iMail for Thursday, August 6, 2009

IAM, Delta Meet to Discuss Single Carrier Status

IAM leaders met with Delta Air Lines executives on August 4 to discuss the carrier’s progress toward becoming a single carrier following Delta’s acquisition of Northwest Airlines. The IAM called for the meeting so Delta could provide information relating to a number of concerns, including the carrier’s business plan going forward, the timing of Delta’s remaining steps to achieve single carrier status with regard to the IAM-represented crafts and classes and the proper composition of those crafts and classes.

Present for the IAM was Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr.; Administrative Assistant Sito Pantoja; Airline Coordinator Tom Brickner; Transportation Coordinator Jay Cronk; Grand Lodge Representative Tim Klima; IAM Associate General Counsel Carla Siegel; District 143 President and Directing General Chairman Stephen Gordon and District 143 General Chairman Gerry Bernsen.

“The meeting with Delta was productive,” said GVP Roach. “The information Delta provided will be useful in determining our next step.”

When the Machinists Union determines Delta and Northwest are operating as a single carrier, the IAM will ask the National Mediation Board to make such a ruling which, along with a sufficient showing of interest from the combined work groups, will trigger union representation elections.

550,000 New Unemployed is Not a Recovery

The U.S. Department of Labor reported 550,000 new unemployment claims during the week ending August 1, adding more than a half a million to the nearly 32 million in the U.S. who are currently unemployed or involuntarily idled. Despite the epic nature of such numbers, some economists are heralding the latest figures as evidence the recession may be slowing down.

“It’s important to keep in mind that this is the worse recession since the Great Depression,” said EPI Director of Research John Irons in a recently published Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) article. “So we shouldn’t ignore the fact that things are really rough out there.”

A new EPI report shows the current slump is steeper than any of the previous 10 recessions “breaking every possible record.”

“The need for speedy and additional stimulus is more apparent with each government report,” says IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “We are still losing hundreds of thousands of jobs each month. This is not an economic recovery; this is a human tragedy of historic proportions.”

Click here to tell Congress that America needs a second stimulus program now.

Advanced Women’s Program Expands Leadership Skills

Twenty-three Machinists union women from across North America gathered last week for the Women’s Advanced Leadership Program at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Placid Harbor, MD.

The Advanced Program builds on skills learned in the Basic Women’s Program and provides in-depth training in public speaking, establishing effective committees, women in labor history, global solidarity, leadership skills, mentoring and conflict management.

According to Sorale Black, a member of Local S6 in Bath, ME, the week provided “a great opportunity for union women to grow and become leaders in our locals, community and government.”

Throughout the week, participants explored ways to organize new members as well as mentor new union activists and leaders. They worked in teams to develop specific ideas for increasing participation of women within the IAM and presented strategic plans to the class at the end of the week.

“This school was educational, enlightening and strengthening — with a side of work,” said Darlene Greenfield, a member of Local 99 in Edmonton, Alberta. “It encouraged individual efforts, as well as teamwork and networking. More women need to attend these classes as a way of strengthening our union.”

Why Your Next Jacket Should Come From Ivory Leathers

Ivory Leathers, Inc. (ILI Clothing) is a small company in West Fargo, ND, that turns out high-quality motorcycle apparel while providing an outstanding example of a labor-management relationship that serves workers, owners and customers alike.

Recently organized by IAM District 5, the workers at Ivory Leathers won a three percent pay raise, increases to their vacation benefits and participation in the IAM National Pension Plan. What made the organizing drive and negotiations unique was the support from ILI owners, Ruth and Gene Schepp.

“We believe that by employees being able to have a union, it keeps the owners of the company accountable to its workers,” said Ruth Schepp, who opened Ivory Leathers in 1993 and shares ownership responsibilities with husband Gene, a 34-year member of Local 2525 who is employed at the Case-New Holland tractor plant in Fargo.

Never shy about expressing herself, Ruth openly supports the Employee Free Choice Act. “Employers and workers need to work together for the mutual benefit of both parties and the fairest way to do that is to allow workers to form unions if they choose to, without employer interference,” says Schepp.

Health care is also a concern for the Schepp’s and their workers. “Health insurance has become unaffordable and needs reform,” stated Gene Schepp. “Health care in America needs to be a right, not a privilege and until we get to that point, the health care crisis will not improve.”

Unlike companies that responded to the economic downturn by cutting jobs, slashing benefits and reducing the quality of their products, Ivory Leathers is charting a different course. “Ivory Leathers is making the sacrifices to make sure that we keep our workers employed,” declared Ruth Schepp. “We’re going to weather the recession storm by promoting USA-made, union-made products and standing by the pride and quality that comes with producing them.”

In addition to motorcycle apparel, the IAM members at Ivory Leathers manufacture cloth jackets, work wear, team apparel and construction/safety gear. For more information or to order from their catalog, visit or call 1-800-44-IVORY.

New DynCorp Accord Highlights Service Contract Expertise

The latest contract negotiated under the Service Contract Act (SCA) for IAM members at two U.S. Air Force Bases in Florida demonstrates once again the benefits of having a bargaining committee with years of experience dealing with the unique opportunities afforded by the SCA.

IAM members of Local 20 in Niceville, FL and Local 449 in Panama City, FL, who are employed by DynCorp International at Elgin AFB and Tyndall AFB, recently ratified a new three-year accord with solid improvements for all classifications. Among the key benefits are pay increases of 3.5 percent in each year of the agreement and annual pension plan increases of $1.50, $1.65 and $1.80. Also included are bi-weekly flexible benefits, equity wage adjustments in two classifications and hourly premiums for workers in specialized areas.

“The Local 20 and 449 Negotiating Committee members worked constantly throughout these negotiations to best represent their membership,” said Aerospace Coordinator Ray Moffatt. “This committee was assisted by and worked closely with Business Representatives Tony Wirth and Steve Jordan. Through coordination and continued assistance from all involved, these negotiations were highly successful for our members working under this collective bargaining agreement and set a high standard to be matched in other area contracts.”

EAP Professionals Share Experiences at Annual Conference

The men and women who provide advice and intervention for fellow workers impacted by drugs or alcohol are among the most valuable resource the IAM provides its members. More than two dozen IAM members from Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) around the country met this week to share experiences at the 16 th Annual Conference of the Labor Assistance Professionals in Las Vegas, NV.

“This conference gives our EAP people an opportunity to learn new strategies about how to identify and respond to issues like depression, post-traumatic stress and domestic violence in addition to drug and alcohol dependence,” said IAM Community Services/EAP/ Retirees Director Maria Cordone. “I want to thank all the individuals who have volunteered in this program over the years and to remind members everywhere to be aware of the highly sensitive and confidential services that are available from our EAP counselors.”

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