iMail for Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kansas Machinists to Reap $246 Million Windfall
Nearly 4,000 members of Local 839 in Wichita, KS, will divide $246 million in cash and stock following the initial public offering (IPO) of Spirit AeroSystems stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

Eligible IAM members employed by Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, KS, will each receive $61,440 thanks to a unique Union Equity Program (UEP) negotiated by Machinists Union leaders following the sale of Boeing’s Wichita operations in 2005. IAM members formerly employed by Boeing ratified a new contract with Spirit in 2005 that included the UEP in exchange for nearly $200 million in wage and benefit modifications.

“The distribution of approximately $246 million represents a significant offset to the wage and benefit modifications that followed the sale of Boeing’s Wichita operations,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Not only did we preserve jobs in the wake of a major corporate restructuring, we also negotiated terms that ensured our members would share in the success of the acquiring company.”

To limit the tax burden on members, the payout will take place in two parts. The cash portion of the distribution, approximately $34,556 or 56 percent of the total payout, will take place before the end of December 2006. The remaining $26,884 in stock awards will be made available in March of 2007.

“The benefit of this kind of equity sharing program extends far beyond IAM members and their families,” said District 70 President Steve Rooney. “Long after bills are paid and new vehicles are purchased, the local economy will continue to experience the long-term economic lift that only comes with high-value, high-wage jobs.”

IAM Blocks NWA Executive Compensation Plan
The bankruptcy court judge overseeing Northwest Airlines’ operation has authorized the carrier to honor the employment contracts of 41 officers and senior managers, however, Northwest was forced to modify its initial request after the IAM insisted that management contracts be treated no differently than its unions’ collective bargaining agreements.

Northwest had originally hoped to have the employment contracts assumed by the court, which would have prevented any further modifications during the bankruptcy. The IAM’s and ALPA’s (Air Line Pilots Association) objections forced Northwest to rescind that request. As a result, if union contracts are altered through the Section 1113 process, then similar changes can be made to executive employment contracts.

Arizona Rep. Giffords Joins Raytheon Picket Line
Newly-elected Rep. Gabriella Giffords (D-AZ), joined striking members of Local 933 on the picket line as they enter the third week of their strike against the Raytheon Missile Systems Company in Tucson, AZ. Congresswoman-elect Gifford recently won the eighth congressional district election, running on the message of fairness for Arizona families.
 
The nearly 1,900 members on strike at Raytheon are in a battle to control health care costs.  Additional issues include Raytheon’s proposal to arbitrarily modify employees’ out-of-pocket health care costs and a proposal to block new and rehired employees from participating in the company’s over-funded pension plan. Raytheon’s contract offer was soundly rejected by over 90 percent of the membership.

“We are not on strike because of demands we have made from the Raytheon Company, we have been forced into this strike because the company is insisting on ridiculous concessions,” said Local 933 Directing Business Representative Bobby Martinez. “To have Congresswoman Giffords come out and support our fight for dignity on the job proves that her message during the campaign was not just talk, that she really does care about the families of Tucson.”

Despite the strike, Local 933 continues to be an active member of the community, and will hold a Red Cross Blood Drive on December 1, 2006.  The drive will support the 25 area hospitals during the holiday season.

Manitoba District Welcomes 138 New Members
IAM District 181 in Winnipeg, Manitoba is opening its doors to 138 new members employed at Arow Global, Inc., following a successful organizing drive and certification vote held by the Manitoba Labour Board on Nov. 21, 2006.

“These workers came to us seeking assistance in obtaining fair wage rates, a pension plan and respect in the workplace,” said District 181 Business Representative Wayne Relf. “We had the required number of signed cards and even after the company expanded the list of workers eligible for representation, we still won the certification vote. I think that speaks volumes about the faith these workers place in the Machinists.”

The new members include Production workers, Leadhands, Mastercrafters, Machine Operators, Maintenance workers, Shippers/Receivers, Upholsterers, Mastercraft Welders, Welders and Painters. Arow Global designs, develops and manufactures window and door systems, parts and assemblies, modules and components for manufacturers of Transit buses, Intercity Coaches, Light and Medium Rail, Recreational Vehicles, Marine Crafts and emergency vehicles.

U.S. to Require Passports for Canada, Mexico Travel
Beginning on Jan, 23, 2007, nearly all U.S. citizens traveling abroad will be required to show a passport to reenter the United States. The new rule, announced this week by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff will also apply to U.S. citizens returning from Canada, Bermuda and Mexico. Currently, U.S. citizens returning from travel in those countries are not required to present passports, but must provide other proof of citizenship. Savvy travelers should not wait to renew or apply for a passport, as this new requirement will no doubt add to the time it takes to process and receive a U.S. passport.

Machinists Win Multiple ILCA Media Awards
Machinists union publications won several top honors in the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) annual Media Awards contest which honors the best in labor journalism. The ILCA  is a professional organization that supports labor communicators in North America and is an allied organization of the AFL-CIO. The annual ILCA Journalism/Media contest is open to ILCA member publications from dozens of local and international unions.

The IAM Journal won five different awards along with a nod to the 2006 IAM Calendar and a video award. Local Lodge 66’s Badger News, edited by Doug Curler, took Third Place honors for General Excellence and District 751’s Aero Mechanic, edited by Connie Kelliher, took Second Place for Best Graphic and a Special Award for Best Design.

“Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all of the IAM’s editors, web stewards and Communicators who make the Machinists union a leader in labor communications,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger.

2006 ILCA Media Contest Awards:
First Place – Best News Story – China Dolls (IAM Journal Spring 2005 )
Second Place – Saul Miller Organizing Story – “Democracy for Reynolds Tobacco Workers” (IAM Journal Spring 2005)
Third Place – Saul Miller Collective Bargaining Story – “Boeing Machinists Victorious Strike” (IAM Journal Fall 2005 )
Third Place – Best Cover – “China Dolls” (IAM Journal Spring 2005)
Third Place – Best Design – “Ethical Practices” (IAM Journal Summer 2005 )
Honorable Mention – General Excellence – IAM Journal
Third Place – Best Use of Graphics – 2006 IAM Calendar
Third Place – TV spot – “Liberty”