iMail for Thursday, December 15, 2005

Machinists Rout Teamster Raid at ATT

The IAM defeated the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) decisively in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election to determine representation rights for nearly 1,800 drivers employed by Auto Truck Transport (ATT). The vote total as reported by the NLRB was 946 for the IAM and 338 for the IBT.

“The election victory came after members saw the IAM produce contract after contract that improved their wages, health care and provided a vastly superior and secure pension benefit,” said Boysen Anderson, IAM Automotive Coordinator. “The IBT campaign to raid this firmly established IAM bargaining unit has finally run out of road.”

The mail ballot election gives the IAM undisputed rights to represent ATT drivers in Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Arkansas, Maryland and North Carolina. The IAM has represented drivers at ATT since organizing them in 1988.

“No union has a monopoly on the nation’s truck drivers,” said Anderson. “The IBT represents workers in industries traditionally represented by the IAM, just as the IAM successfully represents workers in the car haul business.”

The IAM represents more than 45,000 drivers, mechanics and service personnel among its 720,000 active and retired members across North America.

Bill Introduced to Block Foreign Control of U.S. Airlines

Legislation was introduced this week to give Congress greater oversight over changes proposed by the Department of Transportation that would allow greater foreign ownership and control of U.S. commercial air carriers.

The House bill, introduced by Rep James Oberstar (D-MN) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (D-NJ), would block a Bush administration attempt to unilaterally loosen foreign ownership guidelines for U.S. airlines without honoring the role of Congress or adequately considering the impact on U.S. airline workers.

The DOT issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow foreign officials to exert greater control over economic decisions, decisions affecting day-to-day operations, market strategy and the decisions regarding the purchase of new aircraft for U.S. airlines.

The DOT has been trying for years to loosen the statutory regulation requiring U.S. interests to own 75 percent of the voting stock of U.S. airlines. In 2003, Congress passed an amendment specifically requiring the DOT to continue to prevent foreign interests from exercising actual control over U.S. airlines.

Local 126 Inks 3-year Deal with Chicago Tribune

IAM Local 126 in Hinsdale, Illinois ratified a new 3-year labor agreement with the Chicago Tribune yesterday. The contract is retroactive to October 1, 2005 and covers 48 of our members that perform maintenance on the Tribune printing equipment.

According to IAM Local 126 Directing Business Representative Tom Faul, the agreement contains a 9 percent increase in wages or $2.45 over the term of the agreement bringing wages to $28.74 per hour. In addition, 10 cents per hour will be added to the IAM Pension in each year of the contract making the total company contribution $2.25 per hour.

The company will also contribute more to the Health and Welfare plan which will result in a modest increase in the employee portion of the premium.

“The hard work and dedication of Roy Van Offelen and Paul Vittorino was the reason we were able to bring back a contract worthy of ratification,” said Faul, who also praised Grand Lodge Representative Cristina Nedrow.

“Without Cristina we couldn’t have gotten the job done. She is a tremendous asset to the IAM.”

IAM Midwest Territory GVP James E. Brown congratulated DBR Tom Faul and the Local 126 Committee saying, “This new contract exemplifies the commitment and hard work that Local 126 continuously provides for their members. We wish our members at the Chicago Tribune continued success building into the future.”

U.S. Sees Record Trade Deficit

The U.S. trade deficit rose 4.4 percent in October to a record $68.9 billion, pushing the overall trade deficit for the year to nearly $600 billion dollars. The trade deficit for the year is on pace to hit a record $718 billion dollars, according to data released Wednesday by the Commerce Department, much higher than last year’s imbalance of $617 billion dollars.

The U.S.’s continued trade imbalance with China remains a critical factor in the ballooning trade deficit. Spurred by a surge of television, toy and computer imports, the U.S. trade deficit with China was a record $20.5 billion dollars in October and is is expected to top $200 billion dollars this year, shattering last year’s record $162 billion dollar imbalance. The U.S. also set deficit records with Europe, Canada and Mexico in October.

Study: Union Busting on the Rise

Employers continue to regularly use both legal and illegal anti-union tactics to undermine union efforts to organize workers, according to new data from the workers’ rights advocacy group American Rights at Work.

The study found 82 percent of employers hire union-busting consultants to fight organizing drives and 91 percent of employers force employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with supervisors.

Additional union-busting tactics commonly used by employers included dismissing pro-union workers, threats to close worksites and coercion in the form of bribery or favoritism.

The findings further reinforce the fact union-membership is not in decline because workers do not want to join a union, but rather because of a near-universal effort by employers to use any means necessary to thwart union efforts.