Globalization: Third of the Grand Lodge videos

The IAM Communications Department produced this video for the 2012 Grand Lodge Convention in Toronto. It chronicals how Global Corporations exploit labour and the enviroment in the Developing World. But it alos tells of the fight back and some significant victories workers have achieved.

A Must See……

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Day One – Finning Picket Lines

It has been a busy day today at the Union office, as we try to answer Member and Steering committee calls respecting picketing and bargaining issues. Picket lines are now up at all Finning Branches, and we thank our members for those lines, and for asking those crossing to not do business with Finning.

IAMAW Picket lines also showed up briefly at DiPerk Canada – a Finning subsidiary, but subsequently left. Info on Diperk: In January of 2004 Finning International added engines manufactured by Caterpillar subsidiary ‘Perkins Engines Company Limited’ to its product line in Western Canada through the creation of DiPERK. Our long experience with Perkins engines has its roots in other territories. Finning International is known to be the largest distributor of Caterpillar equipment in the world, and the sole distributor for Perkins in Chile, Argentina, and the United Kingdom. DiPERK Chile was recently awarded as the best Latin American Distributor. (

There has been nothing new from the Company at this point, but this is only our first day on the picket lines. We have heard there are a number of customer complaints about lack of Service on their equipment, and we have a number of trucks and suppliers who are turning away – those we applaud. For those who are crossing our picket lines, we encourage our IAMAW pickets to carry a camera, and send us photos of the violators.

We have had a teleconference with the BC Federation of Labour and a number of Unions, and they are aware of our Labour dispute, and have offered support to Machinists Union. IAMAW Local 99 in Alberta has also offered their support and encouragement – they will do all they can to assist us in this dispute, within the limits of the law.

We also have had a number of media calls, and these have been answered by Stan and Al. We understand that the media may approach you and ask your opinion – our advice is to refer them to the Union and we can respond. If they ask you to speculate – and they will – it may get printed or repeated by the media. As an FYI, we understand that the Prince George media got it wrong already: they reported that the Union employees turned down a $5,000.00 signing bonus. This is 100% inaccurate.

All locations should have received a seniority list and a tracking chart with respect to Picket duty – if you are not on the list, make sure to let us know so we can correct this ASAP. You must participate in picket duty in order to be paid Strike pay. Please ensure that you sign up with your picket captains and record all picket shifts. We are thanking all members for keeping our picket lines peaceful and professional. We did have one report of alcohol on a picket line, and we again ask that we keep it to soft drinks, coffee, and water. Let’s save the adult beverages for after our picket duty, and away from your picket lines.

 Thanks again for your support!

Al Cyr                                      Stan Pickthall
Business Representative      Business Representative        

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US Politics: Would You Rather Fight than Switch?

Dear UCubed Leaders, Activists and Fans:

The American Tobacco Company once bombarded us with the slogan “Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch.” For a dozen years, their ad campaign – and its string of everyday Americans sporting fake black eyes – built brand loyalty.  Tareyton packs flew off the shelves.

Unfortunately, the brand itself went up in a puff of smoke when the company switched to a longer, filtered version called Tareyton Light. With models sporting fake white eyes and mouthing “we’d rather light than fight,” their five-year advertising campaign failed, dismally.

That “rather light than fight” ad campaign offers an object lesson to all those strategists who would reposition the White House, the Democratic Party and the American Labor Movement.  All three are undergoing an internal re-branding process that could dramatically impact the lives of 28 million jobless Americans.

Jobless Americans and their nuclear families are at a tipping point politically. But so, too, are the blue collar Democrats who are still employed.

Nine out of ten jobless Americans surveyed by UCubed believe that neither major political party has strongly represented the interests of working people.  By a similar ratio, the jobless feel that the Democratic Party doesn’t represent working people as strongly as they used to. And, given a choice between re-electing Barack Obama and an unnamed Republican nominee, over 45 percent would vote for a third party or not vote at all!

Among Machinists Union members surveyed earlier this year, their level of disillusionment with both parties, and particularly the Democratic Party, was a mere four points lower than the jobless.  Their support for an Obama endorsement was lukewarm to put it mildly. 

The only daylight between the jobless and those blue-collar workers was their perception of the job President Barack Obama was doing to get people back to work. The jobless, not surprisingly, gave him an approval rating of 6.9 percent. The Machinists were slightly more generous. Their approval rating was 15.1 percent.

Both those numbers – 6.9 percent and 15.1 percent – are abysmal approval ratings for a Democratic President, and particularly so, given his party’s historic alignment with the jobless and organized labor. They should drive some new thinking at the various repositioning projects underway.

Think about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corp and Wagner Act. Think about Harry Truman and his veto of Taft-Hartley. Think about John F. Kenney and NASA or his investment tax credits for manufacturing equipment. Think about Lyndon Baines Johnson and Medicare, Civil Rights, Jobs Corps and Economic Opportunity. Think about Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and his full employment legislation.

Then those strategists should think about whether they want to “fight rather than switch” or “light rather than fight.” The choice they make will dictate whether the Democratic brand goes up in a puff of smoke… or totally smokes the opposition.

In Unity — Strength,

Rick Sloan
Executive Director
Ur Union of Unemployed

P.S. UCubed now has 836 cubes, 4,111 activists and 9,958 Facebook fans!

We welcome and appreciate the forwarding of this post.

