Thursday, March 06, 2008

Tell Congress: U.S. Forces Deserve U.S. Tankers

Outrage continues to grow over the U.S. Air Force decision to award a $40 billion aerial refueling tanker contract to European company EADS a contract which could eventually be worth $60 billion. Appearing on CNN’s Lou Dobb’s Tonight, IAM President Tom Buffenbarger ripped into the Air Force’s decision.

“How we could turn over the crown jewel of support for our nation’s Air Force to foreign manufacturers is beyond me,” said Buffenbarger. “We’re going to take this on tooth and nail and get this decision overturned. We’re going to see that America gets what it deserves in the form of economic justice and fairness for American workers.”

The AFL-CIO executive council, meanwhile, called on Congress to “defund” the contract, as well as conduct a full investigation into the circumstances under which the contract was awarded to a foreign contractor.

The House Appropriations defense subcommittee also held a hearing yesterday, beginning a formal inquiry into the contract. “I personally consider our aerial refueling program to be a major weapons system that is essential to our national security,” said the committee’s Chairman, John P. Murtha (D-PA). “I think it’s imperative that the Air Force explain to this committee its decision to award a major U.S. weapons system to a foreign company.”

Boeing’s KC-767 tanker would be built with over 85 percent domestic U.S. content and would support more than 44,000 U.S. jobs and 300 contractors in over forty states. The tanker competition was mandated in 2003, allowing a heavily subsidized European manufacturer, EADS, to bid against Boeing, a U.S. firm that received no subsidies.

The IAM represents nearly 35,000 Boeing employees in Washington state, Oregon, Kansas and other locations across the country.

Click here to view a letter sent by IP Buffenbarger to members of Congress and click here to send a message to your representatives in Congress, urging them to overturn this decision.

Click here to view IP Buffenbarger on Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Winpisinger Center Offers New Classes

Nashville, TN, Local 735 members Angel Rock (left) and Randy Smith (right) recently completed Negotiations Preparation for Bargaining Committees, a new class offered at the Winpisinger Center in Southern Maryland.

The William W. Winpisinger Education & Technology Center is adding new classes and updating existing courses as part of its mission to provide IAM members with a labor education experience that is second to none.

Among the new classes is Negotiation Preparation for Bargaining Committees, a week-long course tailored to meet the needs of a specific bargaining committee. Members of a committee spend a week at the Center, reviewing company financial data, preparing actual proposals and drafting a communication plan to keep members informed and involved in the negotiating process.

IAM bargaining committees with upcoming negotiations that have already completed the new class include, Raytheon, Cessna, Electrolux, UTC, U.S. Sugar, Honeywell, Vought/Hawker Beechcraft/Spirit, Splenda and Rolls Royce. Other IAM committees have signed up for similar sessions later this year.

“Most of our committee is new, and we needed to understand the process of negotiating a contract,” said Angel Rock of Nashville, TN, Local 735, who recently completed the Negotiation Preparation class with fellow members of the IAM-Vought Negotiating Committee. “This training will give us an upper hand at the bargaining table; now we know what we’re up against.”

Other new or revised courses include: First Contract, a program for training union organizers that has been significantly revised since its debut in 2006. Other classes include: new Spanish Leadership II, a revised Basic Arbitration class and a totally new Advanced Arbitration class.

“With the ever-changing dynamics in the workplace, it’s imperative that we review our curriculum from time to time,” said Winpisinger Director Chris Wagoner. “These changes are a result of our latest review. Our goal is to continually provide members with the most current and relevant training available for them to do their jobs and do their jobs well.”

Over 50,000 IAM members have attended classes at the Winpisinger Center since it first opened its doors for learning in 1981. For the 2008 schedule and course descriptions, click here.

Register Now for Spanish Leadership Classes I and II

Grand Lodge Representative Macario Camorlinga, instructs members during Spanish Leadership Classes at William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Southern Maryland.

Spaces are still available for the Spanish Leadership I class scheduled for April 27 – May 2, 2008, at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD.  The Spanish Leadership I program covers the same subjects included in the regular Leadership I Program, but with all classroom instruction and materials in Spanish.
Registrations are also being accepted for the upcoming Spanish Leadership II pilot, which will be held June 22 – 27, 2008.

Lodges are encouraged to take action as soon as possible to enroll members in this new program.  Enrollments in both the Spanish Leadership I and Leadership II programs do not count against a lodge’s regular leadership program allotment.

