iMail Tuesday, November 30, 2004
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Labor issues you care about in streaming video

Republicans Squash Overtime Pay Protection
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President Bush effectively used strong arm tactics to kill any chance workers had of seeing their overtime pay right saved last week.

Congress Approves Federal Civilian Pay Raises
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On Saturday, November 20th members of Congress approved the 3.5 percent pay raise for civilian federal workers.

Hearts and Minds Provide Precious Gifts
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The IAM's annual Guide Dogs of America fundraising dinner turned out a record breaking crowd this past weekend in Las Vegas.

Bi-Partisan Call Unheard in U.S. Senate
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Bi-partisanship is a phrase without meaning in the United States Senate this week.

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

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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

NLRB Allows Employers to Block Union Elections

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), under President Bush, is running neck and neck with the U.S. Department of Labor for the title of the federal agency most likely to rule against the interests of those they are charged to protect.

While the Labor Department is busy restricting overtime rights for millions of U.S. workers, the NLRB ruled this week that some employees must get their employers’ permission before a representational election will be permitted. According to the board, employers must consent before elections can be held in bargaining units that consist of temporary workers and regular employees working for the same employer.

The 3-2 decision overturns the landmark ruling by the Clinton NLRB in M.B. Sturgis that authorized elections in such units without employer consent, and “seems to have gone out of its way to make it impossible for joint employees to exercise their Section 7 rights (to choose union representation) effectively,” said dissenting board member Wilma B. Liebman. “The board now effectively bars yet another group of employees – the sizeable number of workers in alternative work arrangements – from organizing labor unions, by making them get their employer’s permission first.”

The majority in this case said their decision protects employees’ right to “effective representation,” a claim that was sharply rejected by the minority: “The majority never explains how granting employers veto power over union representation advances the ‘fullest freedom of employees to pursue collective bargaining,’” as provided by federal law.

Click here to read the full decision.

Pratt Fiddles While Workers Simmer

With less than a week before the Dec. 5 expiration date of the contract between the IAM and Pratt & Whitney, union negotiators are calling on the company to recognize the contributions of workers who made the company’s recent financial success possible.

“Our intention is to protect every job,” said District 26 Assistant Directing Business Representative and chief negotiator Jim Parent. “If the future looks so great for the company, then the company shouldn’t have a problem guaranteeing everyone will keep their job over the life of this new contract.” Profits are up at the Connecticut jet-maker where a company executive recently boasted, “It’s a good time to be Pratt & Whitney.”

Despite its financial success and the looming contract deadline, negotiators for P&W have yet to produce an economic package that addresses IAM members’ concerns over job security, pensions and healthcare costs. “It’s time to quit stalling,” demanded GLR Bill Rudis at a recent meeting with company officials. “Our members have a right to know. And not at the last minute.”

Union negotiators pledged to continue to fight for every job and every member. “Your Negotiating Committee is determined to get you the kind of respect you deserve,” said the negotiating committee in a recent bulletin. “We are the team you elected to lead the battle, but you are the army. It’s you who must win the victory.”

Click here for more information about negotiations between the IAM and Pratt & Whitney.

UAL Files Motion to Terminate Contracts

On Jan. 10, 2005, Bankruptcy Court Judge Eugene Wedoff will begin hearing United Airlines’ motion to abrogate long-term labor contracts at the bankrupt carrier. The 1113c motion, filed late in the day on Nov. 24, applies to contracts covering more than 60,000 pilots, flight attendants and ground personnel at the nation’s second largest airline.

The filing sets in motion a process defined by bankruptcy law that calls for continued discussions between union representatives and the airline. Barring a consensual agreement or a mutually agreed upon extension of the deadline, the court is required to rule on the company’s motion within 30 days after the Jan. 10 hearing.

The judge has only two options when ruling on an 1113c motion: he can reject the company’s application and leave the labor contract intact, or he can approve the application and abrogate the labor agreement entirely. In the absence of a contract, the airline would be free to establish wages, work rules and benefits as they wish.

“The IAM hopes to achieve an agreement that makes further court action unnecessary, but we must be prepared for court in the event an agreement is not possible,” said District 141 President Randy Canale.

Click here for more information and text of United’s 1113c motion.

Book Looks At Manufacturing’s Survival

The United States is facing a manufacturing emergency. Unless Washington acts swiftly and decisively, the U.S. could plummet into a second-class industrial power, or so says Peggy Smedley in her new book, Mending Manufacturing: How America Can Manufacture its Survival.

The book reveals the history behind industry's outsourcing of jobs and production to foreign nations and questions whether the U.S. can remain an economic power without a solid manufacturing base.

The book also outlines three key issues for American manufacturing in 2005: competing in a global economy, incentives for investments in equipment and technology and high-tech worker training.

Smedley stresses that national leaders must understand that America's future cannot be built exclusively on a service economy and adds that it would leave America vulnerable by neglecting segments of our manufacturing infrastructure.

"Jobs and the economy were a major issue in the presidential campaign. Americans will not be content trading $20-an-hour manufacturing jobs for half that as a greeter at Wal-Mart," said Smedley.

Union Members See Significant Benefits

Union members continue to see a significant advantage in employee benefits, such as healthcare and wage increases, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employers pay an average of 83 percent of the cost of health care benefits for family coverage for union members, compared to only 67 percent for nonunion workers, according to the results of a March 2004 survey that covered 4,703 establishments representing 102.3 million workers.

The survey also found that 70 percent of union workers are covered by a defined benefit retirement plan, compared with only 16 percent of nonunion workers.

Furthermore, the report found that union workers are more likely to receive employer-provided life insurance, short-term disability coverage and larger wage increases.

In fact, from September 2003 to September 2004, annual wage increases averaged 3.0 percent for union workers, but only 2.5 percent for nonunion workers.

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Who cares about us? Check out the online edition of the 2004 IAM Journal.

The winners of the 2004 Newsletter & Website Contest.

IAM2004 See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM2004

Cincinnati Skyline The official site for the 36th Grand Lodge Convention held in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Check the "Highlights" section for covrage of Convention events and photos.

Check out NewsBriefs, a regular online news service for IAM editors, webstewards & communicators. En Francais.

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 The fast-growing site offers forums for Ford customers, technicians and dealers to exchange information.