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Thursday,  April 10,  2003

Five Tentative Agreements Reached at UAL
IAM negotiators secured tentative agreements this week with United Airlines to provide the cash strapped carrier with $2.6 billion in savings over a 6-year period.

“In the history of this industry, there is no precedent for the climate in which these agreements were negotiated,” said Randy Canale, District 141 President and lead negotiator, representing Ramp & Stores, Public Contact Employees, Security Guards and Food Service employees. “Despite the proposed changes to pay, benefits and working conditions, a job at United is still worth having and still worth fighting for.”

If approved by members, the agreements will deflect a pending bankruptcy court motion to abrogate any unmodified labor contract at United Airlines. “We were determined to prevent the worst effects of bankruptcy from being unilaterally imposed on our members,” said Canale. “A consensual recovery plan is the best way to rebuild United while preventing a court ordered ‘cure’ from bringing far more painful terms for members and their families.”

Separate talks between United and IAM District 141-M, representing Mechanic & Related employees and Fleet Technical Instructors at the airline are continuing.

Unions Form Airline Mechanics Committee
Responding to mounting threats to aviation safety and security due to government policy and airline management conduct, the AFL-CIO’s three airline mechanics unions have formed the Aircraft Mechanics Mobilization Committee. The Committee will operate under the auspices of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD).

"A coalition of aircraft mechanic unions is essential to properly represent our mechanics in contract negotiations, before Congress, and with the FAA," said IAM Transportation VP Robert Roach, Jr. "Just as airlines have formed alliances, employee unions must do the same."

The Committee will bring together mechanics from the IAM, Teamsters, and Transport Workers Union to develop strategies to counter outrageous airline management demands for more outsourcing of aircraft maintenance and respond to the recent federal action to delay rules strengthening oversight of U.S. aircraft repaired overseas.

The Committee will also address growing threats to worker rights in the name of homeland security, such as new rules allowing the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to revoke a mechanic’s certification if the TSA determines that individual poses a security risk, as well as unfair criminal background checks providing employers inappropriate access to sensitive personal information.

Lockheed Machinists Ready to Strike
Machinists at Lockheed Martin in Ft. Worth, TX are preparing for a strike if representatives at the highly profitable defense contractor refuse to address members concerns.

“Lockheed Martin has failed to respond to any of the union’s proposals,” said Pat Lane, Directing Business Representative for District Lodge 776. “At this point, it is obvious that Lockheed’s proposals on wages, retirement and health care are calculated to provoke a strike.”

Both sides are scheduled to meet again this week in advance of the April 13 contract expiration deadline. The IAM represents nearly 4,000 of the 14,800 workers at Lockheed’s Ft. Worth facility.

GE Contract Talks Open June 9
Health care, job security and pension issues rank high on the list of concerns among IAM members preparing to begin contract negotiations with General Electric Corp. More than a dozen IAM representatives met this week to plan bargaining strategies with the multinational giant.

Several GE representatives attended the day-long meeting, held in Alexandria, VA. “This meeting gave both sides an early opportunity to set the broad parameters for the actual bargaining,” explained GVP Bob Thayer, who heads the IAM negotiating team. No actual bargaining took place, Thayer emphasized. “We just wanted to meet with them informally and set the ground rules,” he said.

After a GE briefing on soaring costs for health insurance coverage, Thayer suggested that the corporate giant might want to consider a joint lobbying effort with the IAM and other unions to win national health insurance. Following GE’s presentations, which also touched on pension policies and job security issues, the IAM responded with similar presentations.

At the conclusion of the presentations, the IAM team met privately to draft a game plan for the coming talks. For the first time, the IAM will be negotiating outside the Coordinated Bargaining Committee, which includes 13 unions who also have agreements with GE. The CBC negotiations begin May 19, Thayer noted.

The GE 2003 Negotiations website:

ISS Says Dump Former Enron Director
The national AFL-CIO praised a decision by Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) ― an independent proxy advisory firm to recommend to its clients that shareholders of Lockheed Martin withhold their votes for two director nominees, Norman Augustine and Frank Savage. 

"We are pleased that ISS took this necessary step to restore shareholder accountability," said AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka. “We call on all Lockheed Martin shareholders to stand up for a truly independent and responsible board and withhold their votes for Mr. Savage and Mr. Augustine."

The influential ISS said its decision against Savage is based on his failure to explain his role on Enron's board of directors during the time it collapsed into bankruptcy.

Lockheed Martin is the only large publicly traded company to re-nominate an Enron director for a board seat since a special Senate committee concluded that the Enron Board failed in its oversight duties. For more information visit www.aflcio.org/lockheed-martin-vote-no.

VP Ritchie Briefs Transport Committee
IAM Canadian VP Dave Ritchie presented a brief today on behalf of the union to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport. The hearing dealing with the viability of the airline industry in Canada, comes in the wake of an April 1 bankruptcy filing by Air Canada. The IAM is the largest union at Air Canada, representing some 15,000 employees in a wide variety of occupations, amongst them highly skilled avionics technicians, mechanics, baggage handlers and office personnel.

Read VP Ritchie's full presentation:

IAM Named to Hawaiian Air Creditors Panel
The IAM won a seat on the Creditors Committee at bankrupt Hawaiian Airlines. Jim Varsels, airline coordinator, will represent IAM members’ interests on the six-member committee. The committee monitors the debtor’s operations during bankruptcy proceedings and offers its opinions on the methods to achieve a successful re-organization.

In a related development, Boeing Capital asked the bankruptcy court to appoint a trustee to oversee the airline’s Chapter 11 case, citing concerns that the airline can’t successfully reorganize it continues to operate under current management. No ruling on that motion has been handed down.

Cut-Off Looms for Legislative Conference
This is the last call for hotel reservations for the IAM legislative Conference slated for next month in Washington, DC. Hotel reservations must be made before the April 18 cut-off date. Contact the Hyatt Regency Washington at 202-7371234 for reservations. For the best rates, be sure to identify the group as the IAM. If you have difficulty securing reservations, contact Mary Howell at Metropolitan Travel, 830-964-2453.

Like to take pictures? Good with a camera? Then you should enter this year's IAM Photography Contest.
Find out more information

Tell Congress that any war funding should include airlines and out-of-work airline employees.
Take action now!

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.