iMail for Thursday, August 10, 2006

IAM Responds to Transportation Threat

British Authorities foiled a terrorist plot against aircraft flying between the United Kingdom and the United States. As a result, the U.S. threat level has been raised to Severe, or Red, for all commercial flights flying from the United Kingdom to the U.S. The U.S. threat level is raised to High, or Orange, for all commercial aviation operating in the U.S. and international flights departing from the U.S. The Transportation Security Administration has also restricted passengers from carrying liquids and gels in aircraft carry-on baggage, including mouthwash, hairspray and toothpaste.

It has been reported that Continental Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines were specific targets. Amtrak, as the U.S.’s only national passenger rail carrier, also remains a prime target for terrorists.

“The Machinists union is deeply concerned for the safety of our members and the passengers they serve,” said General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “We will take all necessary steps to ensure that our nation’s transportation system remains safe and secure for passengers and employees.”

The increased security threat will create substantial disruptions at U.S. airports and rail stations, straining all IAM members in the transportation industry. All IAM Transportation Department staff, Grand Lodge Representatives and District General Chairpersons have been reassigned to work directly with Local IAM representatives to address members’ concerns.

Any IAM members with safety and security questions should contact their Local Lodge representatives immediately. The IAM Grand Lodge and District Lodge websites will be updated throughout this period of increased terrorist threat to provide members with the latest information as it becomes available.

Union Coalition Organizing at Universal Studios

An alliance of four international unions are banding together as the “Universal Labor Coalition” in an effort to organize nearly 12,000 workers at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.

The multi-union coalition includes the IAM, the United Steelworkers, the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades and the Transportation Communications Union, which affiliated with the IAM last summer.

While many workers at nearby Disney World in Orlando are unionized, organizers believe the low starting wage and non-union working conditions at Universal are a problem for workers at both locations. According to coalition organizers, the initial response from workers at Universal Studios has been enthusiastic, with a substantial number of authorization cards being signed.

Machinists Applaud Lamont Victory in Connecticut

In a victory that could slow the free-trade momentum in Congress, Ned Lamont defeated privatization and free trade advocate Senator Joe Lieberman by a 52 to 48 percent margin in Connecticut’s Democratic Senate primary race.

“Ned Lamont’s win over Joe Lieberman is an overdue victory for tens of thousands of families in Connecticut who have been victimized for too long by the free trade, pro-privatization policies embraced by Sen. Lieberman,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “We call on Sen. Lieberman to abandon his quixotic campaign as an independent candidate and to help unite the Democratic Party in Connecticut and across the country.”

K-Ply Machinists Win First Contract

Machinists at K-Ply, Inc. in Port Angeles, WA ratified a first-contract that will provide 180 new IAM members with improved pay and health care benefits.

“After one year of long and hard negotiations, these plywood mill workers are now members of Woodworkers Local Lodge W2 in Aberdeen, Washington,” said lead negotiator and District Lodge W1 Business Representative Bert Larson.

Members at K-Ply, Inc. received wage increases of eight percent over the term of three years, union security, dues check-off, health care improvements and an additional holiday.

Women’s Dept. Honors Activists for August

The IAM’s Women’s Department www.goiam.org/content.cfm?cID=388 has named Patricia Elizondo of Local Lodge 66 the U.S. Sister of the Month www.goiam.org/content.cfm?cid=8323 for August, 2006. Local Lodge 11’s Kathryn McCarthy was the pick for Canada.

Sister Elizondo had been a dues paying member of the IAM, AIW, UPIA and PACE for the past 10 years. She says that it is the IAM which afforded the greatest opportunities for women members and helped her become an effective leader. She held the Conductor Sentinel position for three years, the Educator position for six years and as of August 1, 2006, she will begin her term as President.

Sister McCarthy, an aircraft inspector at AVCORP Aerospace Industries, was encouraged by friends and colleagues to become more active in the union. She soon created The Delta Wing, Local 11’s newsletter. The Delta Wing won an honorable mention award at the 2004 Grand Lodge Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Education is the key to power and the more you learn, the more confident you feel,” said McCarthy.

The IAM “Sister of the Month” is an effort to motivate women to become more involved in their union by recognizing their hard work and dedication. If you’d like to nominate someone, download the nomination form and submit it to the IAM Women’s Department.

WWW Center Hosts Communicators Class

More than twenty local and district lodge activists from all over North America convened at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education Center this week for the Communicator course.

The week-long course is designed to provide new IAM Communicators with classroom instruction and hands-on workshops for training and assistance in building websites, establishing newsletters and other tools to keep local members informed.

This year’s session built on the success of last year’s inaugural Communicator course in which members walked away equipped with the ability to be better Communicators for their lodges.

Add Your Cell Phone to ‘Do Not Call’ List

Cell phone users can now add their numbers to the “National Do Not Call Registry” and protect themselves from telemarketers who are increasingly calling cell phone users, offering everything from get-rich-quick schemes to mail order brides.

Cell phone users can add their number to the registry by calling 1-888-382-1222 or you can register on line at www.donotcall.gov. The Federal Trade Commission recently authorized the addition of cell phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry.