iMail for Thursday, November 9, 2006

Working Families Win Big

Americans showed up to vote November 7 and transformed America’s political landscape in favor of working families. Democrats picked up at least 29 seats in the House to win back control for the first time since 1994. Senate control is likely pending the certification of a close victory in Virginia. Democrats picked up six governorships including Colorado, Arkansas, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts and Maryland, giving them a total of 28 and a majority of governorships for the first time in twelve years. Democrats also made major gains in state legislative races.

“Working families won across-the-board on November 7 and union members were a big part of the results,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “This is a great victory. It would not have happened without the hard work of IAM members who spent many hours manning phone banks, talking face-to-face with fellow members and visiting union households to make sure union voters understood the issues and got out to vote.

“Now we must make sure the people we put in office take action on the issues working families care about and voted for: Good jobs, quality education for their kids and a fair shake on insurance and utility bills,” said Buffenbarger. “The voters did their part, now it’s time for the legislators they elected to do theirs.”

Democrats in Congress promised swift action on working family issues such as tax cuts for the middle class, raising the minimum wage, fixing the Prescription Drug program, energy independence and making the country safer.

Machinists Charge Raytheon with Spying

The IAM is charging Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ with spying on union officials and illegally threatening employees during recent contract negotiations. The IAM filed Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of members of IAM Local 933 currently on strike at Raytheon’s Tucson facility.

“Raytheon used its security personnel to monitor activities of the union’s bargaining committee, and illegally threatened its own employees with discharge if they honored a lawful picket line,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Raytheon deserves to be severely sanctioned for this outrageous act of domestic spying against U.S. workers and their union representatives.”

The charges filed by the IAM claim Raytheon used minivans and security personnel to monitor employees engaged in lawful union activities and positioned security agents beneath a conference room for the purpose of spying on the union’s negotiating committee. A second charge claims Raytheon threatened probationary employees with discharge if they honored the union’s picket lines.

The use of surveillance to monitor union activities or to intimidate employees from engaging in union activities is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an employer violates federal law even by creating the appearance of surveillance of union activities. In addition, probationary employees are entitled to the same protection under the NLRA as permanent employees. Members of Local 933 voted to authorize a strike at Raytheon’s Arizona facility after rejecting a contract offer from the company that increased health care costs and attacked the employees’ pension plan.

NMB Releases Rail Unions from Mediation

Following a proffer of arbitration that was rejected by TCU, the IAM and every union in the Metro-North Labor Coalition, the National Mediation Board (NMB) finally acted on labor’s request to be released from mediation.

While this should mean that rail workers would be closing in on a strike date of December 7, it is more likely that either Metro-North or one of the governors of the states in which the railroad runs will request establishment of a Presidential Emergency Board, a move that could delay any action for months. Click here to see the coalition’s bulletin explaining the possible timeline.

The Metro-North Labor Coalition includes 800 clerks and 300 supervisors from TCU and approximately 2400 other members of the Machinists, the IBEW, Firemen and Oilers of SEIU, Teamsters (representing Maintenance of Way workers), Transport Workers, and Sheet Metal Workers unions. 

“The solidarity and unity of this Coalition is unprecedented,” said TCU International Vice President Joel Parker. “That’s why we’ve been successful in being released and I am certain that we will continue to stand together in the days and months ahead.”

November Sisters of the Month

The IAM Women’s Department has named Catherine Litel of Local Lodge 1528 the U.S. Sister of the Month for November, 2006. Kim Marshall of Local Lodge 1927 was the pick for Canada.

Sister Litel currently serves as Recording Secretary for Local Lodge 1528 in Modesto, California. Since joining the IAM five years ago, she has held the positions of Executive Board Member-at-Large and Conductor-Sentinel. Litel has also been a delegate to various Labor Councils, Conferences and Conventions, including the 2004 Grand Lodge Convention.

Fourteen-year IAM member Kim Marshall currently serves as Secretary-Treasurer of Local Lodge 1927 in Stratford, ON and Education Co-Ordinator for the Ontario Provincial Council of Machinists. Prior to serving as Secretary-Treasurer, Sister Marshall served as local lodge president.

The IAM “Sister of the Month” is an effort to motivate women to become more involved in their union by recognizing their hard work and dedication. If you’d like to nominate someone, download the nomination form and submit it to the IAM Women’s Department.

District 15 Serves Up First Agreement on Dinner Cruise Line

Local Lodge 434 members employed by World Yacht Dinner Cruise Lines located at Pier 81 in West Hudson River in New York City know about perseverance. Organized by District 15 more than a year ago, the 88 servers, busboys, bartenders and dishwashers have now reached a first agreement.

“Congratulations to District 15 DBR Jim Conigliaro, BRs Dominic Taibbi, Juan Negron and Vinny Addeo, and all the team for a job well done,” said Eastern GVP Lynn Tucker, Jr. “And a special thanks to our determined members at World Yacht Dinner Cruise Lines.”

FedEx Cancels Airbus Order For Boeing 777s

FedEx Express announced earlier this week that it would cancel orders for the new Airbus A380 and replace them with the Boeing 777 due to delays in delivery.

FedEx Express, a unit of FedEx Corporation canceled its order of ten A380’s choosing to buy 15 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft with options to purchase an additional 15 aircraft.

Production problems with Airbus’s A380 have plunged the company into crisis and forced it to re-examine its projects and restructure its business. “The decision to purchase Boeing 777s was taken after Airbus announced significant delays for delivery of A380s,” said a spokesman for FedEx Express.