Located at the
IAM 735 Members are excused from Vought to attend.
Machinists Union Local Lodge 735 blog, Nashville, TN. Nearly 1000 members strong at Vought Aircraft Industries Inc. in Nashville TN.
2008 Strike Checks
will not be available
after Jan. 12, 2009
“Vought would rather threaten their employees than negotiate a fair contract for nearly 1,000 striking members of IAM Local 735,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger.
The workforce at Vought voted September 27 to reject a company offer that would eliminate the existing pension plan for employees with less than 16 years seniority and replace it with an inferior 401k savings plan. Vought refused to modify the proposal even as the stock market crashed, stripping billions from 401k-based retirement accounts.
“The attempt by Vought to force a 401k plan on employees who deferred wages to fund a secure retirement plan would be outrageous under any circumstances,” said Buffenbarger. “In the current investment atmosphere, it is nothing less than a financial death sentence.”
IAM negotiators met repeatedly with federal mediators and company officials to broker a settlement that protected the workers’ pensions. Vought officials, however, refused to address the issue, arriving at one bargaining session accompanied by security guards.
“Many of us see Vought’s decision to hire permanent replacements as a bid to get one last shot in before a more labor friendly administration takes over in Washington,” said Local 735 President Mike Worrell. “I’m hopeful that the change so many of us voted for in November will arrive in time to make a real difference.”
Vought Aircraft Industries is 90 percent owned by Carlyle Group, the $8 billion private equity firm based in
The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in
For many families of Vought strikers in
The kudos, of course, stopped at the bargaining table. Vought demanded their employees take big takeaways. When the proposal was rejected, instead of coming back to the table and listening to their fine workforce, they decided instead to PUNISH the workers. They quickly hired out-of-state scab temporary workers, spent millions on private union-busting security and buses, in an attempt to break the union and the workers.
At the table, Vought negotiators said they were the only one that cared about the employees. One wonders, when they are at their Christmas tree tomorrow morning with their families, stuffed with presents for their kids, what they will think about the families of those on strike.
For many years, we thought the world of Charles Dickens was a relic of the past. Bob Cratchit was a wage slave, with a sick child. The greedy, ruthless Ebenezer Scrooge hoarded his wealth, never caring about his hard-working employee. Some things, it seems, never changes.
Sadly, there seems to be no Ghosts of Christmas past, present or future in
And they want you to be GRATEFUL for it.
One wonders, as they watch those Christmas retellings of Dicken’s classic story, whether they see themselves in it, or if they root for Scrooze, telling him not to give in to HIS ungrateful employee?
Remind your children and family that this strike is about a brighter future for all the workers at Vought, for better Christmases in the future. Sometimes sacrifice now is needed to ensure better days ahead. Tell them that other sacrificed so that we could have a good life, and that we can’t give up what they fought so hard to get.
Here’s the bottom line. Our strike continues to work, the pickets hold up well. The company did everything they could to break our will, and they are more than willing to ruin our Christmases and punish our children, too. Our Solidarity ensures we will win our strike. The TRUE Spirit of Christmas resides in each and every one of us, on this Christmas Eve, because we have our families, we have our pride, and we stand up together for a better life.
Greed has no place in the true Christmas Spirit. We can only pray that a spirit DOES touch the hard hearts of Vought managers, and heal them and make them remember that millions of dollars in their pockets does nothing to cover up the pain they’ve caused to make it.
Look to the folks next to you on the picket line. Look to your fellow Union members here in
They are the true heirs of the jolly old Elf! It seems that for Vought children, elves this year wear the Union Label. We want to thank Michael Allen of the United Way and the Central Labor Council, along with IBEW Local 429 for the Toy Drive for our children, and your fellow strikers who gave so much, even as their own pocketbooks were empty, along with IAM members in LL 733 (Hawker Beechcraft, Wichita, KS, they just recently won their strike), LL 834 (Boeing, Wichita) LL 839 (Spirit Aerosystems, Wichita), District Lodge 70 (Wichita), LL 2003 and District Lodge 75 (Ft. Rucker, AL). The IAM locals gave a total of $3800.00 to for LL 735’s Angel Tree.
