iMail for Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nation Marks Sixth Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

Today is the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in 2001 that claimed nearly 3,000 lives in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. “We will never forget that two of our members, Marianne MacFarlane and Jesus Sanchez, were on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center that day. Let us remember them and thousands of other victims and their families who were affected by this tragedy,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “And we must fight today for the brave men and women who are suffering from adverse health effects from selflessly risking their lives to help the victims of the attacks and clean up the aftermath.”

To record the stories of some of the many brave men and women who responded on that fateful day, the IAM produced “Everyday Heroes” and donations from the sale of the video went to the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York to help treat the thousands of workers at Ground Zero.


Tell the Senate to Repeal NSPS

As early as this week, the Senate could take up the Bush administration’s failed National Security Personnel System (NSPS), as part of the 2008 Defense Authorization and/or Appropriations Bills.

NSPS rules, which the Bush administration and Congress authorized in the aftermath of 9-11, drastically reduces federal worker protections, guts the current pay system and virtually eliminates collective bargaining and union rights for DoD employees.

The House in May voted to restore many of the rights federal employees enjoyed prior to NSPS and again in August to “de-fund” all of NSPS.  

“It is critical that our members apply the same pressure on the Senate as they did on the House,” said IAM Government Employees Director Frank Carelli. “The NSPS system is fundamentally flawed and it’s time restore fairness and dignity to the federal workforce.”

Take time to tell your Senator the importance of taking up the House versions of the Defense Authorization and Appropriations Bills of 2008 in regards to NSPS.

Click here to send a message or call your Senators at 202-224-3121 and tell them to de-fund the unfair NSPS system.


Contract for 5,700 at Cessna Expires Sept. 16

With less than a week to go before the contract expires for 5,700 members at Cessna Aircraft Co., the prospect of a strike at the Wichita-based plane maker becomes more real every day. According to negotiations updates posted on the Local 774 website, the two sides remain far apart on key issues, including proposed changes to health care plans, mandatory overtime, changes in how cost-of-living raises are determined and no increase for workers’ pension benefits.

Cessna is proposing a high deductible health care plan that workers and union representatives at Cessna have called an invitation to a strike. The current contract gives workers a choice between three health care plans. Cessna is also proposing a 2 percent wage increase for each year of the new contract and elimination of employees’ right to vote on alternate work schedules.

Local 774 members will vote this Saturday on the company’s so-called “last, best and final” offer.  The current three-year accord expires at 12:01 am on Sept. 16, 2007.


Southern Territory Wins a Pair in Florida

Fifty-three employees of Republic Parking at the Jacksonville, FL, airport voted yes to join the IAM recently. The new members at Republic include shuttle bus drivers, cashiers, inventory and maintenance workers at the airport. Southern Territory Organizer Ramon Garcia worked with District 112 organizer Mike Kimmel and Local Lodge Organizer Mark James in the successful effort.

The Southern Territory also prevailed in a second effort to organize automotive technicians at Kelly Chevrolet in Hallandale, FL. Southern Territory Organizer Dave Porter worked with District 166 Organizer Javier Alamazan to bring home the second ever organizing win at a Florida auto dealer. “This was a difficult campaign but the perseverance and commitment of these employees kept them united,” said Alamazan.

“I want to congratulate all the organizers and welcome all our newest members,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “We have more automotive campaigns under way in the South, and there will be more wins to come.”


IAM Sisters of the Month Named for September

Two IAM members, Gail Karstetter and Karene V. Strachan have been named the IAM’s newest “Sisters of the Month” for the U.S. and Canada, respectively.

Gail Karstetter is a 30-year member of Local 2269 in Reedsburg, WI, which is affiliated with District 121. She has been the Secretary-Treasurer for the past 12 years, and has held previous positions as Trustee, Vice President, Auditor and Conductor-Sentinel.

Gail’s involvement in the union began when two friends who were already active in the union urged her to become a District Delegate. Her union dedication and commitment has grown stronger with each passing year. Gail encourages anyone even thinking about running for office to give it a try. Gail has received the Volunteer Organizer Award from the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, and has twice served as IAM Convention Delegate. She serves on multiple committees and is the Treasurer for her local Harley Owners Group Chapter.

Karene V. Strachan has been and IAM member for over 17 years and has held Executive Board positions ranging from Education, Secretary-Treasurer, Trustee and Shop Committee Chair.  She is a member of Local 2603 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is affiliated with District 140.

A Finance Agent with Air Canada, Strachan is glad to be in a union shop and became active in her union to keep it strong. Raised by her parents to believe her gender should never prevent her from succeeding in her endeavors, Karene received support from her shop chairperson and has been grateful for the continued guidance she’s received from others in her local and district. She strives to return the favor by mentoring other sisters along in the hopes that one day women will be equally represented in all areas of leadership and politics.


Cummings Named Western Territory Special Rep

Communications Representative Kevin Cummings will add a new role to a long and varied career as an IAM representative when he moves into the position of Special Representative for the Western Territory starting October 1. Cummings joined the IAM in 1988 as a Tooling Inspector for McDonnell Douglas in Huntington Beach, CA. As a member of Local 2025, Kevin served as Steward, safety representative, negotiating team member, Recording Secretary, Local Lodge President and served four years as a full-time representative to the Boeing Company on issues of job classifications and training.

A precision Mold Maker by trade, Cummings joined the IAM Grand Lodge staff as a Communications Representative in 1999, coordinating media relations and communications training for the Western Territory. Cummings earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the National Labor College and is currently working on a Masters’ Degree through the NLC and American University.


Latest Job Loss a Troubling Sign for Economy

The U.S. economy lost 4,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The job loss marked the first monthly decline in jobs since August 2003, and combined with a worsening housing crunch and other economic worries, raises many concerns about the economy slipping into a recession.

The BLS also revised June and July’s job numbers down by 81,000. The manufacturing and construction industries were hit hardest in August, losing a combined 68,000 jobs.

“While we cannot draw a firm conclusion based on one month of jobs data, a host of factors point to a new and troubling job market: negative revisions of earlier months’ data, widespread losses and slowdowns across industries and weak labor force growth,” Jared Bernstein said in the Economic Policy Institute’s latest jobs picture. (

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