your Questions regarding the
Northwest Airlines Employees are currently receiving
information on their pension plans. On Nov. 06, 2002 Northwest asked
the Internal Revenue Service for a waiver to draw out
of its required 2003 pension contribution over a five-year period,
from 2004 through 2008 , rather than the typical 18-month period.
Northwest has also requested permission for an exemption from the
Department of Labor that would allow them to satisfy
in funding obligations, by utilizing Pinnacle Airlines stock shares
(stock not currently valued , nor traded). It plans to contribute
million or so of Pinnacle stock to pension
plans later this year . The Fitch
rating agency in New York expressed concerns
about airlines not sufficiently funding their pension plans . The
firm estimated that Northwest 's pension plan shows a gap of about
$3.2 billion. The plan is under funded because its investments have
suffered, due to the general malaise in the stock markets.
for a sample letter , feel free to cut and paste from this PDF file
Address your comments and requests to:
or Email them to
It's your FUTURE, Make our voice heard !
Northwest Airlines has started to fund pension contributions with stock of its Pinnacle Airlines subsidiary instead of using cash, making what it said was a stock contribution worth $41 million last week. It plans to contribute another $180 million or so of Pinnacle stock to pension plans later this year . Northwest has also promised to buy back the Pinnacle stock in the future at a set price. It would not cite the price Wednesday, however.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the agency that insures company pension plans reported a $3.6 billion deficit today , its largest ever, and said it was studying whether the way businesses now calculate pension values was masking even deeper weaknesses in the system .
"...we need to do more. And we need to do it now. Our financial results make it abundantly clear that American's future cannot be assured until ways are found to significantly lower our labor and other costs."
Unions Win Mutual Fund Fight
Labor unions and shareholder rights â€™ advocates scored a major victory last week when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled mutual fund managers must disclose how they vote on management and shareholder resolutions.
Unions led the effort to highlight the voting habits of large mutual funds, which often side with management, rubberstamping everything from dubious acquisition schemes and board appointments to runaway executive compensation.
â€œThis decision makes mutual funds accountable for how they vote on behalf of their investors, including employee-investors,â€? said IP Tom Buffenbarger . â€œYou can bet former Enron auditor Frank Savage would not be on Lockheedâ€™s board of directors today if fund managers were required to publicly disclose how they voted on his outrageous nomination.â€?
The SEC received more than 7,000 comment letters on the proposed rule, more than any other in the agencyâ€™s history. â€œThe claim by fund managers that individual investors donâ€™t care how their fund votes was literally blown out of the water ,â€? said Buffenbarger. â€œThe SEC made the right decision to give investors and employees the ability to better evaluate where to place their hard-earned money.â€?
Planners Outline Political Agenda
Delegates to the 2003 MNPL National Planning Committee session began crafting strategies designed to help working families and their allies increase their political power as the nation faces serious challenges both at home and abroad .
Meeting in Monterey, CA, delegates and guests began their deliberations with a moment of silence honoring the brave astronauts who perished in the space shuttle tragedy . In his keynote address, IP Tom Buffenbarger reminded his audience that IAM members were deeply affected by that tragedy.
â€œOur members in the aerospace industry take great pride in the contributions their skilled hands make to space exploration. That pride is matched by that of our members at the Cape who help launch, and recover these spacecraft ,â€? he said. â€œWe are family, and those who died in that disaster are family , tooâ€?
Buffenbargerâ€™s speech outlined the problems facing working men and women as the nation teeters on the brink of war, with an economy mired deeply in the Bush recession .
â€œWe cannot sit on the sidelines,â€? he said. â€œItâ€™s no longer business as usual . Itâ€™s time for us to take back our rights. Take back our government . Take back our White House. Letâ€™s reclaim America.â€?
Maytag Inducted Into Corporate â€˜Hall of Shameâ€™
The Illinois-based Campaign for Corporate Responsibility named Mexico-bound Maytag to its Corporate Hall of Shame for the decision to move refrigerator production from Galesburg, IL to low-wage Reynosa, Mexico.
Sharing the disgrace with Maytag was Wal-Mart, Motorola and Abbott Laboratories for their abuse of the public interest while receiving substantial tax breaks and subsidies.
â€œMaytag received $10 million in state grants and local tax abatements to retool its Galesburg plant less than a decade ago ,â€? said GLR Cristina Munoz . â€œLast year it made almost $200 million in profits and its CEO earned nearly $4 million in salary and stock compensation. Yet the company chose to shut the plant , lay off 1,600 workers and walk away from the community and workers that made it profitable.â€?
Wal-Mart earned a $6 million windfall for collecting state sales taxes while paying its workers an average of only $7.50 an hour. Abbott Laboratories benefited from a similar tax break while laying off hundreds of Illinois workers.
Hedges on Jet Construction Site
The Boeing Company will not say if its next-generation 7E7 jet will be built in the U.S. or elsewhere. â€œThere has been no decision on where it will be built,â€? said Boeing spokesperson Tom Brabant last week.
