iMail for Thursday, June 26, 2008

Endorse Obama? Not the Right Time

“Now is not the right time for the IAM to endorse Senator Barack Obama,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger in a letter to IAM members after voting “present” in the AFL-CIO presidential endorsement process. Also declining to endorse Obama for President was the Transportation Communications Union (TCU). Other unions also voted “present” or abstained.

“Our members feel the economy squeezing their family finances for every last dime, every single week. They care deeply about incessant increases in utility rates, auto and health insurance rates, mortgage and credit card interest rates; and, most disturbing, rising unemployment rates,” said Buffenbarger. “But those meat and potato issues have not found a place in the message frame developed by Senator Obama’s campaign. To us, hope and change are not antidotes to the economic pressures blue-collar families face. They are just words.”

Citing Obama’s inability to find support among many blue-collar workers, Buffenbarger said he looked forward to a productive conversation with Senator Obama about policies that can resonate with blue-collar democrats. “As they demonstrated in state after state, these voters respond overwhelmingly to a candidate who will fight to improve their lives. And they are just not there yet,” said Buffenbarger. “Nor are we.”

Union Support Grows for Boeing Tanker

Twenty-two unions, labor federations and affiliated organizations have signed and delivered a letter to House and Senate lawmakers calling for Boeing to immediately be awarded the Air Force refueling tanker contract.

Citing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that said the Airbus tanker lacked the ability to refuel all of the Air Force’s aircraft and calling Boeing’s KC-767 “the clear winner” in the competition to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of tankers, the labor groups are urging Congress to award the contract to Boeing without delay.
“The Air Force needs new tankers now,” said the letter, which was delivered to all 535 members of Congress. “Continuing this phony “competition” only adds unnecessary delays and costs to the tanker refueling program. The Boeing KC-767 fulfills the requirements of the original Request for Proposal (RFP) and has over 85 percent domestic content – a clear win for America.”

The Air Force decision to award the $40 billion contract to Northrop Grumman/EADS Airbus, was rebuked by the GAO report, which cited the Air Force for failing to follow its own guidelines and awarding the massive contract to a more costly aircraft that is too large for many airfields. Additional concerns outside the scope of the GAO report were also raised.

“Only Boeing has the skilled workforce and fully operational production line to meet the Air Force’s demand for new tankers. We strongly urge that Congress act now and award the tanker refueling contract to the original winner, the Boeing KC-767.”

Big Savings for Early LCLAA Registration

Delegates planning to attend the 17th National Membership Meeting of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) in Orlando, FL, are reminded that the cutoff date for discounted hotel reservations is July 1, 2008. Reservations prior to July 1 can be made at the special rate of $166 per night. Reservations made after July 1 will be significantly higher.

The LCLAA meeting will take place August 4-8, 2008 at the Disney Contemporary Resort in Orlando, FL, and celebrate 35 years of advancing social, political and economic justice for Hispanics throughout the Americas.

Click here for hotel registration information, a tentative agenda and a letter from LCLAA National President Milton Rosado.

Among the issues at this year’s Convention will be the critical role Latino voters will play in the presidential and congressional elections in November. LCLAA leaders plan to work closely with Latino community leaders to grow the Latino vote, while educating members and the community about important progressive issues affecting the nation.

“Latinos can play a critical role in electing our next President,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez, who serves as LCLAA National Vice President. “We will continue to register working families and put together plans to Get Out The Vote in each LCLAA Chapter.”

The IAM is very supportive of LCLAA. In addition to GVP Martinez, Western Territory AA Gary Allen also serves on the National Executive Board, along with Transportation GLR Dora Cervantes and IAM-TCU Legislative Representative Tony Padilla. For more information on LCLAA and the Convention, visit

Wanted: One Million Members to Support EFCA

Looking to make the Employee Free Choice Act a platform issue in the 2008 elections, the AFL-CIO is launching the Million Member Mobilization, a full-scale effort to collect one million signatures in support of the worker-friendly legislation.

The Employee Free Choice Act would enable workers to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions by strengthening their rights to form unions. After passing in the House of Representatives last year, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the Employee Free Choice Act.

The massive petition will be used to show the new President and Congress that working families overwhelmingly support legislation such as the Employee Free Choice Act.

Click here to sign the petition for the Employee Free Choice Act.

First-ever Spanish Leadership II Program at WWW Center

The IAM’s first-ever Leadership II program conducted entirely in Spanish is taking place this week at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, Maryland.  Fifteen IAM members from four U.S. states, Ontario, Puerto Rico and Guatemala are participating in Spanish Leadership II – Liderazgo II.

“This program continues the IAM’s proud tradition of meeting the changing educational needs of the membership.  The Spanish Leadership II Program demonstrates the IAM’s commitment to provide all of its members with the education they need to effectively represent their sisters and brothers,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “These members are leaders in their workplaces and in their locals. The IAM is strengthened and invigorated by their involvement and activism.  I am very proud of each them.”

In 2009, the Winpisinger Center will add an Advanced Leadership Program in Spanish to its other scheduled Spanish Leadership Programs.  Local and District Lodges interested in learning more about this and other Winpisinger Center programs can click here.

La Primer Clase de Liderazgo II en Español en el Centro WWW

La primer clase del programa Liderazgo II conducida totalmente en Español se esta llevando a cabo esta semana en el Centro William W. Winpisinger en Hollywood, Maryland. Quince miembros de los Estados Unidos, Ontario, Puerto Rico y Guatemala están participando en la clase de Liderazgo II.

“Este programa continua con la orgullosa tradición del IAM de enfrentar las cambiantes necesidades educativas de la membresía. El programa Liderazgo II en Español demuestra el compromiso del IAM de proveer a todos sus miembros con la educación necesaria para que puedan representar a sus hermanos y hermanas.” Dijo el Presidente Tom Buffenbarger. “Estos miembros son lideres en sus talleres y Locales. La IAM se hace mas fuerte y envigoriza con su participación y activismo. Estoy muy orgulloso de ellos.”

En 2009, el Centro Winpisinger sumara el Programa de Liderazgo Avanzado en Español a los otros ya programados cursos. Los Distritos y Locales que estén interesados en saber mas sobre este y otros programas del Centro Winpisinger haga un clic here.  

Georgia Flight Instructors Log Service Contract Gains

C-130 Flight Instructors from Local 611 at Dobbins ARB in Marietta, GA, voted overwhelmingly last week to ratify a three-year agreement with Lockheed Martin Training Solutions, Inc., securing annual wage increases of four percent, 3.5 percent and three percent during the life of the contract.

Demonstrating the benefits of joining the IAM under the Service Contract Act, the contract also includes a ratification bonus of $1,300, a ten percent cap on employee medical premium contributions and the Machinists Custom Choice Worksite Benefits program.

“Through coordination and continued assistance from all involved, these negotiations were highly successful for our members working under this collective bargaining agreement and set a high standard to be matched in other contracts across the country,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinator Ray Moffatt.

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