IAM Local 701 Trains Next Generation of Auto Mechanics at 2018 SkillsUSA Competition

IAM Mechanics Local 701 hosted another successful year of the 2018 SkillsUSA Automotive Service Technology competition in Springfield, Illinois.

More than 60 high school and post-secondary students competed for the title this year in the automotive category. This year’s competition consisted of 20 stations on everything from brakes to air conditioning, electrical, wheel alignments and balancing to job prep. Students were given 15 minutes to complete each station.

Watch 360° video of Local 701 Business Rep. Mark Grasseschi instructing students on the AC and battery testing station

See photos from the 2018 SkillsUSA Competition

“Personally, the hardest part for me is the interview,” said Joliet Junior College Student Rachael Bass. “I’m okay with the hands-on stuff. The trickiest part for me is having to talk about myself.”

“The hardest station was either the scope or a lot of the parts,” said Brady Wytrwal from Minooka Community High School. “They gave so many parts – 15 minutes to measure all of those parts was like a time crunch. But, I gave it my all and that’s all you can really do.”

Electrical stations dominated the competition this year. It’s like having a computer on wheels, says Lead Instructor for the IAM Local 701 Automotive Training Center, Louie Longhi.

“It’s very important that they get a good grasp on electrical and electronics because that’s where everything is going,” said Longhi. “There isn’t a part on the car now that doesn’t deal with electricity.”

But none of this would be possible without Local 701 members who volunteer their time to lead the stations. They enjoy giving back and mentoring the next generation of mechanics.

“I like seeing kids achieve,” said Local 701 retiree Mike Rojek. “I ask them what are their career goals and talk to them about the benefits of a union.”

One of the best things about being an auto mechanic, says Rojek, is the work can’t be outsourced. If you need your car serviced, you aren’t going to send it to China.

For these future auto mechanics, programs like the SkillsUSA Competition, as well as the IAM Local 701 Automotive Training Center, are essential, says Longhi. It’s an ideal route to the middle class.

“The nice thing about this is it’s showing the schools and students that vocational trades are still there, they’re still a viable option,” said Longhi. “They can make more money sometimes than if they were to go to college. Most of them don’t come out with huge debts like they do when they go into a four-year college.”

More 360° video of the 2018 SkillsUSA Automotive Competition

For more information on the IAM Local 701 Automotive Training Center, click here .

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Iowa Members at Siemens Approve Effects Agreement

Members of IAM Local 1010 ratify an effects agreement with Siemens Energy, Inc., ahead of the company’s recently-announced plant closing in Burlington, Iowa.

Members of IAM Local 1010 have ratified an effects agreement with Siemens Energy, Inc., ahead of the company’s recently-announced plant closing in Burlington, Iowa. The agreement covers how workers will be compensated during and after the shutdown.

Siemens officials met with IAM Local 1010 members at the Burlington facility in late April, dropping the bombshell announcement that the company was eliminating a portion of their product and the remaining products would be moved to other facilities in the U.S. and Europe.

The news came on the heels of two previous Siemens plant closings announced back in February, affecting IAM Local 1580 members in Wellsville, NY and Local 90 members in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

The Burlington plant closure will affect 61 IAM members who make small steam turbines for other manufacturing companies. The facility has been in the community for nearly 150 years.

Read “Iowa Local 1010 Machinists Fight Siemens Plant Closing”

“Members of IAM Local 1010 approved an effects agreement amid some very unfortunate circumstances. They should be commended for their solidarity during this difficult time,” said IAM Grand Lodge Representative Shannon Stucker. “The entire Bargaining Committee worked hard representing the members affected and continued to go back to the table with Siemens until the company stated they could provide no more severance and benefits. They were a very determined Committee and have represented the members of Local 1010 and the IAMAW proudly and professionally.”

Members of the Bargaining Committee included Stucker, IAM District 6 Directing Business Representative Scott Webster, Chairman Randy Goble, Chris Tucker, Kent Timmerman, Justin Scott and Guy Pratt.

IAM International President Bob Martinez recently held a press conference with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats on the topic of plant closings and the broken promises of Trump’s #GOPTaxScam.

The IAM maintains the recent plant closings taking place across the country are a direct effect of the Trump tax plan signed into law in late December.

“I am sick and tired of seeing companies like Harley-Davidson, Electrolux, Siemens—just to name a few—take a tax break with one hand and close plants and destroy communities with the other!” said Martinez. “These companies are taking tax breaks with one hand and handing out pink slips with the other. I’m going to call it like I see it. This is a corporate ambush on working people.”

Siemens anticipates layoffs beginning August 2018. The plant is scheduled to close by January 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

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IAM Local 1956 H.E.L.P.S. Minnesota Ecology Center Summer Camp

IAM Local 1956 volunteers donate their time to help Minnesota’s Prairie Ecology Bus Center, a non-profit environmental education center in Lakefield, MN, as part of the IAM Midwest Territory’s “IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community” program.

Members of IAM Local 1956 are doing their part to help the environment and make their city more “green.”

Volunteers from the local recently donated their time to help Minnesota’s Prairie Ecology Bus Center (PEBC) in Lakefield, MN, a non-profit environmental education center focused on helping residents of southwest Minnesota understand and appreciate the natural wonders in their own backyards.

One way PEBC accomplishes this is through their Garden Club, a summer camp that teaches children the ins and outs of gardening – from planning their garden to planting to watering their crops. Children are each given a 4′ x 8′ plot which is theirs for the summer.

IAM Local 1956 volunteers helped clean the garden plots, saving children time to focus on their summer-long harvest.

The initiative was done as a part of the IAM Midwest Territory’s “IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community”

program. IAM H.E.L.P.S. stands for Honoring, Engaging, Lifting, Providing and Servicing. The program focuses on the Territory’s continued efforts to provide essential support to the communities in which we live.

“[The children] only meet for two hours each week from now until the end of September,” said PEBC Executive Director Alisha Paplow. “Normally it takes us 2-3 weeks just to clean their garden plots. Having members of IAM Local 1956 help us this past Saturday saved the kids time so they can now focus on planning and planting their garden beds. We all greatly appreciate the hard work these members gave to us!”

IAM Local 1956 volunteers help clean garden plots for the Minnesota Prairie Ecology Bus Center’s Garden Club, a summer camp that teaches children the ins and outs of gardening.

This project started with a conversation between IAM Local 1956 Shop Steward Jeff Paplow
and Local President Kirby Kruse.

“In years past, I would help out at the center, me and a friend of mine. It would take us 11 hours and we still weren’t done,” said Paplow. “So one day I was talking about it to Kirby and he
thought it would be a great idea for the Local to take part. We brought it to the membership in March and planned to hold the event in April.”

“The center could not have been more gracious,” said Kruse, “but the biggest reward was
seeing the smiles on the Garden Club kids’ faces, realizing they didn’t have to do all that work themselves. The kids were really grateful.”

“As the DBR of this District,” said IAM District 77 Directing Business Representative John Steigauf, “I am extremely proud of the work these members did and the impact it is making in their community. This is definitely a model for the rest of the District.”

Because of the volunteer time put into this project, the Ecology Center plans to attend Local 1956’s Membership Engagement Picnic in August. The center will bring its “Ecology Bus,” a state-of-the-art school, mobile scientific laboratory, and classroom designed to educate
children and adults about the environmental and natural sciences.

 

 

 

 

 

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