iMail for Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Machinists Call for Terminations at AIG 

The IAM today called for the immediate termination of every executive at American International Group, Inc. (AIG) who accepts a bonus payment.

“Gross incompetence is but one of the grounds to void those contracts,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “These executives destroyed their company. They triggered a global economic meltdown. They misappropriated taxpayer monies. Their gross incompetence is irrefutable. But another ground for firing them exists.

“If they accept those bonuses, they should be arrested and arraigned. What they did over the last four years was criminal. Just like Bernie Madoff, they constructed a global ponzi scheme meant to defraud investors and then hide their illegal actions from investigators. Those bonuses are little more than a blatant attempt to buy the silence of executives who planned, executed and were exceedingly well-compensated for the trillion-dollar scam know as credit default swaps,” added Buffenbarger.

Despite a massive public outcry, AIG is moving forward with plans to distribute $165 million of taxpayer aid to company executives, including those who supervised the division at AIG that was largely responsible for the company losing more than $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, the largest corporate loss in history.

The plan to pay senior AIG executives millions in taxpayer-funded bonuses comes just weeks after lawmakers demanded steep cuts in compensation for U.S. autoworkers as a condition for any financial assistance for the struggling auto companies.

“The double standards at work here are outrageous,” declared Buffenbarger.

The Machinists also took strong issue with the claim by AIG Chairman Edward Liddy and others who claim there are lawful and binding contracts requiring the obscene payouts.

“These contracts are neither legal nor binding. Look beyond the bonuses and ask ‘why would anyone pay for incompetence of this magnitude?’” suggested Buffenbarger. “The answer is obvious: Only by buying their executives’ silence can AIG ever hope to avoid criminal prosecution for fraud, conspiracy and suborning perjury.

“Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Even corporations like AIG and their executives deserve a presumption of innocence. But they do not deserve to have their criminal defense costs paid by the taxpayers. And if they will not return the bonuses paid and refuse the bonuses proffered, they are, in effect, admitting their guilt and furthering their conspiracy. That is also grounds for immediate termination,” said Buffenbarger.


Gallup Poll: Majority Support Employee Free Choice Act

A new independent poll shows majority public support for the Employee Free Choice Act. The Gallup survey finds 53 percent of respondents favored a new law that would “make it easier for labor unions to organize workers.” Only 39 percent of respondents opposed such a law.

The study was conducted with 1,024 people across the nation – without reference to the legislation by name or words like “card check.” The Gallup study was also done independently of any corporation or labor union.

“The Gallup poll finding that a majority of respondents favor the Employee Free Choice Act underscores the importance of this piece of legislation,” says IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “Not only is it proof that American workers want and deserve a bigger piece of the economic pie when it comes to better wages, benefits and a sound retirement, it also shows that we’re no longer going to allow corporations to stand in our way of getting it.”

The survey revealed there is room for the labor movement to gain more support in Congress, including the Senate, where the legislation is expected to meet the most opposition.

The Employee Free Choice Act was introduced to Congress last week. The bill makes it easier for workers to join unions and bargain for better wages, benefits and a secure retirement; strengthens penalties for employers who harass, intimidate or fire workers who try to form a union; and provides for arbitration if an employer does not bargain in good faith for a first contract.
           
President Obama has vowed to sign the bill if it reaches his desk. Click here to send a message to Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act and put the power of economic growth back into the hands of the American people.


Sign the TRCP Petition to Protect Wetlands

America has lost more than half of its original 221 million acres of natural wetlands and we continue to lose approximately 80,000 more acres each and every year. Unfortunately, these areas that are so important to fish and wildlife have become even harder protect.  That is why the organization that brought you the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance needs your help in signing a petition regarding the importance of protecting this important natural resource.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) seeks 80,000 signatures on its ‘We Are Wetlands’ petition and will present this petition to President Obama in an effort to emphasize the importance of clean water to hunters and anglers and the wetlands, streams and lakes we use.

The TRCP has have reached 50,000 signatures but needs your help to reach their goal.  Take the TRCP Wetlands Challenge by signing the petition today, and get five of your friends and family to do the same.  If you have not signed yet, please do so today by going to www.WeAreWetlands.org – it only takes a few seconds!


Three Days from Start to Finish – a New Record

The newest members of Local 235 in Toronto, ON, didn’t waste any time after joining the IAM, ratifying a first collective bargaining agreement with their employer Turbo-Gen, in just three days after becoming members.

“When you organize a group of workers and they ratify their first collective agreement in only three days, it has to be some sort of record,” said District 78 Organizer Scott Jackson.

Among the terms of the three-year agreement are wage increases of $1.00 per hour in each year of the accord, a pension contribution of $2,000 per year to be paid by the employer and a travel per diem of $55 per day.

The 20 new members included Technical-Field Advisors, Millwrights and Student Laborers who install and maintain industrial pumps and turbines in a variety of industries across Ontario.


Deadline Near for EAP-II Class

The application deadline for the 2009 Employee Assistance Professional – II Pilot Program (EAP-II) at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, Maryland is March 20, 2009. The EAP-II pilot class will be held June 7 through June 12, 2009, for members interested in EAP studies and who have previously attended EAP-I.

Click here for a copy of the official call and an application form. For more information, contact the Community Services/EAP/Retirees Department at 301-967-3433.