iMail Thursday, November 18, 2004
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Labor issues you care about in streaming video

Video: Executive Pay Questioned
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, on Monday, November 15th approved a plan to rein in abusive executive compen-sation practices in corporate America.

Union Members See Increased Benefits
From healthcare to wage increases, union members continue to see a significant advantage in employee benefits.

A Neighborhood Full of Surprises
Follow Tom Buffenbarger as he canvases Laconia, New Hampshire for votes and knocks on AMFA’s door.

Outsourcing New Hampshire Jobs
Tyco and Amphenol - two manufacturing plants that have seen job loss as a result of trade.

A Company Devoted to Its Workers
In the midst of the IAM's "Wheel of Misfortune Tour", IP Buffenbarger dropped in on Suflex to recognize a rare commodity in todays corporate world - a company devoted to its workers.

Airlines Propose Pension Terminations
United Airlines and US Airways are seeking to terminate pension plans covering more than 150,000 active and retired employees.

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Officers & Territories

R. Thomas Buffenbarger
International President

Warren L. Mart

Lee Pearson
GVP Western Territory

Dave Ritchie
GVP Canada

Robert V. Thayer
GVP Headquarters

Robert Roach, Jr.
GVP Transportation

Lynn Tucker
GVP Eastern Territory

Robert Martinez
GVP Southern Territory

James Brown
GVP Midwest Territory


A Visit to Mr. McCormick's Neighborhood

McCormick Advisory Group, a real estate management firm, is also the Administration Office for the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA).

In real estate it’s location, location, location. The letterhead of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) lists its Administration Office at 67 Water St. in Laconia, New Hampshire. IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger recently paid a visit to their Laconia location.

“We were in New Hampshire to talk to union members about jobs and the November 2 election. Airline technicians had a lot to lose, and we wanted to see what AMFA headquarters was contributing to the get-out-the-vote effort,” said Buffenbarger. “We found a real estate management company that was masquerading as a labor organization and was doing nothing for an election that will make or break the livelihoods of aircraft technicians,” said Buffenbarger.

McCormick Advisory Group, headed by Kevin McCormick, is a real estate management firm located in suites 108 and 208 at 67 Water St. When he’s not managing his real estate empire, McCormick is AMFA’s National Administrator. AMFA’s Administration Office is in suite 208A. McCormick has an $800,000 per year contract with AMFA, according to Business Week. McCormick also hires out his administrative services to other “independent” unions whose only reason for existence is raiding established AFL-CIO unions.

Click here to take a tour of McCormick’s offices with IAM President Tom Buffenbarger.

How Do You Spell Hypocrisy? House GOP

GOP House members this week voted in a secret, unrecorded vote to let their leaders continue to serve in Congress even if they are indicted for breaking the law. The GOP House members moved to protect their Majority Leader Tom DeLay if he is indicted in Texas. Three of DeLay’s political associates in Texas have already been indicted in connection with fundraising activities for a political action committee closely linked to DeLay, according to Associated Press reports.

Just ten years ago the Republican party swept to power in Congress on a promise to clean up government. Led by Newt Gingrich and the “Contract With America,” GOP leaders forced Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright to resign over sales of his autobiography. They promised term limits and that Congress would follow the same laws as everyone else.

Many of the same lawmakers who came to Congress in 1994 and would be retired if they had stuck to their “voluntary” term limits pledge, voted to change a 1993 rule that requires GOP leaders who are indicted to step aside. GOP leaders used the rule to embarrass House Democrats who were in the majority.

“Republicans have reached a new low,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “It is absolutely mind-boggling that as their first order of business following the elections, House Republicans have lowered the ethical standards for their leaders.”

House GOP leaders say the Texas probe is politically motivated, but the Texas District Attorney leading the probe, Democrat Ronnie Earl, has prosecuted more Democrats than Republicans during his term as District Attorney.

Pension Agency Reports Record Deficit

With $39 billion in assets, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is not on the brink of default, but with a $12.1 billion loss in 2004 and a deficit that doubled in the past year, the agency charged with insuring pension plans is feeling financial pressure that cannot be ignored.

“The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is living on borrowed time,” warned Rep. George Miller (D-CA) on Nov. 15. “The record deficit announced by the agency today once again highlights the failure of the administration and Congress to address the growing retirement insecurity of millions of Americans.”

The PBGC was quick to reassure the 1 million beneficiaries who receive benefits from the agency that the situation was serious but not beyond repair. “The PBGC is committed to protecting pension benefits, and with $39 billion in assets we can continue to meet our obligations for a number of years,” said PBGC Executive Director Bradley D. Belt. “But with more than $62 billion in liabilities, it is imperative that Congress act expeditiously so that the problem doesn’t spiral out of control.”

The agency also calculates “reasonably possible” exposure: the amount of unfunded benefits in pension plans the agency views to be at risk of default. The 2004 financial report anticipates exposure in this category to rise from $82 billion to $96 billion.

The PBGC receives funding from several sources: insurance premiums from employers that sponsor insured pension plans; assets from pension plans taken over by the agency and revenue from investments. General tax revenues are not used to fund the PBGC.

GOP Wants Fast Track for Court Nominees

In the world according to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, there is no room for elected representatives who would stand in the way of the most extreme judicial candidates that President Bush deems to nominate.

In a recent address to the conservative Federalist Society, the GOP leader declared; “One way or another, the filibuster of judicial nominations must end.” A filibuster allows a single Senator, usually of the minority party, to be heard for an extended period of time on an issue.

Frist appears to be gearing up for a bid to rewrite Senate rules to specifically forbid the filibustering of judicial nominees. Following such a change, federal judges could be confirmed with a simple majority of 51 votes.

The threat by Frist to outlaw filibusters for judicial nominees is making him the man of the hour among extreme conservatives, but his willingness to employ what is known as the “nuclear option” is even making some in his own party nervous. Such a partisan rewrite of Senate rules could last well beyond the GOP’s current slender grip on both houses of Congress.

The Value of an IAM Contract

New Mexico Local 2515 member Robert Villines is back at his job with Yulista Management Services at Cannon Air Force Base with $34,000 in back pay and a new appreciation for the value of IAM membership.

Villinis had barely begun paying union dues when he was fired for what the company said was poor work performance. “It didn’t matter how long he was a member,” said DBR Bud Duryea, who represented Mr. Villines with help from Roy Burghardt, the IAM Shop Steward at Yulista. “He was entitled to due process from the day he joined the IAM, along with all the other protections in his contract.”

The case moved through the grievance procedure and was eventually heard by an independent arbitrator, who ruled Villines was discharged without the benefit of progressive discipline. “We are very, very happy to have Mr. Villinis back at work,” said DBR Duryea. “Many new members look to the IAM for a wage increase without realizing how important and valuable the rest of their union contract can be.”

C-130 Simulator Instructors Vote IAM

Instructors at CAE, USA in Tampa, FL, who provide C-130 simulator training for U.S. and foreign customers, voted 15-1 for IAM representation in one of the latest IAM organizing wins in the Southern Territory. The instructors certify pilots, flight engineers and loadmasters in addition to providing platform instruction and courseware development.

The instructors realized the importance of having an IAM contract of their own after reviewing the excellent contracts the IAM has at other sites where employees do similar work, according to Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “I'd like to thank Southern Territory Grand Lodge Organizer Ray Moffatt and District 166 Organizer Tommy

Mayfield and the members of the CAE organizing team for bringing the IAM message to our newest members,” said Martinez.





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