Other Santas include Angel Rock, along with Barry Weatherspoon, his wife Nick, and Susan Butler and many others for their hard work.
Our kids can find presents under their tree this year because of the hearts of these fine people, along with your fellow strikers. They want you to be able to survive and continue on the picket lines, as they know your fight is their fight, too.
They know that Vought is trying to break their workers. They know there is little they won’t do to destroy the ability of the workers to negotiate good contracts.
As you make it to the picket lines this week, realize that the true spirit of Christmas, and the jolly old Elf is on this side of the Vought gates.
Here is the real story on the company’s so-called “Fact Checker #8: Working During The Strike”
Last Friday, we put a message on this website warning people that crossing a picket line is like walking into the lion’s den. We said, “People don’t realize that, if you cross the pickets, you no longer have protections on the job. The company can fire you for any reason or no reason, and without a
The company then said in its so-called “Fact Checker #8” that we were wrong, but it only told half the story. It said that during strikes, companies must maintain most terms and conditions of employment until lawfully changed, and it pointed to the “just cause” termination provision in our expired contract. It said you would still have that protection.
The half of the story that the company left out is that the arbitration clause is not one of the terms and conditions that the company must maintain. As the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in a case called Litton Financial v. NLRB, companies do not have to arbitrate things that happen after a CBA expires. So if you cross the picket line and the company disciplines or fires you without just cause, you are out of luck. Your real protection is walking the line. “FACT CHECKER #8 IS ONLY AN EMPTY PROMISE.
Of course, Vought hasn't been straight with either the Committee or the membership for a long time. They've hired fancy Philadelphia Lawyers versed in union busting to give half-truths and lies to divide us, and make you think they are on YOUR side. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
They've taken their sleeping bags and pillows back home and hauled away their protest placards after ending a nearly weeklong sit-in at a Chicago factory that came to symbolize the plight of laid-off labor.
But a day after dozens of protesting workers walked out of the Republic Windows & Doors plant with their demands met, they said they hope their triumph will inspire others nationwide to take similar stands against employers if need be.
"Sometimes people are scared to say something to big companies," said Ricardo Caceres, who spent his first night in his own bed after sleeping on a flatbed truck in the plant during the six day sit-in. "But we stood up -- opened everyone's eyes."
That should include the eyes of factory executives, some business leaders said Thursday.
"I'd be the first to say to companies that what you saw with workers at Republic will be repeated over and over across the country," said Jerry Roper, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "We haven't seen this since the '30s."
About 200 of the 240 laid-off workers occupied the doors and windows manufacturer last week, demanding severance and accrued vacation pay after Republic gave them just three days notice before closing the plant down.
Jubilant workers cheered and chanted "Yes We Can" outside the factory late Wednesday night after they voted to approve a $1.75 million agreement that put an end to their protest.
"This has inspired a lot of people," Leah Fried, an organizer for the United Electrical Workers, which represents the Republic workers, said Thursday.
She said the union is looking to harness the goodwill springing from the sit-in, which even drew supportive words from President-elect Barack Obama. She said that could include networking with unions in the United States and abroad.
Caceres said he has already fielded calls from workers at other Chicago factories asking how the Republic workers took on their employer so successfully. The key, he told them: "You've got to stick together."
Even after all the attacks upon organized labor the last several weeks in the press, people standing together can still win. The Chicago workers have proved it. Our elected officials are looking at our strike and Vought's attacks and takeaways, and soon we will have a Congress and Administration who will stand up for working people. Pretty soon it won't be as easy to attack the ability of workers to earn a living.
Negotiators returned to the bargaining table this morning at 9:30. Members were encouraged that both sides were able to remained at the table. “It seems that they may actually be talking this time.”
