iMail for Thursday, December 20, 2007

IAM Debuts ‘Training Wheels’ Issue Ad

The IAM is rolling out ‘Training Wheels,’ a brand new issue ad to highlight the alarming lack of skilled training opportunities for America’s next generation of workers. While half a trillion dollars of local, state and federal money are spent each year on higher education, nearly all of it is earmarked for traditional four-year colleges and universities.

“Between outsourcing, retirements and the absence of new training opportunities, the supply of highly skilled workers in this country is slowing to a trickle,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “We need a strong commitment from elected officials at every level to ensure we have the jobs, the workers and the sophisticated training needed to take advantage of tomorrow’s high-tech opportunities.”

The new ad is the second in a series and part of the IAM initiative called America’s Edge, which aims to re-emphasize technical and vocational classes in America’s high schools, expand the availability of industrial technology and information technology courses in America’s community colleges and create High Tech Institutes in each state that focus on 21st century manufacturing technologies and materials.

Go to ( to view the America’s Edge Campaign.

Go to ( to view the Training Wheels ad.

Machinists, Boeing in Sync on Tanker Issue

Frequently at odds over wages, benefits and work rules, the IAM and Boeing are in complete agreement over who should build the next generation of Air Force Tankers.

“It should be built by American workers using parts made in the United States of America,” declared Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin in an editorial published in Washington state’s The Daily Herald. “It should be built by American workers working for an American business. That American business is Boeing.”

Blondin took issue with efforts by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) to win the U.S. military contract. “This is not an incidental commercial sale,” said Blondin. “This is a long-term program that could last 15 to 20 years. That’s a long time for our country to rely on foreign countries to supply vital portions of our national defense.”

Blondin also called on elected officials to support Boeing’s bid to build the tanker on the proven Boeing 767 platform. “The Boeing product is vastly more efficient than the competitor’s,” said Blondin. “It has a proven track record of success, and uniquely complements every other piece of aviation equipment in the U.S. military inventory. Long-term dividends will be paid on this American taxpayer investment in this technically superior product.”

Click here (link to Action Item) for more information and to send a letter urging your elected officials to support Boeing’s bid to build the next U.S. Air Force tanker.

Go to to view the editorial.

Wichita Workers Set Gift Giving Record

Machinists and fellow union members in Wichita, KS, made sure the 2007 holiday season will be especially memorable for local families by collecting nearly 1,000 gifts to be distributed by the Salvation Army. The gifts, which filled a room at the District 70 Hall in Wichita, represented the Salvation Army’s largest single donation this year.

District 70 Secretary-Treasurer Judy Pierce said the donations represented a side of labor unions that the public doesn’t see often enough. “From giving blood to coordinating disaster relief, unions and union members in this town have never been shy about helping out their neighbors,” said Pierce, who also serves as president of the Labor Federation of Central Kansas. “This time of year we’re especially busy.”

In addition to the effort by members of District 70, the Community Service Committee of Local 839 in Wichita recently joined forces with Wichita Radio station KFDI to support their “Christmas in a Box” program.

Committee members Kathy Peterson, Jeff Meis and Stan Chapman presented the station a donation of $500 towards postage for care packages being sent to the Wichita soldiers serving in Iraq.

“When our Committee heard about this program, we felt a need to do what we could to show our support for all of the men and women that won’t get to spend Christmas with their families,” said Peterson. “No matter what your feelings are about the war, the soldiers need to know that there are people at home who care about them and who are proud of the work they are doing,” added Chapman.

Lockheed Martin Remembers

The campaign to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center in Washington, D.C. moved significantly closer to its financial goal recently with a sizeable donation from the Bethesda, MD-based Lockheed Martin Corporation.
When completed, the Memorial Center will serve as a visitors center for the nearby Vietnam Veterans Memorial and display some of the 100,000 letters, photos and personal items left by visitors at the black granite wall.

“Lockheed Martin understands the importance of this project and their generosity deserves to be commended,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger, an advocate for the memorial since it was first proposed. “Twenty-five years have passed since the Vietnam Veterans Memorial first opened and the time has come to provide context for new generations of visitors.”

Groundbreaking for the Memorial Center is expected in 2010, with construction completed approximately 18 months after that. For more information about the Center, visit

Grand Lodge Sets Holiday Closing

IAM Headquarters will be closed for the Holidays from Friday, December 21, 2007, until 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2008. Best wishes to all for a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

$25,000 Giveaway from Union Sportsmen’s Alliance

An 18 ft. Triton Bass Boat and IAM-built Mercury 90 HP motor will be the top prize in an upcoming give-away from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA).
The Made-in-America boat and motor combination, valued at $25,000, is the latest in a series of promotions from USA that rewards members with gifts and travel packages.

To be eligible to win, a union member must be a member of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, which they can join online at or call toll free at 877-USA-2211, for a nominal fee of $25 a year. USA is a creation of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), an organization dedicated to preserving access to hunting and fishing opportunities for union sportsmen and women.

Santa Spotted in North Carolina

IAM member William (Cotton) Erskine is a busy man. In addition to delivering new vehicles for Auto Truck Transport and serving as Secretary-Treasurer of Local 641 in Cleveland, North Carolina, Erskine also finds time to dress up as Santa Claus and deliver Christmas cheer to children and the community.

“I’ve been a professional clown and storyteller for years,” says Erskine, who has given performances in local churches and Sunday Schools. “As my hair got whiter and the beard got longer, being Santa came naturally for me.”

Each year, beginning in October, Cotton Santa can be found posing for pictures at local malls where he makes a point to spend five to ten minutes talking and listening to each child. This year, Santa is especially looking forward to Christmas Eve, when he plans to spend the day and evening with children in three area hospitals.

U.S. Truckers Catch a Break

As part of an omnibus spending bill passed by the House this week, funding for the Department of Transportation’s pilot program to allow more than 100 Mexican trucks to travel freely within the United States has been cut.

Mexican trucking firms were supposed to get access to U.S. highways years ago under the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but the Clinton administration limited their access to a small zone at large border crossings where shipments were transferred to U.S. trucks. The restrictions were in place largely because of concerns over an adequate safety-inspection program to certify that all trucks coming across the border meet U.S. safety standards.

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