iMail for Thursday, July 12, 2007

IAM to Make Historic Dual Endorsement

On August 27 and 28, Democratic and Republican presidential candidates will appear before nearly 600 IAM leaders from across the country. Invitations to participate in the IAM’s “Conversation with the Candidates” were extended to five candidates from each party. Moderated by Erin Moriarty of CBS News, these ninety-minute conversations will occur at the IAM National Staff Conference in Orlando, FL.  

Presidential candidates will have a chance to explain their policies and their impact on working families. IAM leaders will have an opportunity to evaluate the candidates before voting to endorse a primary candidate from each party. The dual endorsement will be a first in the IAM’s 119-year history.   

“Our goal is to give candidates from both parties an opportunity to make their case on issues that matter most to our members,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “We want to know where they stand on jobs, schools, health care, trade, manufacturing and energy.”

The forum and primary endorsements are also designed to coincide with the accelerated schedule of primary activity. Twenty-five states will hold primaries or caucuses between January 14 and February 5, 2008. Another sixteen states will have voted by March 4, 2008. The result could produce a Democratic and Republican nominee by mid-February.

In the weeks leading up to the staff conference, IAM members will have an opportunity to express their views on the candidates in a series of online and telephone surveys.

“The effort to find common ground, or to find if common ground exists, begins with giving all sides a chance to be heard on a level playing field,” said Buffenbarger, who urged members to pay close attention to what the candidates are saying. “The election may be 16 months away, but the campaign for president is in full swing right now. We need to make our views known, and this forum will be a way to do exactly that.”

Upon conclusion of the primaries, the IAM will make its customary recommendation for U.S. President and Vice President following input from elected delegates at the IAM Convention in September 2008.

District 24 Welcomes New Freightliner Unit

Employees at Freightliner Pre-Delivery Inspection unit in Portland, OR, approved their first IAM contract this week, with terms similar to those won by members of Local 1005 who recently struck the Freightliner Portland Truck Plant.

“The employees gain a union pension with Freightliner contributing $3.95 per hour, as well as pay increases and a structured promotion system,” said District 24 Business Rep Joe Kear. “Employees of the Pre-Delivery Inspection group also gain seven sick days a year, as well as six additional holidays.”

In addition to the 14 existing employees who approved the contract unanimously, eight temporary employees will immediately become eligible for permanent hire and will also be covered under the contract.

IAM Closer to Ending FedEx Organizing Blockade

The Machinists are finding new allies in their decade-long fight to reverse the 1996 amendment that restricts FedEx drivers and handlers to organizing limitations under the Railway Labor Act. The 1996 amendment requires FedEx employees to organize nationally and all but eliminates any opportunity for local organizing efforts.

A new amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill, proposed by House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN), would change the current law and restore jurisdiction for FedEx drivers and handlers to the National Labor Relations Act, which, unlike the RLA, permits local organizing and collective bargaining.

The Oberstar amendment passed 51-18, with support from 14 Republicans, thanks in part to lobbying from other package delivery companies who agree with the IAM that the union blockade at FedEx gives the company an unfair competitive advantage in addition to denying collective bargaining rights to FedEx employees.

“The amendment would restore fairness and consistency to the package delivery sector so that all the companies play by the same rules,” said Tom Trotter, IAM Legislative and Political Director.

Leadership in Three Languages at WWW Center

The IAM William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center hosted a triple-play of Leadership I classes with its first-ever Spanish, French and English Leadership classes held during the same week. Participants from the United States and Canada took part in classes held entirely in Spanish and another section in English and members from Canada participated in a class held in French.

“This was a great milestone for the Winpisinger Center and our efforts to expand our education efforts to our wide range of IAM members,” said Winpisinger Center Director Chris Wagoner. “It was a great honor to host our French, Spanish and English-speaking members.”

El Centro de Educatión y Tecnología, William W. Winpisinger tuvo el honor de impartir por primera vez en su historia, clases de Liderazgo 1, en Ingles, Francés y en Espanol. Las clases se conducieron y fueron instruidas simultáneamente y totalmente en sus respectivos idiomas y incluyeron participantes de Canadá y los Estados Unidos.

“Con estas clases hemos completado nuestro esfuerzo y visión de expandir nuestros servicios educativos a grupos mas grandes y diversos en nuestra Unión” dijo, Chris Wagoner, que es el Director del Centro Educativo Winpisinger. “Fue un gran honor de ser huéspedes a nuestro miembros de habla Francés, Espanol e Ingles.”

Le Centre d’éducation W.W. Winpisinger de l’AIM a été l’hôte de trois classes de Leadership I incluant pour la toute première fois des classes de Leadership en espagnol, français et anglais.

Les participants des États-Unis et du Canada ont pris part à des cours donnés entièrement en Espagnol et une autre section en Anglais et les membres du Canada ont participé à un cours donné en Français.

« Ce fut un événement marquant pour le Centre Winpisinger et nos efforts pour étendre les cours à un grand nombre des membres de l’AIM » a dit le directeur du Centre Winpisinger Chris Wagoner. « Ce fut un grand honneur d’accueillir nos membres parlant Espagnol, Français et Anglais ».

NLRB Elections: A Mockery of Democracy

Union representation elections under the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have been marred by intimidating, coercive and undemocratic employer behavior, according to a report released this week by American Rights at Work.

“America’s employees are subject to a regime of bribes, bullying, threats, terminations, delays, enforced propaganda, and political gag orders that we would not accept for the citizens of any foreign nation. The fact that this is happening in our own country makes the need for democratic reform all the more urgent,” says University of Oregon political scientist Gordon Lafer in the 72-page report Free and Fair? How Labor Law Fails U.S. Democratic Election Standards.

Lafer concludes that passage of the Employee Free Choice Act is needed to address the failures of the NLRB election system. After passing in the House of Representatives in March, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the Employee Free Choice Act last month.

Paxil Settlement Means Payback for Parents

If you are the parent or guardian of a child who took the antidepressant Paxil or Paxil CR before the age of 18, you qualify to get your money back. The company that makes Paxil recently settled a class action lawsuit rather than go to trial and answer charges that it withheld important safety information about the drug.

Although an earlier settlement was reached in October 2006, that settlement was improved at a recent hearing. Under the terms of the revised settlement, if you ever purchased Paxil or Paxil CR for your child or ward, you are entitled to recover 100 percent of your documented out-of-pocket expenses. If you are unable to find documentation of your Paxil purchases, you can still recover up to $100. Claims must be submitted by August 31, 2007.

For more information, check out this YouTube video:, or look at

Visit the settlement website or call 1-866-494-8404 (toll free) or visit Hoormann v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation on Public Citizen’s website.