Thursday, October 16,  2003

U-Haul Workers Demand Contract
The repair technicians at U-Haul of Nevada who voted earlier this year to join the IAM welcomed more than 300 members of the Roofers Union for a rally this week to demand a contract with the national rental firm.

John Martini, international president of the Roofers Union gave a rousing speech demanding that U-Haul negotiate with their employees. “We have over 24,000 members nationwide and none of them will rent a U-Haul until these employees get their contract!” said Martini to cheers from the union members. 

Today, at their convention in Las Vegas, President Martini and the Roofers’ Union collected $2,832 for the terminated U-Haul employees.

The IAM has filed more than 50 Unfair Labor Practice charges against management at the U-Haul facility in Henderson, NV, where 32 employees have been terminated for supporting unionization at U-Haul since their election victory on May 7, 2003.

Maytag Meltdown Makes Nightly News
The devastating impact of Maytag CEO Ralph Hake’s decision to close the company’s profitable Galesburg, IL facility was featured in a recent NBC Nightly News segment that reached millions of viewers.

The prime-time news program examined the economic damage to a nine-county region surrounding Galesburg and reported on waves of layoffs expected to hit banks, schools and restaurants in addition to 1,600 Maytag employees.

The report also focused on supplier plants throughout the Midwest where jobs will be lost and operations substantially reduced due to Maytag’s Galesburg closing. According to Ludington, MI, Mayor John Henderson, the economic impact in his area will be significant when Maytag decamps for a low-wage facility in Reynosa, Mexico. “It’s $4 million out of wages that will no longer be spent here,” said Henderson.

Closing the news segment was 36-yr old Jim McGovern Jr., a Maytag employee, IAM member and Army Reservist recently called to active duty in Iraq. Asked about his concerns and expectations, McGovern, whose wife Sandy recently lost her job at Maytag, said he expected to return safely from the war zone, but that he had little hope of ever finding work in his hometown again.

WWW Center Launches Steward Publication
Nearly 20,000 IAM shop stewards in the U.S. and Canada will soon receive the introductory issue of ‘IAM Educator – Update for Stewards,’ a bi-monthly publication focusing on the ups and downs of a steward’s job, often called the most important front-line leadership position in the Machinists Union.

“On any given day, a shop steward can be part lawyer and part priest; part soldier and part social worker,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger in a letter announcing the new program. “There is no other position in our union quite like it. Only those who have held the job know how rewarding, fulfilling, and at times thankless it can be.”

Among its topics, the first several issues of the Update for Stewards will address contract administration, grievance handling and a steward’s legal rights. Local and District Lodge Educators will be responsible for distributing the initial copies of the Update, while a steward’s mailing list is compiled.

The teaching staff at the William W. Winpisinger Center will assemble content and coordinate distribution of the new publication, with regular input from stewards themselves. “The Winpisinger Center is very proud and excited to be part of this effort that clearly has the potential to be a valuable resource for our front-line stewards,” said Jim Leslie, director of the IAM’s college-level training facility in southern Maryland.

Senators Eye Cheney-Halliburton Links
Senate Democrats say they will try to amend the $87 billion Iraq reconstruction measure now awaiting Senate action in an effort to force VP Dick Cheney to give up any financial interests in Halliburton Corp., the giant energy firm that has been given huge contracts for rebuilding projects in Iraq.

Cheney, who headed the firm from 1995 to 2000, received more than $200,000 in deferred compensation from Halliburton in 2001, and more than $160,000 last year. He is slated to receive similar payments over the next two years, according to news accounts. Additionally, Cheney owns more than 433, 000 shares in unexercised Halliburton stock options.

To date, Halliburton has received nearly $2 billion in contracts for various reconstruction projects in Iraq and stands to gain “hundreds of millions more under a no-bid contract awarded by the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers,” the Washington Post reports. During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last month, Cheney emphatically denied that he had any financial interest in Halliburton.

The Fight Goes On for P&W Jobs
When IAM members at Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut rejected a management proposal earlier this month that pitted worker against worker, the aerospace giant responded by outsourcing 160 materials handler jobs.

In an effort to preserve the targeted jobs, union leaders and members of the IAM’s HPWO (High Performance Work Organization) met with P&W management to review alternatives to the company’s approach to cost cutting and productivity.

Meanwhile, affected workers at Pratt are demanding a meeting with P&W president Louis Chenevert over the decision to eliminate their jobs. “We want to speak with you directly – as the person in charge – about why you want to put us out of work and give our jobs to others,” said the worker’s petition calling for the meeting.

Pratt & Whitney workers are outraged over the hiring and findings of Accenture, the Arthur Anderson spin-off firm that recommended outsourcing the P&W material handler’s work. Accenture is under fire for off-shoring more than 4,000 of its own jobs to India and moving their corporate headquarters to Bermuda to evade U.S. taxes.

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The Summer 2003 IAM Journal is now online. Skyrocketing health care costs are causing Premium Shock for members and employers. The IAM Journal looks at what's causing the increases and what can be done to change America's health care system.

See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM profiles for 2003.

The 108th Congressional Directory . . .
get your copy. Send $5 to the MNPL Education Fund, c/o IAMAW, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD, 20772.

The official site for the 36th Grand Lodge Convention to be held in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio is now online. Check it our for convention news, sponsorship offers, and convention gear.