iMail for Thursday, January 29, 2009

Machinists Fault Boeing for Triggering ’08 Strike

The IAM today called on leaders of the Boeing Company to end their misinformation campaign regarding the 57-day strike by 27,000 Machinists union members.

“The strike was triggered by a Boeing strategy to create a separate and lower class of employees in its manufacturing facilities; one with lower pay, fewer benefits and a cut-rate retirement plan,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.

Despite an overwhelming vote by union members to strike over Boeing’s divisive proposals, IAM negotiators delayed the shutdown in response to requests by federal mediators for additional bargaining. Still, Boeing refused to move off proposals that were certain to trigger a walkout.

“Boeing had every opportunity to avoid this strike,” said Buffenbarger. “Even after the strike vote, they refused to modify their proposals in the misguided hope that they could pit one half of the workforce against the other half.”

Additionally, Boeing’s claim that the global credit crisis is to blame for a fourth quarter net loss of $56 million fails to acknowledge strategic management errors, including a reliance on contractors and an outsourcing strategy that compromised the quality control that Boeing was once renowned for.

“Boeing’s global outsourcing of design and manufacturing has been a failure,” declared Buffenbarger. “They lost control of the final product and held Machinists out for 57 days, over language that could have been offered and accepted from day one.”

Help Support the ‘Buy American’ Act

You can help save our economy and more than 11 million people currently out of work, by contacting your Senator and urging them to support Sen. Byron Dorgan’s (D-ND) “Buy American” provision within the economic stimulus bill.

The Buy American Act, which was enacted during the Great Depression, requires all stimulus-funded projects use only American-made equipment and goods. Inclusion of the provision in the economic stimulus package is essential to ensuring the $819 billion does exactly what it is supposed to do: stimulate the American economy and create jobs here at home – not overseas! The provision ensures the money goes into the pockets of American workers – not those of foreign corporate executives and contractors.

The U.S. Department of Labor shows we have lost more than 4 million manufacturing jobs over the past few years. The current unemployment rate is at 7.2 percent, and is climbing towards the double-digits. Passage of the stimulus package is the last hope for millions of U.S. workers struggling to stay afloat in the midst of this economic storm.

“Millions of U.S. families are going without food and shelter, they’re behind on their mortgage, staring at an endless pile of bills and are unsure about tomorrow,” says IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Allowing foreign companies to line their pockets with U.S. dollars and U.S. jobs at a time like this is unfathomable.”

Some argue that using U.S. taxpayer money to support U.S. workers will force other countries to do the same, and further exacerbate the crisis. The truth is, they’re already doing it. Many countries have already implemented measures to protect their jobs and their workers. The time has come for the U.S. to do the same.

Click here to send a message to your Senator, or use the toll-free number 877-331-1223, and tell them to support U.S. workers by supporting Sen. Dorgan’s “Buy American” amendment.

EFCA is Key to U.S. Economic Recovery

A new report by the American Rights at Work organization shows passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is imperative to pulling the country out of economic crisis.

The report shows a direct link between the current downturn, and weak labor laws coupled with relentless corporate anti-union activity.

According to researchers, “a lack of bargaining power in the hands of workers… is at the heart of the U.S. economic quagmire.” They say restoring the right to form unions, and empowering workers with the protection they need in order to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions, is necessary for economic recovery.

“With expanded collective bargaining power, more workers would move into the middle class, stimulating economic security,” say researchers.“Allowing workers to freely form unions is essential to putting money back into the pockets of those whose spending drives the economy, producing a highly skilled workforce to promote future economic growth, and increasing the political participation of workers to shape new economic strategies that benefit the middle class.”

The Employee Free Choice Act gives workers the freedom to form a union without the risk of employer intimidation. Be sure to sign a “Million Member Mobilization” card to support The Employee Free Choice Act. The AFL-CIO will present the cards to President Barack Obama and the new Congress to demonstrate the widespread support for stronger laws to protect the right to choose a union and bargaining a first contract free from unfair employer tactics.

Cards were sent to every IAM local and district lodge in the United States, and should be returned to local or district lodge representatives who will then forward them to their respective territory offices. For information about the Employee Free Choice Act, including a fact sheet and other background information, click here.

To sign an online version of the AFL-CIO card, click here.

Southern Territory Delivers Trio of UPS Wins

United Parcel Service (UPS) technicians in three locations recently voted for IAM representation. Thirty-five workers in Lexington, KY, five in Louisville, KY and forty-two in Daphne, SC, wanted the security of an IAM collective bargaining agreement, ensuring better insurance and guaranteed raises.

Chris Bradley, Ken Koch and Billy Strivers of District 27 in Louisville, KY, along with Automotive Coordinator Boysen Anderson, secured the wins for the IAM.

“An IAM contract ensures job security, good wages and benefits, and the UPS workers understand that,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “I’m glad to welcome them to the Machinists family, and congratulations to our Organizing Team for a job well done.”

Canada Plan to Revive Economy Falls Short

The president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) says that nation’s federal budget doesn’t go far enough to stimulate the economy and fails to help Canadians who are innocent victims of the economic recession.

“We have called repeatedly on the government to fix the Employment Insurance program so that laid-off workers have adequate benefits to support themselves and their families while they search for new jobs,” says CLC President Ken Georgetti. “Sixty percent of the unemployed weren’t getting benefits prior to this budget, and they won’t get benefits now.”

Most economists and G-20 leaders have also called for a federal government stimulus package equal to two percent of national income, however, the Harper government is offering only about half of that amount.

“There are more than one million people out of work and thousands more are losing their jobs every day,” says Georgetti. “People desperately need their government’s help to protect and create jobs and to support the unemployed. That’s how I am judging this budget and it falls short.”

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement in Canada, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. For more information, visit