iMail for Thursday, April 24, 2008

IAM Urges Congress to Reject Airline Mergers 

IAM President Tom Buffenbarger meets with IAM members from Northwest Airlines following the hearing on airline mergers before the House Judiciary Committee.

IAM members from as far away as Detroit converged on Capitol Hill today as International President Tom Buffenbarger urged members of the House Judiciary Committee to oppose consolidation plans currently being proposed by airline CEOs.

“If allowed to proceed, Northwest and Delta will form the world’s largest airline, creating the world’s biggest corporate headache,” declared Buffenbarger in testimony before the committee’s Task Force on Competition Policy and Antitrust Laws. “Consolidation is not the solution for this troubled industry – more competent management is. This industry is in disarray and the executives in charge are only making things worse.”
Buffenbarger’s complete testimony is available at

Today’s hearing, titled “Competition in the Airline Industry,” follows the April 14, 2008 merger announcement by Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines and featured testimony by Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland and Delta Airlines CEO Richard Anderson.

“Some form of limited re-regulation is necessary if this country has any chance for a safe, reliable, profitable and competitive air transportation industry,” said Buffenbarger.  “There is too much at stake to let executives and their legacy of failure try and solve the industry’s problems.”

The IAM has been working closely for months with other labor unions, lawmakers and consumer groups to oppose reckless consolidation schemes designed to enrich executives at the expense of passengers, employees and airport communities.

“It would be difficult to find anyone outside of a small group of airline executives who expects to benefit from additional airline consolidation,” said Buffenbarger.

Jobs Win in Wichita

Steve Rooney, DBR District 70; Steve Groom, BR District 70, Mark Love, President Kansas AFL-CIO and BR for District 70; Ron Eldridge, Aerospace Coordinator; Will Leiker, Executive VP Kansas AFL-CIO. Kathleen Sebelius, Governer, Kansas (seated).

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius signed HB 2006, which provides $33 million in bonds for Wichita plane maker Cessna Aircraft to build the new transcontinental wide-bodied Citation Columbus Business Jet, the largest ever by Cessna, in Wichita, KS.

The IAM worked with Gov. Sebelius, state legislators and Cessna to pass the legislation. Cessna has already announced that it will build the jet in a new 80,000-foot assembly plant at its Mid-Continent facility in west Wichita.

“Governor Sebelius has shown time and time again she is committed to ensuring working families in her state prosper,” said International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Signing this legislation will greatly benefit Wichita’s aerospace industry and its workers.”

“Over half the general aviation airplanes flown in the world are manufactured in Kansas, and Wichita is rightly called ‘the Air Capital of the world,’” said Southern Territory General Vice President Bob Martinez. “This is about growing well-paying union jobs that fuel a strong economy and good communities. Other states should take lessons from the public / private/labor coalition we’ve forged in Kansas. Kansas has been the home of the aircraft industry for over one hundred years, and the IAM is committed to making sure it stays that way. I’m proud of the leadership and our members in Wichita for their hard work to make this happen.”

Local 701 Member Recognized at Skills Conference

The IAM America’s Edge campaign brought the message of the nationwide shortage of skilled workers to the 44th Annual Leadership & Skills Conference at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois last week. The IAM provided sixty high school and post-secondary students with America’s Edge shirts to wear as they participated in the “Skills USA Action Skills Contests”

IAM Local 701 member Louie Loughi, a Lincoln Technical College Instructor, was also honored at the event, receiving the “Red Blazer Award” for outstanding service and commitment to Skills USA for the past ten years. Mechanics Local 701, located in Countryside, IL, was presented a merit plaque for all of the help they have provided setting up and judging over the years.

“It’s about time America wakes up and focuses on the skills needed to rebuild the middle class” was overheard as one of the students parents picked up an America’s Edge poster. “I hope our new president gets onboard with this” another parent responded pointing to the upcoming November elections.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives, working together to ensure America has a skilled work force.

IAM ‘Green’ Family Featured in Family Circle Magazine

 IAM Local Lodge 933 President Eduardo Quintano and his family are featured in this month’s edition of “Family Circle” magazine in an article entitled “Friends of the Earth: Three Eco-Conscious Families.”

Quintano, who works at Raytheon Missile Systems, his wife, Lynne Prouty, and their three children – Carolina, 16, Morgan, 14, and Savannah, 13 – live in Milagro Cohousing, a 6-year-old “ecovillage” in the foothills of the Tucson mountains.

The 28 homes in this close-knit community are built with thick adobe walls to keep the homes cool in summer and warm in winter.  They boast double-pane windows for extra insulation, more efficient appliances and waste water is treated without chemicals, then used on the land.

In addition, Quintano’s three teenage children have become “junior ambassadors for the green movement,” recycling, reusing and explaining their lifestyle to their peers.

To read the full article online, click here.

New Contract, New Members in Canada

Sixteen members of IAM Local Lodge 905 in Whitby, MB recently ratified a new three-year collective agreement with AeroTek, securing wage increases of two percent in the first year retroactive to November 1, 2007, 2.5 percent in the second year and three percent in the third year.

The new agreement also provides pension increases for the members, who produce aerospace coatings, vacuum coatings, anodizing, electroplating and painting components for the aerospace industry.

In other news out of the Canadian territory, Employees at Duraco-Stormtite, (Stormtite) formerly the home improvement division of Arow Global in Winnipeg have joined the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

When Duraco-Stormtite was formed, 25 employees of Arow Global which was recently certified by IAM Local Lodge 2247, transferred to the new employer. Arow Global will replace the 25 transferred employees and the 33 employees at Duraco-Stormtite will become the newest members of IAM Local Lodge 2247. Duraco-Stormtite manufactures vinyl windows for the home improvement industry.

Senate Republicans Deny Woman Equal Pay Rights

Senate Republicans yesterday blocked legislation that would have restored the ability of women and other workers to sue for pay discrimination by effectively overturning last year’s Ledbetter decision by the Supreme Court. Despite many Republicans joining Democrats in voting to end debate on the Fair Pay Restoration Act (also known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) , the 56-42 vote was four votes short of the number needed to bring it to a vote.

Despite being paid less than her male counterparts at Goodyear Tire Co. for years, the Supreme Court last year ruled that Lilly Ledbetter did not file her lawsuit within 180 days after Goodyear made their initial decision to pay her less.

“It’s outrageous that the Senate Republicans refused to break their filibuster against equal pay for women,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the bill’s chief sponsor. “Women deserve a remedy when they’re denied equal pay for equal work, and so do victims of discrimination based on age, race, national origin, disability and religion.  As we’ve done on other basic bills to protect civil rights, we won’t take no for an answer.”

The House passed nearly identical legislation in July 2007. President Bush had threatened to veto the bill if it passed the Senate.