iMail for Thursday October 26, 2006

Call to Action for November Elections

With the critical midterm election less than two weeks away, IAM members have a chance to change the face of Congress and state capitols, if they show up to vote.

“This election will be decided by turnout. It’s simple, if you stay home on Election Day or don’t volunteer some time on union-sponsored Get-Out-The-Vote drives between now and November 7, it will be more of the same anti-worker policies for years to come,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “IAM officers and representatives at every level, everyone who has attended classes at the Winpisinger Center, stewards and regular members, should volunteer some time to educate our fellow members about candidates who will do the best job for working families and get our members to show up at the polls.”

Mid-term elections historically see a drop of almost 30 million voters, making voter turnout among union households even more important. “In these last few days, volunteer to phone bank, help pass out handbills or help visit union households. Just a small effort by a lot of people will make the difference,” said Buffenbarger.

To volunteer, contact your lodge or click here to find an AFL-CIO event in your area. 


IAM Automotive Conference Wraps Up

The 2006 IAM Automotive Conference wrapped up yesterday in Phoenix, AZ, with the nearly 70 delegates going home re-energized after three days of crafting strategy and programs to grow the IAM’s automotive membership.

“It’s all about organizing. It’s about being committed to grow and serve our membership,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger in opening remarks. “It’s about looking beyond traditional thinking as to who our membership is. It’s about doing the good things better, and doing away with the things that no longer work.”

“Automotive is one of the fastest growing segments of the IAM,” said Automotive Coordinator Boysen Anderson. “Our goal is to keep growing. This conference provides an opportunity for automotive reps to meet and exchange their experiences, to learn, and then take it all back home and put it to work to grow this great union.”

The final day of the conference was set aside for a roundtable discussion on “Organizing From the Ground Up” concerning the successes and challenges of organizing FedEx.

“How many more court rulings before FedEx gets it?” asked General Vice President Rich Michalski, who participated in the roundtable. “They may never get it. So we need to help them along.” Michalski urged delegates to get fully involved in the upcoming elections. “A large part of what’s happening at FedEx is their ‘it’s-all-about-the-profits’ mentality, and this GOP Congress has allowed it. That needs to stop. Congress should represent the interests of America’s working men and women, and not the interests of Corporate America,” said Michalski.


TCU Int’l Secretary-Treasurer Howard Randolph, Jr. to Retire

International Secretary-Treasurer (IST) Howard Randolph, Jr., announced he will retire at the end of this year after serving TCU and its members for 42 years. International Vice President (IVP) Daniel Biggs has been elected by TCU’s executive council to succeed Randolph.

IST Randolph, Randy as he is known, started out as a yard clerk for the New York Central in his hometown of Cleveland, OH in 1964 and has been dedicated to the principles of the labor movement ever since. From his early participation in Lodges 725 and 1097 to overseeing TCU’s legislative and political efforts as an IVP and then as IST, Randolph has always been dedicated to improving conditions in the workplace and in society.

Like his predecessor, Biggs steps up to the post of IST following years of commitment to protecting the rights and needs of TCU members. Starting at Amtrak in San Francisco in 1975, Biggs currently serves as IVP overseeing the Social Services Department and the Manpower Training Department.

“I genuinely regret IST Randolph’s plans to retire,” said TCU International President Bob Scardelletti. “He has contributed so much and has also been a good friend. But he leaves TCU in good hands. Danny Biggs is a smart, dynamic and committed leader who inspires confidence and stands up for what he believes in.”


Labor Department to Outsource Jobs

The Labor Department’s plan to implement a public-private competition that could possibly outsource the jobs of 80 professional employees within the department is drawing harsh criticism from lawmakers Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

The two sent a letter on October 12 to the DOL’s Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management Patrick Pizzella protesting the move. The letter focuses on one of two notices from the DOL targeting jobs such as EEO specialist, social science supervisor and writer/editor.

“The competition includes important policy-making positions that are inappropriate for outsourcing, including developing draft policies and preparing draft comments on legislation, regulations, and testimonies of high-level officials,” said Kennedy and DeLauro. “We believe that putting these important duties in the hands of private contractors is irresponsible.”


New Accord for Local 2797 at Halifax Airport

Members of Local 2797 in Enfield, Nova Scotia have a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with Cara Foods at Halifax International Airport. The 70 members ratified the new agreement by a margin of 72 percent.

The agreement provides a wage increase totaling six percent. Other contract highlights include improvements in pension plan contributions, work wear provisions and eye exam benefits. “Our members operate the only flight kitchen in Halifax and following a summer of out-of-control overtime demands, they refused to buy into the company’s claim of not making any money,” said District 140 General Chairperson Ken Russell. “I give full marks to the local bargaining committee for hanging tough to get an agreement the membership is very happy with.

The members perform kitchen, delivery and warehouse duties for Cara Foods which provides in-flight meals for Air Canada and all other carriers operating out of Halifax Airport.”


Spaces Available for VL Membership Class

The IAM Information Systems Department reports that a few spaces are still available for the December 3-8, 2006 VL Membership (VLM) class at the Winpisinger Education and Technology Center, but you need to hurry! VLM is the IAM membership tracking and per capita reporting software, and this class is geared to those having that responsibility within their lodge.

Deadline for reservations is November 3.  You can download a Participant Registration Form here, or contact IAM Compass Support at 301-967-4780.

Completed Registrations should be e-mailed to:, or sent via FAX to 301-967-4584.


Maritime Machinists’ Council Elects New Executive Board

The Maritime Machinists Council elected their new executive board at their recent conference held in Moncton, New Brunswick October 13-15, 2006. New Council members include Andy Byron, LL 1763, Trustee; Robert Mallet, LL 2797, Vice President for Nova Scotia; Grant Graham, LL 1763, Secretary Treasurer; David Reid, LL 2797, President; Donna Boudreau, LL 2418, Trustee; Pat Goodbran, LL 2797, Recording Secretary; Dick Maguire, LL 835,Vice President for New Brunswick; Rick Jenkins, LL 1934, Vice President for Prince Edward Island and Paul Goodet, LL 2797, Trustee.