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News ::
Large Rally for Wilmington Ametek Workers
16 May 2002
Modified: 10:09:59 AM
Over 250 workers, unionists, and labour activists rallied on a blustery afternoon ahead of crucial contract negotiations focusing on job security for Ametek workers.
Large Turnout at Wilmington Ametek Plant
[WILMINGTON, MA - 5/15/2002] — Over 250 workers, unionists, and labour activists rallied on a blustery afternoon ahead of crucial contract negotiations focusing on job security for Ametek workers.
The numbers were far larger than expected despite Wilmington's relative isolation from the Boston area (Wilmington being over 10 miles to the North), constituting a potent example of union solidarity as various locals and their respective jackets were well represented in the informational picket.
IUE-CWA Local 201 that represents Ametek employees also mobilized a large number of workers from their Lynn, Massachusetts GE plant. IUE-CWA national president Edward Fire traveled from Washington DC to speak at the rally, pledging the financial and moral support of over 700,000 CWA members and CWA's healthy strike fund.
With the current contract between the 260 workers at the Wilmington plant set to terminate on June 2, negotiations between the union and management are set to enter into high gear in the coming weeks. So far, the company has not yet conceded on any major demand by the union, and a strike after June 2 is a growing possibility.
Fortunately, IUE-CWA Local 201 is one of the most progressive and actively engaged unions in the region. Jeff Crosby, the local's president, and other members of the executive board including Paul Babin, the Ametek workers' representative, have maintained a strong relationship with anti-globalization activists. In fact, Jeff Crosby led a delegation of workers to Seattle, returning to Massachusetts inspired by the youth with whom they stood shoulder to shoulder against corporate globalization as represented by the WTO.
In the summer of 2000, the growing bond between anti-globalization and labor activists was again illustrated by the solidarity expressed for the Lynn, Mass. General Electric workers, prompting the Village Voice to highlight the convergence as the "birth of a movement".
Furthermore, Local 201 was the main mover and shaker behind the Northeast Labor Committee on Global Justice which brought busloads of workers to Quebec City to protest the FTAA last spring.
Ironically, IUE-CWA's activism on the globalization front may have been prompted by the major employer General Electric's aggressive pro-globalization stand.
As a chief corporate sponsor of trade deals such as NAFTA and the FTAA, GE has pioneered the practice of job migration, earning GE's CEO Jack Welch the nickname "Neutron Jack" for his policy of getting rid of workers while leaving the buildings standing.
It is this same corporate policy that has been hemmorhaging good paying manufacturing jobs out of Massachusetts, and threatening the remaining jobs at plants such as Ametek's with migration.
A global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electric motors, Ametek supplies the GE aircraft engine division. Yet even after having earned over $130 million in net profit last year, GE has been seeking further profit maximization, promoting accelerated job migration to Mexico in both its enterprises and that of its suppliers like Ametek. Workers there earn less than 1/6 of what Massachusetts workers earn, thus constituting an irresistible lure for such corporate predators as GE.
As such, Ametek represents a very clear local example of the threat that globalization poses to the continued existence good jobs in our communities. As such, the workers there deserve the support and solidarity of all those fighting for global justice.



Further Information:
Latest Contract News:
IUE-CWA Local 201
781-593-2281
http://local201iuecwa.org
Opportunities for community solidarity:
Jobs with Justice
617-524-8778
http://massjwj.net

See also:
http://bostonglobalaction.net
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Addendum
16 May 2002
Additional notes:

An Ametek steward who was doing a headcount placed the number on the picket closer to 350.

In addition to Edward Fire, Harry Hoglander from John Tierney's Peabody office threw the Congressman's political weight behind Ametek workers. Cassie Watters of Jobs with Justice pledged community support, while Paul Babin, Ametek representative to the IUE-CWA 201 executive board and part of the bargaining team, gave an update on the status of contract negotiations.

As for Ametek, its earnings ratio have held steady over the last 5 years, and the company has enjoyed a health net profit margin (see financial report -- http://www.ametek.com/investors/FundamentalsRatios.cfm), putting paid to any of its claims of financial difficulty. Instead, Ametek intransigence at the bargaining table can be traced to GE's marching orders to its suppliers to either "migrate or be out of business".

Taking advantage of NAFTA, GE over the past few years has been pressuring suppliers such as Ametek to migrate, as outlined at the pivotal April 1999 GE Aircraft Engine conference in Monterrey, Mexico. As part of its global sourcing strategy, GE has been implementing Jack Welch's "every on factory on a barge" policy with substantial zeal. Yet it has been communities both in the US and in Mexico that host GE facilities that have borne the high price of constant job insecurity, pressures in the work place, loss of benefits, and productivity and profitability at all costs, both human and environmental.