iMail for Tuesday, July 29, 2008

IAM to Defend Airline Pensions at Merger Hearing 

Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. will testify on July 30, before the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions, about the proposed Delta Air Lines – Northwest Airlines merger and its potential impact on workers and their pensions.

“The Machinists Union strongly opposes the Delta/Northwest merger because it will eliminate jobs, reduce choices for passengers and do nothing to address the problems of a troubled industry,” said GVP Roach. “The IAM also has great concern about the loss of pension benefits if the proposed merger is successful.”

If the combined giant airline failed and entered bankruptcy court protection, the frozen company-sponsored pension plans could be thrust upon the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). This would burden the PBGC with more than $15.6 billion in liabilities on top of its $13.1 billion deficit for fiscal year 2007.

The Machinists Union represents 12,500 Northwest Airlines workers and is currently organizing Delta Air Lines’ ground workers.

Reserve Hotel Rooms Now for Grand Lodge Convention

August 1, 2008, is the cutoff date for reduced room rates at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center, where the IAM will hold the 37th Grand Lodge Convention on September 7-13, 2008.

“I would strongly urge any delegate who has not yet reserved their room to do so before August 1,” said GST Warren Mart. “Room rates after that date may be considerably higher than the reduced rate of $149 plus tax, which was negotiated for IAM delegates.”

Delegate registration will be at the Convention Center between the hours of 4:00 pm and 7 pm on Friday, September 5; between the hours of 8:00 am and 7 pm on Saturday, September 6; and between the hours of 8:00 am and noon on Sunday, September 7, 2008.

The Convention will convene at 2 pm on Sunday, September 7, 2008. It is suggested that delegates arrive in Orlando in advance of the opening of the Convention so that every delegate can be accredited.

Moyers, Hollings Interview is Worth Watching

Few members of Congress were quicker with a quote or more critical of government foolishness than former South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings, who recently sat down for a revealing interview with PBS journalist Bill Moyers.

After providing an insider’s view of how lawmakers’ time in Washington is consumed by the demands of fundraising for their reelection campaigns, Hollings lit into the leaders of Congress for failing to protect American industries and American workers from the ravages of unregulated free trade.

When Moyers asked why, Hollings declared bluntly: “They can’t do it because they have to get the money. You put in a (good) trade bill and down on your head comes the Wall Street Journal and the big banks and the Business Round Table and the National Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. They’re not for domestic (manufacturers), they’re for the Chinese and Indian manufacturer.”

Hollings, who proudly called himself a protectionist during his 38 years in the Senate, railed against the loss of American-owned companies. “What hasn’t been outsourced is being bought with the cheap dollar,” said Hollings. “Vodophone is gone to the Germans, Bell Labs is gone to the French with all their research and everything else. Westinghouse Nuclear with all of their research and technology is going to Toshiba in Japan.”

A video and transcript of the interview, which aired on July 25, is available on the PBS website at:

District 5 Organizes Helicopter Techs at Minot AFB

IAM District 5 won a unanimous vote at Doss Aviation Inc. bringing 17 new members into the IAM on July 21, 2008. Our new members work as helicopter mechanics, in quality assurance and as supply technicians. Doss aviation is located at Minot Air Force Base nearMinot, ND.

According to District 5 Organizer Kevin Murch, our new members want better wages, better fringe benefits and fairness in the workplace.  Murch proudly said, “This group stood strong.  They clearly understood the benefits of organizing under the Service Contract Act for themselves and their employer.” 

“Just as organizing interest peaked at Doss Aviation, the IAM was holding a Service Contract Act organizing seminar in Minot, ND,” said Murch.  ”The seminar was conducted by the William W. Winpisinger Center, the IAM Organizing Department, the IAM Midwest Territory and IAM District 5.”

During the Service Contract Act seminar a call was made to contacts at Doss who came out to meet with GLR Rod Hoffman, Organizer Kevin Murch and Jim Hogoboom.

IAM Local 2525 member Jim Hogoboom had been in contact with employees at Doss Aviation.  Jim works for another contractor at Minot Air Force Base called Yulista.  Murch praised Hogoboom saying, “It was Jim’s efforts at the base that made this win possible.”

“The IAM represents workers at two other Doss Aviation locations and a recent contract settlement at one of those facilities was a very important factor in the decision to vote for the IAM,” said Murch.

IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber praised everyone involved in the effort saying, “We appreciate the hard work and dedication of DBR Dennis Walworth, District 5 Organizer Kevin Murch and Local 2525 activist Jim Hogoboom in their efforts to grow our great union.”

District 160 Wins Organizing Honors, Again

Led by DBR Don Hursey, District 160 in Seattle, WA, has again taken the “250 Club” trophy in the Western Territory’s annual organizing competition.  The tally for the last 12 month period was 346 new workers organized by the district into the IAM, bringing the district’s total trophy count to four.

“Don Hursey and his team have been consistent in their pursuit of the 250 minimum goal set by the IAM in 2003,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson. “This award was started five years ago and this is the fourth year that Don and his team have won the award.  Congratulations District Lodge 160 for this extraordinary effort.”

District 75 Units See Big Contract Gains

Members of Local 449 in Panama City, FL, voted overwhelmingly last week to ratify a three-year agreement with Defense Support Services (DS2), securing wage increases of four percent in the first year and 3.5 percent in the second and third year.

The 270 members, who work at Tyndall Air Force Base, will also see equity adjustments for all classifications, increased employer contributions to the employee 401K plan and increased vacation and accrual rates.
Also in District Lodge 75, nearly 80 members from Local 2902 in Pensacola, FL, voted overwhelmingly to ratify a three-year agreement with Fidelity Technologies that provides an astounding 22.5 percent wage increase in the first year, in addition to wage increases of 4.5 percent the second and third year.

The Local 2902 members, who work in facilities at NAS Whiting and NAS Pensacola will also see the implementation of the IAM Pension Plan, the IAM 401K plan, the IAM Benefits Trust 01 Medical Plan, the IAM Benefits Dental and Vision plans and the Machinists Custom Choices Worksite Benefits Program.

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