iMail for Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Flight Attendants at Continental to Vote on Pact

Ratification voting will take place January 18-29 on the tentative agreement reached with Continental Airlines last week on behalf of the airline’s 8,300 Flight Attendants.

The terms of the four-year accord include: preservation of wage rates for current Flight Attendants; a top base pay rate of $50 per hour by the end of the agreement and a no-furlough clause.

The agreement also includes language to enhance crew rest and provides for participation in profit sharing and stock option plans. A summary of the proposed terms is available on the District 142 website,

Continental Airlines also agreed to contribute to the IAM National Pension Plan (NPP) on behalf of Continental Airlines Flight Attendants. Activating the NPP would be at the discretion of the IAM and its members, however, the plan would be activated immediately if the current Continental Airlines Retirement Plan is frozen or terminated.

“Our entire airline membership mandated that we take all steps to protect pensions, and we delivered for Continental’s Flight Attendants just as we did at other carriers,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr.

“We ensured that IAM Flight Attendants will not suffer the loss of a defined benefit pension plan and will be protected against what occurred to Flight Attendants at US Airways and United Airlines.”

In-person ratification voting will take place over a twelve day period from January 18-29, 2006. A separate but simultaneous strike vote will also be taken. IAM District 142 represents 8,300 Continental Airlines Flight Attendants at Local Lodges in Houston, Texas, Newark, New Jersey and Cleveland, Ohio.


IAM Objects to UAL ‘Greed Fest’

The IAM filed a 17-page objection in bankruptcy court to UAL Corporation’s plan to set aside more than $500 million to reward United CEO Glenn Tilton, senior management and UAL’s board of directors for their bankruptcy-related “achievements.”

“This management team and board of directors should not be rewarded for the sacrifices made by employees,” said District 141 President Randy Canale, who ridiculed the company proposal as outrageous.

“While United’s management and board were busy gutting the wages, pensions and benefits paid to IAM-represented employees, they were also devising a plan to enrich themselves with the savings.”

The plan could potentially provide bonuses to CEO Glenn Tilton of more than $100 million. Mr. Tilton is the highest compensated airline CEO in 2005 (up from the third highest paid airline CEO in 2004).

“It is grotesque that Mr. Tilton is poised to receive a huge bonus for his “achievements” in United’s bankruptcy,” said Canale. “Any ‘success’ attributable to Mr. Tilton is a direct result of the substantial cost savings provided by IAM-represented employees and other constituencies.”

A hearing will be held on the IAM’s and other objections on January 18, 2006.


Usinatech Workers to Join Local 922 in Quebec

The IAM has announced the filing for certification to represent the 123 workers at Usinatech in Melbourne, Québec who primarily do machining sub contract work for “Bombardier Recreational Products” in Valcourt, Quebec.

The Usinatech workers will join Local Lodge 922 in Sherbrooke, Québec which already services the workers of ICP, Sherwood, OMH, Xérium, AMF, Groupe Gaudreau, Sherbrooke QFLRC and Thetford Foundry.

The recruitment drive was supported by apprentice organizer Denis Boudreau, Grand Lodge Representative Mario Clermont, Quebec Coordinator Gilles Brosseau and the Local 922 organizing team.

Supreme Court to Review Texas Redistricting

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge brought against a Texas congressional redistricting plan that opponents have called partisan and unfair to minorities. The plan was pushed by former House Leader Tom DeLay and paved the way for six new Republicans seats in the House of Representatives.

Although the high court rarely hears “gerrymandering” cases, court experts expect the challenge to be successful because the redistricting plan reduces the ability of minority voters to effectively participate in the political process.

Even though a Bush political appointee did give permission for the Texas plan to be set in place, Justice Department lawyers had unanimously recommended that the Texas redistricting be disallowed.

According to a memo written by the lawyers, the plan failed to pass muster under each and every factor the Supreme Court has established for gauging whether or not a redistricting plan will reduce minority electoral opportunity.

“The Justice Department did not serve the interests of minority citizens in this case,” said Mark Posner, former Justice Department employee and election law professor at American University in Washington, D.C. “But, instead, served the political interests of the Republican Party.”


Revamped Newsbriefs Feature Canadian, French Content

The Communications Department has relaunched its Newsbriefs tool for local lodge editors, web stewards and communicators. Newsbriefs features labor news items that are meant to help round out print and electronic publications.

“Editors, web stewards and communicators work hard on reporting and writing local content,” said Communications Department Director Rick Sloan. “We’re offering them another perspective.”

Sloan said the department is also coordinating with GVP Dave Ritchie’s staff to offer exclusive Canadian content  in both English and French.
Check out NewsbriefsCanadian Newsbriefs, and Nouvelles Breves.

Organizing Summit Inspires District 27 Committee

Describing the recent IAM Organizing Summit in Chicago as an experience that made him “hungry to get started here at my home District,” District 27 Organizer Chris Bradley joined forces with IAM International Organizing Director Larry Washam to launch a program to generate additional organizing leads and provide assistance to ongoing organizing drives.

At a recent meeting with all Local Organizing Committees in District 27, Washam described what it takes to mount a successful organizing drive. “With careful consideration, proper use of our resources, and solidarity, we can build a winning record that will generate even more organizing wins,” said Washam.

“Across the Southern Territory, our Local and District Lodges are firing up their organizing committees,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “I’m proud of District 27 for focusing on organizing, and I’m sure it will bear fruit in the New Year.”