The attempt by the Boeing negotiators to peddle a contract that provided less in pay and more in takeaways for the 960 IAM members in Wichita, KS is proving to be a unifying issue for all 18,500 IAM members now on strike at the world’s largest aerospace company.
“Wichita has always been in the master agreement, and they will always be in the master agreement,” said Aerospace Coordinator Dick Schneider, referring to a proposal by Boeing negotiators to uncouple the Wichita operation from the IAM-Boeing master agreement. That single agreement covers IAM members at Boeing facilities in Wichita, KS, Portland, OR and several locations in the Puget Sound area.
IAM Picket lines at all Boeing locations remain strong, with members in Washington and Oregon keenly aware of Boeing’s divide and conquer strategy. “We went into this strike together and we will come out of it together,” said District 751 President Mark Blondin.
In addition to cutting Wichita out of the master agreement, Boeing negotiators proposed smaller wage increases and the elimination of COLA for the Wichita workforce. District 70 President Steve Rooney said Boeing made a serious miscalculation if they expected IAM members to vote for a contract that treated workers in Wichita like second-class citizens. “The overwhelming vote to reject that offer and strike speaks for itself,” said Rooney.
IP Tom Buffenbarger confirmed that solidarity that was the keyword in all three Boeing locations after walking picket lines with striking workers in each state last week. “This strike will continue until Boeing makes an offer that treats every IAM member with the respect they deserve.”
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) urged delegates to stand up against President Bush’s effort to dismatle Social Security through privatization.
The annual Legislative Conference of the Alliance for Retired Americans is taking place this week in Washington, D.C., where more than 800 activists are descending on lawmakers and demanding their support for protecting Social Security, affordable health care and retirement security.
The main hall of the Washington Hilton, where the conference is headquartered, was filled to capacity with the nation’s most energized retirees. “Move it, buster. You’re in my seat,” said one silver-haired delegate to another as they jockeyed for position to hear keynote speakers New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger.
Sen. Clinton told of visiting hurricane-displaced seniors in Houston, where concerns about Social Security checks topped nearly all others. “There were some seniors who simply refused to leave their flooded homes,” said Clinton, who cautioned delegates not to believe the fight to save Social Security is over. “The President has said he will fight for Social Security privatization until his last day in office,” warned Clinton.
IP Buffenbarger blasted the Bush administration for their mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster and praised the union members, retirees and working people across the country who responded with generosity, compassion and help for the hurricane victims.
The Sept. 15 cutoff date to make room reservations at the Hyatt Regency Chicago for the IAM Organizing Summit is fast approaching. All Local and District Lodges are expected to be represented at this historic gathering, designed to generate membership growth through more aggressive involvement by local and district organizing committees.
“Each and every district and local lodge should come prepared with real and actual organizing leads for organizing targets within your respective jurisdiction,” said IP Buffenbarger. “It is now this generation of IAM members’ challenge to again grow and secure the future of our great Union, just as our parents and grandparents did for us.”
Union members in the Union Plus Credit Card Program who have experienced a significant loss of income due to a recent illness or disability may be eligible for an expanded safety net as part of the new Lifeline Trust program.
Cardholders may be eligible to receive a one-time Lifeline Trust Grant ranging from $500 to $2,000, and a one-time payment of up to $250 applied to their outstanding Union Plus balance.
In order to qualify for the benefits, union members must have experienced an illness or disability within the last 12 months that has kept them out of work for at least 90 days as well as experienced significant income loss, been a Union Plus cardholder at least 12 months and have opened the account prior to the date of the illness or disability. Cardholders must also document his/her circumstances and income loss.
To apply or learn more about the program, call the Lifeline Trust Helpline at 877-761-5028 to speak directly with a specially-trained Lifeline Trust representative.
The recent verdict against Merck and the national media coverage pertaining to the potential dangers of the prescription drug VIOXX has probably grabbed the attention of IAM members who have taken the drug at some point.
In an effort to better serve the needs of our members and their families, the IAM has contacted our national designated counsel, J. Weldon Granger, of the Jones & Granger law firm, to provide advice and information to members or their families who have been adversely affected by VIOXX.
If any IAM members or their family have suffered a heart attack, stroke or death while taking the prescription drug VIOXX or CELEBREX, they should immediately contact our designated attorneys at 1-800-318-3030 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jones & Granger law firm has represented IAM members and their families for over 30 years in matters pertaining to injury caused by products such as VIOXX and will provide information at no cost as part of the service provided to IAM members.