The 2008 presidential election takes center stage in the latest issue of the IAM Journal, the award-winning publication of the Machinists Union. After extensive polling revealed that one-third of the IAM membership routinely votes Republican and two-thirds regularly cast ballots for Democratic candidates, the IAM took the historic step of endorsing both a Democrat and a Republican candidate for the primaries and caucuses. Presidential candidates from each party were then invited to vie for the IAM’s endorsement by participating in Conversations with the Candidates, a one-on-one forum held before nearly 700 delegates attending the IAM National Staff Conference in Orlando, FL. Moderated by CBS News correspondent Erin Moriarty, the format allowed candidates the opportunity to delve deeper into tough issues, such as trade, jobs, schools, health care, manufacturing and energy.
“Our choices – Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and Governor Mike Huckabee for the Republican nomination – will be our partners in the months and years ahead,” says IP Buffenbarger in the preface to the feature article. “We can take great pride in this historic, dual endorsement.”
Also included in the latest issue of the IAM Journal is a look at the newest member of Congress, Local 1930 member Laura Richardson. You’ll also learn about the Liberty Ship John W. Brown. Union made in 1942, it’s one of only two World War II Liberty Ships still in operation; and we’ll take a glimpse at one member on the picket line at Local 2061’s strike against United Space Alliance. Find out why Local President Lew Jamieson said, “Every time we see Joe [Tidwell] out on the line, it makes us proud to be a Machinist and proud to be his brother.” To access the Journal online, go to http://www.goiam.org, click on News, then IAM Journal.
After serving the IAM and its members in multiple capacities for more than two decades, IAM Legislative and Political Director Tom Trotter will step down from his current position on Nov. 2, 2007.
“While I must leave to give my full attention to pressing personal matters, I will always be a Machinist and I will always be grateful for the friendships, the support and the extraordinary opportunities this union has given me,” said Trotter.
Widely known and respected for the energy and enthusiasm he brought to every task, Trotter served as local legislative chairman, district legislative director and IAM Assistant Legislative Director before being promoted to his current position.
“Tom’s loyalty and value to this union cannot be measured simply by adding the days, nights and years he toiled on our behalf,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Since joining the Grand Lodge staff nearly a decade ago, he’s earned the respect of everyone he’s met. We are a better union for having Tom Trotter on our side and I am confident he will be back fighting for working men and women in the future.”
One hundred and twenty-seven aircraft workers at a newly opened manufacturing facility in Charleston, S.C. cited working conditions and a voice on the job among their reasons for voting to join the IAM last weekend. The new plant, operated by Vought Co. opened in early 2006 and builds fuselage and tail sections for Boeing’s new Dreamliner airliner.
“I’m proud of the organizing team, who proved how critical the IAM Organizing Program is to success in our campaigns,” said Southern Territory Organizing Leader Bobby Sapp, who added that employment at the facility is expected to grow as production ramps up for the popular airplane.
In addition to the win at Vought in South Carolina, nineteen aircraft maintenance workers who work for L3 Communications/Vertex in Tomball, TX, voted for IAM representation. Additionally, a pair of Flight Simulator Technicians at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX, joined with fellow flight simulator technicians at Sheppard and across the country in choosing IAM representation. And finally, twelve health care workers at Med Trust in San Antonio, TX also voted in favor of IAM representation.
“Our organizers continue to find opportunities and victories in the South,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “The Vought victory is especially important, because of the potential for a much larger bargaining unit there and because U.S.-built aircraft should be union-made aircraft. I want to thank GLR Joe Greaser and the District Lodge 96 Organizing Committee. Congratulations and welcome to all our new members.”
Long-time IAM representative Ron Ault and IP Tom Buffenbarger were re-elected to four-year terms as President and Vice President, respectively, of the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department (MTD). The MTD coordinates negotiations, organizing and legislative efforts for twenty national and international unions with a total membership of over 5,000,000.
“Since he was first elected to lead the Metal Trades Department, Ron Ault has done an outstanding job under the most challenging conditions,” said GST Warren Mart. “Whether it’s fighting the anti-union zealots in the Bush administration, coordinating rebuilding efforts on the Gulf Coast or speaking out in defense of U.S. shipbuilding jobs, Ron Ault has been a real champion for Machinists and metal trades workers everywhere.”
More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Earlier this year Ault and the MTD helped negotiate terms for 6,000 members of 15 unions at the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, who continue to battle high housing, energy and food prices brought on by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
After ten months of hard bargaining, the 138 members of Local 2247 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, finally have their first collective agreement with Arow Global Incorporated.
“These workers came to the Machinists seeking assistance in obtaining fair wage rates, a pension plan and respect in the work place,” explained District 181 Directing Business Representative Wayne Relf. “It took a while but this agreement gives them what they were looking for and the bargaining committee deserves a lot of credit for the result.”
The three and a half-year contract, which is retroactive to July 1, 2007, provides for annual wage increases, a grievance procedure with arbitration, seniority provisions for layoff and recall, clearly defined holidays and vacations and a pension plan.
The IAM members at Arow Global manufacture window and door systems, parts and assemblies, modules and components for manufacturers of Transit buses, Intercity Coaches, Light and Medium Rail, Recreational Vehicles, Marine Crafts and Emergency vehicles.
Local 2210 President Rachel Hernandez has been elected president of the San Antonio, Texas Central Labor Council. An IAM member since 1982, Hernandez has served as Shop Steward, Transportation Organizer and local vice president in addition to Local 2210 President for 14 years. Hernandez is also active within her community as a domestic violence victims’ advocate, a volunteer with the San Antonio Police Department and a United Way Board of Trustees member.
Hernandez will be joined on the San Antonio CLC Executive Board by Gwendolyn McMahan, a Southwest Airlines Shop Steward and member of Local 2210.
“We are very proud to have these dedicated IAM members elected to leadership positions in the San Antonio CLC,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr.