iMail for Thursday, April 10, 2008

7,700 Fleet Workers at US Airways to Vote

The IAM announced it reached a tentative agreement with US Airways covering 7,700 Fleet Service employees. The agreement, if ratified, would bring US Airways and former America Fleet Service employees under the same wages and work rules for the first time since the merger of the two airlines in September 2005.

“Combining two distinct airline cultures has proven enormously difficult in the past,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “District 141 has taken a major step toward integration by successfully negotiating a single contract for employees currently working under two separate agreements and from two different airline cultures.”

The District 141 Negotiating Committee is recommending ratification of the tentative agreement which would be effective through December 31, 2011.

“We have achieved our goal of eliminating the East and West division among Fleet Service employees without negatively impacting either group,” said District 141 President Randy Canale. “This agreement allows all our members to see immediate and long-term improvements as a unified workforce.”

Details of the agreement will be available at after they are presented to local IAM leaders on April 11, 2008. An information meeting schedule and a ratification date will also be available at that time.

Unions Urge Congress to De-fund Tanker Contract

The list of unions calling on Congress to withhold funding for the $40 billion tanker contract grows larger each week.

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) this week issued a letter to House and Senate members calling for Congress to defund the Airbus/EADS tanker contract, calling it an “insult” to U.S. workers and taxpayers to outsource such an important strategic defense contract.

“We at IFPTE believe that Congress should defund the Airbus/EADS Tanker contract, hold hearings to bring transparency to the process by which this contract award has come about, and ultimately re-compete it,” said IFPTE President Gregory J. Junemann.

Additional unions joining the IAM in calling for the tanker contract to be defunded include the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which sharply questioned the use of waivers allowing the Department of Defense (DoD) to bypass the Buy American Act and award the tanker contract to a foreign consortium.

“It is clear the bidding process for this contract was unfair,” said IBEW President Edwin D. Hill in a letter to lawmakers. “American companies were disadvantaged and our own government is complicit.”

Click here to send a message to Congress that “U.S. Forces Deserve U.S. Tankers.”

Lawmakers Petitioned to Block Airline Mergers

Continuing the IAM Transportation Merger Team’s efforts to use political pressure to block potential mergers of the nation’s major airlines, International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger has contacted the governors of all fifty states and every Congressional Representative and Senator to express the Machinists Union’s concerns.

“The Machinists Union, through its merger team of professional economists, lawyers, and consumer advocates, has evaluated every possible merger scenario involving United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines and/or Continental Airline,” said IP Buffenbarger. “Our research reveals that any combination of these carriers will result in tremendous job loss, a reduction of airline hubs, elimination of service to small communities, increased fares and fewer choices for passengers.”

All IAM members are asked to contact their elected representatives and urge their opposition for airline mergers that will only benefit airline executives and bankers. Click here to send pre-written emails or to compose your own personal message to send to your elected leaders.

Apply Now to Win Outdoor Trip of a Lifetime

IAM members have until June 1, 2008, to apply for a chance to win an all-expense-paid hunting or fishing trip of a lifetime on season three of Escape to the Wild, the union-sponsored television series of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). An application and instructions are available from TRCP’ Union Sportsmen’s Alliance website at

“I think the concept of a union-dedicated hunting and fishing show is a fresh change and long overdue,” said Jason Berkley, a member of the National Association of Letter Carriers and winner of the elk hunt on season two.  “This show stands out in the way it tells a story about the winner’s life and struggles, while engaging viewers in the hunt.  I feel very blessed to have been involved in such a truly great show.”

“The whole experience was something I’d never get to do on my own.  It was the ultimate adventure experience – unbelievable,” said District 751 member Scott Karelsen, after winning a trip to hunt Caribou in Quebec on season one. “I will always remember this and am truly thankful I had the opportunity to participate.”

WWW Center Hosts Local Website Training

TCU Member Eugene Rangel (right) learns valuable information from the Communications Departments Jason Woodward during the IAM’s 2008 Basic Web Development course at William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center.

Nearly 30 IAM members from across the U.S. and Canada are getting a crash course in web development at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, MD this week.

In addition to learning cutting edge web and graphic design techniques, participants in the IAM Communications Department’s 2008 Basic Web Development course will go home with a fully functioning website for their district or local lodge.

“It’s amazing how much you can learn here in just a week,” said Melissa Lyons of District 98 in York, PA. “More people should take advantage of this opportunity, especially with technology changing so rapidly these days.”

The basic web development course is a precursor to both Intermediate and Advanced web development, where participants learn the most advanced, effective ways to keep members of their local or district constantly informed.

“I’m looking forward to learning more and developing a local website so our members, who are spread over a 200 mile radius, can stay updated,” said Danny Garner of TCU Lodge 6088 in Louisville, KY. 

David Lowell Joins Eastern Territory Staff

Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., announced the appointment of District 65 ADBR David Lowell as an IAM Special Representative for the Eastern Territory, effective April 1, 2008.

Lowell joined the IAM in 1980 when he became an Apprentice Millwright at the former St. Regis Paper Company. He became active immediately at Local 1821 serving as a Steward, Vice President and eventually President of the Local Lodge. Lowell was also active at the Greater Bangor CLC, and went on to serve on the Executive Board of the Maine AFL-CIO. In 1997 he became the DBR of District 99, which later merged into District 65.

“Dave brings a wealth of experience and expertise with him,” said GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “He will be a great asset and will continue to provide our members with the professional representation they have every right to expect.”

Labor Secretary says Unions a ‘Security Threat’

When truth speaks to power, power frequently refuses to listen. That was the case recently when the Department of Labor (DOL) refused to let union members – actual DOL employees – deliver more than 25,000 letters to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao demanding she stop squashing U.S. workers’ rights.

According to AFGE, when workers attempted to deliver the messages, DOL security stopped them at the entrance, telling them they “had been monitoring the Shame on Elaine website and that [they] would not allow the letters to be delivered to Secretary Chao.” Security also told the workers that “the Union was engaging in subterfuge and undermining the Department’s security process” and the “letters posed a security threat to the Department.”

To read more about this and learn how you can help hold Elaine Chao accountable for her anti-worker deeds, go to the American Rights at Work’s Shame on Elaine campaign website by clicking here.