iMail for Thursday, March 23, 2006

IAM Supports Florida Aerospace Development Fund

The IAM has taken the lead in working with State Representative Bob Allen of Florida (R-FL) in developing a creative mechanism to spur economic development and create jobs in the Florida space industry. 

Rep. Allen has proposed a $250 million commitment by the State of Florida to invest in new space related businesses, and access to capital to improve existing space operations.  The IAM, working with other unions and the Florida Aerospace Development Corporation, will seek additional investment capital to match the State’s commitment. 

In a letter to Rep. Allen, International President Tom Buffenbarger said: “We look forward to working with you to develop the Aerospace Workforce Challenge Fund which we see as a key component to attracting and retaining the next generation of aerospace workers and the companies that will design, manufacture and maintain our nation’s competitive lead in space exploration.” 

Steve Sleigh, the IAM’s Director of Strategic Resources, will be assisting local IAM representatives create the investment mechanism for receiving the State and private capital commitments.

“This is a great opportunity for us to partner with a private equity fund that has a track record for investing money wisely while creating good, union-represented jobs,” said Sleigh. 


Trade Deficit Continues to Break Records and Cost Jobs

On the heels of a record $723 billion trade deficit last year, January’s trade gap swelled to a record $68.5 billion. It is on par to reach $822 billion this year. The United State’s trade gap with China also jumped ten percent to a record $17.9 billion in January.

For more insight on the deficit and it’s power to destroy good jobs, listen toOwen Herrnstadt, Director of the IAM Trade and Globilization Department, who explains the profound impact of the growing trade deficit.

Tariffs Seen as Answer to Currency Manipulation

With, the U.S. Department of the Treasury set to name China a “currency manipulator,” legislation has been proposed that would penalize China for the manipulation by adding a nearly 30% tariff on the country’s exports. The legislation is receiving bipartisan support.

A Treasury Department investigation found that the Chinese government undervalues its currency, the yuan, to encourage foreign investment and to make the country’s products cheaper in the U.S. China enjoys a trade surplus with the United States that surpassed $200 billion last year.

Debate on the measure could begin as early as next week. Sen. Charles Schumer, a co-sponsor of the legislation said unless there was some positive movement by the Chinese, a vote could be held by month’s end.

“What we have to see is gradual but inexorable progress,” said Schumer. “Our goal is for China to move on their own. There are no magic words.”


Bankruptcy Judge Calls IAM, NWA Back to Court

The bankruptcy judge in the Northwest Airlines Section 1113(c) trial has set a scheduling conference for March 29, 2006 at 10:00AM.

The IAM and Northwest will be in court to update the judge on the status of discussions in the wake of the rejection of Northwest’s proposal by the ESSC and SIMOP groups.

The IAM anticipates that the judge will set a date for the continuation of the ESSC and SIMOP Section 1113(c) trial which was put on hold due to the ratification vote.

Vehicle Handlers at Autoport Limited Go IAM

District Lodge 60 brought 15 new members into Local Lodge 698 recently by organizing the vehicle handlers at two Autoport Limited locations: 11 members in Dearborn, Michigan and 4 members in Hamtramack, Michigan.

“On behalf of the Eastern Territory and its members, I extend our congratulations and appreciation to District Lodge 60 Business Representative Bobby Atanasovski, Grand Lodge Representative Karl Heim, and all of the team for a job well done,” said GVP Lynn Tucker, Jr.

IAM Seeks End to Union Talk Ban

As the IAM attempts to organize nonprofessional employees at the Eastern Maine Medical Center such as cafeteria and laundry workers, unit secretaries, housekeepers, certified nursing assistants and others, it is also pursuing formal unfair labor practices complaint against the hospital with the National Labor Relations Board.

The union contends that rules forbidding employees from discussing union representation or similar work-related issues while they are working are illegal. Hospital rules do not restrict conversation about other topics that may not be germane to their immediate tasks, such as their personal lives or sporting events. Unless all nonwork-related topics are banned, it is illegal for employers to ban union talk on the job

While many medical facilities have provisions about what can be discussed in “treatment” areas, the IAM simply wants employees to have the right to talk about work-related issues in non-treatment areas.

Once the NLRB receives the complaint, it could take weeks for NLRB to investigate and decide whether it has merit.


Virginia Governor Dodges Legislative Snub

Despite the fact that no governor’s cabinet-level appointee has been vetoed by the Virginia legislature in modern times, the Republican-controlled body turned thumbs-down on Governor Tim Kaine’s nomination of the state’s former AFL-CIO president Daniel G. LeBlanc to secretary of the commonwealth.

The GOP was punishing LeBlanc for his opposition to Virginia’s Right-to-Work (for less) laws.

Kaine brushed off the rejection and, instead, appointed LeBlanc to senior adviser to the governor for work force. LeBlanc will coordinate delivery of workforce development services currently provided by a number of state agencies.

LeBlance will be paid $141,000 a year in the post . . . a salary that matches exactly that of secretary of the common wealth.


LL 447 member John Gelinas was killed on the job on March 13 in a two-truck accident in Maine. Gelinas was instrumental in getting the IAM elected to represent truck drivers at Pumpernickel Express in London, Connecticut. Company drivers gained representation in the IAM under a voluntary agreement between the IAM and the company, and ratified a new contract on March 5, 2006.


A memorial will be held on Friday, March 24 at 4:00 pm at the LL 2202 union hall for friend and union sister Diane Matz. A former reservations lead and CSA in Seattle and Tuscon, and past LL 2202 President, Matz worked for Alaska Airlines for 28 years. The memorial will be pot luck style. Please bring a dish and any photos you may have to share. For more information contact LL 2202: 206-878-5498.