The IAM was well represented when leaders from the U.S., Canada and Germany took part in the 3rd annual multi-union Siemens meeting in Orlando, FL. Front row from left: District 11 Business Rep. Claude Boisvert, District 65 Assistant Directing Business Rep. Ron Warner, Director of Collective Bargaining Tom O’Heron and Local 868 Vice President Frederic Labelle. Back row from left: Local 1580 President Jim Lewis, Local 1580 Vice President Bryan Fanton, Local 2468 President George Zoni, Local 869 President Luc Frigon and Collective Bargaining Coordinator Department Craig Norman.
Leaders from the IAM and other U.S. unions recently took part in the 3rd annual Siemens multi-union meeting in Orlando, FL. The IAM has a long-standing relationship with IG Metal, the German metalworkers union, and the Siemens Works Council, which also participated. Common issues for all the organizations with members working for Siemens globally were discussed.
With over 50,000 Siemens employees in the US workforce and just over 3,600 union members, organizing was a main topic of discussion. The difficulties with organizing in the U.S. were shared with our German brothers and sisters. A significant part of the discussion focused on efforts to make sure that Siemens fully respected international labor standards with regard to organizing and collective bargaining. All the unions involved expressed their commitment to finding an effective strategic approach to take for the future.
Health care, pensions and job security at US Siemens locations are among the issues discussed by the union leaders. A great deal of information was shared and a workshop held that allowed these topics to be discussed from both a local and international level.
“These are issues that continue to be a challenge as we move into the future,” said IAM Coordinated Bargaining Director Tom O’Heron. “How do we attack them as a group rather than as a location? What might coordinated bargaining look like? What is our plan of action to communicate with all organizations as we move forward in a collaborative manner?”
February 17, 2016 will go down as one of the most bittersweet days for IAM members involved in the Canadian aerospace industry. The day began with announcements that were both good and bad.
Air Canada announced it would purchase 45 Bombardier C Series 300 airliners with options for 30 more. The national air carrier will take delivery of its first 135-seat narrow body C Series 300 in 2019.
“This is great news for our members in Quebec and our members in Canadian aerospace,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie. “This was the deal Bombardier was looking for, recognition for a state of the art aircraft by the country’s largest airline. Air Canada is to be complimented for its commitment with this announcement and it’s a testament to our 4,500 members at Bombardier.”
But the $3.8 billion deal and a $1 billion investment from the Government of QuÃ©bec wasn’t enough to avoid layoffs. The C Series program has been bleeding Bombardier resources and efforts to gain investment from the federal government have so far been unsuccessful. Bombardier announced it would trim its global workforce by 10 percent or 7,000 workers over the next two years. That cut includes 2,400 workers in MontrÃ©al.
“Some of those layoffs will be mitigated when Bombardier transfers workers to the production side as the aircraft begin to come off the assembly line,” said IAM QuÃ©bec Coordinator David Chartrand.
Later that morning Air Canada announced it would have its C Series airframe heavy maintenance work performed in QuÃ©bec by a recognized maintenance provider for a minimum of 20 years following first delivery in 2019. It also said it would commit to help establish a Centre of Excellence for C series aircraft maintenance in the province. In return the QuÃ©bec Government said it would drop its litigation against Air Canada for violating the Air Canada Public Participation Act. The Act stipulates Air Canada must maintain heavy maintenance work at three Canadian locations, MontrÃ©al, Mississauga and Winnipeg. Air Canada sold its heavy maintenance arm to Aveos Fleet Maintenance in 2007. Aveos subsequently folded in 2012 taking 2,600 IAM members’ jobs with it. Air Canada has conducted its heavy maintenance offshore since then.
The QuÃ©bec and Manitoba governments took the airline to court stating it violated the Act and the heavy maintenance work should be returned to Canada. In December 2015, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that the airline had contravened the Act.
“We are astounded by the QuÃ©bec government’s decision regarding the former-Aveos workers in their plight to get their jobs back,” said Ritchie. “We have yet to hear a response from the Manitoba government on what action it will take.”
International President Bob Martinez, Headquarters GVP Rickey Wallace, Southern Territory GVP Mark Blondin and District 776 negotiators were on hand in Ft. Worth, TX to open contract negotiations with Lockheed Martin.
IAM negotiators sat across from management as IAM District 776 and Lockheed Martin opened negotiations today in Ft. Worth, TX. International President Bob Martinez, who hails from District 776, was part of the team that included Headquarters General Vice President Rickey Wallace, Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin andIAM Aerospace Coordinator Terry Smith.
“Business is booming, and Lockheed Martin soon will be hiring hundreds, if not thousands,” said Martinez as the meeting began. “The F-35 is a fantastic aircraft, and our members have made it happen. Health Care and pensions are some of our top priorities as we move forward. We have a lot of work to do as our members haven’t forgotten the strike and so-called ‘reset’ after returning from the strike.”
“We have 135 days to find a way forward to a fair and equitable contract. I have confidence in our professional and skilled negotiating team, and I pledge to put all the resources of the IAM behind them,” said Martinez.
The current contract expires July 3, 2016 and District 776 DBR Paul Black will lead the negotiations for the union. The last contract negotiations ended in a bitter 10-week strike over health care and pensions.