iMail for Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Contract with Cessna Ratifies by 63 Percent

After an old fashioned street rally capped off nearly 5 weeks of intense negotiations with Cessna Aircraft Co., members of Local 774 in Wichita, KS, ratified a new three-year agreement by 63 percent this week. The pact provides annual wage increases of 5 percent, four percent and four percent plus a $3,000 ratification bonus. Workers at Cessna also secured a pension increase and a choice of three health-care plans, with equal premiums for each plan.

“On behalf of the Local 774 Negotiating Committee, I would like to thank the membership for the support they showed at the rally and throughout these negotiations,” said District 70 President Steve Rooney. District 70 represents approximately 5,700 assemblers, technicians and specialists at Cessna in Wichita.

“Aircraft manufacturers in Kansas and across the country are experiencing record profits and sales,” said Aerospace Coordinator Ron Eldridge. “This agreement helps restore some of the sacrifices our members made when times were not as good. This contract is an overdue step in the right direction and lays down a solid foundation for the next round of negotiations.”


Negotiations to Resume at Kennedy Space Center

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) has scheduled contract talks between IAM and United Space Alliance (USA) in Cape Canaveral, FL on Sept. 20, 2007. The negotiations will be the first face-to-face meetings since members of Local 2061 in Cocoa Beach, FL, struck the NASA vendor on June 14, 2007.

“We view this as a positive development, a move in the right direction,” said District 166 DBR Johnny Walker. “Our members who have manned the picket lines for over 90 days have made it clear that they are not ready to accept anything less than a fair contract.”

The 450 members of Local 2061 assemble component parts of the Space Shuttle and provide support services including cranes operation and moving the completed shuttle vehicles from the massive construction hanger to the launch pad.


Pickthall Named to IAM Law Committee

District 250 Directing Business Representative Stan Pickthall of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada will join the IAM Law Committee to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Jean-Léo Coté of Local Lodge 712 in Montreal, Quebec.

The IAM Law Committee reviews proposed changes to the IAM Constitution and is an integral part of every IAM Convention.

“Jean-Léo Coté has done a tremendous job on the Law Committee and is one of its senior members. We will surely miss him,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “Stan Pickthall is a welcome addition to the IAM Law Committee and he will also do an outstanding job.”

Pickthall is a 23-year IAM member with a long history of union activism. He served in many roles for his local lodge, including Shop Steward and Executive Board member. He has served as a newsletter editor and web steward. Pickthall became a Business Representative in 1994 and has been the Directing Business Representative for District 250 since 2005.

“There isn’t a better person for the job. Stan is a hard working and dedicated Machinist,” said Canadian GVP Dave Ritchie. “Congratulations to Stan and best wishes for a happy retirement to Jean-Léo Coté.”


Sign the Petition for Children’s Health Care

Congress recently voted to continue coverage for six million children and provide health insurance for up to five million more through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). President Bush has threatened to veto any expansion of health care coverage for children under this successful insurance program, which has cut the number of uninsured low-income children by nearly one-third in a decade.

“If Congress continues to insist upon expanding health care through the SCHIP program,” President Bush said recently, “I’ll veto the bill.” To avoid any confusion, his adviser made it even clearer: “There is no question that the president would veto it.”

Bush, who promised at the Republican National Convention in 2004 to expand health care for children, now says expanding SCHIP is a step toward socialism. The Congressional Budget Office says Bush’s SCHIP reauthorization proposal would actually drop children from the health coverage rolls. The program is set to expire Sept. 30.

Tell your Representative to support fully funding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)and continue coverage for the six million children now enrolled and reach as many as five million children who are uninsured by signing the online petition here. (


AFL-CIO VP Linda Chavez-Thompson to Step Down

Long-time union activist and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson announced she will step down on Sept. 21 for personal and family reasons.

Chavez-Thompson has served as Executive Vice President since 1995 and is the first person of color to hold a top AFL-CIO position. Her four-decade long tour d’force in the labor movement began in 1967 while working for the Laborers’ local in Lubbock, Texas.

Chavez-Thompson also served as a member on a number of boards for national organizations, including the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, United Way of America, the Democratic National Committee, and the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers. She has also served in multiple posts at AFSCME, including International Vice President from 1988-1996, and as National Vice President for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement from 1986-1996.

AFL-CIO President Sweeney has nominated Arlene Holt-Baler to fill the unexpired term of two years. Holt-Baker currently serves as the assistant to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and oversees the federation’s Gulf Coast recovery efforts.