from the IAM communications department

Web Highlights 

The U.S. faces an emerging threat of rogue nations with weapons of mass destruction. Many believe a National Missile Defense system could provide a measure of protection. This and other stories from the IAM's Spring Journal


Informational Protest 
at United Airlines
IAM members from UAL stage an informational picket line atChicago's O'hare airport. 

The Quebec Protest
IAM members joined thousands of other.union members and activists to battle against the FTAA.

The IAM's 
Executive Council

International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger 

General Secretary-Treasurer 
Donald E. Wharton 

GVP Western Territory 
Lee Pearson 

GVP Canada 
Dave Ritchie 

GVP Midwest Territory 
Alex M. Bay 

GVP IAM Headquarters 
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Southern Territory 
George Hooper 

GVP Eastern Territory 
Warren L. Mart 

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.

Wednesday, April 25,  2001

Buffenbarger Demands ‘Solutions, Not Scapegoats'
IP Tom Buffenbarger told a Senate committee chaired by John McCain, R-AZ, that airline executive officers, not airline workers must shoulder the blame for the deteriorating airline industry.

“Airline executives have made a cottage industry out of blaming their own employees for flight delays and cancellations,” said Buffenbarger. “It’s time they started looking for solutions rather than scapegoats.

“The fact is, our air transport system is bursting with growth and demand,” said Buffenbarger in comments before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Hearing on Airline Labor Relations. “Yet this industry has all but ignored the critical need for infrastructure improvement and airport expansion. Unrealistic flight schedules, irresponsible overbooking policies and the fallout from airline deregulation also deserve a share of blame for the declining status and reliability of U.S. air travel” he added.

Buffenbarger called on McCain to support fair and even-handed collective bargaining as the best means to resolve long running negotiations between airlines and airline unions. 

“We are currently involved in negotiations with United Airlines. We continue to demand that they meet with us and bargain in good faith but they choose to avoid the bargaining table,” said Buffenbarger. “They have found it more cost effective to delay negotiations than to reach an agreement.

“My hope is that the Committee on Labor and Human Resources can find a way to insert a drop-dead date into Railway Labor Act negotiations. Give both sides fair notice that negotiations will end. Give both sides an incentive to reach a fair agreement,” Buffenbarger said.

Related Links:
IAM Transportation

Connecticut IAM Throws Job Fight in High Gear
The IAM has escalated its fight to promote high-skill high-wage jobs in Connecticut with a week-long series of public and private events. Flanked by State Attorney Richard Blumenthal, State Comptroller Nancy Wyman and members of the State Senate, District 91 DBR Jim Parent began the week by unveiling a new economic study showing how much is at stake in the fight to save jobs at the United Technologies Corporation. 

The more than 10,000 jobs eliminated by UTC since 1990 helped lower median family incomes by 14 percent across Connecticut, according to the study by economists Robber Forrant and Jennifer Zelnick. If the job losses continue at UTC, Connecticut will lose more than $304 million in tax revenue and will be forced to spend $119 million on additional social services during the next two years alone, the study warned.

On Friday, Machinists Union leaders and members will attend the annual UTC stockholders’ meeting to support of a shareholder resolution introduced by an IAM member employed at UTC’s Pratt & Whitney jet engine facilities. (See below.)

This weekend, the IAM will host a “UTC Unions Summit Meeting” involving the Teamsters, UAW, Steelworkers, PACE and other labor organizations representing workers at UTC. The meeting will adjourn on Sunday in time for a mass rally in Hartford to kick off the GrowCT campaign – a statewide, grassroots movement to promote high-skill high-wage jobs in Connecticut.

Related Links:
IAM District 91

IAM Supports Member’s Proposal at UTC
An IAM member at Pratt & Whitney is sponsoring an innovative proposal at United Technologies Corporation to change how the company rewards its top executives since current policy ignores how the company treats its most valuable asset – its employees. The AFL-CIO has included this proposal on its list of key votes for the 2001 proxy season. 

Specifically, the resolution asks the company to incorporate measures of employee satisfaction, workplace safety, and training in determining senior executive performance pay.  The IAM fully supports this proposal.  We are urging all UTC shareholders to join us in supporting item 5 on the UTC proxy. 

The IAM mailed the following document ( in support of this resolution to top shareholders of UTC that, as a group, encompass 87 percent of the shareholder voting power.  Our efforts to drum up support for this resolution will continue.

Workers Call for New Workplace Safety Rules
Injured workers and their allies rallied on Capitol Hill to shine a spotlight on the urgent need for stronger workplace safety and health protections. “It’s a scandal that the President and Congress continue to drag their feet” on this issue, noted John Sweeney, AFL-CIO president. “Each week, 35,000 workers are found to have job-related repetitive stress injuries. Many of these could have been prevented if a strong job safety standard had been in place.”

Last month, President Bush and his anti-worker Congressional allies overturned OSHA’s ergonomics standard, developed over a 10-year period to protect workers from carpal tunnel syndrome and similar disorders. This was the first worker protection measure to be overturned by Congress in OSHA’s 30-year history.

Workers’ Memorial Day Set April 28
Across the nation on April 28, working men and women, and their unions, will remember those brothers and sisters who died from workplace accidents and occupational illnesses. In more than a hundred communities, workers and local activists will hold a range of events including memorial services, candlelight vigils, educational workshops, conferences, marches and rallies under the stirring banner: “Mourn for the dead, fight for the living.”

In Lake Charles, LA, members of IAM Local 1317 celebrated the event a few days early. These workers and managers at Citgo Corp. held a joint observance with an Accident Free Workday. The day was marked by a somber torch lighting ceremony honoring fallen workers, reported Terry Taylor, District 161 business rep.

Related Links:
Workers Memorial Day 2001

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