iMail for Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NAACP 100th Anniversary Convention in Full Swing

One hundred years of service continues this week as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) holds its 100th anniversary convention in New York City with theme “Bold Dreams-Big Victories.” The NAACP was founded in 1909 in New York City.

More than five-thousand attendees, both delegates and observers, have gathered in New York to hear from NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors Julian Bond and a host of civil rights activists and speakers from all walks of life to talk about the vision and the future of the NAACP. The Convention will conclude on Thursday with an address from President Barack Obama and The Freedom Fund/Spingarn Awards Presentation.

IAM delegates, led by Executive Assistant Diane Babineaux, are in attendance to help forge the future of the next one-hundred years. “It has been both overwhelming and invigorating to see all of the people, especially the young people, who are here for this great occasion,” said Babineaux.

National Education Association Supports Delta Organizing Campaign

Support for the IAM organizing campaign at Delta Air Lines continues with a resolution of support adopted last week by the Representative Assembly of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association (NEA).

The NEA is the nation’s largest professional employee organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Its 9,000-delegate Assembly is the organization’s primary legislative and policymaking body. Part of this year’s focus was to help rebuild the middle class by strengthening the labor movement.

“Plain and simple, you can’t have a middle class without unions!” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel during his keynote speech. “Today’s fights are the fights for working Americans… They cannot be fought alone. They will require us to work alongside our allies. These fights will require a strong, unified, labor movement. So, we must do our part to rebuild that movement to what it once was.”

“The IAM would like to thank the NEA and its members for their show of solidarity in our fight to defend our Northwest membership and extend representation to Delta,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “When the lives of thousands of workers and their families are on the line, it’s important that all brothers and sisters in the labor movement stand united behind the rights of workers to bargain for a better quality of life.”

IAM Calls For New Export Policies to Create Jobs

At a recent hearing before the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, the IAM’s Director of Trade and Globalization, Owen Herrnstadt, called for new measures to ensure that our nation’s export policies promote the creation of jobs in North America.   

During the hearing, Herrnstadt recommended that the government implement employment impact analysis whenever a company seeks an export license that involves the transfer of production to another country.

“Incorporating strong measures that make certain our export policies assist in the creation of good jobs here at home is crucial if we are to succeed in rebuilding a strong and vibrant economy,” he said.

Former Kalaski Award Winner’s Work Featured on Front Page

2004 Robert J. Kalaski award winner and former IAM Local Lodge 141 editor Harry Katopodis of Michigan has shed light on the state’s school funding crisis in an article featured on the front page of The Oakland Press.

“With the current economic downturn gripping both the state and the nation, funding schools is reaching a crisis level with no light coming from the end of the tunnel,” wrote Katopodis. “Shortfalls in the state’s budget have become annual events and have forced cuts in educational spending, including layoffs… Worse yet, many administrators and school officials fear the worst is yet to come.”

Katopodis was the former editor of the Local 141 Transporter and the Michigan Machinist in Detroit. His tenure at both publications earned him numerous awards including those from the IAM Newsletter & Web Design competition, the International Labor Communications Association contest, and the Midwest Labor Press competition. Katopodis is currently working as a Detroit-area high school journalism teacher, and in the process of completing a summer internship with The Oakland Press newspaper. Katopodis is still active in the Detroit area labor community.

Click here to read the full text of Katopodis’ article.

Communications Conference Reminder

IAM members in the United States are reminded they should act soon to obtain a passport if they plan to attend the 2009 Communications Conference set for Sept. 27 – 30, 2009 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Passports are now required for travel between the U.S. and Canada.

The Communications Conference will be held at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver and reservations can be made by calling 604-682-3377. The cutoff date for the special group room rate is August 26, 2009.

The 2009 conference features a full agenda of prominent speakers, the presentation of awards to winners of the popular IAM Newsletter and Website Contest and announcement of the Kourpias and Kalaski award winners to honor special achievements in labor journalism.

Click here for the official call and enrollment application or call the Communications Department at 301-967-4520.

Passport applications are processed by the U.S. State Department and can take from several weeks to several months to process. Additional information, instructions and a passport application form are available at: