iMail for Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Transportation Wins 900 US Airways Members

The National Mediation Board (NMB) has certified the Machinists union as the collective bargaining representative for the Mechanic & Related Class and Craft at US Airways. The IAM and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters were both competing for representation rights following the airline’s merger with America West Airlines. The Teamsters represented America West’s 900 mechanics, while the IAM has represented workers at US Airways and its predecessors since 1949. The NMB’s action extinguished the Teamsters’ representation rights for the former America West mechanics.

“IAM members showed tremendous support for their union,” said General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “We are prepared to immediately enter into transition negotiations with US Airways to ensure fair seniority integration, provide the secure IAM National Pension Plan and provide active and furloughed employees of the combined airline with the job opportunities they deserve.”

The NMB determined the Teamsters failed to show sufficient interest from the combined workforce to call for an election. On August 11, 2006, the NMB granted the IAM’s request for certification. The NMB already certified the Machinists as the representative for the combined airline’s Fleet Service employees, adding 2,400 new IAM members. The IAM’s application to represent US Airways’ Stock Clerks was filed on August 2, 2006, but the NMB has not made a determination on the issue.

IAM Members Excel, TSA Falls Short

The enhanced security procedures enacted last week caused disruptions at airports across the country, but not the widespread chaos predicted by the media. “The new procedures increased workloads and generated many questions and unexpected situations that IAM members handled with their usual professionalism,” said General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “The job IAM members continue to perform under extreme circumstances is commendable. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), however, could have responded better.”

Following the announcement of the latest terror threat and increased security procedures, passengers were herded into massive lines that snaked through airports. Upon reaching the front of the lines, passengers at many airports were met with an unexpected sight – closed screening lanes. Expensive security screening machines (paid for by the same passengers waiting in line) stood idle because the TSA is limited by law to only 45,000 screeners nationwide and does not have the necessary manpower to operate an appropriate number of security lanes at many airports.

Additionally, the TSA recently nixed plans for Gulfstream Airlines, whose Flight Attendants are represented by the IAM, and Delta Airlines to begin service this fall to Marathon Airport in the Florida Keys because they could not provide the required screeners. “The TSA has finite resources for managing security services in airports around the country and it’s difficult for us to add new airports,” said TSA spokesman Christopher White.

“The TSA is forced to under-staff airport screeners, limit cargo inspections and neglect Amtrak and commuter rail security because of budget constraints,” said GVP Roach. “Transportation security and the industry’s growth are crucial to our nation’s economy and should not be cheated by short-sighted policies that erode our nation’s security.”

Two IAM Lodges Receive FMCS Grants

Local Lodge 2779 in Ebensburg, PA, Local Lodge 1377 in Waukesha, WI and their employers won more than $125,000 in grant money from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).

The labor-management leaders of Local Lodge 2779 and Penn Metal Fabricators, Inc. will use the FMCS grant to create an onsite computer lab for training and education for all employees. IAM members at Penn Metal perform metal fabrication and welding for the U. S. military, aviation, biomedical, construction and electrical industries and the U.S. Postal Service.

Local Lodge 1377 and their employer, Waukesha Engines, a business unit of Dresser Inc., will use the FMCS funds to transition from a voluntary-based training center to a mandatory-based training system that will focus on employee workplace-skills development. Waukesha Engines’ primary products are spark-ignited, gaseous-fueled engines, power generation and other mechanical drive applications.

They also developed the cooperative fuel research engine that has become the world standard test equipment for determining the octane in gasoline.

“These two Lodges and their employers are implementing an HPWO program and these grants will further their partnership,” said IAM’s High Performance Work Organization (HPWO) Department Director Don Kennedy, who credits IP Tom Buffenbarger for helping win the grants. “It goes to show that labor and management working together is best for both – labor and management.” To learn more about HPWO Partnerships, click on the HPWO Department at

Working Women Sound Off in AFL-CIO Survey

Nearly 90 percent of working women queried in a recent survey say they are very worried about what kind of workplace the next generation will find. That’s just one of the findings in the AFL-CIO’s 2006 Ask a Working Woman Survey

More than 22,000 women took the survey and identified affordable medical coverage as the top concern, with 97 percent saying they were nervous about the rising cost of quality health care. Additional top concerns identified by working women include pay not keeping up with the cost of living, disappearing retirement benefits and equal pay for equal work. However, the high cost of health care surpassed concerns about pay equality for the first time.

According to one respondent quoted in the Public Radio’s Marketplace program; “If we work, we can’t afford the high cost of daycare. If we stay home with the kids, we can’t afford the high cost of health care.”

DeLay Draws a Blank

Former Texas politics powerhouse and GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s decision to resign from Congress and move to Alexandria, VA has left the race for his former House seat up for grabs. Because DeLay resigned after he won the Texas primary, his name must either appear on the November ballot or be left blank. A court of appeals upheld the law and conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia refused to overturn the appeals court decision.

DeLay later announced he would stay in Alexandria, VA and have his name removed from the ballot, forcing the GOP to mount a write-in campaign against Democratic candidate Nick Lampson. Sugar Land, TX mayor David Wallace is the first GOP contender to file as a write-in candidate. The Texas GOP faces significant hurdles in a write-in campaign, including the difficulty of entering write-in candidates on touch-screen voting machines.

IAM’s Flynn Appointed to Maritime Safety Committee

Mike Flynn, director of the IAM’s Safety and Health Department, has been appointed to the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (MACOSH) as an Employee Representative.

As a member of the MACOSH committee, he will advise the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health on safety issues and concerns relating to workers involved in shipbuilding and other maritime occupations.

OSHA is expected to convene up to three MACOSH committee meetings per year, with the first being convened in September or October.