â€œItâ€™s absolutely crucial that Boeing build the 7E7 here,â€? said Mark Blondin, president of IAM District 751. â€œWe have the skill set here in Seattle and the Puget Sound area to do the best and most efficient job.â€?
Blondin said workers at Boeing plants in Everett , Auburn, Fredrickson and Renton could handle everything from fabricating airplane components to final assembly.
Computer generated views of the 7E7 show a 250 seat, twin-engine aircraft with a range of 9,000 miles. It features fuel savings of 15 to 20 percent over current aircraft and is expected to enter service in 2008 . The new plane takes the place of Boeing â€™s proposed sonic cruiser, shelved last year after much debate.
Chair Sees Opportunities
A key Democratic operative admitted his party fell below expectations in the last election for a very simple reason : â€œWe didnâ€™t have a message ,â€? said Terry McAuliffe, who chairs the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
â€œWe need Democrats who will fight for Democratic ideals and for Democratic issues ,â€? said McAuliffe. â€œWhen Democrats try to run on a â€œBush Liteâ€? program, we lose.â€?
The party is rebuilding its base by cleaning up outdated computer files, upgrading its computers system and breaking ground for a new office building in the nationâ€™s capital.
Getting the party back to grassroots organizing is crucial, he explained. â€œThatâ€™s where elections are won and lost.â€? McAuliffe said the Democratic Party â€œmust be there for youâ€? on a host of issues ranging from fair trade to health care, from workplace safety to retirement security .
Bush Budget: Check Record, NOT Rhetoric
President George Bush describes himself as a â€œcompassionate conservative,â€? but that â€œcompassionâ€? apparently doesnâ€™t extend to working families. Thatâ€™s how IP Tom Buffenbarger sees Bush at the mid-point of his White House term. â€œI heard lotâ€™s of high-flown rhetoric in his State of the Union address, but there was nothing there for working families,â€? he said.
Buffenbarger said Bushâ€™s ballyhooed â€œeconomic stimulusâ€? plan is â€œjust a smokescreen to cut taxes on the rich, while doing absolutely nothing to create jobs, reduce our soaring trade deficit or anything else to pull the nation out of recession.â€?
The ink had barely dried on Bushâ€™s speech when the Congressional Budget Office reported the federal budget deficit could reach $200 billion by year â€™s end. The actual deficit could be even higher, because the CBO estimate did not include the costs of the dividend tax giveaway, a possible war with Iraq or any spending increases Bush proposes and Congress approves.
In barely two years , the Bush agenda turned a $5.6 trillion surplus into soaring deficits and effectively stalled any movement toward an effective health care program, Medicare improvements, jobs creation or a strengthened Social Security program .
NY Paper Supports Anti-Union Campaign
â€œThe authors of a Wall Street Journal editorial, calling for radical changes to the Railway Labor Act, appear intent on gutting the law that brought collective bargaining rights to U .S. air and rail workers ,â€? said Transportation GVP Robert Roach Jr..
â€œWhen applied and administered properly, the law can be effective,â€? countered Roach. â€œIn 2000, the Machinists Union and Continental Airlines reached a tentative agreement 90 days after the contractâ€™s amendable date. Last December, the IAM and Southwest Airlines reached an accord only six weeks after the amendable date.â€?
Since 1997, the National Mediation Board resolved more than 600 cases without strikes and service interruptions . During that time only three cases resulted in self-help strikes, work stoppages or lock-outs.
In 1993, after three years of hearings, the Dunlop Commission concluded that labor and management should be permitted to jointly seek their own solutions and that no changes to the law were necessary.
â€œOverturning a law that works the vast majority of the time is senseless,â€? said Roach. â€œThe Wall Street Journalâ€™s support of a political campaign to strip air and rail workers of their collective bargaining rights is why so many readers avoid the Journalâ€™s editorial pages altogether.â€?
Fear Factor Rules at TSA
In a ruling that would make George Orwell blush, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced an aircraft mechanicsâ€™ FAA license could be revoked without warning if the new federal agency decides they represent a â€œsecurity threat.â€?
Under the rule, enacted last week without the customary period for public comment, the TSA gains extraordinary power over employeesâ€™ livelihoods without being required to explain how or why a license holder poses a security risk.
â€œLast month, the head of the TSA denied 50,000 airport screeners the right to union representation,â€? said IP Tom Buffenbarger. â€œNow, the department has given itself unprecedented power over anyone with an FAA license. This agency is systematically abusing the very rights and freedoms they were created to protect.â€?
In a chilling quote, TSA spokesman Robert Johnson told a reporter, â€œIf youâ€™re not a terrorist, you donâ€™t have anything to worry about. He said the rule was merely a â€œtechnical correctionâ€? to an existing policy.
For More Information:
Economic downturn has several causes
but impact on working Americans is clear:
Â©Copyright 2003 International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
All rights reserved.