Thirty-nine local lodges sent nearly 150 delegates from as far as Alaska and Hawaii to Reno, NV, this week for the 58th Annual Convention of District 141, where International President Tom Buffenbarger, Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. and others addressed the challenges and opportunities facing IAM airline members.
“This convention marks the first time since 2002 that all airlines employing members of District 141 are operating out of bankruptcy,” said District 141 President Randy Canale. “We have suffered much at the hands of the courts and the current administration, but we are still standing and the tide is turning.”
GVP Roach praised lawmakers in the House and Senate for introducing legislation to close loopholes in the current bankruptcy law and eliminate the outrageous abuses so many airline employees experienced. “The next step,” declared Roach to sustained applause, “will be to get back what was stolen from us.”
Buffenbarger urged delegates to consider the prospect of having an ally rather than an enemy in the White House, one who would sign legislation to protect workers’ pensions and their right to organize. “I’ve just returned from two days in Iowa with Sen. Hillary Clinton,” said Buffenbarger. “She solicits our views like no other candidate ever has. On jobs, trade, education and health care, there’s simply no question, she gets it.”
Delegates at the three-day convention are assigned to one of 18 committees, which establish and guide the official policies of the nearly 23,000-member district for the next year. First time delegate and Herndon, VA, Local 1759 member Lulu Torres welcomed the opportunity to participate. “This is why I wanted to be a delegate, to learn and to go back and pass along what I learned,” said Torres, a 9-year UAL Public Contact Employee at Dulles International Airport.
The 2008 Union Industries Show will be held next year in Detroit, MI, where Motor City residents will get an instructive and entertaining look at the men and women of organized labor in action.
The weekend-long exhibition attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to view union-made products on display with skilled craftsmen and women there to explain and demonstrate their union-made products.
The first Union Industries Show was held in 1938 in Cincinnati. Since then, IAM-built products have been a regular feature at the show, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, John Deere tractors and dozens of items manufactured by IAM members across North America.
Additional information about the 2008 Union Industries Show will be posted on www.goiam.org and in iMail as the big show draws closer.
In a major development, the IAM National Pension Plan (NPP) announced its highly desirable plan will be made available to employees who are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
“This expansion in eligibility provides a major incentive for employers to join and remain in the plan,” said GST Warren Mart, who also serves as a trustee on the NPP Board of Directors. “It is also very good news for non-bargaining unit employees who have not been able to share in the Plan’s many benefits until now.”
To be eligible, the employer must be an NPP contributing employer on behalf of its IAM-represented employees. The employer must agree to contribute for the non-bargaining unit employees at the same rate as for the IAM-represented employees.
Participation in the NPP by a contributing employer’s non-collectively bargained employees, referred to as “special class” groups, must include all non-bargaining employees, including company officers, although the Plan does allow for the exclusion of highly compensated employees from the special class group.
Under the same policy changes, the IAM National 401(k) Plan is also going to allow the participation of non-bargaining unit employees under similar conditions. For more information about implementation and participation by non-contract employees, contact the IAM NPP at 1-800-424-9608, or visit www.iamnpf.org.
Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson announced this week that Local 63 President Stacy Breunig will become the Western Territory Communication Representative, effective November 1. A 20-year employee at the Boeing Co. in Portland, OR, Breunig is also the first woman president in the history of her local lodge.
In addition to current roles as president, web steward and chief shop steward for members of Local 63 employed at Boeing, Breunig has been a District 24 Trustee, a member of the Audit Committee and delegate to the Oregon Machinists Council since joining the IAM in 1987.
“We look forward to Stacy joining our staff, said GVP Pearson. “She has been doing a great job for IAM members in her Local and District, and we and know that she will do a great job as the Western Territory Communications Representative,”
The annual AFL-CIO Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance will be held January 17-21, 2008 in Memphis, TN. The 2008 event will mark the 40th anniversary of the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and Dr. King’s final campaign before being assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968 while supporting the striking workers.
In addition to speakers, workshops and a commemoration of the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike on Jan. 18, the observance will include community service activities and political training to prepare for the 2008 elections. The annual MLK parade will take place on Monday, Jan 21.
A special room rate of $104 per night has been obtained at the Memphis Hilton Hotel at 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. Participants should make reservations directly with the hotel at 901-684-6664. For additional information, contact Eva Walton in the AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 202-637-5274.