United MEC Government Affairs Committee Update

Date: December 28, 2011
Type: Report

Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Evaluation Report

In December 2009, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, wrote to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) asking the inspector general to look into the 2005 termination of the United Airlines’ pension plans. The inspector general concluded that the PBGC and a contractor performing the plan asset audits during the termination process did not exercise due professional care in the validation of plan assets. Congressman Miller then called on the PBGC to immediately address these serious concerns (MEC Government Affairs report August 2010).

The PBGC issued their Evaluation Report last month. We will continue to work with Congressman George Miller and his committee staff to ensure that the PBGC exercise due professional care in administering a terminated plan and to ensure our retirement security is protected. United MEC President Greg Davidowitch has sent a letter of appreciation to Congressman Miller for ALL of his efforts related to helping protect the retirement security of United Flight Attendants.

Elections 2012

AFA Zero Congressman Joe Walsh

Although U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL) had announced he would run for reelection in the 14th District of Illinois, after a redistricting map made that District a safe Republican seat, he will now switch Districts to run in Illinois’ 8th District. This switch will enable him to avoid a primary against fellow Republican Randy Hultgren (R-IL) in Illinois District 14. Congressman Walsh announced his decision during a recent Tea Party meeting.

After every U.S. census, states are required to redraw the boundaries of Congressional Districts. Walsh currently serves in the 8th District but redistricting has changed the make-up of that District, putting it closer to Chicago. Tammy Duckworth and Raja Krishnamoorthi are vying for the Democratic nomination for the 8th District.

Council 12 (LAX) Supports Labor Community and Fights Union Busting

As part of their ongoing commitment to support community issues and the local labor community, representatives from Council 12 and their Local Government Affairs Committee participated in a picketing event in November to support 26 workers recently fired for trying to form a Union at Toll Group, an Australian owned company. U.S. Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA) as well as Executive Secretary/Treasurer Maria Elena Durazo of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor were on hand to speak on behalf of the fired workers and to lend their support.

Sadly, stories such as these have become all too familiar. While business executives demand high paid contracts to protect their pay and benefits, corporations routinely block employees’ efforts to gain the same opportunity with a Union. It is not a coincidence that the gap between rich and poor has widened exponentially while Union membership has declined.

No one does better unless we all do better so it is important that we all make an effort to support other Unions and especially our local labor communities and to build and maintain those essential relationships. This is not just about workers at the Toll Group. This is about working families everywhere. Fighting to provide the opportunity to allow more workers to join a Union and negotiate with their employers will help rebuild the middle class by raising the standard of living for all working families.

On a positive note, due largely to their unity and the pressure from ongoing protests, eight of the “Toll 26” were called back to work just one month after being unjustly fired. Now they are fighting for the rest of their co-workers still without a job and for the right to unionize.

Kudos to Council 12 for their long history of standing in Unity with their local labor community. As we have illustrated many times in the past, our Negotiations do not happen in a vacuum and what is happening in the labor community has an effect on us.

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