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Union Members Save Plane Passengers Need a little help getting by? Lubbers Commercials: Buy American EFCA Message Wheel

Vol. 91 Issue 5

“A Voice for Working Kansans since 1919”

Democrats for Working Kansans Today, members of the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses joined together to unveil a collaborative series of bills and priorities, all crafted specifically with the Kansas worker in mind. The “Democrats for Working

Kansans” agenda addresses a number of important issues facing the everyday people who contribute and invest in the State of Kansas, including: improved worker benefits, fair wages, promoting Kansas-made products,

—2 —5 —7 —8

February 2009

By Chris Harris, Jan. 22, 2009,

guaranteeing health and safety in the workplace, implementing new immigration reform, and expanding educational and training opportunities. “Democrats in the House and Senate are committed to Kansas

Democratic members of the Kansas House and Senate unveil their 2009 “Democrats for Working Kansans” Agenda at the Statehouse on Thursday, Jan. 22. From left: Rep. Jim Ward, Rep. Melody McCray-Miller, Rep. Delia Garcia, Rep. Judy Loganbill, Sen. Tom Holland, House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, Rep. Louis Ruiz, Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, Rep. Ed Trimmer, Rep. Milack Talia, Rep. Dolores Furtado, Rep. Ann Mah.

workers, families and business owners,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. “These people are counting on us in 2009 and we have a responsibility to offer them the help they need.” “In the last year alone, 2.6 million Americans lost their jobs, the highest number of job losses our country has seen since the end of World War II. During this difficult economic time, working Kansas families have borne the brunt of this heavy burden,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka. “As large corporations – such as Boeing, Cessna, and the General Motors Assembly Plant – continue to scale back or go out of business, many more workers will be forced to cut back their hours, work for lower wages, or lose their jobs altogether.” “Kansas will recover from this recession, but if we don’t protect our hardworking Kansas families now, the long-term impact of this economic downturn will be much


Environmentalists and Labor unite to bring economic recovery to Kansas manufacturing KSBlueGreen.htm Eleven labor and environmental organizations launched the Kansas chapter of the Blue Green Alliance on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009, at CWA Local 6402 headquarters on East Harry in Wichita. “Wichita lost 1,300 jobs last year alone,” said Emil Ramirez of the United Steelworkers. “By supporting a green economy, we want to bring manufacturing jobs back to Kansas.” BGA is an uncommon partnership born of a common goal: to realize the enormous opportunities of a renewable energy economy for the state. Kansas stands to gain more than 11,000 family-supporting manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy industry, according to a recent report from the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP) , a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy Blue Green Alliance Members research organization based in Washington, DC. (from left to right) Elizabeth Bishop, Sierra Club; Donna Birks, UAW-Local 31; Harry Bennett, Kansas Rural Center; Nancy Jackson, Climate and Energy Project; Martin Eddy, Wichita Machinists Union; The report, which projects $1.97 billion of investment, Donn Teske, Kansas Farmers’ Union; Emil Ramirez, United Steelworkers; Eileen Horn, Climate and spurred local labor unions, community and farm organiEnergy Project; Wil Leiker, Kansas AFL-CIO; A.J. Villegas, Communication Workers of America; zations, and environmental groups to form a Kansas Jeff Manning, UAW-Local 31; David Kirkbride, Sierra Club. chapter of the Blue Green Alliance. [Continued on page 5]

more far reaching and have much more damaging consequences to the future of our state,” Davis continued. “That’s why we’ve joined here today – to stand up for the people of Kansas by enacting responsible, proactive policies.” Highlights of the “Democrats for Working Kansans” agenda include: Strengthening Retirement Benefits for State Retirees Quality Education for Kansas Workers Kansas Workers Rights: Workplace Health and Safety Kansas Jobs for Kansas Workers Fair Wages for Kansans and Kansas Products First

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3830 S. Meridian Ave. Wichita, KS 67217–3704

