Tuesday, August 26,  2003 

Raytheon's Mexico Move Raises Quality Concerns
In the War Room: IAM Local 733 Subcontracting Committee works on plans to keep Raytheon wire harness jobs in Wichita. (l to r front): Colleen Peterson, Jeff Keniep (l to r back): Lee Carney, BR Frank Molina, Lori Love

Leaders of IAM District 70 are working overtime to complete a proposal they hope will convince Raytheon Aircraft to keep 350 wire harness jobs in Wichita.

The effort represents the second time IAM-represented employees mobilized to boost productivity at Raytheon in the face of threats to move the aircraft component assembly work to Mexico.

Over a year ago, workers devised ways to preserve quality while cutting wire harness assembly time by as much as 50 percent. The current union proposal includes shrinking management staffing levels. In some cases, the number of supervisors has risen from four to more than fifteen.

Plans by the company to shift the wire harness work to Mexico could also lead to costly quality control issues, according to Local 733 President James Rodehorst. “The company’s reputation is at stake,” said Rodehorst. “Regardless of labor costs in Mexico, there is no way to replace the years of experience and the commitment to quality of Raytheon IAM members in Wichita.”


Texas Aircraft Service Workers Vote IAM

Twenty-eight T Square Logistic Service employees who maintain training aircraft and provide launch and recovery service at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, voted unanimously for IAM representation in a recent NLRB “RC” election.

Immediately following the August 13 election win, the new members commenced negotiations and quickly produced a tentative agreement, which was ratified by the members on August 20.

The agreement boosts wages, vacations, health benefits, jury duty pay and paid personal leave. The contract also provides for union security, just cause protection and a grievance procedure with binding arbitration.

According to IAM Organizer Don Barker, thanks go out to District 776 President / DBR Pat L. Lane, BR Paul Black and an organizing team that included Tony Hoffman and Dave Ebenstein. 


District 143, Northwest Airlines Seek Mediation
In accordance with provisions of the collective bargaining agreements, District 143 and Northwest Airlines jointly requested National Mediation Board assistance in contract negotiations for all IAM-represented employee groups.

The current IAM-NWA agreements cover more than 17,000 employees in the Equipment Service, Customer Service, Reservation Agent, Office & Clerical, Flight Simulator Technician, Flight Kitchen, Plant Protection and Stores classifications. Those contracts require both parties to jointly seek mediation if no agreement was reached within six months of the amendable date. The contracts became amendable on February 25, 2003.

In April, Northwest announced it was seeking concessions from all labor groups. District 143 countered in July with proposed wage increases of 10-20 percent for IAM members.

The present agreement calls for a 2 percent bonus payment for IAM members if no agreement is reached by October 25, 2003.

“Our members deserve their fair share,” said General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. “If Northwest can afford to give bonuses and stock options to its executives, it certainly can afford to pay their most critical employees properly.”

The NMB has not yet assigned a mediator, and no talks are currently scheduled.


Support for Bush Plummets
A majority of U.S. voters would not vote to re-elect President Bush if the election were held today, according to a recent Newsweek poll. The results mark the first time supporters of the President were outnumbered by those who want him out of office.

The telephone survey of more than one thousand registered voters was conducted on August 21 and 22, and found only forty-four percent who said they would support Mr. Bush’s reelection. Forty-nine percent said they would not vote for Bush.

According to Newsweek, concerns about the war and the stagnant economy lead the reasons why public support for Bush slipped below 50 percent for the first time since the 9/11 attacks. In April, 52 percent of voters backed the president for a second term, while 38 percent did not.


The Rich and the Spoiled
A Boston-based research foundation is reporting that chief executives of U.S. companies with the biggest layoffs and the most under-funded pension plans were rewarded with the largest pay hikes in 2002.

According to United for a Fair Economy, median pay soared 44 percent for CEOs at the 50 companies announcing the largest layoffs in 2002. Median pay increases for all CEO’s in 2002 was 6 percent.

Among the two-dozen corporations with the most offshore subsidiaries in tax-haven countries, CEOs earned 87 percent over median CEO pay during the past three years.

Leading the study’s list of companies announcing large layoffs in 2001 was Hewlett-Packard Co, where pay for CEO Carly Fiorina jumped 231 percent from 2001 to 2002.

The study is certain to bring added attention to the issue of excessive executive compensation during a time when layoffs, falling stock prices and pension shortfalls are affecting millions of employees and stockholders. A copy the report is available at http://www.faireconomy.org/press/2003/EE2003_pr.html. Additional information about executive pay is available by clicking on Executive Paywatch at www.afl-cio.org.


Southern Territory Organizing Wins

The IAM notched another victory at Ahntech Inc. when 22 aircraft service workers at Shaw Air Force Base in Wedgefield, SC, voted unanimously to join the Machinists Union. The new members join several other Ahntech groups with IAM representation. "It's a great group of folks," said Southern Territory Organizer Bobby Sapp. "All we had to do is show everyone the contracts we have with other Ahntech groups and they knew they wanted the IAM. Many told me it was a 'no-brainer'."

"The workers in South Carolina realize how important a union contract is,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Bob Martinez. “I want to thank Brother Sapp and the organizing committee for a job well done, and I want to extend a Southern Territory welcome to our newest members."

Read Past iMail | Email Your Opinion | Visit www.goiam.org | Print Version | Sign-Up for iMail

he Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act (HR 1886) will require insurance companies to cover a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours for patients undergoing mastectomy breast surgery. You can help ensure this critical legistlation is passed by signing the online petition now.

The Summer 2003 IAM Journal is now online. Skyrocketing health care costs are causing Premium Shock for members and employers. The IAM Journal looks at what's causing the increases and what can be done to change America's health care system.

See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM profiles for 2003.

The 108th Congressional Directory . . .
get your copy. Send $5 to the MNPL Education Fund, c/o IAMAW, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD, 20772.

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.