Union of Unemployed
9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro Maryland 20772
© Ur Union of Unemployed 2010


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Canadian Labour Congress Constitutional Convention 2011

Over 2,000 Union Delegates Met At Canada Place In Vancouver For the Week of May 9-13

Delegates concentrated on several important areas of business:

  1. Introducing new mechanisms to resolve inter-Union raiding
  2. Restructuring of the CLC Executive to make it more accessible for smaller Unions 
  3. Preparing for the Harper government’s attacks on workers and their families
  4. Promoting improvement to Pensions for all Canadians

Delegates approved amendments to the Constitution creating a new mechanism to mediate disputes between Unions over raiding of members. Previously, all disputes were dealt with by the President and Executive Council. This led to the preception of bias towards the larger Unions. Now an independent Umpire will mediate disputes. Another problem was Union Presidents blaming ‘rogue’ locals for raiding. The ranking Union officer for each of teh 52 affiliate Unions will swear to “not attempt to recruit their [other Union’s] members”. 

The Executive will be replaced as the governing body of the CLC by the Canadian Council which has representation from:

  • all 52 affilliate Unions,
  • 12 territorial and provincial Federations of Labour,
  • 10 women from the largest public and provate sector unions,
  • 2 representatives of workers of ‘colour’,
  • 1 representative of Aborignal workers,
  • 1 resprestnative of disabled workers,
  • 1 represetative of GLBT,
  • 1 young worker representative,
  • 1 representative of retired workers

as well as the CLC President, Secretary-Treasurer, and 2 Vice Presidents

Delegates are heartened by the electoral success of the New Democrats in forming the official oppostion for the first time. It is as strong an opposition as any in Canada’s history. But the joy inthe success of the friends of labour is tempered by the Harper majority government and his undisclosed policies to be implelments to the detrimet of workers in Canada.
Jack Layton gave a rousing speech to the thunderous applause of the delegates.

The CLC policy initiative to improve pensions has nationwide appeal. The banks and Harper are trying to divert this need to create yet another fund for banks to manage and so profit from the basic needs of workers. The CLC will contimue this high profile campaign, looking to enroll the support of Provincial Governments and Canadian from sea to sea to sea.

Panel discussions , with moderators such as Wendy Mesley and Ina Hanomansing of CBC, deal with the topics such as “What Derailed the Post-War Social Contract?”, “The Silent Majority: Starting the Conversation” and “The Solution is Political: Moving to Political Change”. expert panelists gave their opinions and fielded questions from the floor.

Evening sessions included a showing of the Academy Award winning documentary “Inside Job”. The director, Charles Ferguson, spoke at the main session and answered questions before the screening. An International Forum gave delegates a chance to interact with labour leaders from Tunisia, Kenya, Bangledesh, and Columbia.

Dance and music acts started each morning and afternoon session, highlighting the diversity of Canadian culture. Sek dancers, native dancers, a jazz band, Japanese drummers and a blues band were among the highlights.

The last day was taken up with workshops on using the new social media and pension security.

The IAM was represented by 31 delegates from across Canada. The Convention was a great success and every delegate left enthused and ready to face resist the anti-worker agenda of the Harper Government.

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Get Out and Vote For Yourself and Your Family

All Bargaining Unit Members 

Sisters and Brothers: 

Re:  Federal Election May 2 

This letter is to remind you to get the vote out in the upcoming Federal election. At a recent Provincial leadership rally, I heard that 1.4 million British Columbians did not vote in the last election. Those votes are workers who do not share the interests of the corporations who run our Governments. 

At every bargaining table, the Union finds itself fighting the employer for improvements to wages, benefits, and working conditions. It is clear that your interests as workers are not the same as the interests of the corporations; it is equally clear that our political interests are not the same. 

Politics and Legislation affects every facet of our daily lives – from rules in the workplace to the price of gas in our cars. We have all watched the debates in the media – and we all know the issues that are important to working families. I urge you to study the issues that are most important to your family, and support the party that best represents those issues. 

I ask you to look closely at each party’s Platform on those issues. The Machinists Union is a proud member of both the Canadian Labour Congress and the B.C. Federation of Labour, and we have a long tradition of fighting for working families and for our union membership throughout B.C. We also have a long tradition of backing Politicians who support Labour’s issues. 

What are the issues facing working people? Here are just a few: 

  • National Minimum Wage: $10 Per Hour.
  • Outlawing the Use of Replacement Workers: no more scabs crossing picket lines.
  • Protecting Workers’ Pensions: an income you can live on when you retire.
  • Pay Equity: equal pay for equal work – for  our sisters, wives, and daughters.
  • Respect our Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively.
  • Support Trades Apprenticeship in order to build skills to replace our aging workforce. 

Over many decades, workers have faced legislation that takes away from them hard-won rights in the workplace. Still other legislation has denied working people the right to fairness and an opportunity to make a decent living. Why should a Government give a tax break to corporations while denying a living wage to our youngest and most vulnerable citizens: our children? 

Should Unions be involved in Politics? Damn right they should! Are the interests in the Corporate Boardroom the same as the interests around your kitchen table? Hell no! 

I urge you to choose the party that best represents the issues that are important around your kitchen table, for your family. Then get out and Vote. 

Stay Rock Solid! 

Stan Pickthall
Directing Business Representative

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