iMail for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IAM Demands Proper Use of TARP Funds

The IAM is urging Department of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to set rules regarding the use of bailout dollars and how they are to be used by the banking industry.

Among the latest series of reports regarding the widespread misuse of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds are those in which banks are using the money to finance mergers between major pharmaceutical companies. Those mergers are projected to result in the loss of 35,000 jobs, mostly in the United States.

JPMorgan Chase is reportedly putting up $8.5 billion to finance a merge between Merck and Schering Plough. The merger is expected to result in the loss of 16,000 jobs – some of which may include members of Local Lodge 315 in New Jersey. Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup and JPMorgan will provide $22.5 billion to finance a Pfizer and Wyeth deal, which is expected to cause 19,000 layoffs.

In a letter to Secretary Geithner, IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger expressed his outrage over the latest developments.

“The purpose of TARP and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) is to restore liquidity and stability to the financial system and assist middle-class Americans by protecting their home values, college funds, retirement accounts, and life savings,” Buffenbarger wrote. “These big mergers in the pharmaceutical industry are not doing anything to stimulate the economy. Instead they are costing thousands of working families their jobs.

“By financing big mergers in the pharmaceutical industry, TARP funds are being directed in a manner that may force more American families into foreclosure, destroy retirement savings, and make it more difficult to meet daily economic needs.”

Buffenbarger is calling on the Treasury Department to quickly issue clear guidelines to TARP recipients on how the funds are to be used. He says it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure the funds “provide tangible economic benefits to American families.”

Mass Layoff Rate Hits New Record

Mass layoffs for all industries, including the manufacturing sector, rose to their highest levels on record last month, says the Department of Labor.

The latest report shows 2,769 mass layoff events during the month of February, which resulted in 295,477 people losing their jobs. That’s 57,575 more claims for unemployment insurance due to mass layoffs than in January.

In manufacturing, employers took 1,235 mass layoff actions last month, which resulted in 152,618 new unemployment claims. That’s an increase of 50,041 new claims compared to January.

A mass layoff is defined as when 50 or more people file for unemployment insurance benefits against a single employer during a five-week period, regardless of duration. This does not include workers who lost their jobs due to a plant closing.

Amtrak to Issue Back Pay on May 1st

Amtrak announced it will make the second installment of back pay to eligible employees on May 1, 2009. The payment covers the remaining 60 percent of retroactive pay due to Amtrak employees under several rail agreements, including members of the IAM and the Transportation Communications Union (TCU).

Amtrak could have spread the second payment out over a longer time period, but Amtrak President Joe Boardman and the Amtrak board authorized that all of the $145 million would be paid on May 1, 2009, Amtrak’s 38th anniversary.

All employees who received the first retroactive payment are eligible for the second.

Click here for the letter from Amtrak announcing the payment.

Enroll Now for Spanish Leadership I

Local Lodges and Districts are encouraged to send in enrollments soon for the Spanish Leadership I program scheduled for April 5 – 10, 2009, at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, Maryland.

The Spanish Leadership I program covers the same subjects included in the regular Leadership I Program but with all classroom instruction and materials in Spanish.  Enrollments in the Spanish Leadership I program do not count against a Lodge’s regular leadership program allotment.

Click here for the enrollment forms for Spanish Leadership I and Spanish Leadership II or contact Anne Wiberg at 301-373-8823.

Inscribase Ya al Programa de Liderazgo en Espanol I

Se hace una invitación a Locales y Distritos a mandar sus inscripciones para la clase de Liderazgo en Español I que está programada para el 5 – 10 de Abril, 2009, en el Centro Educativo William W. Winpinsinger en Hollywood, Maryland.

El Programa de Liderazgo en Español cubre los mismos temas que son incluidos en la clase regular de Liderazgo en Inglés, solo que las clases son instruidas con materiales totalmente en Español.  Inscripciones en la clase de Liderazgo Español I no cuentan en contra de los Locales o los Distritos para las clases regulares de Inglés.

Marque aqui para obtener la solicitud para la clase de Liderazgo en Español I y Liderazgo en Español II o por favor llame a Anne Wiberg al 301-373-8823.

Reservation Deadline Near for Legislative Conference

The 2009 IAM Legislative Conference will be held May 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. The cut-off date for reduced room rates is April 2, 2009. Call the hotel at 202-737-1234 to make your room reservations.

Delegate registration will be on Monday, May 11 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and again on Tuesday May 12 from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. The conference will kick off on Monday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. with opening remarks by Headquarters GVP Rich Michalski, who will serve as permanent chairperson. IAM President Tom Buffenbarger will deliver the keynote address.

The general session will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 12 noon on Tuesday, May 12 and Wednesday, May 13. There will be no afternoon sessions scheduled those days so that delegates may lobby on Capitol Hill.

For a copy of the official call letter, click here.