iMail for Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Presidential Candidates to Join ‘Day of Action’

New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Delaware Senator Joe Biden and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich will address the Transportation Department’s 2007 ‘Day of Action’ rally in Washington, D.C., on May 17, 2007. The rally is aimed at highlighting the sacrifices and contributions of transportation workers worldwide.

“Our goal is to articulate a clear message, ‘Enough is Enough!’ and to do so at the front end of the 2008 presidential election cycle,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr., who is coordinating the event. “Union members have suffered grievously under the current gang that occupies the White House, but on May 17 our members will make their voices heard.”

The day-long rally will begin at 10 a.m. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. where more than 10,000 union members and representatives of global unions are expected to attend. Additional information can be found at

Metro-North Rail Workers Ratify New Contract

Union members in the Metro-North Labor Coalition voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new agreement that TCU International President Bob Scardelletti called “positive and progressive” and “a testament to the unity of the membership and to the labor coalition that persevered through four long years of difficult bargaining.” 

Highlights of the contract include substantial wage increases throughout the life of the contract, no increases to health and welfare contributions for current or new hires and improvements to the Defined Benefit Plan.

The coalition represents some 3,500 employees at Metro-North, a commuter railroad serving parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  Of these, some 800 clerks and 300 supervisors are members of TCU and another 200 are Machinists. In addition to the ratification votes of TCU units, coalition unions whose members also have ratified the contract are IAM District Lodge 19, IBEW System Council 7 and Local 1573, Firemen and Oilers (SEIU) System Council 2 and Transport Workers Locals 2001 and 2055.

“Throughout these years, our goal never changed: we were determined to reach a fair agreement containing the wage increases and improved benefits that our members deserve,” said TCU Vice President Joel Parker. “Thanks to the membership’s solidarity and resolve, we reached an agreement that is far superior to every previous offer, including the recommendation of Presidential Emergency Board 240.”

St. Louis Machinists Authorize Strike at Boeing

Members of District 837 employed at the Boeing-St. Louis, MO, facility voted overwhelmingly to authorize strike actions if a satisfactory contract is not tendered before the May 20 expiration of the current agreement. The vote was 1,167 to 38.

Member after member rose at the strike authorization meeting to express outrage over several proposals currently on the table. “The membership attending the meeting made it very clear to myself and the entire Bargaining Committee that they will not sit back and accept the proposals the Company currently has on the table regarding retention, mergers of existing classifications, and a new system of classifying workers,” declared Rick Smith, President and Directing Business Representative for approximately 2,600 Boeing employees.

The District 837 Negotiating Team, led by Smith, will begin main table meetings on April 30, 2007, knowing members at Boeing-St. Louis are willing to take whatever action is required to secure a good contract. The main table will focus on unresolved issues from the sub-committees and main economic issues.

District 837 members last struck the plant in 1996 when McDonnell Douglas still owned the facilities. Since Boeing bought out McDonnell Douglas in 1997, the membership has been increasingly displeased with the overall direction the company is taking.

Strikers Solid at Tennessee Muffler Maker

Car buffs and high-performance enthusiasts have known and loved the “Cherry Bomb” glass packs and Maremont Mufflers for years. But few are aware that International Muffler Company (IMCO) bought Maremont in 2006 and promptly began an assault on the workforce, calling for wage freezes, lower wages for new hires and sharply higher employee insurance costs. The company demands continued, ultimately forcing the 245 members of Local 2545 to strike the muffler maker on Feb. 5, 2007.

Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez visited the picket line in Louden, TN last week, and spoke with the members. “These are strong, proud people,” declared Martinez. “It’s inspiring to see their resolve and to witness the support they have in the community.” IAM members at last weekend’s meeting of the Tennessee State Council, raised over $1,000 for the strikers. Additional information and photos can be found at the Local 2545 website at

Wheel of Fortune Ads to Feature IAM Pride

In the weeks ahead, as many as 47 million TV viewers will see the IAM and its members featured in a series of commercials airing during the popular game show.

Look for the IAM spots and products between April 23 and May 18 and then again from August 27 through September 7 (including Labor Day). Check your local listings for program times as air dates draw nearer.

“We want America to know about the Machinists union and the products our members proudly manufacture,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “As the number-one syndicated show in America, Wheel of Fortune is a great way to get our message out about the Machinists union and the benefits of union membership.”

April 24 is Equal Pay Day

More than four decades after the Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it illegal to pay women less than men for work that is “substantially equal,” a 25-year old woman today will lose on average about $455,000 to unequal pay during her working life.

Today, Equal Pay Day, calls attention to the dramatic pay gap that still exists in many U.S. workplaces. According to recent data, a woman earns, on average, 77 cents for every $1 a man earns at an equivalent job.

Elected officials are considering two pieces of legislation to help close the pay gap: The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 766 and H.R. 1338), which would provide more effective remedies for victims of wage discrimination on the basis of sex and The Fair Pay Act (S. 1087), which would prohibit sex-based wage discrimination and would address the issue of comparable worth by calling for equal pay for equivalent work.

Members can send a message to legislators on this important issue by clicking here:

New Mexico Local Ratifies Contract with Lockheed

Members of Local 794 in Albuquerque, NM, who are employed by defense contractor Lockheed Martin at Kirtland Air Force Base, voted April 19 to ratify a new 3-year agreement that raises wages by 11 percent over the life of the accord. The IAM members at Kirtland work on the Aircrew Training and Rehearsal Support Systems (ATARS) for Fixed and Rotary Wing Aircraft.

Additional improvements achieved under Service Contract Act guidelines include a lump-sum wage payment of $2,000, an increase in Chief Instructor pay from $1.50 to $2.00 per hour, a 10 percent annual cap on increases to employee’s premium for medical insurance and numerous other language improvements.

The Negotiating Committee of Lanny Languit, Mike Briody and Duane Turner worked closely with Local 794 Business Rep. Ernest “Red” Dow, Special Rep. Don Gresham and Russ Whaley from the Lockheed Martin C-130 site at Little Rock AFB, AR.

“Through coordination and continued assistance from all involved, these negotiations were highly successful for our members working under this agreement and set a high standard to be matched in other area contracts,” said Aerospace Coordinator Ray Moffatt.


IAM Seeks $212 Million Claim in NWA Bankruptcy Case

The IAM filed a motion in U.S. bankruptcy court seeking full allowance of $212 million in claims related to the Series C judgment it obtained against Northwest Airlines (NWA) in 2005.

he IAM filed the joint motion with NWA, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) to allow the Series C judgment claims. The Unions also filed a brief in support of the motion.

Prior to the Northwest’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in 2005, the IAM and IBT won judgments against the airline for breach of contract over its refusal to honor its promise to repay the value of employee concessions in the amounts of $212 million and $65 million, respectively. Those judgments form the basis for the IAM and IBT bankruptcy claims.

If the bankruptcy court grants the IAM’s motion, the claims may be sold by the IAM and IBT trustees. The entire amount recovered through the sale of the claims will be distributed on a pro-rata basis to all eligible current and former Northwest employees. The IAM is not seeking to recoup any of the considerable fees and expenses it incurred in obtaining the Series C judgment in court.