September 30, 2003
Less than a week remains before votes are counted in the California
gubernatorial election and labor leaders across the state are urging union
members to vote NO on recalling Governor Gray Davis.
Holding the controversial recall election is expected to cost California
taxpayers nearly $66 million, money many believe should be going to offset
state cuts in education, health care and law enforcement.
In carefully scripted appearances, the leading Republican candidate,
Arnold Schwarzenegger is reviving the positions of his top advisor, former
California Governor Pete Wilson. During his term as Governor, Wilson
eliminated daily overtime pay, tried to kill the prevailing wage law and
refused to increase unemployment benefits for eight straight years.
If the recall achieves the needed votes, union leaders are urging members
to vote for Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. An experienced lawmaker,
Bustamante fought to restore overtime pay, enhance job safety and increase
The election is set for October 7.
Rail Talks Resume
negotiations for nearly 8,000 IAM members resumed this week in Washington,
DC following the membership’s rejection of a contract offer earlier this
The proposal from the
National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC), representing the nation’s Class I
Freight Rail Carriers, was soundly rejected by 97.3 percent of the voting
membership. In a separate vote, 96.4 percent of the membership voted to
authorize a strike if necessary to secure an agreement.
“The membership’s refusal of
the carriers’ offer is clear,” said District 19 President and Directing General
Chairman Robert Reynolds. “If this week’s negotiations do not produce
significant movement on the part of the carriers, we will request the National
Mediation Board release us from mediation so we can move the process forward.”
Help End Lockout at
More than fifty IAM
Local 782 members at the Standard-Knapp Company in Portland, CT have been
locked out of their jobs for refusing to give in to what one IAM
negotiator called “the worst contract offer I’ve ever seen.”
proposals would permanently lay off half the work force, gut job security
protections, cut vacation and overtime pay, institute “merit raises” without any
right to dispute them, and exchange recall rights for a modest severance package
that would allow the company to hire new workers after laying off senior
You can help by calling
Standard-Knapp CEO Art Tanner at 860-342-1100 and tell him to get back to
the negotiating table with a fair offer. For more information, contact IAM
District 26 at 860- 828-0359.
Download a flier about the lockout:
Maytag Layoffs Begin
Nearly 400 Maytag workers in Galesburg, IL saw their jobs disappear last
week as the company moved forward with plans to shift refrigerator
production to a factory in Reynosa, Mexico, where workers will assemble
the so-called "American Classics" for a fraction of what U.S. workers
Thousands of additional jobs in surrounding communities are expected to
vanish when the company completes its scheduled shutdown of the Galesburg
plant next year.
Despite mounting criticism, Maytag CEO Ralph Hake continues to defend the
decision to shutter the profitable U.S. factory, saying the Galesburg
plant is not "competitively viable." Hake's stand has exposed the
venerable company to scorn for trading on its heritage at home while
exploiting third world wages and working conditions abroad.
On the final day for many Maytag workers, IAM Local 2063 President Dave
Bevard commended the union workers for the pride and craftsmanship they
built into every appliance manufactured in Galesburg. "I couldn't be
prouder," Bevard told the Associated Press. "The last 'wide-by-side that
rolled off the line earlier this week was every bit as good as any other
appliance being made today."
Employees Choose IAM
By an 83 percent
margin, employees at Global Intermodal Systems (GIS) in Wilmington, CA
voted to join the IAM. The employees provide repair, storage and
redistribution services for the shipping container industry. GIS was a
primary non-union competitor to Container Care and Flexi Van, two IAM-represented
container service companies in the California area. GIS has about 700
employees at 12 other locations along the West coast and Southeast United
District 190 Business
Representative credits the win to a group effort by DL 190 Organizers and staff,
District Lodges 725 and 947 and the Western Territory office.
U.S. Census Bureau:
43.6 Million Uninsured
The United States Census Bureau said the number of uninsured Americans
increased by 5.7 percent in 2002 to 43.6 million. In 2002, more than 15
percent of all Americans were uninsured as compared to 14.6 percent in
The rise in the number of
uninsured paralleled other negative benchmarks in President Bush’s faltering
economy, including the loss of 2.7 million jobs and declining household incomes
for three straight years.