iMail for Thursday, January 08, 2009

NMB Rejects Delta’s Rush to Judgment

In an announcement with significant implications for thousands of employees at Delta and Northwest Airlines, the National Mediation Board (NMB) this week issued a single carrier ruling for pilots, flight dispatchers and meteorologists only at the recently merged carrier.

The decision is a major setback for management at Delta, who argued that all employee classifications at the combined carrier should be included in the single carrier ruling, a move that would force elections to take place outside of the normal course. The NMB soundly rejected Delta’s arguments, and agreed with the IAM that each classification must have a separate single-carrier determination.

“The lives of thousands of employees and their families will be affected by the outcome of representation elections,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “The Board properly rejected Delta’s efforts to jump the gun and force premature elections so it could stymie the democratic process and inhibit employee free choice.”

“The elections will determine if employees will be protected by secure pensions, have truly fair seniority integration, and earn guaranteed wages and benefits that they will help negotiate,” said IAM District 143 President Stephen Gordon. “The IAM is committed to ensuring the rights of Delta and Northwest workers are protected and that the elections are held at the proper time in accordance with the law.”

The NMB’s complete decision is available at

WWW Center Welcomes New Instructor

The William W. Winpisinger Education & Technology Center in Southern Maryland is fortunate to have some of the most experienced and uniquely qualified instructors in the North American labor movement. The tradition continues with the recent addition of long-time IAM activist Julie Frietchen to the teaching staff at the Winpisinger Center.

A Continental Flight Attendant and IAM member since 1992, Frietchen has served fellow members in numerous capacities, including President and Vice President of Local 2339C, Cleveland Base Chairperson and District 142 Organizer. Since 2000, Frietchen has been negotiating contracts and servicing members as a District 142 General Chairperson while completing a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies at the National Labor College.

“The IAM members who come to the Winpisinger Center will immediately recognize in Julie someone who has ‘been there and done that,’ during some of the most turbulent times in her industry’s history,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “It’s an honor to welcome her to the Winpisinger Center, where her background and communication skills will add immeasurably to the school’s tradition of excellence.”

Rail Members Win FMLA Arbitration

The IAM and 11 other rail unions won a major victory when a three-person arbitration panel unanimously upheld the unions’ positions and ruled that the nation’s four largest railroads may no longer require employees to substitute paid vacation and/or personal paid leave for unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The four railroads, BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific, control about 90 percent of U.S. intercity rail freight traffic and other carriers are likely to abide by the arbitration ruling.

“It is a stunning blow to the carriers who had been ignoring the collective bargaining agreements and the law in an attempt to maximize employee availability,” said District 19 President Joe Duncan. For more information and a complete copy of the arbitration award, go to

Rita Rogers Named to Wichita Eagle’s Top Ten

Representing nearly 19,000 workers in the Wichita, KS area, IAM District 70 is an integral part of the local economy. The Wichita Eagle recognized this fact recently when it named District 70 Assistant DBR Rita Rogers to their annual list of “Ten to Watch in 2009.”

Workers throughout the Kansas aviation industry are deeply concerned about the possible effects of the economic downturn on their companies, which include Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft, Spirit AeroSystems, Bombardier, LearJet, and Boeing. Wichita is a major aircraft manufacturing cluster, and the city is known as the “Air Capital of the World.” Cessna, Beechcraft and LearJet were born in Wichita.

Rogers has been an IAM member of Local 733 for over 30 years, serving as a Business Representative before becoming the assistant to District 70 DBR Steve Rooney in 2001. Rogers was Chief Spokesperson for Local 733 during the recent successful Hawker Beechcraft strike in 2008.

“I’m happy the Wichita Eagle has recognized what we’ve known for a long time,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Rita Rogers is a great representative for our union, and she’s an important civic leader and a voice for working people in Wichita.”

Ontario Patient Transfer Workers Join Machinists

One hundred workers who provide non-emergency transfer of patients from Toronto to Niagara Falls are members of the IAM following District 78’s latest organizing victory. The new members are employed by Ontario Patient Transfer.

“Most of the credit for this organizing victory goes to Apprentice Organizer Ralph Martin,” explained District 78 Organizer Scott Jackson. “Initially, many of these people were very secretive about their views of joining a union and were scared of company reprisals if their intentions became known. But Ralph eased their suspicions and once they learned many of their fellow workers held similar opinions, the group became more cohesive and the union became a reality.”

The IAM also represents Patient Transfer workers at Medi-Van in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Petersen is January 2009 Sister of the Month

Kathy Petersen is a 12-year member of Local 839 in Wichita, KS, where she was overwhelmingly elected president after serving as the lodge’s vice president. Petersen, who is employed as an Inspector for Spirit Aero Systems, is the first woman to hold each of those offices in the history of the local.

Petersen became more involved in her local following the sale of Boeing to Onex Corp. Sensing a need, she stepped up and volunteered to serve on numerous committees and became involved in various local, district and community activities. She has become an effective leader by reading the bylaws, learning the constitution, asking questions and at times, making mistakes. “It is important to learn from your mistakes and keep the lines of communication flowing in all directions,” said Petersen. “Don’t second guess yourself. Just do the right thing for the right reasons and always remember to communicate.”

As a local leader, Petersen has focused on growing her union, working tirelessly to organize non-represented workers.  It’s her goal to help build a stronger union and encourage other sisters to be more active. Most recently, Petersen was one of the recipients of the Women in Organizing Grant awarded by the Berger Marks Foundation.

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