2 — The PlainDealer

February 2009

Union Heroes Save Passengers on U.S. Airways Flight By Mike Hall, Jan. 16, 2009, AFL-CIO NOW Blog The quick-thinking, bravery, experience and extensive training of US Airways Flight 1549 pilot, Capt. Chelsey Sullenberger, co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles, the crew of flight attendants, the air traffic controllers guiding the flight low over Manhattan and the rescuers were the key factors in yesterday’s “Miracle on the Hudson,” where 155 people survived an emergency landing in the river. The mainstream media is chronicling the miracle, but as Marcy Wheeler on Emptywheel,> points out: What they are not telling you is just about every single one of these heroes is a union member. They are union members who got that that extensive safety and job training thanks to their union contracts. Sullenberger, with 40 years of flight experience, served as instructor and safety committee chairman for the Air Line Pilots (ALPA, Following, the US Airways merger with America West, the airline’s pilots are now members of an independent union. The crew of three flight attendants who shepherded the passengers safely out the emergency exits are members of the Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA, Says AFA-CWA President Patricia Friend: Flight attendants are highly trained safety and security professionals and today’s successful evacuation is an overwhelming example of the necessary role flight attendants serve on board the aircraft. Flight attendants receive extensive training on emergency evacuations and each year they undergo additional training to ensure their proficiency. The air traffic controllers who helped route the Airbus A320 around Manhattan, after Sullenberger reported that a bird strike had shut down both engines, are members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA, As Reuters reports: According to controllers, an “eerie calm” defined controller and cockpit communications as options dwindled. There are fewer controllers working longer hours because of Bush’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has refused to bargain a contract with the union for nearly three years. Yet the controllers continue to “Guide you home,” as their motto states. Says Wheeler: Someday they will rename National Airport (serving Washington, D.C.) for the work these men and women do to keep us safe in the air. The ferry crews that immediately responded when they saw the plane in the river are Seafarers (SIU, members. The SIU provides extensive safety training for its members. Marine Engineers (MEBA, members pilot many of the ferries and fireboats that responded. Those police and fireboats that arrived to pull passengers to safety are crewed by members of the Fire Fighters (IAFF, and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA). As Wheeler points out: They are the men and women who performed so heroically on 9/11. Unions=Training= Congratulations to all the brave men and women union members who performed so heroically yesterday.


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Labor Calls for Unity After Years of Division By Steven Greenhouse, New York Times,, 1/8/2009 The presidents of 12 of the nation’s largest labor unions called Wednesday for reuniting the American labor movement, which split apart three and a half years ago when seven unions left the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and formed a rival federation. The union presidents issued their joint call after the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama signaled that it would prefer dealing with a united movement, rather than a fractured one that often had two competing voices. David E. Bonior, a member of Mr. Obama’s economic transition team who withdrew from consideration as labor secretary, helped arrange and oversee a meeting of the union presidents on Wednesday in Washington. The leaders are hoping, by April 15, to approve a plan to reunify, one union official said. But some officials said they might fail to reach agreement. Mr. Bonior, a former House majority whip, said he would organize meetings with labor leaders over the next few weeks in the hope of hammering out details

about what form a reunified labor federation would take. The 12 union presidents issued a statement, saying: “The goal of the meeting is to create a unified labor movement that can speak and act nationally on the critical issues facing working Americans. While we represent the largest labor unions, we recognize that unity requires broad participation.” The call for reunification was something of an about-face for the presidents of the Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters and several other unions that quit the A.F.L.-C.I.O., asserting that the federation was stodgy and had not done enough to reverse organized labor’s long decline. The breakaway unions formed a federation called Change to Win. “There was a real sense of commitment to unifying our movement again,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Wednesday. “It was clear that many of us felt that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,

and we really want to do things to 74, who is scheduled to step down Several presidents have also called help American workers get their this year after heading the A.F.L.for creating a strong executive rightful place in society.” C.I.O. for 13 years. director’s position, partly in the hope that the parent federation To bring about reunification, Richard Trumka, the federation’s would have two strong voices several labor leaders have called secretary-treasurer and former rather than one. for revamping and modernizing the president of the United Mine A.F.L.-C.I.O., traditionally the Workers, has been lobbying Those at Wednesday’s meeting nation’s main federation, currently among union presidents to included Andy Stern, president of with 56 member unions. But succeed Mr. Sweeney. the Service Employees union, who several labor leaders have called But some union leaders, especially led the walkout in 2005; as well as for replacing the A.F.L.-C.I.O. with the presidents of the Teamsters, those in the rival labor federation, a new, more dynamic group. the United Steelworkers, United say they want a fresh voice Auto Workers, and the American There was general agreement that leading organized labor. Federation of State, County and any future federation should focus The reorganizing proposals that Municipal Employees. on political and legislative matters, unions president have floated in while also serving to encourage One somewhat surprising attendee recent days include a rotating individual unions to do more to was Dennis Van Roekel, president presidency for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. or organize workers. of the National Education Associaits successor federation, with the tion, which, with 3.2 million The leaders of several breakaway presidents of individual unions members, is the nation’s largest unions have called for changing serving two-year terms as head of labor union, but has traditionally the name of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. the parent federation. because they had vowed never to One A.F.L.-C.I.O. official described remained outside any larger labor federations. return to the same federation. that plan this way: “The dukes Officials from several Change to But many A.F.L.-C.I.O. officials want to replace the king.” Win unions have said in recent argue that it would be silly to alter But many officials oppose a months that they were seeing little the name of such a well-known rotating presidency, saying the advantage in maintaining a organization and replace it with a parent federation needs a strong, separate labor federation. name that few Americans are visible president who, by dint of The New York Times Company, familiar with. serving for several years, is Labor officials said they did not recognized by Congress and the discuss on Wednesday who news media as the undisputed would succeed John J. Sweeney, voice for labor. Learn about the Employee Free Choice Act at

