IAM Retirees at Raytheon Win $2.5 Million in Back Pay – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW

Attorney Robert Gregory, General Vice President Gary Allen, Local Lodge 933 retirees David Lillie and Mark Argraves, and Western Territory Chief of Staff Bobby Martinez.

IAM Local 933 retirees at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ are celebrating their long battle for justice after finally receiving retirement funds totaling nearly $2.5 million.

It was the long-awaited result of a class-action lawsuit against Raytheon, a multi-billion dollar American defense contractor that dragged out the legal process for almost 10 years.

“Some of the people who attended were children of those who have passed away before this process could be concluded,” said IAM Western Territory Chief of Staff Bobby Martinez, who was the Directing Business Representative of Local 933 in 2006 when the case initiated. “They had to receive what their parents should have received long ago.”

The dispute began in 2004 when Raytheon made unilateral changes to retirees’ healthcare benefits that were spelled out in the IAM/Raytheon agreement. On Jan. 22, 2013, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing led to a settlement conference between the retirees and Raytheon which set the terms of the agreement. All retirees in the 2006 Alday v. Raytheon case were reimbursed by Raytheon 100 percent of the premiums paid after July 1, 2004 – the day when Raytheon began to breach the collective bargaining agreements that provided company-paid healthcare benefits for retirees and their spouses and dependents.

The final settlement in the 2009 Greene v. Raytheon case has yet to be finalized with discussions between the parties currently underway.

“It was our active retirees, especially those who volunteered to be class representatives, who made the difference,” said Local 933 Directing Business Representative Jim Watson.  “Their dedication, commitment and collective strength toward this effort gave us the edge, and justice prevailed.  Though we still have some work to do [on the Greene v. Raytheon case], there is no doubt that many retirees who suffered over the years now have a greater chance of enjoying their retirement.”

“I could not be more proud of the kind of representation provided to our retirees,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen. “This is truly IAM representation at its best.  Congratulations to all the retirees and their families who fought long and hard to uphold the dignity all retirees deserve during their retirement years.  This is why we pay dues to have a strong union. Individually, not one of these retired IAM members and workers would have been able to pay the legal fees, but with collective bargaining and true IAM unity, great things are possible.”

Special thanks to the class representatives for both lawsuits; including David Lillie, Ron Geuder, Mark Argraves, Keith Gross, Frank Greene, Clare L’Armee.  Also a special thanks to retired Western Territory General Vice President Lee Pearson and all former and current members of the Executive Council and Grand Lodge staff who supported, and continue to support, this effort.

The IAM’s Old Pueblo Lodge 933 has represented the hourly workforce at Raytheon Missile Systems/Hughes Aircraft since 1952.

via IAM Retirees at Raytheon Win $2.5 Million in Back Pay – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW.

Missouri Governor Vetoes Union-Busting Bill – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW

Missouri Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have forced public unions to seek annual written permission before collecting dues from employees. Missouri’s GOP-led legislature passed the bill in an effort to restrict the collective bargaining rights of state workers.

The law, which Republicans in the state called “paycheck protection,” would have also required public employees to sign off on the use of dues toward political activities.

“Singling out union dues for these extra processes serves no beneficial purpose,” said Nixon, pointing out that state employees already have voluntary withholdings such as 401(k) and college savings plans, and can opt out of the union dues withholding if they choose. “Rather, the bill places unnecessary burdens on public employees for the purpose of weakening labor organizations.”

In May, Nixon vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have repealed the state’s prevailing wage law, which establishes a minimum wage for workers on public projects. A bill that would have made Missouri a “right-to-work” state never came to a vote, but the Republican state representative who proposed it said he plans on pushing the legislation again next year.

Republican legislators in Michigan and Indiana recently passed “right-to-work” laws under the guise of greater employee freedom and becoming more business-friendly – even though the laws have been proven to cause lower wages and higher poverty. In 2011, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sparked massive protests and a recall election when he stripped public employees of almost all their collective bargaining rights.

Missouri AFL-CIO President Hugh McVey praised Nixon’s courage in fighting against deceptive anti-worker legislation.

“With today’s veto, Gov. Nixon stood up for the basic rights of Missouri’s everyday heroes—the people who work every day to keep our state working,” said McVey. “Nurses, teachers, police officers and countless other middle-class Missourians would have lost their voice on the job if this unfair and dangerous paycheck deception bill were to become law. We are grateful that Gov. Nixon stands as a firewall against the extremist agenda that would unfairly take rights away from workers and seeks to lower wages in our state. He joins the courageous legislators in both parties who sided with working people despite pressure from out-of-state special interest groups.”

via Missouri Governor Vetoes Union-Busting Bill – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW.

Retired GVP Michalski Honored by Congress – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW

Recently-retired IAM Headquarters General Vice President Rich Michalski has been publicly recognized by two members of Congress for his long career of service to the IAM, the labor movement and working families. Michalski became a familiar face in the halls of Congress during his 45-year career with the IAM, promoting legislation that preserved the American Dream and vigorously opposing bills that hurt IAM members.

During remarks on the U.S. House of Representatives floor, Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ), a long-time friend of Michalski, lauded the work Michalski did to counter the anti-union and anti-labor agenda.

“Throughout my years of knowing Rich, I have truly valued the supportive friendship and long professional association I have shared with him,” said Pastor. “On many occasions, I have relied on his intelligence and political acumen, and he has proven to be a trusted voice who has taught me a great deal over the course of our friendship.”

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) called Michalski, who initiated into IAM Local Lodge 1916 in 1968 as a welder with General Electric in Milwaukee, “an example of an American success story.”

“Truly the great cause of our time is to help protect the American Dream for working men and women who built this nation. I am proud to have joined with Rich in the cause,” said Ryan. “Rich’s long and illustrious career from humble beginnings as a welder to the leadership of one of the world’s great unions will not be forgotten and I congratulate him and wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Michalski rose from positions at his local lodge including Steward, Chairman of the Bargaining Committee, and President to become the IAM’s Director of Legislative and Political Action in 1992. He also served as the Director of the Machinists Non-Partisan Political League (MNPL) and was appointed Headquarters GVP in 2006.

via Retired GVP Michalski Honored by Congress – 21st Century Labor Union – IAMAW.