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March 2, 2012
Posted On: Mar 02, 2012

 

Palmen Motors Mechanics
 
The Palmen Motors Group mechanics of Kenosha, which are members of Local 72, have begun discussions on a new contract. Their existing contract expires April 17, 2012. Anyone who has ever been involved with contract negotiations knows it’s a long arduous task to complete a local contract. The mechanics at Palmen are represented on the Local 72 Executive Board by Vice President Rich Popovich and Shop Committeeman Louie Panasewicz. We will be reporting on the progress of negotiations for the next seven weeks. All of us that are part of Local 72 fully support our brothers at Palmen in their negotiations to achieve a fair and just contract.
 
Kenosha Aldermanic District 13 Primary Election
 
Congratulations to our own Local 72 Retiree Chairman Curt Wilson on advancing to the general election April 3, 2012. Brother Wilson received 41% of the 1103 votes cast in district 13 on February 21st. The incumbent Ray Misner did not receive enough votes to be on the ballot April 3rd in the general election.
 
Retiree 2011 Year End Tax Documents, W-2or 1099-R
 
Your 2011 tax form sent by State Street Bank for Pensions and Imputed Incomeprovides details concerning the benefits you received during the 2011 tax year and should be used in filing your 2011 income taxes. If you require a reprint or a correction, please contact Benefit Express at 1-888-409-3300.
 
W-2’s from Chrysler Payroll
 
Hourly retirees who received any pay from Chrysler in 2011 such as IPR, Vehicle Voucher, Vacation Pay, PAA pay, Sick Leave Pay, Employee Appreciation Pay, and any other type of pay, with the exception of SUB pay should be receiving a separate W-2. If you received S.U.B. pay in 2011 that is a different and separate W-2.
If you require a reprint or a correction, please contact Chrysler Payroll at 1-877-827-7744.
 
President Obama to join UAW members at conference
 
On February 24, 2012 UAW members were excited to learn that President Obama will be joining them next week in Washington when they gather for the union's National Community Action Program (CAP) Legislative Conference.  
 
More than 1,600 members from across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico will discuss the union's legislative and political priorities for the coming year, meet with members of Congress to advocate on behalf of working families and prepare for the union's 2012 electoral campaign.
 
UAW members will be focusing on the union's jobs creation agenda that includes passing President Obama's American Jobs Act and demanding policies to strengthen our economy by:
  • Ending poverty and rebuilding the middle class by protecting every worker's right to organize and collective bargaining.
  • Extending aid for the unemployed.
  • Investing in the nation's deteriorating infrastructure to immediately create jobs.
  • Providing aid for state and local governments that specifically targets layoff prevention and hiring.
  • Creating industries for the future that use clean energy to spawn new industries manufacturing environmentally-sustainable materials, technologies and products. 
 
"President Obama has been seriously focused on his jobs agenda since he took office, beginning with one of his first acts - saving the American auto industry," said UAW President Bob King.  "The President made a bold and, at the time, politically unpopular choice.  He stood with workers and the American auto industry, and the communities whose economies depend on the industry and saved more than one million American jobs.  We are grateful for his support of American workers and we are excited to have him join us next week as we gather in Washington."
 
The President will address UAW members on Tuesday morning at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel at 2660 Woodley Road, N.W.  UAW members will spend Feb. 29 making legislative visits to discuss the union's fight for job creation with members of Congress.
 
Save the American Dream
 
Wisconsinites speak out against Walker’s Agenda on Reclaim Wisconsin Tour. The tour has been criss-crossing the state giving citizens a chance to speak out on the local impact of Gov. Walker’s disastrous agenda.  Teachers, students, jobless workers, community members in La Crosse, Wausau and Eau Claire are coming together to discuss local impact of Gov. Walker’s policies. In Eau Claire, a Mother whose daughter relies on FamilyCare and a lifelong Republican who voted for Gov. Walker took to the Reclaim Wisconsin Podium.  
 
“Eliminating collective bargaining rights is wrong, and it's not the way we do business here in Wisconsin,” said Jeff Huenink, who voted for Gov. Walker in 2010.   “The more I learn about Scott Walker, the sorrier I am that I voted for him. If I had known about his extreme agenda and the direction in which he was going to take Wisconsin, I never would have voted for him in the first place.”
 
