iMail for Tuesday September 27, 2005

Solidarity Wins New Deal for Boeing Machinists

More than 18,400 Machinists at Boeing will vote Sept. 29 on a revised contract offer that resoundingly proves the value of membership solidarity and resolve in a collective bargaining showdown.

The new offer contains dramatic improvements over the company’s so-called “final offer,” which triggered a walkout that shut down Boeing’s commercial operations in Kansas, Oregon and Washington state.

On every major issue, Boeing was forced to withdraw their takeaway proposals and concede to IAM members’ demands.

“Because of the solidarity and unified courage of our members, we achieved a better pension, better seniority rights, better recall rights, maintained one of the best health care packages in the country with no additional costs, achieved better job security and preserved retiree health care for past retirees, current members, and future hires,” declared Mark Blondin, District 751 President.

Boeing also withdrew a proposal that would have provided less in pay and benefits for IAM members working in Wichita, Kansas.

“We went into these negotiations together and we were determined to come out together,” said Steve Rooney, President of District 70 in Wichita. “Rather than be divided by sellout proposals, we are more unified than ever.”

The strike at Boeing was seen as a crucial test for the labor movement. Despite three years of consistent profits, the plane maker sought deep cuts in health care and offered a pension benefit that was the lowest percentage pension benefit increase in decades.

A victory for the company would have triggered a renewed assault on employees and union members at successful companies nationwide.

“Our members not only said no to Boeing, they said no to Corporate America’s greed,” said Aerospace Coordinator Dick Schneider. “From the start, they were determined to make Boeing “Do the Right Thing.”

“The final word on this tentative agreement will be in the hands of our members, where it belongs,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger, who participated in the negotiations that led to the revised offer.

“But this agreement, and the dramatic improvement over what the company originally proposed, should be the last word in any debate over the value of a militant union and a determined membership in today’s cutthroat economic environment.”

Registration Forms Needed for Organizing Summit

IAM representatives attending the Organizing Summit in Chicago, Illinois on Oct. 5-7 are urged to complete and return the downloadable pre-registration form  as soon as possible if they have not already done so.

More than 900 rooms have already been reserved by delegates planning to attend the conference; however, fewer than 600 pre-registration forms have been received at IAM headquarters.

To facilitate the on-site registration for delegates, please return a completed pre-registration form via fax to the IAM Communications Dept. at 301-967-4586.

Newsletter & Website Contest Winners Announced

The results of this year’s IAM Newsletter & Website Contest are in and District 190, Local 712 and Local Lodge 1781 have a whole year to sit on their laurels.

District 190 won in the category of General Excellence for both its newsletter, The Sparkplug, and its website, www.iamdistrict190.org.

Local Lodge 712 took top newsletter honors and Local Lodge 1781 won bragging rights for local lodge websites.

“Every year IAM newsletters become more professional and websites more sophisticated,” said Communications Director Rick Sloan. “Local lodges and districts are indispensable in getting labor’s message out.”

All contest winners will be presented awards at the IAM Communications Conference set for October 30 — November 2 in Wichita, Kansas.

The deadline for reserving hotel rooms is Thursday, September 39, 2005. For more information about the conference call 301-967-4520.

See all of the winners at: www.goiam.org/publications/2005winners/index.htm

Ft. Irwin Employees Win IAM Representation

Service Contract Employees employed by L-3 Vertex at the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, California voted 72 to 25 for IAM representation. The employees maintain and repair training vehicles for the U.S. military. Starting from a submission to the IAM website, the campaign utilized the IAM Blitz program and took just four months from initial lead to election.

“It was a good campaign because the people had issues that kept them strong and solid. They did not fall for the employer’s repeated empty promises,” said Grand Lodge Apprentice Organizer Jonathan Holden who assisted GLR Dennis London, GLR Tom Mason and Grand Lodge Apprentice Organizer Cheryl Stockebrand on the campaign.

“All the new members say thanks to everyone who helped them win IAM representation.”

The new IAM members got right down to business, electing fellow members Jerry Hill, Jesse Hodges and Robert Gallegos to their negotiating committee. They will be assisted by GLR Frank Santos and BR Virginia Cobb.

US Airways Merger Aim: Fair Workforce Integration

Upon US Airways’ emergence from bankruptcy, the IAM plans to file a petition with the National Mediation Board for a ruling that the two carriers are operating as a single transportation system.

At that time, the IAM will be certified as the representative of both the Mechanic & Related and Fleet Service workforce on the merged airline. This will pave the way for integrating the employees of both airlines under the current IAM agreements.

It is the IAM’s position that employee groups should be merged based on the individual’s date of entry into a particular classification at their respective airline. 

If a representation election with another union is called and less than 50 percent +1 of the combined workforce, including furloughed employees, choose to vote in the election, there will be no union, no contract and US Airways will have the unrestricted ability to impose any wages, benefits and employment terms it wants, including elimination of seniority provisions.

For more information, go to: www.goiam.org/usairways.

GVP Martinez Surveys Gulf Coast Damage

Southern Territory GVP Martinez recently visited Gulf Coast towns hit hard by Hurricane Katrina to witness first hand the devastation affecting IAM members and others living in these areas.

“District Lodge 73 in Pascagoula lost everything,” said Martinez after seeing the remains of the District office. “There’s nothing but block walls and studs left.”

After traveling through Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, Biloxi and Waveland, Mississippi and seeing the piles of rubble, homes that are no more and the people working hard to get their lives back together, GVP Martinez then headed to meet with members of Local 2249 at the Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi.

“Listening to their stories is heartbreaking,” said Martinez, who was joined by Community Services Director Maria Cordone.

“Our members are living with other family members and friends just so they can have a roof over their heads,” said Cordone.

All IAM members affected by the disasters have been asked to report to their Local Lodge Community Service Committees as soon as possible so that an assessment can be made of just how many need help. Donated goods and supplies are being dispersed to our members as quickly as possible.

For more information about the IAM’s relief efforts, go to:
http://www.goiam.org/content.cfm?cid=5418