February 2009

The PlainDealer — 3 Kathy S. Petersen Goodyear Tire Gets Away with IAMAW Sister of the Month Pay Discrimination, but Lilly Ledbetter Kathy Petersen, 12-year member of IAM Local Lodge 839 in Wichita, Kansas, was named IAMAW Sister of the Month for January 2009. One sister from the nationwide IAMAW is highlighted each month to inspire and encourage others to become more involved. Sister Kathy was overwhelmingly elected President of her local after having served as the lodge’s Vice President. She is the first woman to hold each of those offices in the history of the local. Employed as an Inspector for Spirit Aero Systems, Sister Kathy became more involved with her union after the company was sold by Boeing to Onex Corp. and many active members were laid off. Seeing a need in her local, she stepped up and volunteered to take up some slack. Sister Kathy serves on numerous committees and is involved in various activities at the local, district and within the community. She has become an effective leader by reading the bylaws, learning the constitution, asking questions and making mistakes. Sister Kathy advises, “It is important to learn from your mistakes and keep the lines of communication flowing in all directions!” For other sisters wanting to get involved and become leaders, Sister Kathy says, “Don’t second-guess yourself. Do the right thing for the right reasons and always remember to communicate.” As a leader of the local, Sister Kathy is involved in a lot of activities, organizing in particular. She has worked tirelessly to organize nonrepresented workers. It’s her goal to help build a stronger union and encourage other sisters to be more active. Most recently, Sister Kathy was one of the recipients of the Women in Organizing Grant awarded by the Berger Marks Foundation.

Wins the Day

Mai Shiozaki,

January 22, 2009

Tonight the Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by a bipartisan vote of 61 to 36, vindicating Lilly Ledbetter’s long search for redress after 19 years of pay discrimination. “This is an important first step in our efforts to undo years of backsliding on the right to be paid a fair and equitable wage,” said National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy. “The Ledbetter bill will allow redress for workers with the energy and willpower to seek redress in the courts, but we have a long way to go before we have fair pay for women, and laws with real teeth.” While it is too late for her to receive the compensation she deserved from Goodyear and was denied by the Supreme Court, Lilly’s determined quest for equal rights for women in the workplace led to today’s Senate passage of the legislation introduced in her name. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation next week after concurrence from the House. The Ledbetter Act, which was blocked in the Republican-led Senate last year, will essentially reverse the 2007 Supreme Court decision that required workers to file charges on a pay discrimination claim within six months after receiving their first discriminatory paycheck. The Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber, which reversed the jury’s compensation award to Ledbetter, essentially gave employers the go-ahead to discriminate in pay, as long as they weren’t caught in the first six months after the onset of their illegal actions. Earlier this month the House passed the Ledbetter Act with a companion bill, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes that allow employers to pay men and women discriminatorily and provides consequences for that discrimination. The Senate today acted only on the Ledbetter Act, so work on passage of the companion bill begins tomorrow. We salute Lilly Ledbetter and promise to continue working for passage of fair pay legislation with real teeth, so that her long journey through the courts and the halls of Congress will not have been in vain, and all workers will be able enjoy a fair, safe and equitable workplace where they can do their jobs and support their families.

Support the ERA!

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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Plaindealer 3830 S. Meridian Ave. Wichita, KS 67217–3704 (316) 529-8513 Melanie Jenney, Editor email: Board of Directors Judy Pierce, President, Labor Federation Brenda Honse, Vice President (CWA Local 6402) Tim Franta, Sec./ Treas. (IAM Local 733) Stuart Elliott (APWU Local 735) Deb Boatright (Local 708) Dave Philpott (IAM Local 774) Kathy Petersen (IAM Local 839) Ralph Stout (Local 834) John Shepherd Jr. (UA Local 441) Advertising and stories are due by the 15th of each month. Subscription rates are $15 per year. Special rates available to union members and locals subscribing as a body. Founded in 1919 by Tom Tilma, the Plaindealer is the official publication of the Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation, AFLCIO, and covers news of interest to working people. Story suggestions and letters to the editor should be sent to the PlainDealer at 3830 S. Meridian Ave., Wichita, KS 67217–3704; by email to, or call (316) 529–8513 with your ideas. To be considered for publication, letters to the editor must be signed and include the author’s telephone number. Views expressed in letters to the editor are not necessarily the views of the Plaindealer, its Board of Directors or affiliated unions. Published monthly by Plaindealer Publishing, Inc. at 3830 S. Meridian Ave., Wichita, KS, 67217.

