iMail for Thursday, July 9, 2009


Senate to Vote on F-22 Raptor Funding Soon

In a critical vote for the future of the F-22 Raptor program, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take action on the 2010 Defense Authorization bill, S. 1930, that includes funding for seven additional F-22’s. Some Senators are certain to offer an amendment that will strip funding for the additional F-22’s from the bill.

If the F-22 program is cut, tens of thousands of good paying U.S. jobs will be lost, including thousands of IAM jobs at Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Pratt and Whitney.

Maintaining funding of the F-22 will support 25,000 high-skill, high-wage jobs in 44 states, including thousands of IAM members who make the air frame and engines for the fighter. An estimated 70,000 indirect jobs are also impacted by the program.

“In this time of crisis we must not short change our national security because of short-term budgetary considerations,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger in a letter to all members of the U.S. Senate. “We must continue to make investments in our industrial base and workforce. Maintaining production of the F-22 will allow America to accomplish these critical goals.”

Click here to contact your Senators to let them know that America cannot afford to undermine the strength of our defense industrial base or to short change our national defense. You can also call your Senators at 202-224-3121.


International Unions Support Mexican Mineworkers

A delegation of international trade union officials, including representatives of the Machinists Union and legislators from more than a dozen countries, are meeting in Mexico City this week to support the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers, which is the target of increasingly violent suppression by a combination of Mexican government and corporate mining officials.

The delegation aims to draw worldwide attention to tactics employed by Grupo Mexico, a notorious Mexican mining conglomerate, which includes kidnapping, torture and murder of labor union activists, their supporters and families.

“There is little doubt of the Mexican government’s collusion in these violent attacks on one of the few independent labor unions in Mexico,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger, who is also the recently elected Vice President of the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) which helped organize the delegation. “It is time to hold them accountable for their lawlessness and gross disregard for labor rights and human rights.”

In addition to the union delegation in Mexico City, 27 members of the U.S. Congress wrote to Mexico President Calderon this week expressing serious concern about repression of labor rights in Mexico, including the removal of the leader of the National Mineworkers Union, Napolean Gomez Urrutia, from office. “Napolean Gomez has been targeted because he fought successfully for higher wages, engaged in international solidarity, and challenged the government controlled labor federations,” wrote the U.S. Representatives.

The delegation will attend the Mineworker’s 75 th anniversary in Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan and will visit the Pasta de Conchos mine where 65 miners were killed in a 2006 explosion. Grupo Mexico, which owns the Pasta de Conchos mine, refused to exhume the miners’ bodies, claiming it was too expensive.


Sen. Arlen Specter Stumbles on Bill Press Show

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa) continues to waffle and perpetuate knowing falsehoods about legislation aimed at giving working families freedom to bargain for better wages, benefits and a secure means for saving for retirement.

“I’m not prepared to give up the secret ballot,” said Specter in an interview with radio host Bill Press.

“Sen. Specter’s claim that the Employee Free Choice Act will eliminate workers’ choice to a secret ballot is right in line with the false accusations of Big Business,” says IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Nothing could be further from the truth. The right to a secret ballot election is fully preserved and protected under EFCA. Passage of the bill would allow workers to choose from two ways to form a union in their workplace: a secret ballot election or a card-check authorization procedure.

“Giving workers the freedom to form a union and get a first contract, without employer intimidation is crucial to working families trying to get ahead. Any deviation from what the bill is specifically intended to do is a slight to America’s hardworking middle class.”

To learn more about the Employee Free Choice Act, click here.

Click here send a message to Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act.


Local 1297 Guide Dog Run Raises $15,000

Members of Local 1297 and District 54 in Ashland, OH, held their 18th annual “Ride for the Guide” to benefit the Guide Dogs of America (GDA). Nearly 400 motorcycles participated in the 100 mile poker run.

The event raised more than $15,000 which will provide guide dogs and instruction in their use – free of charge – to blind and visually impaired men and women from the United States and Canada.

Volunteers from Local 1297, led by President Fred Confer, prepared more than 500 pounds of BBQ to serve at the rally. The event also included contests, drawings and live music.

“Thanks to the members and volunteers this event continues to be successful,” said Confer. “Their hard work and efforts on behalf of GDA offset the effects the economy has had on the participation.”

Riders and attendees had an opportunity to purchase raffle tickets to win a special Donnie Smith Custom Harley-Davidson 2009 FLHX Street Glide that was on display at the event.  Raffle tickets for the custom bike are still available at www.guidedogsofamerica.org.


Communications Conference Reminder

IAM members in the United States are reminded they should act soon to obtain a passport if they plan to attend the 2009 Communications Conference set for Sept. 27 – 30, 2009 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Passports are now required for travel between the U.S. and Canada.

The Communications Conference will be held at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver and reservations can be made by calling 604-682-3377. The cutoff date for the special group room rate is August 26, 2009.

The 2009 conference features a full agenda of prominent speakers, the presentation of awards to winners of the popular IAM Newsletter and Website Contest and announcement of the Kourpias and Kalaski award winners to honor special achievements in labor journalism.

Click here for the official call and enrollment application or call the Communications Department at 301-967-4520.

Passport applications are processed by the U.S. State Department and can take from several weeks to several months to process. Additional information, instructions and a passport application form are available at: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html.