Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hooksett and Lynn GE workers urge Rep. Bradley to maintain funding for good full time jobs

From the June 6, 2006 IUE-CWA Local 201 Electrical Union News

GE workers from the Hooksett and Lynn plants who live in southern New Hampshire met with Representative Jeb Bradley seeking his support to "dual source" the contract for the advanced Joint Strike Fighter aircraft engine. Bradley serves on the House Armed Services Committee and is a member of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. The Bush Administration has opposed dual sourcing the JSF, cutting out the GE/Rolls JSF engine.

"We make high quality aircraft engine parts," said Beverly Murdough who helped spearhead a petition drive supporting the "dual source" contract in the Hooksett plant. "We're proud of what we do and hope Congress will allow us to keep doing the work."

After listening carefully to brief presentation from the lobbying group, Bradley indicated his strong support for continuing GE's role in the Joint Strike Fighter. He said he would closely monitor the pending Defense Authorization and Defense Appropriations bills to make sure the provisions for dual sourcing are maintained. Congress is expected to send the final bills to Pres. Bush for his signature sometime this summer.

Working together for a more secure future
The delegation to Rep. Bradley also sought his support for a new "Strategic Materials Protection Board" that is included in the House version of the FY '07 Defense Authorization bill. The proposed board is charged with drawing up a list of materials critical to national security and then requires the Pentagon to buy only U.S. made items from the list. This provision, and similar "build America" measures are generally opposed by the Bush Administration.

"The Strategic Materials Protection Board and Build America programs are good for national security and common sense for the economy," said Local 201 Bldg. 40 Steward Randy Hodson. "I hope Congress and the President do the right thing."

Employee Free Choice Act
Local 201 President Jeff Crosby concluded the meeting with a presentation to Bradley about the importance of reforming America's labor laws so that more people can unite at work for the good jobs that America's communities need.
"Recently, many Hooksett GE workers have contacted us about forming a new WAGE chapter for a stronger voice in their future," said Crosby. "They should be allowed to do that free from management intimidation or retaliation."

The proposed Employee Free Choice Act would allow faster certification when a majority of employees sign up to authorize a union. The bill would also establish stronger penalties for employers that violate U.S. labor laws. The legislation (S. 842 and H.R. 1696) currently has 215 co-sponsors in the House and 42 in Senate. Rep. Bradley said he would get more information about the bill and consider it.

Together we get results
When GE workers are united in IUE-CWA, it gives employees added strength in the community and with our elected officials. That's why GE managers in Lynn have actively sought union assistance in the campaign to secure duel source funding for the Joint Strike Fighter. And it shows how effectively GE management and its unions can work together towards common goals.

Yet, the Hooksett "employee handbook" clearly spells out management's views on employees having a united voice at work. "Hooksett employees have chosen to operate without union representation. We have been very successful operating Hooksett this way…we should never have the need for a union."
What the handbook doesn't say is that the decision about unions and a voice at work isn't up to Hooksett management. By law, only the employees can make that decision.

The meeting with Bradley was an example of how Local 201 members can work cooperatively with Hooksett GE workers on our common issues and concerns. Much more cooperation is needed to break down old stereotypes about "Lynn union people" and provide opportunities for people from both plants to get to know one another better. An excellent opportunity for joint activity is on the horizon when bargaining begins for a new national contract next year.

For additional information about Build America, the Employee Free Choice Act and WAGE, please contact me at (781) 598-2760 or by email at rwilson@local201iuecwa.org.

(Photo caption)
Political Action
Hooksett's Bev Murdough gives Rep. Bradley copies of petitions for President Bush signed by over 70 workers from the Hooksett plant. Many other workers from Hooksett also contacted Bradley individually. Nearly 1,000 Local 201 members from Lynn signed similar petitions that were sent to Pres. Bush on May 11.

(Photo caption for front page)
New Hampshire GE workers lobby for Joint Strike Fighter
Pictured above with Rep. Jeb Bradley are (l-r) Hooksett's William Doucette and Beverly Murdough who were joined by Local 201 members Randy Hodson (steward in Building 40) and Steve Gauthier (Health and Safety Committee, Gear Plant). The group met with Bradley on May 30 at his office in Manchester, NH to talk about the JSF and securing good jobs for the future at both Lynn and Hooksett. Also attending the meeting were Legislative Committee member Fuzzy Herrick (Bldg. 74) and Local 201 President Jeff Crosby.


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