iMail for Thursday, January 12, 2006

Machinists Continue Strike at Boeing

After requesting a meeting with IAM Aerospace Coordinators, the Boeing Company then balked at restarting formal negotiations over issues that led to a strike at Boeing space and defense facilities in Florida, Alabama and California.

According to a bulletin by Aerospace Coordinators John Crowdis, Frank Santos and Dick Schneider, Boeing is unwilling to move from their proposals to eliminate retiree health care and dramatically increase medical insurance for hourly employees. “Boeing is a profitable company and if they are allowed to decrease our current benefits, there is no telling where or when they will stop,” said the IAM Coordinators, who praised members for standing up to this latest effort by Boeing to reduce hard won benefits.

NWA Stalls Critical Negotiations

With a Section 1113(c) trial scheduled to begin in New York on Jan. 17, IAM negotiators at Northwest Airlines declared they would soon have no choice but to shift key personnel and resources toward preparations for the trial, making a negotiated settlement less likely.

“The necessity of trial preparation and the actual trial process will greatly limit our time for direct bargaining, making it more difficult to reach an agreement,” said the District 143 bulletin. The IAM represents nearly 14,000 employees at the bankrupt carrier.

“It is time for Northwest Airlines to provide your committee with a serious proposal, one worthy of membership ratification,” said the IAM bulletin. “Some limited progress has been made this week, but now it is crunch time. We need more than progress – we need a conclusion.”

Additional information and late breaking developments can be found on the District 143 website at

IAM to Honor Gulf Coast Survivor Spirit

The IAM will hold a reception on January 13, 2005, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Picayune, MS, to honor the hundreds of IAM members in Mississippi and Louisiana who are rebuilding lives and communities in the wake of the recent hurricanes.

The event will feature remarks from local and national IAM leaders who coordinated hurricane relief efforts, provided food, tools and supplies in addition to distributing nearly $300,000 in donations from IAM members across North America.

“We want to honor the sacrifice and celebrate the spirit of our members in these communities,” said IAM Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez, Jr.

“The hurricanes did incredible damage, but they also exposed the most resilient and resourceful citizens that any community could hope to have. Their determination to rebuild and reclaim their lives is stronger than any natural disaster.”

More than 1,150 union members from Florida to Texas received assistance from the IAM’s Community Services Department after the hurricanes hit. Among those attending the reception will be members of IAM Local 2249, who work at Stennis Space Center and members from Local 1133 employed at Northrup Grumman in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Also attending will be IAM-represented Woodworkers from Local W-50 and W-443, and members from Local 37 in New Orleans and District 161 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Attack on Alaska Aircraft Continues

Yet another Alaska Airlines aircraft parked harmlessly at a gate at Seattle’s SEA-TAC Airport has fallen victim to Alaska’s subcontracting of ramp service work.

Airport authorities are conducting an investigation into the latest accident on January 6, involving ground equipment and an Alaska Airlines aircraft. This is in addition to the investigation over the recent incident that caused a dramatic in-flight depressurization of an Alaska Airlines aircraft.

The IAM continues to negotiate with Alaska over their subcontracting our members’ work, and we are still pursuing relief in federal court. Despite cost effective proposals to return the work to IAM members, we are being met with stubborn resistance. Following last week’s in-flight emergency, the IAM again raised concerns over the quality of work provided by the subcontractor.

Alaska Airlines Vice President of Employee Services Dennis Hamel responded that not only was the company satisfied with the SEA-TAC operation, but they were “very satisfied.”

The IAM is very concerned to learn that Alaska Airlines is very satisfied that ground equipment has developed magnetic attractions to its aircraft. A recent KING-5 news investigation in Seattle revealed that since Alaska subcontracted IAM members’ work, citations for speeding and reckless driving increased 285 percent at Alaska.

Chi-town Teardown Planned for January 28-29

The 44th Annual Carquest World of Wheels custom car show will once again host Local 701’s Chi-Town Tear Down Pit Crew Competition. The event will take place at McCormick Place in Chicago with nearly 20 high schools competing on January 28, and 10 colleges competing on January 29, 2006.

The competition is principally sponsored by Automobile Mechanics’ Union Local 701 and Ford Motor Company, and pits teams of students from each school against each other in a timed test of their automotive skills. Students are judged on their skills, including accuracy of the rebuild, proper use of tools and safe work methods.

The team that correctly disassembles and reassembles the engine in the shortest period of time with the fewest mistakes will be declared the winner.

Ford Motor Company will be providing over thirty engines for the school’s use in our competition. All of the engines will then be donated to the competing schools. Ford will also be donating two vehicles to be raffled off between all the participating schools at the Competition.

Trade Deficit Soars to $661 Billion

Fueled by imports of foreign cars and a continued reliance on foreign oil, the U.S. trade deficit was the third highest on record in November. The Commerce Department reported on Thursday the trade deficit for November was $64.2 billion, pushing the trade deficit for the year to a record $661.8 billion.

The U.S. trade deficit with China also continued to spiral out of control, rising $18.5 billion in November to $185.3 billion for the first 11 months of the year. Economists expect the trade deficit with China to top $200 billion for the year, a substantial increase from last year’s record $162 billion deficit.

Jobless claims also rose by 17,000 last week to a total of 309,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday, providing further evidence the economic recovery the Bush administration continues to tout is lagging.

“A substantial gap remains between job creation, earnings, and the productivity of the overall economy,” EPI economist Jared Bernstein said in his economic snapshot examining December’s lackluster job growth.


Grand Lodge Auditor Stanley Brown, effective 1/1/2006
Grand Lodge Auditor John Straub, effective 2/1/2006

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