Female union members are the only women who earn the same pay as men for the same work. Otherwise, U.S. women only earn 76 cents for every dollar that a man makes. Maybe that will change. Rep. Geraldine Flaharty and 21 other co-sponsors have introduced House Concurrent Resolution No. 5003, a proposition to amend article 15 of the constitution of the state of Kansas by adding a section concerning equal rights for men and women. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is the cornerstone of economic equity for American women. It will provide a durable guarantee of equal status and dignity under law. Under the present patchwork of regulations and court decisions, women still suffer discrimination in many areas including pay, hiring, promotion, insurance, pensions, educational opportunity and inheritance. Full text of bill can be found at: 2009_5003.pdf Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Your Union Works for You, Can You Work for It Too?!?

4 — The PlainDealer

Harold Meyerson: Destroying What the UAW Built By Harold Meyerson, Dec. 17, 2008

February 2009

Special to The Washington Post

In 1949, a pamphlet was published financial backing for Cesar Today, setting the terms of that in 2007 constituted 60 percent of Narrow? Parochial? The UAW not that argued that the American loan has become the final task of the firms’ expenses, yet reducing only built the American middle Chavez’s fledgling farm workers auto industry should pursue a the Bush presidency, which puts overall employee compensation class but helped engender every union. The union took a lively different direction. Titled “A the auto workers in the unenviable wasn’t an issue in the financial movement at the center of Ameriinterest in the birth of a student Small Car Named Desire,” the bailout.) can liberalism today – which is one position of depending, if not on movement in the early 60s, pamphlet suggested that Detroit the kindness of strangers, then on reason that conservatives have providing its conference center in In a narrow sense, what the not put all its bets on bigness, that Port Huron, Mich., to a group always held the union in particular the impartiality of the most Republicans are proposing would a substantial share of American partisan president of modern disdain. called Students for a Democratic gut the benefits of roughly a consumers would welcome Society when the group wanted to Over the past several weeks, it has times. million retirees. In a broad sense, smaller cars that cost less and draft and debate its manifesto. they want to destroy the instituRepublicans complain that labor become clear that the Republican burned fuel more efficiently. tion that did more than any other right hates the UAW so much that costs at the Big Three are out of Later that decade, the union The pamphlet’s author was the to raise American living standards, it would prefer to plunge the line with those at the non-union provided resources to help the research department of the United National Organization for Women and they want to do it by using nation into a depression rather transplant factories in the South, Auto Workers. the power of government to lower than craft a bridge loan that factories that Southern governors get off the ground and helped American living standards - in the doesn’t single out the auto have subsidized with billions of fund the first Earth Day. And for By the standards of the postwar middle of the most severe recesindustry’s unionized workers for taxpayer dollars. decades after Reuther’s death in a UAW, there was nothing excepsion since the 1930s. punishment. (As manufacturing 1970 plane crash, the UAW was tional about “A Small Car Named But the UAW has already agreed consultant Michael Wessel among the foremost advocates of Desire.” to concessions bringing its The auto workers deserve better, pointed out, no Republican national health care – a policy that, members’ wages to near-Southern and so does the nation they did so In its glory days, under the demanded that Big Three execuhad it been enacted, would have levels, and labor costs already much to build. leadership of Walter Reuther, the tives have their pay permanently saved the Big Three tens of comprise less than 10 percent of UAW was the most farsighted Meyerson is editor-at-large of reduced to the relatively spartan billions of dollars in health the cost of a new car. (On Wall institution – not just the most American Prospect and the L.A. insurance expenses, but which the levels of Japanese auto executives’ Street, employee compensation at farsighted union – in America. Weekly. pay.) Big Three themselves were until the seven largest financial firms “We are the architects of recently too ideologically hideAmerica’s future,” Reuther told the bound to support. delegates at the union’s 1947 convention, where his supporters won control of what was already the nation’s leading union. Even before he became UAW president, Reuther and a team of Did you know the Kansas minimum wage is $2.65? brilliant lieutenants would drive How is the economic crisis affecting our lowest-paid workers? the Big Three’s top executives For the past year, the Kansas Action Network has organized efforts and crazy by producing a steady events to Raise the Wage in Kansas. They recently succeeded in stream of proposals for management. In the immediate aftermath of Wyandotte County (Kansas City, KS area). Pearl Harbor, Reuther, then head of Now the campaign has come to Topeka! the union’s General Motors Please join us at an educational forum to learn how it worked in Wyandivision, came up with a detailed dotte County. plan for converting auto plants to HEAR from defense factories more quickly …Wyandotte County Commissioners Mark Holland and Mike Kane than the industry’s leaders did. At …sub-federal minimum wage workers the end of the war, he led a strike …David Burress, an economist who has studied the issue at GM with a set of demands that included putting union and public SATURDAY, FEB. 7 at 2 p.m. representatives on GM’s board. First United Methodist Church That proved to be a bridge too far. 600 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka Instead, by the early 1950s, the Since the Kansas legislature has consistently resisted raising the UAW had secured a number of minimum wage, it’s up to cities to do the right thing. That’s why the contractual innovations – annual Kansas Action Network is bringing together faith, labor and community cost-of-living adjustments, for instance – that set a pattern for the organizations in a campaign to raise the wage floor by city ordinance in Wichita and Topeka. rest of American industry and created the broadly shared For information, toshare your story, or to seek accommodations under prosperity enjoyed by the nation the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact organizer Heidi Zeller at in the 30 years after World War II. (785) 760-2764 or email The architects did not stop there. Kansas Action Network, Inc. is a broad-based coalition for workers’ rights, social justice and economic fairness, During the Reuther years, the seeking a common ground in the pursuit of a UAW also used its resources to just society. incubate every up-and-coming liberal movement in America. It See or was the UAW that funded the great 1963 March on Washington and provided the first serious Learn about the Employee Free Choice Act at


Raise the Wage Kansas

February 2009

The PlainDealer — 5

[Green Jobs continued from page 1] BGA partners include the United Steelworkers, the Communication Workers of America District 6, Kansas AFL-CIO, The Land Institute, Kansas Rural Center, Kansas Farmers Union, the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and other local unions and community groups will work together to promote programs and policies that create a green economy in the state. “Some of the biggest issues facing Kansas - rising unemployment due to a struggling economy, our overdependence on imported fuels, and global climate change can be tackled all at once,” said Ramirez. “In November alone, more than 530,000 Americans lost their jobs.” The REPP report found that more than 425 existing Kansas firms could manufacture component parts for renewable energy technologies. Counties poised to benefit most from development of wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass resources include Saline, Johnson, Sedgwick, Ellis and Wyandotte.

“Our goal is to ensure that as the U.S. moves to develop renewable sources of energy, Kansas workers are positioned to reap the benefits,” said A.J. Villegas, representative for the Communication Workers of America. A renewable energy economy in Kansas would draw upon and expand the existing manufacturing base in the state, helping to offset the 11,000 manufacturing jobs lost between January ’01 and June ’07. “This is recovery for Main Street,” said Nancy Jackson, executive director of the Climate & Energy Project of The Land Institute. Constructing wind projects, for example, creates jobs for sheet metal workers, machinists, electricians, operating engineers, laborers, and truck drivers. “Kansas workers would also be employed retrofitting homes, businesses and commercial buildings with high-efficiency heating and cooling systems and insulation, and creating the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles,” said Scott Allegrucci, executive director of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy (GPACE).

“For example, Kansas City Kansas GM Fairfax plant builds hybrid BAS (Battery Alternator System) technology vehicles in the Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura. This project will present a great opportunity to further General Motors alternative propulsion (hydrogen fuel cell electric) vehicles in Kansas,” said Jeff Manning, President of Local UAW 31. “The development of a renewable energy economy in Kansas will use our abundant wind resource to produce clean energy - increasing our energy independence while protecting the health and environment of Kansas citizens,” said Stephanie Cole of the Sierra Club. “We can work together to provide good, family-supporting jobs helping future generations of Kansans to enjoy good careers close to home,” said Donn Teske, President of Kansas Farmers’ Union. “Farmers and rural people want to own wind turbines. Labor and urban people want to build and install them. Consumers want renewable energy. The prevailing business models serving our

energy needs have been overtaken by events. We need a revival of the entrepreneurial spirit in the Kansas business community that recognizes the opportunity before us,” said Dan Nagengast, Executive Director of the Kansas Rural Center. “Our mission is to engage our multi-cultural society in a positive manner which empowers individuals to collaborate and promote ideas and activities which focus on building an accessible sustainable earth community that honors and preserves people and the environment,” said Richard Mabion, community activist with Building a Sustainable Earth Community. The Kansas Blue Green Alliance is a state chapter of the national partnership of the United Steelworkers, Communications Workers of America, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club - two of North America’s largest private sector manufacturing unions and two of the nation’s largest environmental organizations. It promotes programs and policies that result in the development of the green economy.

