iMail for Thursday, August 16, 2007

IAM to Host Presidential Candidates Aug. 27-28

The IAM will host a discussion of domestic issues with presidential candidates from both parties during the 2007 National Staff Conference at the Disney Yacht and Beach Club in Orlando, FL.

The IAM’s Conversation with the Candidates will begin with New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton at 3:30 pm on Aug. 27. Later that evening, California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter will take part and may be joined by former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, former New York Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.

On Aug. 28, at 7:30 pm, candidates will include former North Carolina Democratic Sen. John Edwards and Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Delaware Democratic Sen. Joe Biden may also attend.

Topics for discussion will be limited to critical domestic issues, including jobs, trade, manufacturing, education and health care. The candidate conversations will be moderated by Erin Moriarty of CBS News and 48 Hours.

Following the staff conference, and with input from IAM members nationwide, union leaders will consider a primary endorsement for a candidate from each party. Such a dual endorsement would be a first in the IAM’s 119-year history.

Submit Your Questions for the Candidates

A special online form is available for IAM members to submit suggested questions for the presidential candidates taking part in the IAM’s Conversation with the Candidates during the 2007 National Staff Conference in Orlando, FL on Aug 27-28, 2007.

As many as eight candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties may take part in two days of discussions that will focus on domestic issues and be moderated by CBS News correspondent Erin Moriarty.

Members should include their name and local or district lodge number on the form and indicate which candidate their questions are for. Questions should be related to jobs, manufacturing, trade, education and health care.

Edwards, Clinton Share Lead in Online Poll

Nearly 1,000 IAM members have already taken part in an online poll at  to determine members’ preferences for Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

On the Democratic side, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton have a firm grip on the top two positions, while on the Republican side, former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani share the top two slots. The poll will continue running throughout the month.

FedEx Ground Drivers Win California Court Ruling

FedEx Ground drivers won an important victory in the California Court of Appeal when a three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling that FedEx drivers are “employees” and not “independent contractors” under California state law for the purposes of reimbursement of work-related expenses.

FedEx hires drivers as “independent contractors” and forces drivers to lease or buy their equipment, including their truck, and pay all its costs. This arrangement allows FedEx to shift millions of dollars in expenses to the drivers.

The California court found that although drivers are hired as independent contractors, their working conditions fit the definition of a regular employee. In their decision, the court was explicit that “… the work performed by the drivers is wholly integrated into FedEx’s operation.

The drivers look like FedEx employees, act like FedEx employees, are paid like FedEx employees, and receive many employee benefits. … FedEx’s control over every exquisite detail of the driver’s performance, including the color of their socks and the style of their hair, supports the trial court’s conclusion that the drivers are employees.”

FedEx’s misuse of the “independent contractor” status has spawned similar lawsuits in twenty-seven states. Misclassification of employees as independent contractors robs workers of important rights and benefits and costs states substantial potential tax revenue. Click here [ ] to send a message to Congress to help FedEx drivers organize and click here [ ] for more information on the IAM campaign to organize FedEx drivers.

Unions Petition NLRB for Bargaining Orders

The IAM is one of seven labor unions calling on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to return to the original intent of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act and issue a rule that would require employers to bargain with unions, even when the union represents only a minority of employees.

“It was widely recognized that collective bargaining did not require the presence of a majority union, although exclusive union representation of all the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit did require an employee majority,” said the union petition. While bargaining with minority, members-only unions has been largely replaced by bargaining with exclusive union representatives, the original legislative intent was to provide non-majority unions with enforceable right to bargain on behalf of their members.

A group of twenty-five law professors wrote to the labor board in support of the notion that allowing unions to bargain with minority, members-only unions is a “useful and often-needed steppingstone to majority-based” unions.

Boeing Members in Cocoa Beach Ratify New Agreement

IAM members at Local 1163 in Cocoa Beach, FL, working for The Boeing Company overwhelming voted to ratify a new 3-year agreement . Members there perform Checkout Assembly Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) work for Boeing.

Highlights of the new accord include wage increases of 4 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent over the term of the agreement. Overtime provisions were added that include less stringent double-time language and an increase in the pension multiplier from $60 to $70 per month and across-the-board improvements in health care coverage.

“This agreement provides each member with an economic package worth more than $20,000, in addition to improved scope language,” said Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin who praised the entire negotiating committee for a job well done, including, District 166 DBR Johnny Walker, BR Nick Mrdjenovich, Ivan Jones, Doug Butler, Steve Spilger, Donald Barker and Mike Wilson.

IAM Organizing Lockheed Flight Specialists

The IAM announced today a campaign to organize 1,200 Flight Service Specialists employed by Lockheed Martin Corporation at fifteen sites and three hub facilities across the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The work was formerly performed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and was contracted to Lockheed Martin in 2006.

“With our 119 years of union history and our 720,000 members in the private, federal and transportation sectors, we see the important work of Flight Service Specialists in air traffic control as a natural fit,” said Headquarters GVP Rich Michalski. “After all, the IAM is already the largest union in air transport and aerospace manufacturing.”

The IAM currently has thirty-five industry-leading contracts with Lockheed Martin covering forty-six sites and over fifteen thousand workers.  More than half of these collective bargaining agreements are for employees covered by the Service Contract Act.  The IAM is the leader in North America for service contractors with more members in this specialized sector than any other organization. 

IAM Ads to Air on Wheel of Fortune

In the coming week, as many as 47 million TV viewers will see the IAM and its members in a series of high-definition commercials during the popular game show Wheel of Fortune.

The ads, featuring IAM members and products have been shown intermittently since April 23. The latest series will play from August 27 through September 7 (including Labor Day). Check your local listings for program times as air dates draw nearer.

“We want America to know about the Machinists union and the products our members proudly manufacture,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “As the number-one syndicated show in America, Wheel of Fortune is a great way to get our message out about the Machinists union and the benefits of union membership.”