award Winners: Local Lodge 743, Union News; Local Lodge 104, Machinist United; Local Lodge W157, Woodworkers Report.

Web Steward Award Winners: Local Lodge 733, Wichita, Kansas; Local Lodge 1746-A, Marion, Connecticut; Local Lodge 2727, Le Gardeur, Quebec

Gulf Coast Electricians Hurt by Davis-Bacon Suspension

Despite suffering massive losses from Hurricane Katrina, seventy-five electricians from three IBEW local lodges in Louisiana were kicked off a three-week old recovery job and replaced with out-of-state non-union electricians as a result of President Bush’s executive order suspending the Davis-Bacon Act in the Gulf Coast.

By suspending the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires employers to pay the prevailing wage rates on federally financed construction projects, and awarding no-bid contracts to companies with ties to the White House, the Bush administration has struck a blow to working families.

“This is a story about pure and naked greed, about exploiting lower-skilled, nonunion workers while slapping union workers across the face after the nation’s biggest natural disaster in a generation wiped out their lives,” said IBEW President Edwin Hill.

The incident serves as a reminder that IAM members, who performed a tool drive for Katrina victims with the IBEW, and all working families need to mobilize for a fair recovery effort.

More than 1,000 Machinists Strike Finning

More than 1,000 Machinists from IAM Local Lodge 99 are on strike against Finning International at locations across Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Finning failed to meet the members’ demands to change contracting out language to ensure work performed by a worker under the collective bargaining agreement cannot be performed by another internal or outside employee. They also failed to address the issues of wage increases, shift changes and paid benefit premiums.

Members of Local Lodge 99 provide maintenance and field service of heavy equipment and parts in Alberta at Acadie Mine near Yellowknife.

Bush Picks Bernanke to Replace Greenspan

President Bush on Monday selected conservative Ben Bernanke to replace retiring Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, threatening to stretch out the years of failed policies by Greenspan, who is set to step down January 31.

Despite high praise from the business community and Wall Street, Greenspan’s policies as head of the Federal Reserve decimated lower and middle-class families over the past 18 years. His legacy will be one of higher unemployment, lower wages and a massive trade deficit.

Bernanke, who is chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors and a former Fed governor, is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

It will be working families who will need to advocate for major policy changes at the Federal Reserve if Bernanke is confirmed, or run the risk of another anti-worker chairman moving this country towards further economic downturn.