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Thursday,  March 27,  2003

IAM Files Lawsuit Over Contract Rights
IAM Airline District 141-M, representing Mechanic & Related members at United Airlines, filed suit in U.S. District Court to prevent the carrier from placing members in Indianapolis on “Authorized No Pay” status. The bid by United to cut 1,148 jobs at the maintenance base denies substantial benefits and protections available under traditional furlough terms in the collective bargaining agreement.

“United’s action is especially outrageous considering we are in a critical stage of negotiations,” said District 141-M President Scotty Ford. United and its unions are currently negotiating over the bankrupt carrier’s cash crisis.

The actions by United in Indianapolis prevented IAM members from receiving the required 20-day notice of furlough, the opportunity to exercise their seniority, and moving expenses for employees choosing to relocate to another United Airlines location.

Full text of the complaint can be found in the District 141-M web site at www.iam141m.org.

FDA Targets Senior Drug Shoppers
Here’s one for the books:

The Food and Drug Administration( FDA) says groups or organizations may be held “criminally liable” if they “aid” senior citizens traveling to Canada to buy affordable prescription drugs.

The Alliance for Retired Americans, one such group, says it will continue its Rx Express bus trips to Canada. “The seniors who take these trips are on fixed-incomes, they have rent to pay, they have food to buy and other everyday expenses,” an Alliance spokesman noted. “In some cases, you’re talking about $1,000-a-month drug bills. Going to Canada, where prices are lower, allows them to buy their prescription drugs and still pay for food.”

The Alliance buses will “begin to roll again in May.”  Buses leave from states along the Canadian border. To sign up for a trip, or obtain more information, call the Alliance Hotline at 888-373-6497, Option 2.

IAM Wins Elections in Texas, North Dakota
Employees at Yulista Management Services locations in Minot, North Dakota and Abiline, Texas, voted to join the IAM this week after learning about the benefits that come with a union agreement.

The new IAM members organized under terms of the Service Contract Act, a 1965 federal law that sets labor standards for workers employed by Federal contractors.

“Organizing under the Service Contract Act is a smart move for employees working for Federal contractors,” says Ken Walsh, Administrative Assistant in the IAM’s Organizing Department. “From wages to fringe benefits, we can often win terms for new members well above prevailing wage and benefit rates established by the U.S. Department of Labor.”

For more information about organizing opportunities under the Service Contract Act, go to http://www.goiam.org/organizing.asp?c=195.

Cross Tapped for Eastern Territory AA
Tim Cross, an IAM member since 1974, moves into the Eastern Territory’s administrative assistant post, when its current occupant moves into the GVP slot on August 1. On that date, Lynn Tucker, the current AA, replaces GVP Warren Mart, who becomes GST. Cross will remain the territory’s education representative until then.

Cross held many positions in his local union and was a District 28 business representative until his appointment to the territorial staff in March 1, 2000.

“This is a high honor,” Cross said. “I look forward to working with GVP Lynn Tucker and his outstanding staff.”

Delta Shuns Help for Laid-Off Workers
Delta Airlines anti-union sympathies are well known, but this one takes the cake. The United Way agency recently asked area unions’ help at a job fair for laid-off workers in the Cincinnati area.

The unions promptly dispatched a community-based rapid response team from its Dislocated Workers Project. Delta officials intercepted the team and informed team members that since “Delta is a non-union company, we can’t have anything representing a union at this event.”

In point of fact, Delta’s pilots work under union contracts. Perhaps those corporate representatives were afraid that union assistance to laid-off workers might plant a seed. “Or perhaps they were afraid that such union aid for laid-off workers would be so much more helpful that it might plant an even bigger seed,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger.

Connecticut Truck Repair Techs Vote IAM
District Lodge 15 brought 25 new members into Local Lodge 447 with a recent organizing win among Truck Repair Technicians at Cummins Metro Power in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Eastern Territory GVP Warren Mart welcomed the new members into the IAM and thanked District 15 DBR John Scarfi and Assistant DBR James Conigliaro for a job well done. Special mention was also made recognizing the efforts of BR Victor Bobes.

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The recession and misguided government policies for trade and the economy are wiping out millions of jobs. The IAM brings together economic and policy experts to find ways to create and keep good-paying jobs in North America. The Spring 2003 IAM Journal.

The AFL-CIO has set up an exciting new website that will focus exclusively on state legislative issues. It will be password protected to enable state federations and central labor councils, affiliate unions, and union-friendly legislators to share information about state and local legislation.

The official site for the 36th Grand Lodge Convention to be held in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio is now online. Check it our for convention news, sponsorship offers, and convention gear.