iMail for Tuesday, September 1, 2009

G.E. is MIA in Albuquerque Jet Plant Talks

The IAM today sharply criticized General Electric (GE) Aviation in Albuquerque, NM, for refusing to jointly meet with state officials over a planned shutdown that could cost more than 1,300 jobs and $30 million in economic activity.

“The clock is ticking on an economic time bomb for hundreds of families in Albuquerque,” said Western Territory GVP Gary Allen. “This facility can and should be saved, but the company has thus far refused to meet with lawmakers jointly or seriously discuss responsible alternatives to abandoning this facility.”

On July 28, General Electric stunned the Albuquerque community with an announcement that the 40-year old South Valley facility would be closed, despite high productivity and company assurances of additional engine work coming to the plant in the future.

Following the announcement, the company and the union began a 60-day period of “Decision Bargaining” to explore alternatives to closing the facility. “While the 60-day window, which ends Sept. 25, can be extended by mutual agreement, GE has shown little interest in efforts by the union to identify additional revenue or cost-saving opportunities,” said Ernest “Red” Dow, Local 794 President and Directing Business Representative.

“This company has benefited enormously from state and local incentives over the years,” said Allen. “It is the height of arrogance that they should now sit silently across the table, hardly lifting a finger while the deadline draws closer. In the midst of the greatest economic upheaval of our generation, largely caused by greedy corporations, we have every right to demand more responsible behavior from companies such as GE.”


Georgia Workers Vote to Join IAM

Seeking better wages, benefits, improved work schedules and equitable duty rotation, 29 workers employed at Lockheed Martin and 38 workers employed at Fed Services Inc. at Ft. Stewart, Hinesville, GA, voted by over 90 percent to join the IAM.

The workers drive school buses on base for the soldier’s families, and provide transportation services on the base.

“We already have some IAM contracts on the base,” said Southern Territory Organizer Joe Greaser. “Our members of Local 2917 in Hinesville, GA, do a great job of organizing on the base. I want to thank Rick Harris, Leon Carroll, and Larry Kirby for their hard work.”

“Our strong contracts in the Service Contract arena speak for themselves,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “I want to congratulate the organizing team for a job well done, and welcome to our newest members.”


Pratt Workers Continue Fight to Save Jobs

Hundreds of Pratt & Whitney workers in Connecticut marched from Local 1746 in East Hartford, CT, to nearby Pratt & Whitney headquarters, for a ‘Keep Jobs in Connecticut’ rally and to urge management to reconsider their plan to close the Cheshire overhaul facility and an airfoil repair work center.

More than 1,000 hourly and salary workers would lose their jobs if Pratt moves forward with a plan to ship work to Georgia, Singapore, Japan and other locations.  Many question the necessity of the outsourcing moves, citing Pratt’s record $110 million in June deliveries. Because of the economic “ripple effect,” as many as 4,000 Connecticut workers could lose their jobs.

IAM leaders have proposed alternative plans that will address company concerns while preserving the work. In exchange, management would defer any final decision about relocating until after full contract negotiations conclude in December 2010.

Elected officials have also reached out to Pratt & Whitney President David Hess, with the same message. An August 26 letter, signed by the entire Connecticut Congressional delegation, including both senators, Connecticut Governor Rell and Attorney General Blumenthal asks Hess to consider putting any plant closing on hold pending the outcome of full contract negotiations. 


Trumka: Higher Wages Key to Economic Recovery

In a recent speech at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Rich Trumka said there have been two economies operating in the United States for years: the real economy and the financial economy. The financial economy allowed for a small minority to get ahead, while those in the real economy were left holding the bag.

“We can’t go back to the way things were,” said Trumka. “If all we’re going to do is create the same economy we had before, it will have the same result. We have to ask: What’s going to be the new driver? This is labor’s moment and, together, we can build the labor movement we need to create the  America we want.”

Trumka also spoke about the need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would make it easier for employees to join a labor union and bargain for better wages and benefits. “You aren’t going to rebuild the economy without increasing wages,” said Trumka, “and the fastest, surest way to raise wages is the collective bargaining process… Unions built the first American middle class, and they will build the new middle class.”

To read more of Trumka’s speech, click here.


Spanish Educational Materials Now Available

Thanks to the hard work and efforts of the Spanish Working Group, a wide variety of educational materials like the Handy Guide to a Well Conducted Meeting and the IAM Ritual are now available in Spanish. As a result of developing the Leadership I and Leadership II programs in Spanish, the Winpisinger Center is pleased to provide a list of materials that can be used by Educators, Communicators and Local Lodge activists. Materials will be added to the list as they become available with the pilot of the Advanced Leadership program in Spanish in 2010.

If your Lodge is interested in ordering any of these educational resources, please use the order form available by clicking here. Organizing materials are also available in Spanish, and can be ordered with the approval of your General Vice President. To place an order, please contact your Business Representative or Territory Organizing Leader (TOL).


Materiales Educativos Españoles Ahora Disponibles

Gracias al trabajo y los esfuerzos del Grupo de programación en Español, una variedad de materiales educacionales como el Gu í a práctico para una asamblea sindical y el Ritual de la IAM están disponibles en Español. Como resultado de los programas de Liderazgo I y II en Español, el Centro Winpisinger puede ahora ofrecer una lista de materiales para Educadores, Comunicadores, y Activistas de la Logia Local. Añadiremos materiales a la lista después del programa piloto de 2010 de Liderazgo Avanzado en Español.

Para obtener los materiales satisfaga chascan aquí. Los materiales para organizar también están disponibles en Español, para obtenerlos necesitara la aprobación del vicepresidente general de su territorio. Por favor contacte a su agente de negocios o a su l í der organizador del territorio (TOL) para encargarlos.