Friday August 2, 2002
The ‘offer’ by Stanley’s CEO to remain in the U.S. drew a sharp response from the IAM.
“It will be a cold day in hell before John Trani gets any thanks for not moving Stanley out of this country,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “The offshore tax loophole was closing before his eyes and he wants credit for blinking? I don’t think so. We won’t be satisfied until the thousands of jobs he sent overseas begin to return.”
Stanley found itself at the center of the national debate over corporate inversions, the practice by which a company sets up a shell headquarters in an offshore tax haven to evade taxes on profits made overseas. Stanley’s tax cut would have amounted to nearly $30 million annually.
Adding to the pressure, the House and Senate recently approved measures prohibiting government contracts from going to U.S. firms based offshore for tax purposes.
Sparks Precede IAM-Boeing Talks
But the two sides are already sparring sharply over the direction they believe Boeing – and these negotiations – should take.
“We want Boeing to pursue a serious strategy for growth and success,” said IAM Chief Negotiator Dick Schneider. “Instead, Boeing has squandered $10 billion of its cash flow during the past five years simply to re-purchase their own stock. That may boost the value of executive stock options, but it does nothing to develop new airplanes, train workers or modernize the facilities,” Schneider remarked.
“We want a strategy to retain workers and reinvest in a stronger company, not a strategy to downsize and distribute the wealth outside Boeing,” he added.
Job Security, improved pensions and affordable, high-quality health care are the three top issues in these negotiations, which cover 26,000 IAM aerospace members in Kansas, Oregon and Washington State.
The IAM has also stepped up efforts to keep federal, state and community leaders informed about the negotiations. In recent weeks, IAM leaders held briefings with legislators, church groups and even major investment firms on Wall Street. "Boeing's strategy of exporting jobs and technologies poses serious threats to our communities and our country," Schneider pointed out.
Senate Passes Fast
“It is unbelievable. In the midst of an ever deepening recession, Congress wants to ship even more manufacturing jobs out of the U.S. and Canada,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “Anyone in Congress who voted for Fast Track ought to work in a Maquiladora factory for a day. They’d be paid about what they are worth as a legislator – next to nothing.”
In the Senate vote, 43 Republicans, 20 Democrats and one independent voted for the bill. Five Republicans and 29 Democrats voted against it. “We will remember how each Senator and Representative voted on Fast Track and their vote will echo across this union through Election Day, November 5th,” Said Buffenbarger. To see how your Senators voted, click here. To see how your Representative voted, click here. (Fast Track authority was tacked on to the Andean Trade Preference Expansion Act.)
Machinists Seek Board Seat,
“The IAM is committed to utilizing all of our resources to secure our members’ jobs,” added Buffenbarger. “We can fix US Airways because we are Machinists, and fixing what is broken is what we do best.” Commenting on the possibility of IAM members participating in the carrier’s restructuring program, Roach said, “When we get a proposal from the company it will be brought to our members. They will make the final decision.”
IAM District 141-M represents 6,800 US Airways Mechanic and Related employees, and the carrier’s 5,400 Fleet Service Employees are represented by IAM District 141.
And, as world markets continue to sag under bad news of their own making, consumer spending, which fuels two-thirds of the U.S. economy, slowed to a 1.9 percent annual rate. Auto sales took a big hit in May, with car sales at the slowest pace in four years.
Many economists now worry that sliding U.S. consumer confidence, combined with flat growth and manufacturing figures could signal a return to recession.
‘A-Plus’ Contract for
IAM Members at DynPar
“A huge group of essential personnel,” is how GLR Bob Bradford described the plumbers, electricians, gardeners and aircraft fuelers at the base. The group includes 180 base maintenance personnel who were just organized in January.
“I’d give the contract an A-plus,” said Charles Matthews, a plumber who served on the union’s negotiating committee. The vote by members to approve the agreement averts a strike, set to begin Friday morning at 12:01.