Need a Little Help? Find it here. Do you know someone who’s laid-off and needs help? Local 839 sent this list of organizations that offer assistance to people who are struggling to make ends meet. Also, don’t forget about United Way’s phone line, 2-1-1, to reach a representative who can direct callers to resources in their area. Another option for anyone trying to trim a food budget is Angel Food Ministries, a non-profit, nondenominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief. With several sites around the city, Angel Food Ministries provides a medium-sized box (with an average retail value of $60) for $30. There are no applications to complete or prequalifications. Angel Food Ministries also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program. Each host site sets its own dates and times for accepting orders and purchase procedures. Go to to find out more. Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Your Union Works for You, Can You Work for It Too?!?

Partners in the Kansas Blue Green Alliance include: Climate and Energy Project (CEP) The Sierra Club Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy (GPACE) Kansas Rural Center Greenpeace United Steelworkers Communication Workers of America UAW - Local 31 Kansas AFL-CIO Kansas Farmers Union Building a Sustainable Earth Community For more information, or to join the Kansas Blue Green Alliance, contact Emil Ramirez, United Steelworkers at (816) 836-1400 or

The 2009 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference will be held February 4 – 6 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Register today at

6 — The PlainDealer

February 2009

At the Rail

Column by Martin Hawver If you figure that the best money the state receives is money that people voluntarily hand it, well, you gotta figure that it’s time for some repairs to the state’s gambling law. Remember two years ago when it was passed, everyone thought that we’d have four brand spanking new, glitzy casinos abuilding by now? There were likely, then, we thought, to be at least three combination horse/dog tracks with hundreds of adjoining slot machines? The concept was that those enterprises would spin out hundreds of millions of dollars for the state—all from people who gladly ponied up their money for a chance to win big. Well, it’s all gone south, and legislators are now considering either reworking the state gambling law or maybe just repealing it—mostly. Mostly, because the only real gaming effort in the state now is the construction of a casino in historic Dodge City, an out-of-the-way little casino that is going to be popular and undoubtedly profitable, but on a smaller scale than mega casinos considered for Wyandotte, Crawford/ Cherokee and Sumner counties. Here’s the real trick: in a slow economy, if the state wants to get revenue fast, it has to come from slots at tracks, so-called “racinos.” The tracks are there, but they’re shut down because racing alone won’t support the enterprises. Slots? That would be the key, but the state’s share of the take from those slots at tracks is 40 percent, and the canny owners of the tracks have penciled it out and they can’t make any money with that large a state take-out of the profits. So, you just renegotiate that 40 percent? Figure that maybe 25 percent of something is better than 40 percent of nothing? Well, it’s rarely that simple in the Statehouse. Remember that the casino/racino bill passed by just two votes, and remember that many of those same legislators are back in the Capitol now, and nobody’s sure if the narrow issue of reducing the state’s take from racinos would pass or fail… But, everyone is sure that any bill dealing with the racinos has the possibility of seeing the whole gaming enterprise being repealed. That’s a big risk for those who like racinos, and it’s a big opportunity for those who don’t want the state to have any fingerprints on any sort of gambling. Will the current budget crunch lead some gaming opponents to hold their noses and vote yes for lower, but at least some, revenues? Or, would it be a forum for some to pontificate that in these economic times, people shouldn’t be gambling away their money for food or their children’s shoes? This might be one of those smaller issues that lawmakers could consider while the bigger and ultimately vital scraps continue over the state’s budget and deficit. Will it happen? Nobody knows for sure…yet. Syndicated by Hawver News Company LLC of Topeka; Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver’s Capitol Report. To learn more about this statewide political news service, visit the website at

The Employee Free Choice Act would give employees more power in the workplace. When workers bargain, the middle class is strengthened. They are 52% more likely to have health care benefits and three times as likely to have pensions. Working families in unions have more economic security. When workers bargain, the benefits go to everyone, not just those at the top. Help convince our new congress to pass this important legislation that will help turn around America.

Direct Pipeline


Richard L. Taylor, Business Manager and Financial Secretary-Treasurer

We want to welcome a new Mechanical Contractor to the Wichita area, P1 Group. P1 has been a Union Contractor and signatory to Local 441 for many years in the Topeka and Lawrence area. They also have been established in the Kansas City area for many years and are signatory with Local 8 and Local 533. They have a very good reputation not only in Kansas, but throughout many parts of the United States having been involved in numerous projects nationwide. P1 Group’s opportunity to move into the Wichita market was due in part to the Fagan Richard Taylor Company cooperate office deciding to close their Wichita branch. This gave P1 the chance to purchase an already well established operation including the necessary facilities need to compete in today’s market. P1 Group also feels that even with the downturn in the economy the timing is good considering several large projects are coming out for bid in the Wichita area. We also have a new Gas Distribution Contractor, Miller Paving, which has recently signed up with Local 441 and has secured a three year contract with Kansas Gas Service. They currently have projects starting in Wichita, Topeka, and the Manhattan/Fort Riley area. We have golf balls, tee shirts, and hats. Come by and get outfitted with Local 441 apparel. Please take time to view your web site. The address is:

Deaths We are sorry to report the death of Brother Wilson D. Thompson, 86, Plumber, residing in Grand Terrace, CA, passed away on November 8, 2008. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family.