Sue Carey’s 18 year-old daughter Katie has Down Syndrome and relies on FamilyCare. “There is no way to overstate the impact on a family when a child with a disability is not able to receive long-term family care. For many of the families I know who have been wait listed because of Scott Walker’s caps on FamilyCare, it will mean at least one of the parents will have to quit their job to stay home and care for their adult child--taking an economic, emotional, and humanitarian toll on every single person in that family,” explained Carey. “That's why I'm supporting the effort to recall Walker because the people who are getting hit hardest by his wrongheaded policies are the people who need help the most.” 
 
In Wausau, Reclaim Wisconsin Tour participants heard from an employee of Wausau Paper who was laid off after 27 years of service with the company, a local public school teacher who explained that Gov. Walker’s education cuts are compromising quality public education in Wisconsin, and a personal story of how BadgerCare cuts are making Wisconsinites sick. 
 
“Scott Walker has given my family a one-two punch: not only did I lose my job, but my wife, a public employee, lost a big chunk of her income due to his wrong-headed policies,” explained Chuck Stine, a recently permanently laid off employee of Wausau Paper. 
 
In La Crosse, community members heard from students, unemployed workers, teachers and fire fighters about how Walker’s policies are hurting the community and the state at large. 
 
David Ruscher, a job less worker from La Crosse, spoke about the struggle of living in the only state that has lost jobs for six months.
 
“Gov. Walker ran on a promise to create 250,000 new jobs for Wisconsin,” explained Ruscher.  “I have to ask Gov. Walker one simple question, where are the jobs?” 
 
The Reclaim Wisconsin Tour will be making stops in Green Bay, Racine, Milwaukee and Madison and will culminate in a Reclaim Wisconsin March at the Capitol on Saturday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. 
 
Jefferson North gives a hoot and saves a snowy owl
Earlier this year, a 2-foot tall snowy owl found its way into the Jefferson North Assembly Plant on the lower east side of Detroit. The bird was found living among the pipes, conduit and heating ducts in the ceiling of the plant’s Paint Shop Penthouse.
 
The bird, it turns out, is part of a large and unusual migration this winter from the Arctic into Canada and the United States. A Reuters’ story last month said the birds have been spotted from coast to coast, “feeding in farmlands in Idaho, roosting on rooftops in Montana, gliding over golf courses in Missouri and soaring over shorelines in Massachusetts.”
 
Some of the owls fly south from the Arctic each year, but rarely in the large numbers that are being seen this year, the story said. A leading researcher said the migration was likely due to a shortage of lemmings and climate change in the Arctic region. The report said lemmings make up about 90 percent of the diet for the snowy owl—a bird that is protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
 
Second-shift electrician Craig Bell spotted the owl in the Paint Shop at the beginning of the year. This was a remarkable circumstance for a number of reasons, but more so because the white feathers and dark spots on the owl blended right in with the colors and spots of the Paint Shop ceiling. How long she had been in this remote and fairly secluded part of the plant is unknown.
 
Employees did their best to get the owl to leave. They left a number of windows and doors open to no avail.
 
Bob Weatherholt, a pipefitter at Jefferson North, contacted the Michigan Department of Natural Resources when it became clear they could not get the bird to leave on its own accord and there was concern for her safety. State employees, however, said it would take a couple of days for them to get someone over to help capture and remove the bird.
 
Ray Hartung, another pipefitter at Jefferson North, then called the Creature Conservancy, a  private, nonprofit animal rescue and education center in Saline, Mich., about 40 miles from the plant. The conservancy was unable to send anyone, but they contacted a local bird rehabilitator who sent Mark Tomich and Karen Young to rescue the owl. Tomich and Young are licensed to rescue and care for wild animals.
 
Young, a master falconer and volunteer bird rescuer, said she’s captured a number of birds in stores and workplaces, but nothing like a snowy owl in a facility the size of Jefferson North.
 
