iMail for Thursday, June 5, 2008

EPI Study Fuels Debate on Tanker Jobs

A new study of the decision to award a $40 million taker contract to EADS/Airbus instead of Boeing reveals just how many jobs will not be created in the U.S. once production gets underway.

“Because roughly half of the parts and labor that go into making the NG/Airbus will come from overseas, at least 14,000 jobs that could have been generated in the United States if the contract had gone to Boeing will not be created,” said the report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The number of jobs notcreated is in addition to the number of existing jobs jeopardized by foreign production of the tanker. As many as 44,000 U.S. jobs at dozens of companies in more than 30 states are directly or indirectly linked to tanker production and support.

The EPI study also notes that Air Force officials did not evaluate the impact on employment and job creation when awarding the contract. “There are few, if any other major countries that do not take into account the location of production and employment in military procurement decisions,” said the report. “The process of accounting for the promised and actual location of production under military contracts is governed in most countries under so-called ‘offset’ arrangements.”

Offsets are agreements to locate production in the purchasing country or to source products from or transfer technology to firms in that country. The loosely-governed practice has the potential to shift valuable technology, developed at U.S. taxpayer expense, to developing countries intent on competing with U.S.-built industries.

Shareholders to Receive Health Care Proposals

In a victory for shareholder rights advocates, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will allow voting on shareholder-generated proposals designed to force publicly held companies to take a position on universal health insurance coverage.

The IAM and AFL-CIO labor unions have campaigned for such proposals to be included in shareholder proxy materials as a way to draw the nation’s biggest companies into the debate over the future of health care. The United States is the only wealthy industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Polls show that most Americans, many politicians and organizations favor it.

The shareholder proposals would not require corporations to provide or increase health care benefits for their employees, but would urge top corporate executives to adopt “principles for comprehensive health care reform.” Labor unions and religious groups control billions in pension fund and other investments and shareholder proposals are a means to influence and potentially increase the value of their holdings.

The decision by the SEC is a reversal of an earlier position that allowed large corporations to exclude such proposals from the proxy materials sent to shareholders in advance of annual meetings. The SEC recently declared it was appropriate for shareholders to be given the opportunity to express their views to management on “significant social policy issues” beyond day-to-day business matters.

57-year member Ruth Cain is Sister of the Month

Ruth G. Cain joined Local 475 in Grand Rapids, MI, in 1951 and remains a very active member today, more than 57 years later.  Employed at RC Allen Business Machines in Grand Rapids as an assembler and Quality Control Inspector, Cain became more involved after winning a grievance filed by her shop steward in 1962.

In 1964, Cain was urged to run for president of her local. “I was shocked because women held the job of recording secretary or financial secretary in 1964, but the office of president was for the most part that of a man,” said Cain, who went on to win the election and to this day remains the only woman elected to serve as president of Local 475.

Cain has also held numerous elected positions in her local and district, including district delegate for 42 years; Conductor/Sentinel; Trustee; Vice President; Recording Secretary and delegate to the Michigan State Council of Machinists. She’s represented her lodge sisters and brothers at six IAM Grand Lodge Conventions and is very active in District 60’s Forever Young Retirees Club.

Being retired hasn’t slowed Cain down. In addition to her continued union activity, she is a volunteer counselor with her community’s Agency on Aging, where she educates and guides senior citizens on the various aspects of Medicare and Medicaid.

Cain’s advice to women seeking leadership positions is, “Work hard to gain the respect of your members, have a positive attitude, represent everyone equally, don’t boast and do your job with humility and to the best of your ability.”

Labor 2008 Mobilizing for Employee Free Choice Act

With the AFL-CIO’s Labor 2008 program in full swing, a call has been put out for each State Federation and Central Labor Council to devote at least one meeting this summer to discuss the economy and the Million Member Mobilization for the Employee Free Choice Act. In order to ensure working family issues remain at the forefront of the 2008 elections, local labor leaders are being asked to recruit volunteers for the Labor 2008 program as well as recruit volunteers for the Employee Free Choice Act mobilization.

“From fixing our broken health care system to passing the Employee Free Choice Act, getting worker-friendly candidates elected this fall is critical for working families,” said International President Tom Buffenbarger. “We need our members to get involved and fight for the issues that will keep the union movement and our country strong.”

This past April, more than 300 State and Central Labor Councils held meetings to discuss Labor 2008’s campaign for health care for all.

Southern Territory Holds Guide Dog Benefits

As the warm weather settles in, IAM members around the country are gearing up for events to benefit the IAM’s favorite charity, Guide Dogs of America. Last weekend, members of Local 2003 and District 75 in Daleville, AL, held their first ever Annual Hogs for Dogs run. The riders got underway with a police escort from the City of Daleville and then rode for more than two hours before arriving at the Harley-Davidson dealership in Dothan, AL, where a lunch was donated by a local BBQ restaurant. Other motorcycle clubs joined the IAM during the ride, including local riders from the Patriot Guard Riders, who provides motorcycle escorts for military funerals.

“It was an excellent turnout, and we expect next year to be even bigger,” said event chairman Adam Beasley. “We asked every rider to bring another rider next year.”

Meanwhile in Kansas, Local 733 sponsored the 2nd Annual Guide Dogs Golf Tournament at Hidden Lakes Golf Course. Fifteen four-person teams competed, with Guide Dogs President Jay Bormann presiding. The tournament got off to a late start after thunderstorms and hail drenched the area. “The course was in surprisingly good shape, but there were no shortage of water hazards,” said event organizer Shawn Junkins.

“I’d like to thank all the organizers and participants of these great events,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “With everyone so busy these days, our members in the Southern Territory are still finding time to raise money for Guide Dogs of America. It’s a worthy cause and I’m very proud of all the work going on in our territory.”

For more information on Guide Dogs of America, visit

Take the 2008 ‘Ask a Working Woman’ Survey

Many challenges confront U.S. working women today, such as equal pay, balancing work and family, job security, health care coverage and paid maternity leave. If you’re a working woman, you can voice your concerns by participating in the online 2008 Ask a Working Woman survey provided by the AFL-CIO’S community affiliate, Working America
Working America will use the results to advocate on behalf of working women everywhere for the next two years, giving results to candidates running at all levels of public office to help shape the policy agendas of incoming lawmakers.

Click here to take the survey and here to share it with other working women. The Ask a Working Woman survey runs through June 20.

More than 22,000 women took part in the 2006 Ask a Working Woman survey. Those results showed that the majority were worried about fundamental economic issues as paying for health care, not having retirement security and pay not keeping up with the cost of living.

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