iMail for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flight Attendants Land at Winpisinger Center

Nearly 100 IAM-represented Flight Attendants are attending District 142’s second annual Flight Attendant Conference this week at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Southern Maryland. Participants ranged from new hires with less than six months seniority to veterans with more than 30 years experience.

Flight Attendants discussed the IAM’s role in politics and organizing in addition to parliamentary procedure and activist recruitment. Customized presentations were given by IAM economists and attorneys regarding pensions and retirement, the Family Medical Leave Act and airline mergers. The participants were tasked with developing action plans to improve Flight Attendant communications, education and mobilization.

“Flight Attendants have a challenging work environment that presents unique issues,” said GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “Listening to and educating rank and file Flight Attendants is necessary to develop creative solutions to their concerns. I am encouraged to see such a broad range of participants. Many of these Flight Attendants will become the next generation of union leaders.”

Local Paper Profiles IAM ‘Man of Steel’

The Western Star, a local paper serving Lebanon, OH, recently published a profile of Eastern Territory GLR James Smith, giving the veteran IAM representative and 5-term Mayor of South Lebanon, OH, well-deserved praise for his work in both positions.

The article, ‘South Lebanon’s Mild Mannered Man of Steel,’ details Smith’s role in negotiating the contract that ended the year-long lockout at AK Steel in Middletown, OH.

Smith has a long history of public service and is a graduate of the Lebanon Police Academy and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He joined the Eastern Territory as a Special Representative in 1999 after holding various leadership positions. Smith was elected Mayor of South Lebanon in 1982 and is currently in his 5th term.

IAM Wins Wage Parity for Simulator Techs

Nearly three dozen Flight Simulator Technicians at six Air Force Bases in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama are sharing the benefits of a new IAM contract that includes raises as high as 22 percent and achieves wage parity for Sim Tech’s at all six bases.

“This is an important agreement,” said District 171 DBR Jerry McCune, who represents technicians in Enid, OK and helped negotiate the new accord. “With help from the federal mediator Bobby Thompson, we reached an agreement that provides real collective bargaining power for the technicians at all six bases.” Also involved in brokering the pact were District 75 Business Representative Pappy Perrigin and District 776 Business Representative Jody Bennett.

The four-year agreement, which was overwhelmingly ratified, covers Simulator Technicians at six Air Force bases — Randolph, Laughlin and Sheppard AFB in Texas, Moody AFB in Alabama, Columbus AFB in Mississippi and Vance AFB in Oklahoma — and Flight Safety International, which provides T-38 simulator maintenance at the bases.

Canada District 78 Scores Organizing Hat Trick

Heeding the call at the 2005 organizing summit to grow the IAM, organizers from District 78 in Toronto, ON produced an organizing hat trick that brought 50 new members to the IAM during the last week of March 2007.

Three part-time employees of the Oshawa Community Credit Union have become the newest members of Local 901 following a bitter four-month organizing drive after management withdrew their objection to IAM representation of the employees. Local 901 has represented full-time employees at the Oshawa Community Credit Union for more than 12 years.

Twenty five full-time employees at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Brampton are the newest members of Local 2243. “These people turned to the Machinists for better wages and benefits,” said District Lodge 78 Organizer Scott Jackson. The new members include cooks, bartenders, house keeping and maintenance staff.

At the Kingsway Arms Retirement Home in Clarington, east of Toronto, twenty two full-time employees also joined the ranks of Local 901. The new members consist of nurses, cooks, cafeteria and housekeeping staff and receptionists.

FedEx to Pay $55 Million to Settle Bias Charges

FedEx Corp. agreed to pay $55 million to settle charges of racial bias following a 2003 lawsuit by employees claiming the company’s Basic Skills Test had a discriminatory impact on minority employees.

The tentative settlement calls for $38.5 million to pay current or former employees who worked in affected jobs from October 1999 to the present. The decree also calls for $30,000 to be paid to each of the nine employees who filed the initial suit and $5,000 to 18 employees who submitted sworn declarations.

FedEx has a long history of opposing union representation for its employees and denied any wrongdoing in the bias case, claiming instead the settlement “demonstrated its strong commitment to diversity and equal employment opportunity.”

To read more about theFedEx issue visit the special website at

May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month

With a labor heritage in the United States that spans more than 160 years and includes farming, mining and helping build the Transcontinental Railroad, the 13 million Asian Pacific Americans who live and work in the U.S. today have much to celebrate. The month of May was chosen by Congress to commemorate the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in 1843 and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 constructed, in large part, by more than 40,000 Chinese laborers.

“From organizing sugar plantations in Hawaii to striking the railroads for better working conditions in 1867, Asian Americans have earned a proud and permanent place in U.S. labor history,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Their achievements are no less visible today, thanks in large part to the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), the only national organization of Asian Pacific American trade union members.”

Asian Pacific Heritage Month is celebrated nationwide, with community festivals, governmental gatherings and educational activities. For more in information, visit An online photo exhibit of labor history in the Pacific Northwest is available at

Maryland First State with ‘Living Wage’ Bill

Maryland became the first state to pass a living wage bill this week, providing many workers in the state a much needed raise. The measure, which the Maryland Senate passed by a vote of 31-16, will require service contractors doing business with the state to pay employees $11.30 an hour in urban areas and $8.50 an hour in rural areas.

The Maryland House passed the bill last week and Governor Martin O’Malley (D) has promised to sign the bill.

Cities and counties across the country have voted to pay workers a living wage, but Maryland is the first state to adopt the measure.

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