iMail for Thursday, August 20, 2009

Machinists Rally in NYC for Air and Rail Jobs

More than 500 IAM members marched on Times Square in New York City this week for a rally to support Delta Air Lines workers’ right to organize into unions and to urge government investment in high-speed rail.

“We call on Delta Air Lines to let their employees make up their own minds about union representation without intimidation, threats and lies,” declared IAM Transportation GVP President Robert Roach, Jr. “All American workers deserve the freedom to make their own choices.”

The march and rally were part of the week-long 2009 IAM Transportation Conference, which included visits from New Jersey Democratic Governor Jon S. Corzine, Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt and AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Bill Lucy.

In addition to nationally-recognized speakers and industry reports about developments in the U.S. and Canada, delegates also took part in an emotional ceremony to honor the heroism of the IAM Flight Attendants who safely evacuated 110 passengers from the flaming wreckage of Continental Airlines Flight 1404 at Denver International Airport on December 20, 2008.

For their outstanding professionalism, courage and heroism, IAM Local 2339H Flight Attendants Albert Felipe, Regina Ressler and Pam Howard were presented with the first IAM Joint Air Transport Safety Committee Excellence in Safety Award.

Delegates at the rally in Times Square also cheered remarks from IAM President Tom Buffenbarger, TCU President Bob Scardelletti, IAM Canada GVP Dave Ritchie, District 15 Directing Business Rep. Jim Conigliaro and individual members who spoke passionately about the campaign at Delta and the need for a program of rail investment that gives the U.S. a first-class passenger rail system.

“When it comes to passenger rail, the United States lags far behind the rest of the industrialized world,” said Roach. “U.S. workers should build the parts, assemble the trains and maintain all elements of a new high-speed rail system,” said Roach. “We have all the skills and resources necessary to build a world-class passenger rail system. Since American taxpayers are funding the project, their investment should be spent putting Americans to work.”

Click here for photos of the rally and conference.

Lou Dobbs and JOBS Now!

CNN’s Lou Dobbs has begun a new series of special reports appropriately titled “Jobs Now!” In his first segment, Dobbs says the series will focus each evening on what our leaders in Washington, DC, are doing to create quality jobs in this country.

“It is an issue that’s being overlooked by the White House, the Congress, the Chamber of Commerce, the business roundtable, almost every, every institution required to be involved and engaged in the creation of jobs,” reported Dobbs. “Thirty million Americans without work and they’ve only put $100 billion [of the economic stimulus package] into the $14 trillion economy… That’s half of the money they put into AIG alone.”

See more of Dobbs’ full report by clicking here.

IAM members can demand more stimulus investments to help America’s working families by clicking here to send a message to your Representative and Senators to support the IAM’s call for JOBS Now!

Members at Dresser-Rand Approve New Accord

Members of Local Lodge 1580 in Wellsville, NY overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year agreement with Dresser-Rand that restores most of the past sacrifices IAM members made to keep the plant operating. Workers at the Wellsville plant manufacture steam turbines.

The new contract features a 5 percent bonus to each employee and wage increases of 3 percent and 5 percent over the life of the agreement. Members will also receive significant increases to their IAM National Pension Fund contributions in the 2nd and 3rd year of the contract. IAM negotiators also held the line on health care costs, maintaining current levels of coverage while reducing the amount of employee contributions. Other improvements include increases in shift differential, overtime and vacations.

The new accord comes after an attempt at early negotiations in November 2008 ended when the company made an offer that failed to address the concerns of the Local 1580 members and their families.

“The Negotiating Committee fought hard to achieve these improvements,” said District 65 Business Representative Ron Warner. “The committee not only made improvements in every area, we were able to get back language lost in the previous contract when workers took big cuts to ensure Dresser’s survivability and to protect jobs.” In 2006, members took nearly a 30 percent cut in wages and benefits in response to what Dresser-Rand referred to as necessary steps to ensure the future of the company in the Wellsville area. The new contract restores most of those sacrifices.

“Everything that was accomplished in these negotiations was a direct result of the members’ support,” said Warner. “The membership through various committees communicated, educated and built solidarity on the shop floor and in the community for more than a year. In the end, they were a force to be reckoned with.”

“Congratulations to District 65 Directing Business Rep. Norm Smith, Business Rep. Ron Warner, Grand Lodge Rep. Karl Heim and the entire negotiating committee at Local 1580,” said Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “The results prove that preparation and solidarity pay off.”

2009 Newsletter & Website Contest Winners Announced

The results of the 2009 IAM Newsletter & Website Competition are in and leading the pack are District Lodge 751, NFFE-IAM Federal District 1, Local Lodge 1781 and Local Lodge 1759.

District 751’s Aero Mechanic and Local 1781’s Trade Winds won in the category of General Excellence for their newsletters. Taking top website General Excellence honors are NFFE-IAM Federal District 1,, and Local Lodge 1759,

Top honors for Best Layout and Design in newsletters went to District 751’s Aero Mechanic and Local Lodge 141’s The Transporter. For websites, Best Layout and Design first place winners are NFFE-IAM Federal District 1,, and Local Lodge 141,

First-place awards for Best Feature story in newsletters went to District Lodge 142’s The 142 Observer and to Local Lodge 141’s The Transporter. Click here for a complete list of winners.

“Congratulations to those locals and districts who won,” said Communications Director Rick Sloan. “All of the IAM’s editors and web stewards play a vital role in our union and we thank them for taking on the responsibility and putting in the long hours it takes to publish newsletters and websites for our members.”

Contest winners will be recognized at the Awards Banquet during the IAM Communications Conference scheduled for September 27-30 at The Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, British Columbia. The cut-off date to receive the $229 (CDN) special group rate is August 26, 2009. For reservations, call toll-free 1-800-WESTIN-1 (1-800-937-8461), or call The Westin Bayshore directly at 604-682-3377. Be sure to indicate you are attending the IAM Communications Conference to get the special group rate.

Also, there’s still time for U.S. members planning to attend to obtain their passport. Contact the U.S. State Department by clicking here to get an application and further instructions. Click here for the Conference call and enrollment application, or call the Communications Department at 301-967-4520.