iMail for Thursday, October 5, 2006

U.S. Approves Joint Rocket Venture

Antitrust regulators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gave the green light this week to the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a $1.06 billion plan by Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co. to merge their rocket building and launch operations.

Under the agreement, Boeing’s Delta rockets and Lockheed’s Atlas rockets will be manufactured at Boeing’s Decatur, AL facility, while Lockheed’s Denver office will serve as ULA headquarters for administrative and engineering operations.

While approval by government regulators is seen as the final hurdle for the massive consolidation, the announcement did not include a timetable for starting or concluding the merger. According to news reports, the ULA deal could bring an additional 250 jobs to the Decatur, AL facility from Lockheed’s rocket production plant in Denver. Launch facilities with IAM members in Cape Canaveral, FL and Vandenberg AFB in California will also be impacted.

“We will be meeting with local IAM representatives and officials of both companies to ensure a smooth transition for our current and future members,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinators Dick Schneider and John Crowdis.

News Article Hails IAM Pension Victories

“It is said that in the event of a nuclear holocaust, only Cher and cockroaches will have enough resilience to survive. Perhaps the International Association of Machinists should be added to the list.” So begins an October 3, 2006 article by reporter Ted Reed that details IAM successes during the most volatile period in the history of commercial air transportation.

The article contrasted the IAM’s pension and job preservation strategies at United and US Airways with the self-destructive strike forced upon Northwest Airlines Mechanics by the leadership of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA).

“In bankruptcy, the IAM ‘managed to have a sensible defense in a bad situation, in contrast to the suicidal offensive effort that AMFA carried out,” says Thomas Kochan, professor of work and employment relations at MIT Sloan School of Management. “The AMFA situation (at Northwest) illustrated the cost of a union coming along and arguing that it can do better than any other union.”

The complete article is available on website at

Enroll Now for Spanish Leadership

IAM representatives from across the United States met with staff at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center to develop course materials for the Spanish Leadership I Pilot Program scheduled for November 12-17, 2006, at the Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, Maryland.

Space in the Spanish Leadership I pilot program is limited and lodges should submit enrollments as soon as possible. Lodges are advised that enrollments in the Spanish Leadership I program are not counted towards a lodge’s annual allocation for participation in the Winpisinger Center’s leadership schools. A lodge may enroll members in the Spanish Leadership I pilot program in November even if it has already filled its leadership school allocation for 2006. Click here ( for the Spanish Leadership I enrollment form or call Pam Kinney at 301-373-8820.

Members of the Spanish Leadership I Working Group include District 15 BR Juan Negron, GLR Al Granado, GLR Macario Camorlinga, Transportation Education Representative Monica Silbas, GLR Dora Cervantes, GLR Joel Ochoa, GLR Claudio Figueroa, Special Representative Carlos San Miguel, District Lodge 166 Organizer Javier Almazan and Local 701 Business Representative Armando Arreola.

TRCP Outdoor Show Bears Watching

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s (TRCP) hunting and fishing show is back for the new fall season. Life in the Open will air every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and Fridays at 7 p.m. (Eastern) on the VERSUS network (formerly Outdoor Life Network). The show was rated one of the best field sports programs in its debut last year.

In support of the TRCP, the IAM has joined with other labor unions to co-sponsor Life in the Open and the newest show from the TRCP, Escape to the Wild. Slated to air in January, Escape to the Wild viewers will travel with lucky union sportsmen and women as they embark on once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

Each week viewers will get an intimate look at the outdoorsmen and women involved – union brothers and sisters. We’ll see not only their passion for life outdoors, but we’ll also get a glimpse at what their lives are like in the real world.

The TRCP is a non-profit organization that has a national focus on access and conservation issues affecting outdoorsmen. Its mission is to work to preserve the traditions of sportsmen by expanding access to places to hunt and fish, by conserving fish and wildlife and the habitats necessary to sustain them, and by increasing conservation and management.

Forest Service Officers to Receive Back Pay

Thanks to the diligence of the NFFE-IAM Forest Service Council and its Law Enforcement and Investigations (LEI) Committee, non-exempt Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) will now receive paid meal breaks.

LEOs represented by NFFE-IAM Federal District 1 recently notified the Council that they were not being paid during their lunch breaks. The Council’s LEI Committee researched the issue and found the practice to be violation of the law. The Council approached management with its findings, who then instituted a favorable new policy in compliance with the law. 

As of October 1, 2006, meals for non-exempt LEOs who receive Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime will be counted toward their hours of duty and will not be considered breaks.  A meal break of 30 consecutive minutes will be allowed as part of a paid, 8 hour day. 

Those officers eligible for back pay will receive those funds once processing by the National Finance Center is completed.  The practice had been going on for many years, but back pay can only be granted for the previous two years.  Even so, the approximately 400 LEOs represented by NFFE-IAM will each receive a check for an average of $5,000-8,000 dollars.

“The LEI Committee, under the leadership of Committee Chair Brian Webb, deserves all of the credit for carrying this issue forward,” said Forest Service Council President Bill Dougan.  “Without their hard work and commitment to ensuring that LEOs are appropriately compensated, this issue would not have been resolved.” 


Former IP Kourpias Urges Retirees to Vote

Below is a message from George J. Kourpias, former IAM International President, currently serving as President of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

I joined a union – the Machinists union – in 1952.  It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

I’ve been fortunate to serve in a number of different positions in labor and government over the years, but there is no title that has ever meant more to me than being called “brother.”

The labor movement built the middle class in this country.  We have made great strides toward justice on the job and in our communities.  We have so much to be proud of.
But unfortunately, the story hasn’t been that good lately.

Union retirees are seeing what we built beginning to crumble.  Good jobs sent overseas.
Pensions and health care vanish in the blink of an eye.  Big corporations walk away from their commitments to workers and retirees – knowing that the government won’t stand in their way.

As retirees, we worry about what we are leaving behind for our children and grandchildren.
On November 7, we can begin to change this.  The entire U.S. House of Representatives, one-third of the United States Senate, and 36 of our governors must go before the voters.

November 7 shouldn’t be just Election Day.  It should be Judgment Day.
It was the politicians who got us into a lot of these messes, and now we need some new ones to get us out of them.

Here are two reasons why each and every union retiree should vote on November 7:

First, we need to save Social Security.  President Bush and Republicans in Congress say they want to “reform” Social Security next year. 

But here’s the problem: their privatization scheme would gamble your Social Security on the whims of the stock market.  For you, it would be a big risk.  For those on Wall Street, it would be big profit.

And second, we need to fix Medicare.  Seven million seniors are falling into what is known as the “donut hole” – where they pay full price for their prescriptions, at the same time they pay full monthly premiums.  And meanwhile, the big drug companies and insurers keep making record profits from this new Medicare law.

Congress created this Medicare mess, but they refuse to fix it.  We need leaders in Washington who will fill in the “donut hole” and force Medicare to negotiate bulk discounts with the drug companies so your prescriptions cost less and we save taxpayer dollars.

I realize I’ve painted a pretty bleak picture of where we are today.  But why do I have hope?  What do I think we should do?

The answer, my brothers and sisters, is a four-letter word.

On November 7, a retiree’s place is in the voting booth.