Political The 2009 Political Session in Topeka is underway with concern about the economy obviously being the focal point. The approval of the air permits for the Holcomb Power House Project will be a big part of the session again this year. I feel our chances are good this year to get a decision in favor of the project simply because of the jobs this project will generate and given the forecast of large unemployment across the state and the entire country for that matter. We have secured a contract with Sunflower Electric requiring a PLA (Project Labor Agreement) to be utilized on the project if it goes forward. This agreement ensures that Kansas Union Building Trades will be used to man the project. We will continue to build a long-lasting establishment in the political arena of our jurisdiction. We feel that it is critical to maintain a presence politically so that when issues arise; the local will already have an established voice that will be heard. Thank you to all Local 441 members for your support both through your participation in the PAC fund and your involvement and support with various political groups.

Meetings Local Union 441 meetings are being conducted on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Union Hall located at 1330 East First Street in Wichita. If other meetings are scheduled, you will be duly notified. NOTE: We have recently upgraded our system used to teleconference the monthly Union meetings. Please take the opportunity to attend a meeting in your area. The new system has much better sound and video quality and is being provided at no additional cost to Local 441.

Retirees Club The next Retirees meetings will be on February 4th, March 4th, and April 1st at 10 a.m. at the Hall. Please come and join us! Breakfast is the second Wednesday at 9 a.m. We are meeting at Spears Restaurant, 4323 W. Maple from January through November. All retired members and their families are invited to join us. Come enjoy the fellowship! For more information, call Jim Wilbert at 722-6859.

Learn about the Employee Free Choice Act at

February 2009

The PlainDealer — 7

LOCAL UNION BULLETIN BOARD Thursday, February 5 Operating Engineers LU101—

Regular Meeting, 7 p.m., 3830 S. Meridian, Wichita

Friday, February 6, is National Wear Red Day Go Red for Women to raise awareness of heart disease in women.

Saturday, February 7 Machinists LL639— Machinists LL733—

E-board Meeting 8 a.m., Regular meeting 9 a.m. Regular meeting at 10 a.m.

NALC Branch 201—

7:30 p.m., NALC Br 201 Union Office 227 S. Pattie, Wichita Regular Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Union Hall 427 N. Main, Hutchinson, 67501 Membership Recruitment / Organizing Committee 973 S. Glendale, Wichita Regular Meeting, 7 p.m., 1330 E. 1st, Wichita

Monday, February 9

USW Local 01350— SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001— Plumbers & Pipefitters LU441–

Lubbers Commercials a Reminder to Buy American By Pat Lehman, Grand Lodge Representative, IAMAW, Retired

Have you seen the great Lubbers Auto commercials on TV? They accurately remind United States citizens the auto industry provides millions of good jobs throughout our country, and ask consumers to buy Made in America autos and trucks. The quality of American made vehicles is equal or better than the foreign owned companies produce.

I know the old story, “But many of the Japanese, South Korean, German, etc. cars are built in the United States. Yes they are, by U.S. workers who are paid LESS than auto workers in the owners’ country. The southern states in particular have paid these foreign companies millions and billions of U.S. taxpayers’ money to locate their scab shops in the U.S.

Tuesday, February 10 APWU Local 735— Machinists Local 708— CWA Local 6402—

Regular Meeting, 7:30 p.m, 6920 W. Pueblo, Wichita Regular Meeting, 7 p.m., 3830 S. Meridian, Wichita E-Board, 5:30 p.m., 530 E. Harry, Wichita Stewards, 7 p.m., 530 E. Harry, Wichita

Wednesday, February 11 IBEW Local 1523— Machinists Local 1989— LU 441 Retirees—

Regular Meeting, 5:30 p.m., 530 E. Harry, Wichita E-Board, 3:40 p.m., Regular meeting, 3:50 p.m. 2005 Kansas Ave., Great Bend, 67530 Breakfast, 9 a.m., Spears, 4323 W. Maple

SPEEA— Wichita Area Union Label—

Midwest Council Meeting, 973 S. Glendale, Wichita E-board, 6:30 p.m.; Regular Meeting, 7:30 p.m

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

Thursday, February 12 February 13-15

Union members are invited to participate in a Grass Roots Organizing Weekend (GROW) on February 13-15 in Wichita, sponsored by WSU Young Democrat Socialists/Student Labor Action Project.

