iMail for Tuesday October 28, 2008

Machinists in Tentative Deal with Boeing

After 52 days of picket line solidarity and membership resolve, the IAM announced a tentative agreement with the Boeing Company on a contract that provides job security for members and limits the amount of work outside vendors can perform in the workplace.

The agreement was hammered out over a five-day period with assistance from federal mediators and participation at the bargaining table by IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger and IAM General Vice President Rich Michalski. Additional resources and technical support was provided by various departments at IAM headquarters.

If approved by members, the contract will provide a 15 percent increase in wages over the life of the agreement, a pension plan multiplier of $83 per year of service and continuation of existing health care benefits with no cost shifting to employees. In addition to pay and benefits, members will receive bonuses of $5,000 or 10 percent of the previous year’s earnings, whichever is greater.

The tentative agreement has the unanimous endorsement of the IAM negotiating committee and will be presented to members for a ratification vote, which will take place in a matter of days. A simple majority is required to ratify the tentative agreement.

“This tentative agreement is the result of hard work and great sacrifice by many people,” said IAM Aerospace Coordinator Mark Blondin. “But no one deserves more credit than the workers at Boeing, who conducted themselves with dignity and determination throughout this ordeal. On behalf of the entire negotiating committee, I want to say it has been our honor to serve as their representatives.”

Additional information about the tentative agreement is available at

IAM Campaign Underway in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio

The IAM began a three-state tour this week in Calvert City, KY, to educate union members about the Bush administration’s $700 billion bailout for banks and investment firms.

With a 40-foot-long banner that declared: “Wall Street Got the Gold Mine – We Got the Shaft!” as a backdrop, IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger urged union members to hold elected officials accountable, not only for their vote on the bailout, but for their silence while Wall Street ran wild.

“For the last eight years, the Wizards of Wall Street have operated an international Ponzi scheme,” declared Buffenbarger in a fiery speech to union members in Calvert City. “They created a blizzard of worthless paper and made billions in profits for their firms and millions in bonuses for themselves.”

Local union leaders, elected officials and candidates will join Buffenbarger on the tour, which includes events in Henderson, KY, Louisville, KY, Cincinnati, OH, Middletown, OH, Toledo, OH, Cleveland, OH and Erie, PA before concluding with a rally in Pittsburgh, PA on October 29, 2008.

Infrastructure Projects Best Bet to Boost Economy

 Getting the economy back on track will be one of the biggest problems facing the next president and Congress. Many economists agree that a new economic stimulus package will be needed. A recent study by Mark Zandi of Moody’s shows that government spending on infrastructure projects, tax relief to working families, better unemployment benefits and aid to states has a much greater economic benefit than the tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy that have been pushed by the Bush Administration.

Each dollar spent on infrastructure projects produces $1.59 in economic benefits, while each dollar spent on corporate tax cut only produces 30 cents in economic benefits, according to the study.

“As money is spent, it creates beneficial ripples throughout the entire economy,” said Ethan Pollack of the Economic Policy Institute. Choosing priorities “such as infrastructure spending, aid to states, food stamps and unemployment insurance benefits are more cost effective because they target the needs most likely to channel money back into the economy.”

In October, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed an extension of unemployment benefits. President Bush threatened to veto the measure, claiming it would encourage out-of-work Americans to not find jobs. GOP senators blocked passage of the unemployment benefit extension, but they continue to push for corporate and capital gains tax cuts that end up costing more than twice as much as the economic benefit they produce.

Yellowstone Maintenance Workers Win New Agreement

Fifteen members of Local 88 in Butte, Montana, garnered a new contract with Xanterra Parks and Resorts at Yellowstone National Park last week. Highlights of the agreement include general wage increases of 3.75 percent, 3.75 percent and three percent in addition to pension improvements and significant increases in short-term disability payouts.

IAM members at Yellowstone National Park maintain everything from the historic Yellow Buses to snowmobiles. Xanterra provides service contract work as the park’s primary concessioner.

“Congratulations to GLR Mike Wardle and committee members Chief Steward Lane Abke, Jerry Thomas and Kevin Pfiefer for a job well done,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson. “The work of these members helps ensure the visitors to Yellowstone have a safe and rewarding experience, and their talent in maintaining such a wide variety of machines is remarkable.”

Missouri Local Ratifies New Deal with Honeywell

The 920 IAM members of Local 778 who work at Honeywell FM&T in Kansas City, MO, recently ratified a new three-year labor agreement that includes annual wage increases of three percent, in addition to a $6 increase in the annual pension calculation. The local negotiating committee was also able to preserve existing Cost of Living language in the new agreement.

The members of Local 778 work in production, assembly, and quality control. The new agreement also covers several skilled trade unions.
Local 778 Directing Business Representative Claude L. Harris thanked Grand Lodge Representative Rod Hoffman and Tazewell Hurst from IAM Strategic Resources saying, “We sincerely appreciate the help we received from the Grand Lodge in formulating our contract proposal and throughout the negotiations.”

IAM Midwest Territory GVP Philip J. Gruber praised all the members of the Local 778 negotiating committee saying, “It was because of the hard work and dedication of DBR Claude Harris and the Local 778 negotiating committee that our members at Honeywell FM&T were presented with a contract worthy of ratification.”