iMail for Thursday, June 25, 2009


DUI Conviction May Prevent Travel to Canada

In addition to having a current U.S. passport, IAM members from the United States planning to attend the 2009 Communications Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, should be aware that Canada may restrict entry to persons who have been convicted of minor offenses in any country, including shoplifting, theft, assault and dangerous driving. Additionally, Canada may refuse entry to travelers who been convicted of driving while intoxicated.

For additional information about legal requirements governing entry into Canada, visit http://www.doj.state.wi.us/dles/CIB/visitCanada.asp

The Communications Conference is scheduled for September 27 – 30, 2009, at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, BC and reservations can be made by calling 604-682-3377. The cutoff date for the special group room rate is August 26, 2009.

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.


UPS Members to Vote on National Accord

Approximately 3,200 IAM-represented maintenance workers at United Parcel Service (UPS) will begin voting on a new contract this week.

The five-year agreement includes yearly wage increases of 75 cents the first two years, 85 cents the third year, 95 cents the fourth year and the fifth year will be based on United Parcel Services’ national standard wage increase. The increases will be paid in one installment each year, as opposed to two installments as proposed by the company. The contract also includes improved pension contributions, eligibility for the IAM 401(k) plan, improved tool allowances and members’ health care benefits will remain intact.

“The IAM has a very good relationship with UPS,” says Boysen Anderson, Director of the IAM Automotive Department. “After months at the negotiating table, our committee walked away with a contract I think our members can be proud of. The agreement affords our members benefit increases that most employers cannot provide. UPS has stepped up to provide these benefit increases despite the hard economic times that the country is facing. We unanimously recommend members vote ‘yes’ to approve this package.”

Voting on the new agreement will span across 33 UPS locations nationwide, and is expected to conclude July 18th.


TRADE Act Mandates Review of Past Agreements

More than a hundred members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined together this week in cosponsoring legislation to reform America’s failed trade policies.

The 2009 Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act begins the process of creating a new agenda. It pauses negotiations on all new trade agreements, mandates a comprehensive review of all past agreements, sets standards that will benefit workers, communities and the environment, and restores Congress’ constitutional responsibility to oversee U.S. trade policy.

The TRADE Act was first introduced by Rep Mike Michaud (D-Maine) last year, and was reintroduced this week after 350 organizations contacted members of Congress.

“The IAM applauds these one hundred and four members of Congress for keeping their promise to reform our nation’s trade laws,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “They understand that the status quo is unacceptable as millions of manufacturing jobs are lost and as our trade deficit continues to soar. We know that trade is important and the TRADE Act is a serious effort to make trade laws work for U.S. workers.”

Click here to tell your Representative to support fair trade policies and cosponsor the TRADE Act, HR 3012.


Whistleblower Ruling Deserves Wide Attention

The IAM applauds the National Whistleblowers Center and their efforts to create better protections for federal employees under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

The recent ruling by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in the case involving Robert J. MacLean, a former Department of Homeland Security worker who blew the whistle on the agency’s plan to remove U.S. Air Marshals from long distance flights in order to save money, sets an unsettling precedent. The board’s decision to uphold MacLean’s unfair termination forces all federal employees to refrain from coming forward with information pertinent to the health and security of our nation for fear of losing their job. To the extent that these men and women have been tasked to serve the American public, it is imperative they are given the opportunity to fulfill their civic duties, without fear of employer intimidation – even if that employer is the U.S. government. Never should they have to find themselves balancing the merits of a career and financial security against the welfare of our country.

As the union representative of nearly 100,000 thousand federal employees, The Machinist Union supports a prompt review of members on the MSPB, as well as MacLean’s reinstatement with full back pay.


Fourteen States Exceed 10 Percent Unemployment

More than a quarter of U.S. states have unemployment ratings higher than 10 percent, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

The latest report on regional and state unemployment numbers provides a more detailed picture of the country’s widespread loss of jobs than does the national rating of 9.4 percent.

Michigan reported the highest jobless rate at 14.1 percent. The state counted 682,000 people as unemployed last month, most from the highly concentrated, struggling auto and auto parts industry.

“When you look at our peak employment from June 2000, we’ve lost one in every six jobs that we had at the start of this decade. And more than half of those were in manufacturing,” said Judy Putnam, from the Michigan League for Human Services, during a conference call with the Economic Policy Institute and representatives from two other states with high unemployment numbers, Ohio and Oregon. “We’ve gone from a state that enjoyed above-average wages to a state that’s struggling with below-average wages.”

The states with the next highest unemployment ratings were Oregon with 12.4 percent, Rhode Island and South Carolina with 12.1, California with 11.5, Nevada with 11.3, and North Carolina with 11.1 percent. Ohio is at 10.8 percent unemployment.

Overall, 12 states and the District of Columbia have significantly higher unemployment ratings than the national average.


IAM Family Members Win Union Plus Scholarships

An IAM member and three family members are among the winners of the 2009 Union Plus Scholarship Awards Program. From the more than 4,200 applications submitted this year, 133 students – representing 41 unions – were awarded a total of $200,000 in scholarships.

The IAM winners are Toni McBroom, member of Local 956 in Defiance, OH; Angela Higgins, whose husband, Charles, is a member of Local 1458 in Soddy-Daisy, TN; Shonda Smith, whose husband, Scott, is a member of Local 1255 in Amarillo, TX; and Steven Spriggs, whose mother, Kaye, is a member of NFFE-IAM Local FL273 in Lawton, OK.

“Congratulations to all our IAM winners,” said President Tom Buffenbarger. “With today’s skyrocketing education costs, scholarships are more important than ever. Best wishes to this year’s winners, and good luck to next year’s applicants.”

Union Plus Scholarship applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, character, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. Since 1992, Union Plus has awarded $2.8 million in educational funding to 1,813 union members, spouses and dependent children.

Please visit http://unionplus.org/scholarships for information on eligibility and to apply for next year’s scholarships.


2009 Basic Human Rights Class

The final 2009 Basic Human Rights class will be held on October 4-9, 2009, at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, Maryland. The deadline for applications is July 24, 2009.

“Human Rights training is an important part of our commitment to ensure civil and human rights for all IAM members,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “I strongly urge all lodges in the United States and Canada to participate.”

The training provides practical information and guidance on how to establish a viable Human Rights Committee, as well as utilize strategies to ensure that the committees operate proactively to assist in the protection of IAM members’ civil and human rights.

Click here for more information and to download an application form.