Please spend some time in prayer and let’s hope for an equitable conclusion. This company is a vital component of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee workforce plays a vital role in the success of this company.
Congressman Bart Gordon has received the emails you’ve sent, and he’s talked with your IAM District 711 DBR George Mays, and has contacted Vought CEO Elmer Doty.
Congressman Gordon told DBR Mays that Vought was ready to meet at any time to restart negotiations. We, your negotiating committee, stand ready to meet any time and any place, and have also reached out and shared this information with Federal Mediation. We will keep you informed of any developments as they happen.
George Reynolds, in his letter, “Vought workers are lucky to have jobs,” Nov. 15, makes several statements that simply are not true.
When a company has made money because their workers are highly skilled and committed to producing quality products and satisfying their customers, it is not luck that they have a job.
Then, when that same company takes advantage of a down economy and record unemployment to try to take benefits from those same workers who had made them profitable, then it does matter what we are striking for. Mr. Reynolds then tries to lay the blame for this nation’s failed trade policies on labor unions.
My heart also goes out to workers who have no jobs to go to because of the greed of corporations who have moved their jobs out of our country and exploited workers around the world.
If there ever was a time when labor unions are needed, it is now.
President, LL 735
Machinists Determined to Address Pension
November 11, 2008 – As the IAM met with a Federal Mediator today, company Negotiators arrived at the hotel where mediation was being held with armed guards that accompanied the company officials into the meeting room. The
“This was certainly an insult to both the IAM and the Vought workers, who have conducted a peaceful strike in the face of outrageous tactics by Vought management, using strikebreakers instead of negotiating in good faith,” said Local Lodge 735 President Mike Worrell. “This shows a complete lack of respect for their workers who have given years of loyal service to this company. It is shameful to demand that workers give their pensions up to a highly profitable company at a time like this.”
"This strike was triggered when Vought tried to walk away from its pension obligations," said Worrell. "It will be resolved only when Vought responds to the very legitimate concerns of its workforce."
IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger said “Our Union is democratic, and the elected negotiators of the Local Lodge are in charge of the negotiations. Vought obviously doesn’t understand how our union operates. We are working with the Local Lodge to keep the Carlyle Group from committing grand larceny in their immoral attempt to steal the pensions of hard-working Americans who have made Vought a highly profitable company,” said International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Vought was unwilling at this time to bargain to keep the pension for all the employees on strike, so the mediator ended the meeting.”
“The tactics of Vought and Carlyle are NOT good-faith tactics. Armed guards and attacks in the press is no way to come to an agreement,” said Buffenbarger.
Additional information about the strike is available at www.iam735.blogspot.com
Brothers and Sisters,
We met this afternoon with Federal Mediation. The mediator worked with each of the parties separately, and after several back-and-forth trips, the mediator released both parties, saying, “Federal Mediation was not successful at this time.”
Your Negotiating Committee
And the companion Blog Spot
Go here to assist others with job leads, clothing, food, and money or in whatever way you can.
This is also a place to find assistance.
There are many job leads posted on this blog.
Also visit www.iam735.com/help to contact the committee members.
DON’T BE MISLED BY VOUGHT. On September 29th, Vought said on its website that it had a way for IAM members to cross our picket line without being subject to union discipline. It said that members could change to being “financial core” members, which would release them from any responsibility to the union except payment of fees. The company’s explanation was legally WRONG, and the IAM immediately put up an Alert to make sure that our members were not taken in.
On October 20th, Vought put up even more misinformation, including a letter for our members to use in supposedly changing to financial core membership. DON’T BE FOOLED. “Financial core” membership is a phrase that courts use to describe NON-members in states, unlike Tennessee, where unions are permitted to spread the cost of representation to all bargaining unit employees, whether they are union members or not. IT DOES NOT APPLY IN
The IAM establishes the IAM’s membership rules, not Vought. We do not have two tiers of responsibility. Either Vought does not understand the law, or they are trying to trick you. Don’t let them do it.