Thursday,  November 6,  2003

Outsourcing Ban Upheld at US Airways
In an important win for IAM-represented aircraft mechanics at US Airways, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the carriers’ bid to resume outsourcing heavy maintenance on its fleet of Airbus aircraft.

The airline was seeking an emergency stay of an Oct. 21 preliminary injunction that halted maintenance work on two US Airways aircraft and barred any additional work by employees at a foreign owned facility in Mobile, Alabama. The stay, if granted, would have allowed US Airways to continue outsourcing the work while the appeals process went forward.

“We are gratified by the court’s decision, but at the same time we are dismayed with the lack of action by US Airways to have this work performed in-house,” said GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “The preliminary injunction was issued 15 days ago, yet the airline has not taken any steps to perform the work with US Airways employees.”

The IAM filed suit against US Airways in October after the carrier signed a contract with Singapore Mobile Aerospace Engineering to perform heavy maintenance on ten of its Airbus 319 aircraft. The case was heard by a district court in Pennsylvania, who ruled the work could not be outsourced and belonged to IAM-represented US Airways employees. The IAM is also seeking damages for the work performed by subcontractors before it was halted by the injunction.

Lodge 66 Educator Pat Elizondo as Mother Jones and Bunny Browning as the Reporter
Mother Jones Visits Local Lodge 66
Mother Jones, one of the most influential women in the labor movement paid a virtual visit to Local Lodge 66 in Milwaukee, and answered reporters’ questions during an in-depth interview. Born in Ireland in 1830, Mother Mary Harris Jones was over 50 years old when she began her career as a labor organizer. A fiery and electrifying speaker, Mother Jones specialized in creating public outcry over the inhuman treatment of workers. Scorning jail, deportation to other states and threats on her life, Mother Jones became an enemy of the wealthy business owners. Well into her eighties, she continued to agitate and actively struggle to unionize streetcar, garment and steel workers.

Southwest to Close Reservations Centers
Citing passengers growing use of web sites to purchase airline tickets, Southwest Airlines announced it will close 3 of its 9 reservations call centers on Feb. 28. IAM members in Little Rock, Salt Lake City and Dallas will be offered transfers to the carrier’s remaining call centers in Albuquerque, Chicago, Houston, Oklahoma City, Phoenix and San Antonio.

“Closing reservations centers is a stark departure from historical Southwest Airlines operations,” said William O’Driscoll, District 142 president and directing general chairman. “As we addressed in a recent mailing to all IAM members at Southwest Airlines, new technologies such as Internet booking and check-in, call forwarding and self-service kiosks pose a real and immediate threat to jobs.  That threat of increased productivity through technology is now affecting Southwest employees for the first time.”

The workers at Southwest will join more than 200,000 airline employees who lost their jobs or were forced to relocate during the past two years. Southwest and Alaska Airlines were the only U.S. carriers that did not lay off employees in travel meltdown that followed the September 11 attacks.

Seniors Launch TV Ads On Medicare Plan
The Alliance for Retired American began running television ads to educate the public about the so-called prescription drug benefit attached to Medicare legislation now before a House-Senate conference committee. The ads urge viewers not to let Congress privatize Medicare as the GOP majorities and the Bush administration seek to do with this proposal.

“Millions of retirees could lose their existing employer-provided health care coverage,” warns Alliance President George J. Kourpias. Under the proposed legislation, he explained, “seniors could lose thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. The big winners are the drug firms.”

Seniors can make their voices heard by calling their elected representatives toll-free at 1-800-511-3802 and asking them to vote “NO” on this proposed legislation or by visiting the Alliance website at www.retiredamericans.org and sending a letter to their senators and representatives, says Ruben Burks, Alliance secretary-treasurer, who reminds older Americans that “no bill is better than a bad bill.”

U.S. Trade Court Blasts Labor Dept.
A recent decision by the U.S. Court of International Trade blasted the Department of Labor (DOL) for failing to properly investigate a petition by employees seeking Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits.

Under the 1994 NAFTA accord, the DOL is responsible for assuring TAA benefits are available for eligible employees who lose their jobs due to NAFTA-like international trade deals.

In a scathing rebuke of DOL practices, the court said, “There is something fundamentally wrong with the administration of the nation’s trade adjustment assistance programs if, as a practical matter, workers often must appeal their cases to the courts to secure the thorough investigation that the Labor Department is required to provide by law.”

“IAM members seeking TAA benefits are advised to be aware of the obstacle the U.S. Labor Department may represent in this matter,” said Owen Herrnstadt, director of IAM’s Trade and Globalization Dept.

Howard Dean Bucks Spending Limits
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean may become the first Democratic presidential candidate ever to abandon the current public-financing system, which has been in place since the 1970's. Dean recently sent an e-mail to over 500,000 of his supporters seeking their opinion on whether he should decline federal matching funds and therefore, free himself of the spending limits that come with them.

Dean initially pledged to participate in the current public-finance system, which would impose a $45 million spending limit. However, after raising over $25 million, his stance on the issue has changed dramatically.


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Two candidates came to Cincinnati to vie for the IAM's endorsement for President in 2004. Only one came away with the prize.  Read all about it in the online version of The IAM Journal.

 . . . and it's time to order your copy. This years calendar is filled with the winners of the annual IAM photograohy contest. Plus, for every calendar sold, the IAM will donate one dollar to the Guide Dogs of America. Last year, calendar sales earned $25, 000 for the GDA. Click here to download a calendar order form. Print it our on your home computer and mail it back to the IAM.

Once each year an independent panel of judges decide which locals and districts publish the best newsletters and best websites. Check out the winners.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is back flying combat missions. This time, however, he seeks to shoot down the proposed lease of Boeing 767 tankers by the US Air Force. And he is using every weapon at his disposal to chalk up another kill. Help stop John McCain and save North American jobs.

FlatRateTech is an organization “created for and by Ford and Lincoln Mercury service technicians solely to speak as one loud voice rather than 50,000 smaller voices,” according to their website http://flatratetech.com. The fast-growing site offers forums for Ford customers, technicians and dealers to exchange information.


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.