Saturday, February 14

WICHITA AREA UNION LABEL CHILI FEED!!! Machinists Hall, 5:30 p.m. to ??? Machinists Local 2328— Machinists Local 834 & 839—

E-Board Meeting, 9 a.m., 2055 S. Ohio, Salina Regular Meeting, 10 a.m., 2055 S. Ohio, Salina Regular Meeting, 10 a.m., 3830 S. Meridian, Wichita

Monday, February 16

SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001— Glaziers Local 558—

Membership Recruitment / Organizing Committee, 4:30 p.m., 973 S. Glendale, Wichita L&PA, 4:30 p.m. at SPEEA Hall, 973 S. Glendale 5 p.m., 1330 E. 1st St., Wichita, KS

CWA Local 6402—

Membership Meeting, 6:30 p.m., 530 E. Harry, Wichita

SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001—

Governing Documents Committee, 5 p.m., 973 S. Glendale, Wichita

SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001—

Tuesday, February 17

Wednesday, February 18 Thursday, February 19 Salina Labor Federation— Steelworkers Local 13417—

Regular Meeting, 7 p.m., 2055 S. Ohio, Salina Regular Meeting, 7:30 p.m., 530 E. Harry, Wichita

Machinists LL2799—

E-board meeting 9:30 a.m., 3830 S. Meridian, Wichita Regular Meeting, 10:30 a.m. 10 a.m. Regular Meeting, 3830 S. Meridian, Wichita

Saturday, February 21

Machinists Local 774—

Thursday, February 26

Wichita Hutchinson Labor Fed— 6:30 p.m., 3219 W. Central Ave., Wichita District 70 Retirees— Luncheon, 11:45 a.m., 3830 S. Meridian, Wichita

Saturday, February 28 Graphics Union Local 575—

10 a.m., 3830 S. Meridian, Wichita

In addition, the companies have fought every effort by their workers to have a union, spending millions of dollars to keep wages low, and with few or no benefits. And where does the profit go these U.S. workers produce for the foreign owned companies, right back to the foreign owners, out of the United States. Just as I want consumers to buy airplanes built in Wichita, and tickets to fly on those planes to keep our jobs in this country, I want the U.S. auto workers to continue to have good jobs in the U.S. also. Cheers to Lubbers Auto for running these commercials to remind us to “Buy American.” The job you save may be your own, or your son or daughter’s or grandchild’s future job.

– Bertrand Russell Keep up to date on local and national union news at

Hammond, Zongker & Farris, L.L.C. ATTORNEYS AT LAW City, State, Federal, Trial & Appellate Practice •THOMAS E. HAMMOND •JAMES B. ZONGKER •DAVID H. FARRIS Cases involving: Workers Compensation, Auto Accidents, Injury and Wrongful Death NO RECOVERY • NO FEE FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION


727 N. Waco • River Park Plaza • Wichita Mailing Address: P. O. Box 47370 • Wichita, KS • 67201

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Your Union Works for You, Can You Work for It Too?!?

EFCA Message Wheel

Dichotomy By Cathy Wilheim, Wichita Political Blogger Monday, Dec. 8, 2008 My fear that we are reliving the late 1920s and early 1930s got a little firmer today. Today we heard of the bankruptcy of the Tribune Company and major layoffs at companies like Anheuser Busch. (I mean, beer ought to be recession-proof, right?) I worry about all the families trying to eke out an existence on unemployment insurance payments. I worry about all the families facing homelessness, despite having a good job (often two good jobs), because they made a mistake about what kind of mortgage to take. And I worry about the business owners who are faced with the decision whether to risk everything in hopes that things will get better or go out of business before their financial situation worsens. Which brings us to Republic Doors and Windows. In case you missed the story, this relatively small Illinois company announced to its workers last week that, having been denied access to their accustomed credit line at the local Bank of America, they were closing the plant down last Friday. They gave their 300 workers three days’ notice and indicated that there was no money to give them severance packages or even payment for accrued vacation time. But those three days were a mistake. It gave the workers time to craft a protest. Instead of leaving last Friday, they staged a sit-in. They scheduled themselves to break up the sit-in so that there is always someone in the plant. They organized the delivery of food and drink. They made appearances in the media stating their determination to prevent the company from selling the doors and windows in the plant – doors and windows they built – before paying them what is owed them. It reminds me of the actions of unions during the Depression that eventually led to the various laws giving unions the right to protect their members from all the dirty tricks that management engaged in to prevent the organization of their workers. It reminds me of the determination shown by the World War I veterans of the Bonus Expeditionary Force, who marched in Washington in the summer and fall of 1932, trying to get the bonus they felt they had been promised. It reminds me of how good Americans can be to one another when circumstances demand it. And that tempers my fear with hope.

Plain Dealer, 02/2009  

Wichita Area Union Newsletter