iMail for Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boeing Tanker Battle Continues

The fight to reverse the $40 billion tanker decision enters its third week with union members contacting lawmakers and demanding hearings on the process that allowed Europe’s Airbus and its U.S. front company, Northrop Grumman, to walk away with one of the largest U.S. defense contracts in history.

The face-to-face lobbying effort is being buttressed by a public relations campaign that includes full page advertisements in local and national newspapers across the country. Click here to view the latest ad in the Wall Street Journal, where Boeing outlines its objections to the process that resulted in the selection of a much larger, more vulnerable, less capable and ultimately more costly aircraft than was originally requested by the Air Force.

The stakes in this fight are extremely high. In addition to 44,000 U.S. jobs that could be impacted, as many as 300 U.S. companies in over a dozen states stand to lose significant contract and sub-contract work if the massive tanker deal is outsourced.

In an analysis of Mission Capability, the most important evaluation factor in the bidding process, Boeing’s KC-767 received the highest possible rating, meeting or exceeding all key parameters. The Boeing tanker bested the Airbus offering in numerous other areas as well.

Boeing is also questioning numerous changes to bid requirements and evaluation criteria that resulted in a decision that cheats U.S. taxpayers, rewards a foreign company and would require the U.S. military to operate with one eye on a dubious foreign supply chain.

IAM members should contact their legislators immediately and ask them to support a full investigation of the circumstances that led to this outrageous decision. Click here for additional information and instructions about how to send a message to lawmakers.

IAM Honors Top Locals & Districts for MNPL Support

IAM Locals 751C, 751A and 751F in Seattle, WA, received the top three awards for highest MNPL contributions among affiliated local lodges. (left to right: Headquarters GVP Rich Michalski, GST Warren Mart, Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson, District 751 President Tom Wroblewski, Western Territory Special Rep. Bobby Martinez, Western Territory AA Gary Allen and International President Tom Buffenbarger.

Hundreds of local and district representatives gathered last week in Nashville, TN, for the annual awards ceremony to recognize top contributors to the Machinists Non Partisan Political League (MNPL). Washington state led all others with $345,594.81 in Total Contributions for 2007, with Illinois and California following with $165,514.43 and $158, 891.97 respectively.
Additional winners included Tennessee as the state with the highest Total Cents per Member, followed by Utah and South Dakota. District 751 in Seattle, WA was recognized as the Top District in Total Contributions while District 1 in Philadelphia, PA exceeded all other district lodges in the Cents per Member category.

Nearly two dozen local lodges were also recognized for their donations, including Local 831 in Cedar Rapids, IA, for the Highest Percentage of Sponsoring Members in a local with less than 1000 members and Local 743 in Windsor Locks, CT for the Highest Percentage of Sponsoring Members in a local with more than 1,000 members.

A total of $2,536,243.65 in voluntary contributions was donated during 2007 to MNPL by IAM members from locals and districts in every territory. Click here to see a full list of award winners.

IAM Flight Crews to Receive Self-Defense Training

Following meetings between the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Machinists Union, The TSA and the Federal Air Marshal Service are now offering Crew Member Self-Defense Training (CMSDT) to Flight Attendants in the Houston, TX and Newark, NJ areas, major hubs for IAM-represented Continental Airlines Flight Attendants.  The techniques presented in this course are easy to perform and effective when applied correctly – something that is critically important when a Flight Attendant must respond quickly. 

In the Newark area, training will be on April 21 and 23, 2008 at the Essex County College Police Academy located at 250 Grove Avenue Cedar Grove, NJ 07009. Interested Flight Attendants should contact the training coordinators directly: Rocco L. Miscia, (973) 877-4352, or Mary Beam (973) 877-4350,

In the Houston area, training is at Lone Star College – North Harris, 10041 Regal Row, Suite 170 Houston, TX 77040, on April 15, 17, May 8, 9 and June 19, 20, 2008. Contact Deb Pruitt at (281)260-3598, to enroll. Additional information about the specialized training is available at

26,000 Share Health Care Horror Stories

An overwhelming 95 percent of workers believe America’s health care system needs fundamental changes or should be completely overhauled, according to the results of a survey released yesterday by the AFL-CIO and Working America.

For many families, the astronomical cost of health care is hindering their day-to-day life. One-third of respondents said they are skipping medical care because of the cost, with one-quarter saying they had “serious problems” paying for the care they need. Furthermore, 95 percent of those surveyed said they are concerned about being able to afford health insurance in the coming years.

Concerns about the nation’s health care system are set to have a huge impact in the upcoming presidential election as well. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said health care is a very important voting issue, and 97 percent said they plan to vote in the November elections.

More than 26,000 people took the 2008 AFL-CIO / Working America Health Care for America survey with 7,500 of those sharing their personal stories about the nation’s fundamentally flawed health care system.

Study Finds Job Training Key to Middle Class

With a recession looming and gas prices at record highs, an utter lack of “good jobs” has left a staggering number of working families without the resources to attain a middle class standard of living. The lack of good jobs is especially prevalent among workers without a high school diploma or without specialized job training.

A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Movin’ On Up: Reforming America’s Social Contract to Provide a Bridge to the Middle Class found that only one in four people in working families have a “good job”, which is described as a job that contains decent wages, offers employer-sponsored health insurance and offers an employer-sponsored retirement plan. As a result, one in five Americans in working families are lacking the resources and budget to attain a middle class standard of living.

Only four percent of workers without a high school diploma and 14 percent of workers with just a high school diploma have a “good job”, according to CEPR. The lack of good jobs for workers without specialized training reinforces the need for alternate forms of post-secondary education such as apprenticeships, high-tech institutes and community college courses.

In order to increase “good jobs” and accessibility to the middle class, the study stresses the importance strengthening the collective bargaining rights of workers, further increasing the minimum wage and offering greater access to benefits such as paid sick days, paid family and medical leave and paid vacation time.