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Battle for fair union election at US airline
21 August 2009
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|Richard Trumka (left), candidate for the AFL-CIO presidency and Ingo Marowsky, ITF regional and industrial coordinator [Photo: Bill Burke, IAM]|
The struggle to ensure a fair election at a newly-merged US airline was high on the list of critical issues facing airline workers this year, delegates at a union conference were told.
The delegates and guests, more than 400 of them, gathered in New York City, US, this week for the 2009 transport conference of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). There they heard how workers at Delta Air Lines would soon have the opportunity to cast ballots to be represented by IAM. The airline merged with Northwest Airlines last year.
“We are confronted with a fight where 12,500 people stand to lose union representation at the hands of anti-union carrier Delta Air Lines,” declared IAM transportation general vice-president Robert Roach, Jr. “They (Delta) may have drawn the line in the sand, but we’re coming across that line. We’re going to win that representation election.”
Delegates also heard from state and federal officials including California Democratic representative Laura Richardson. She urged them to challenge efforts to weaken key legislation, including healthcare reform and the Employee Free Choice Act. Richardson, an IAM member and co-sponsor of the original Employee Free Choice Act, warned that the legislation, which enhances union rights, was under a sustained assault. “Shame on us if we let the cable channels and conservative talk-show hosts direct national policy,” she said. “We simply cannot allow others to drive this issue.”
Others addressing the conference included incoming president of US labour federation AFL-CIO Richard Trumka, whom delegates endorsed. Ingo Marowsky, ITF regional and industrial coordinator, attended the event on behalf of the ITF and its affiliates. There he tackled a number of key themes relating to the international labour movement and showed solidarity with the US unions in their efforts to protect the labour rights of Delta Air Lines workers.
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