iMail for Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Boeing Strikers Determined to Prevail

International President Tom Buffenbarger joined IAM members this weekend on picket lines outside Boeing facilities in Everett, WA, Portland, OR and Wichita, KS, where the strike over wages, pensions, health care and job security is entering its second month.
“This strike matters to every IAM member in North America,” said Buffenbarger. “When a successful company like Boeing refuses to protect the jobs of the men and women who made those profits possible, we have no choice but to take them on.”

In a recent memo to Boeing employees, Boeing CEO James McNerney complained the strike was undermining the company’s “reputation for reliability,” a curious charge given Boeing’s recent ethical blunders, outsourcing woes and delivery snafus.

“The fact is our members have bent over backwards for this Company to make them profitable,” said Aerospace Coordinator and lead negotiator Mark Blondin. “We have participated in every lean program, new initiative and offered alternative ideas – all to make them successful. It is our members who step up and get the job done for Boeing every time. We will continue to do that, but not at the price of our jobs.”

Despite a standing IAM offer to meet with Boeing negotiators and regular contact with the federal mediator, Boeing has refused to explore proposals on job security. The IAM is seeking written contract language to ensure that jobs historically performed by Machinist Union members will continue to be performed by IAM members.

“The IAM is not on strike to harm Boeing or its customers,” said Blondin. “However, we are on strike and our members have made it clear that protection of IAM jobs and the scope of IAM work is critical to getting a ratified agreement.”

Additional information about the strike is available at

Freight Rail Contract Ratified

Under the terms of a newly ratified contract covering nearly 8,000 Machinists on the Nation’s Class I Freight Rail Carriers, base pay will increase approximately 14 percent over the life of the accord. The new agreement also caps health care premiums and includes Cost of Living pay adjustments for IAM members. 

“Joe Duncan and his negotiating team did an outstanding job on behalf of our Class 1 members,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. 

The wage provisions of the contract are retroactive to July 1, 2006, while other provisions of the contract are retroactive to July 1, 2005. The new agreement becomes amendable on Jan. 1, 2010.

“Unlike the financial and managerial problems plaguing the nation’s airlines, freight rail operators have enjoyed record profits,” said District 19 President Joe Duncan. “However, this did not make the negotiations for the new freight rail agreement easy.”

Bargaining was marked by the carriers’ not wanting to fully recognize the value of its employees and by delays inherent with negotiating under the auspices of the National Mediation Board (NMB), the agency charged with facilitating rail and airline negotiations.

“Our rail members are keenly aware of the impact the Railway Labor Act, the NMB and prior ‘pattern’ settlements can have on our collective bargaining rights,” said Joe Duncan.

“In spite of these obstacles we extracted everything we could from the company in this round of negotiations. Our membership recognized this accomplishment by strongly approving the Agreement. I thank each and every IAM member subject to this Agreement for their support and cooperation during this process.”

Local 846 Member is Sister of the Month

This month’s Sister of the Month honor goes to Vickie Cheek, a 12-year member of Local 846 in Baltimore, MD, where she currently serves as the local’s Recording Secretary as well as Trustee for District 143. Additional posts she’s held while working as a Reservations Agent at Northwest Airlines include: Communicator; Educator; Local Lodge Trustee and a wide variety of positions on committees within the local and district.

Widowed while pregnant at the age of 28, Vickie understands overcoming adversity and balancing the demands of work and family. A strong believer that we all have a responsibility to make things better for future generations, Vickie began as a shop steward, and went on to help create The Friendship Flyer newsletter for her local, serving as editor for 11 years. 

Vickie credits her involvement to the mentoring she received from “seasoned” union sisters and brothers and urges everyone to mentor the next era of union leaders.  For sisters looking to take the next step, she says, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, find mentors, build networks and take advantage of every opportunity, even if you have to use your own time to do it.”

Machinists Continue to Grow at Trudeau Airport

Twenty employees who provide aircraft towing services for Gestion-Air at Pierre – Elliot Trudeau International Airport have turned to the IAM for professional representation.

“These employees realized after a period of time that their demands to their employer through their employee committee had no real results,” explained District 140 Organizer Robert Savoie. “We had been talking with them for more than a year and they knew they needed help in solving their workplace issues, so they turned to us.”

Southern Territory Names Special Representatives

IAM members throughout the Southern Territory will benefit from decades of combined organizing, bargaining and servicing experience with the addition of Mark Love and Tony Blevins as the region’s newest Special Representatives.

Mark Love hails from Local 834 in Wichita, KS, where he served as Shop Steward, Vice President, Organizer and Strike Coordinator during the 1995 Boeing strike. In May of 1997, Love took on the responsibility of Organizer for District 70 and was elected Business Representative. Love has also been President of the Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation, and is currently President of the Kansas State Council of Machinists and the Kansas AFL-CIO.

Tony Blevins joined Local 2003 in Daleville, AL, in November 1985 after serving four years active duty in the United States Marine Corps. Employed as a helicopter crew chief for Army Fleet Support at Ft. Rucker, Blevins quickly took on the job of Shop Steward, holding the position for ten years while working his way through college, earning a pair of degrees.

Blevins was elected President of the 3,000-member Local 2003 and served in the position for four years before being elected in 2005 as Business Representative for District 75.

“Brother Blevins and Brother Love are both smart, hard-working Reps who are among the best the IAM has to offer,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “They’ve been outstanding in their Locals and Districts, and I am confident they’ll be a great addition to the Southern Territory staff.”

USA Contest to Give Away NASCAR Trip

This November, one lucky member of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and a guest will head to the Lone Star State for a weekend of NASCAR racing at the Texas Motor Speedway, compliments of the USA and Beretta-USA.

The trip includes airfare, three nights lodging, two tickets to the November 2008 NASCAR weekend along with VIP passes to the Beretta private suite and pit passes. Plus, the winner will receive a brand new U.S.A. made Beretta 3901 American Citizen Shotgun.

The USA is North America’s premier hunting and fishing club exclusively for union members, retirees and their families. As a program of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), the AFL-CIO and 20 of its affiliated unions, the USA extends union member benefits beyond the workplace to the woods and water. One of those benefits is ongoing giveaways for USA members, including firearms, knives, trips, a Triton boat and now the NASCAR trip.

All USA members age 18 and older may enter to win the prize package by completing an entry form on the USA website by October 15, 2008. The winner will be chosen on October 17, 2008. Click HERE to complete an entry form and you could be off to the races! Link:


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