It was a Saturday morning in mid-January when they got the call, Young said, and she and Tomich were at the plant a little after lunch. Hartung put her in touch with Tony Ross, a UAW Shop Committeeman, who met them at the plant’s security entrance and drove them around the plant to the Paint Shop.
 
“We had traps, live rodents, gloves, a carrier and other supplies that we were grateful not to have to lug all the way through the plant,” Young said of the ride around the facility. “He led us back amid the towers of mechanicals, and stopped and pointed up to where she was, staring down at us from a 4-foot diameter duct.”
The good news was that no major work stations were in the area and the plant was empty, Young said. The bad news was that the doors and windows there were too small for the owl to fly through, and there was no way to herd her out of the plant, she said. Tomich and Young loaded their traps, put them down, but the owl didn’t budge.
 
“Mark and I retreated to wait and see if the traps would tempt her,” Young said. “After about a half hour, she hadn’t moved from her perch nor had she made any moves toward the traps, so Mark and I moved the traps a bit to see if we could entice her to them.” Finally, an employee came in the area upsetting the bird, and it started flying around. Tomich then decided to make a homemade net out of some nearby materials. He and Young then began to slowly maneuver the bird back into a corner of the Paint Shop. After more than an hour or so, Jeepers flew onto the top of a fence in area that featured a sign reading, “Danger—High Voltage.”
 
“Mark and I just looked at each other, both realizing immediately that not only was she likely to be killed if she strayed into the electrical area, but it would probably shut down the plant,” Young said. Fortunately, Tomich was able to get his homemade net around the bird and then grabbed her leg for assurance. Young helped him put her in a cage, and the job finally was done.
 
Young is convinced the owl found food to eat in the plant. She weighed in at 2,300 grams (a little more than 5 pounds), which is pretty healthy for a full-grown female snowy owl. She was seen later by a veterinarian at the Canton (Mich.) Center Animal Hospital the next day for a checkup, and she appeared healthy, albeit a bit upset after her adventure.
Last week, the owl was released and her whereabouts today are unknown. A few days later a snowy owl was spotted in the sky not far from Jefferson North, but was it the same bird? We will never know, of course, unless she ventures back into the plant and takes up her spot in the rafters of the plant’s Paint Shop Penthouse.
 
WISCONSIN STATE AFL-CIO
Losses to Working Families Under Governor Walker
 
This is a particle list of the major losses for middle income and working class families at this point in the administration of Governor Scott Walker. It details how the public policies promoted by the Walker administration represent a radical departure from Wisconsin values and traditions.  Most of the losses were included in the 2011-2013 Biennial State Budget offered by Governor Walker and supported by the Republican-controlled legislature. The State Budget represents much more than cold statistics—it is an expression of priorities and values. It reveals what matters most to an administration and it represents policy choices that have consequences for the people of Wisconsin. In addition to policies in the State Budget, some of the losses are the result of separate legislation signed into law, or the result of executive decisions made by Governor Walker.
 
 Loss of the Freedom to Bargain Collectively. As of June 29, 2011, it is illegal for approximately 175,000 Wisconsin public employees to engage in real collective bargaining with their employers on wages, benefits and working conditions. This action destroyed over 50 years of solid relationships built between public employees and the state, local governments and school districts for which they work.
 
 Barriers to Voting. Wisconsin has enacted some of the toughest barriers to voting in the country. New restrictive procedures include: requiring an official photo ID, making voter registration and absentee voting more complicated, and shortening by half the period allowed for early voting, among other obstacles. The barriers will essentially deny the right to vote for many seniors, people with disabilities, students, people of color and low-income voters, especially because studies indicate they are much less likely to have the photo ID now required. The new barriers to this core democratic right are expected to discourage and disenfranchise thousands of voters. Since the groups mentioned above tend to vote Democratic in higher percentages, the voting law changes will benefit Republican candidates.
 
BadgerCare & Medicaid. Some 775,000 Wisconsinites rely on BadgerCare for their health coverage. Nearly two-thirds of the Medicaid budget covers health care for the elderly and those with disabilities. Republicans in the legislature gave the Walker administration sweeping authority to cut approximately $500 million from these programs with no opportunity for input by the public. A final decision on the depth of cuts and how various programs will be affected is pending at this time.
 
 

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