Thursday, August 22, 2002
“At the rate aerospace jobs and manufacturing capability are disappearing from these shores, there won’t be a U.S. aerospace industry left to protect in a few years,” said Buffenbarger, the sole labor representative on the 12-member commission.
“Since this commission last met on May 14, thousands more aerospace jobs have disappeared,” said Buffenbarger. “Outsourcing, consolidations and a policy that allows companies like Boeing to trade U.S. jobs for overseas jet sales are to blame. This is not a struggling industry in contraction, but a highly profitable, taxpayer supported sector of our economy that is being boxed up and sold off to the highest offshore bidder.
“The commission must act quickly to address the unrestrained export of U.S. aerospace jobs, technology and manufacturing capability,” said Buffenbarger. “If we do not, this commission’s final report will be little more than an epitaph. To the hundreds of thousands of workers who remain committed to this industry, this is unacceptable.”
IAM Says Boeing Seeks a Strike
“Boeing is proposing takeaways in every important area of the contract; job security, pensions and health care. These proposals are certain to anger our members and trigger a strike, and Boeing knows it,” said IAM Chief Negotiator Dick Schneider.
“On jobs, Boeing wants to revert to language removed from the contract three years ago. We have some 30,000 members on layoff, yet Boeing wants to give supervisors the right to return to union-represented jobs and displace IAM members. On top of that, Boeing wants to weaken the rights of IAM members who are laid off to return to their former jobs,” Schneider said.
“Boeing dropped a massive proposal for an entirely new pension plan on the table and are proposing an entirely new health insurance system, too. If they were serious about these changes they would have come to us months ago, so we could have studied these ideas in detail, together with the company.
“The fact that they delayed until six days before contract expiration on issues of such obvious importance to our members shows that Boeing is serious about one thing at least -- picking a fight with the union,” he said.
“Instead of investing in the community, the workforce or new products, Boeing management blew $10 billion in the past five years buying back their own stock. At the same time, they laid off more than 20,000 IAM members and cut spending on research and development by almost half. Add those actions to their delays, threats and takeaways in negotiations and it is clear that Boeing is heading for a confrontation with the community and the workforce,” Schneider said.
IAM, Southwest Open
An IAM screening committee of Southwest employees met last month to review more than 60,000 proposals submitted by the membership. Wages, pensions and job security top the list of items to be addressed at the bargaining table. "Even in difficult times, a good contract can provide stability for the airline and fairness for airline employees," said IAM GVP Robert Roach, Jr. "We are determined to achieve that balance at Southwest."
The current IAM agreement at Southwest became effective on November 10, 1997 and will be amendable on November 10, 2002. For up-to-date negotiation information, visit the District 142 - Southwest Airlines negotiations web site at www.iamdl142.org/swa.
Social Security: Still in the
Treasury Sec. Paul O’Neill said that the White House will push Congress to act on Social Security “reform” probably early next year. “Reform” seems to be the code word for “privatization,” long a key item on the Republican party wish list.
“Those comments come as no surprise,” said George Kourpias, who heads the Alliance for Retired Americans. “We have always believed that the White House and Republican leaders in Congress had a secret plan to postpone action on Social Security until after the November elections.
“Well, older Americans have a secret plan, too. We will vote against any candidate who doesn’t pledge not to privatize Social Security”, Kourpias said.
When Social Security was adopted in 1935, not one single Republican voted for the legislation.
Unions Stress Solidarity at Dow
The unions met at the site of Dow’s global corporate headquarters in Midland, MI, to discuss conditions facing union members at Dow, Dow-Corning and Dupont-Dow Elastomers facilities.
Union representatives cited ongoing efforts by Dow to contract-out union work and to downsize operations at union-represented plants. Those trends led to increased safety and health concerns by the workers, as well as repeated management attempts to undermine the unions at various locations.