“Education is key for strong collective bargaining and workplace solidarity.  Through programs like the Spanish Leadership classes, the IAM is committed to making training available to our diverse membership,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. Click here for the Spanish Leadership I enrollment form or, contact Pam Kinney at 301-373-8820.

Matricúlese ahora para clases de liderazgo español I y II
Todavía existen vacantes para la clase de Liderazgo Español I que está programada para 27 Abril – 2 Mayo, 2008, en el Centro Educativo William W. Winpinsinger en Hollywood, Maryland.  El Programa de Liderazgo Español cubre los mismos temas y sujetos que son incluidos en la clase regular de Liderazgo en Ingles, solo que las clases son instruidas con materiales totalmente en Español.

Espacios también están disponibles para el programa Liderazgo Español II, programada para 22 – 27 de junio, 2008, en el Centro William W. Winpisinger.  Se les pide a las logias que tomen acción lo mas pronto posible para que ingresen a sus miembros para este programa nuevo en Español.  Los miembros que asisitieron Liderazgo I–en Español o en Inglés–puedan registrarse para Liderazgo Español II.  Recuerden que las clases de Liderazgo Español I y Liderazgo Español II, no cuentan en contra de las Logias o los Distritos para las clases regulares de Inglés.

“La educación es la llave necesaria para negociaciones colectivas fuertes y solidaridad en el lugar de trabajo.  Programas como las clases de Liderazgo Español demuestran la dedicación de la IAM para proveer entrenamiento a nuestro membresia diversa” dijo IP Tom Buffenbarger. Marque aqui para la solicitud para la clase de Liderazgo Español I y Liderazgo  Español II o por favor llame a Pam Kinney al 301-373-8820.

Monique Edwards Named IAM ‘Sister of the Month’

Monique Edwards has been an IAM member for 19 years and has been a leader in her local lodge and at the Canadian national level as well. At Local 2603 in Winnipeg, MB, Edwards is involved in committee activities, serves as the Web Steward and was elected chairperson of the Shop Committee. Among her biggest accomplishments is representing her lodge on the Canadian National Women’s Committee and serving as Vice Chair for the Manitoba Federation of Labour Women’s Committee.

Employed as an Intermediate Finance Agent for Air Canada, Edwards began serving her lodge on the negotiating committee in 1999.  That experience led her to want to do more to ensure the rights negotiated within the bargaining agreement were known to her union sisters and brothers and that they fully understood those protections and benefits.

Edwards is thankful that she’s always worked with a supportive and open executive board and for the mentoring she’s received from her Grand Lodge Representative.  She advises any sister wanting to take the next step to becoming more active and involved. “Volunteer whenever and wherever you can – it teaches you a lot.” In addition she advises sisters to take advantage of any training and opportunity that will maintain and sharpen skills.

Toronto Hotel and Care Facility Workers Join IAM

Two organizing victories in Toronto, Ontario, extended IAM representation in the area’s hotels and served to reach out to Ukranian workers at an area health care facility.

A group of 25 workers at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Pearson International Airport including front desk and reservation clerks, switchboard operators, maintenance and security personnel are the newest members of Local 1295. The new members join 110 Crowne Plaza workers organized in December 2007 and IAM members at the Marriot Courtyard Hotel in Brampton.

Health care workers at the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre also turned to the IAM and are now members of Local 1295. “The key to this organizing victory was communication, plain and simple,” explained District 78 Organizer Scott Jackson. “Ukrainian is the language of choice for over 60 percent of this work force, so we addressed the concerns of the workers in their own language through a Ukrainian interpreter.

Most of these people are long-term employees, and they told us they wanted a pension plan because they were worried about their future. They also wanted greater respect from their employer.”

Vote for Elaine Chao’s Dirtiest Deeds

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao has built an outrageous record of attacking workers’ rights since being named to the office by President Bush. But what’s her worst deed? Is it pushing to cut eight million workers’ overtime pay?  Failing to issue fines for more than 4,000 mine safety violations? Actively campaigning against bipartisan legislation that restores the rights of workers to freely and fairly form unions?

American Rights at Work, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, has compiled a list of Secretary Chao’s most egregious misdeeds and is inviting Americans to vote for the “worst of the worst.”

Once the list has been narrowed down to the three “worst of the worst,” it will be released to the media and bloggers and expose just how much damage Chao has done.

Click here to read the full list of nominees and then cast your vote

Voting ends Friday, March 14