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Well-known member
Jan 4, 2002
July 27, 2005
TO: Robert Roach Jr.
General Vice President
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
9000 Machinists Place
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Dear Mr. Roach:
As you know AMFA may be forced to strike Northwest Airlines at 12:01 AM EDT on August 20, 2005.

All unionized workers at NWA are currently under attack which necessitates joining together to stop NWA's union busting
tactics. Although we have our differences, clearly our battle with NWA takes priority over those differences.

We understand that you have language in your NWA Agreement that allows your members to honor our picket lines and to
refuse to work struck work. We ask that you encourage your members to stand with us.

Please be advised that we have pledged to all members from different unions that any support given AMFA will be
protected by our "back to work agreement."

We thank you in advance for your assistance in these trying times facing all unions in the airline industry.

0. V. Delle-Femine AMFA National Director


Here is the response from the IAM:

O. V. Delle-Femine
National Director
Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association
67 Water Street
Suite 208A
Laconia, NH 03246

O. V. Delle-Femine:

I am in receipt of your letter dated July 27, 2005, in which you requested that the IAM encourage our members to stand with AMFA. You have acknowledged in your letter that there are philosophical differences between our organizations and memberships.

I am surprised by your request in that since 1962 AMFA has preached that a Mechanic does not need the assistance of "unskilled" workers such as myself or many of the people I represent. When you urged the nearly 10,000 Northwest Mechanics (at the time) to join your craft organization in 1998 you declared their strength lies in their skill, not in the numbers of the Machinists Union. You must still believe this to be true because as recently as in a July 26, 2005 news article your Assistant National Director Steve MacFarlane said, "Strength in numbers doesn't necessarily mean strength."

However, now when your organization has the first opportunity in its history to demonstrate this "strength in skill" dogma you preach, you turn to an organization that you have criticized and tried to belittle for more than 40 years, the IAM, for help. It is about time that AMFA recognizes that it cannot win a major labor dispute standing in isolation.

We could recite a litany of issues that have happened since AMFA's inception that would only distract us from making appropriate decisions as they relate to the situation with Northwest Airlines.

However, we are concerned and currently investigating the many reports of harassment and intimidation by AMFA members against IAM members. These complaints include, but are not limited to, attacks on our female members in Building B in Minneapolis, property damage, and general harassment in the workplace such as the incidents that have happened in Detroit.

In addition, AMFA, as an institution, has proposed, and is actively advocating, that Northwest Airlines demand $150,000,000.00 more in concessions than the $107,000,000.00 that Northwest has requested from
our membership.

AMFA negotiators are proud of this proposal and have been actively promoting it to your membership.

After more than 40 years, your philosophy continues to be that people working in classifications other than the licensed Mechanic should work for less pay so that the licensed Mechanic could be paid more. That philosophy is once again confirmed by AMFA, the institution, by proposing that the so-called unskilled be made to sacrifice more for the benefit of the licensed AMFA member.

Until your July 27th letter, it has been AMFA's philosophy that the IAM, as an institution, has prevented the Mechanic classification from receiving the wages and benefits that they deserve because we, the IAM, were negotiating too much money for the so-called unskilled classifications, such as Stock Clerk, Equipment Service, Customer Service, Reservations, Clerical, etc. We, therefore, have refrained from any activity that could be construed as interfering with the internal affairs of the AMFA organization, as opposed to your organization's history of attempting to raid our organization every time we are involved in difficult negotiations. We have, and I reiterate, refrained from any interference in your internal affairs.

However, in stark contrast, you will remember that in your last round of negotiations, AMFA, the Association, negotiated with Northwest Airlines to rob IAM members of work and ultimately jobs.

If your letter of July 27, 2005, was an attempt to "heal the wounds" that have been inflicted upon the IAM, our members, and the personal attacks that have been levied against IAM leadership, then we must inform you that mere words will not start the healing process. It is AMFA, the institution's, deeds that will tell if you are truly serious about healing the wounds. Therefore, we demand:

1) AMFA conduct an investigation into the allegations of intimidation of our members, especially our female members, and upon conclusion of such investigation take whatever action is necessary under your Constitution and Bylaws to hold those responsible accountable.

2) AMFA, as an institution, publicly apologize to IAM members who have been harmed by the AMFA rhetoric.

3) AMFA, as an institution, and its negotiators denounce publicly, and withdraw in writing from the negotiation table, its proposal for IAM members to pay more in wage and benefit concessions than the carrier has requested.

In addition, we need answers to the following questions.

1) Does AMFA, the institution, have a strike fund with sufficient assets to protect IAM members?

2) Does the so-called AMFA "back to work agreement" provide for financial support to any IAM member that stands with AMFA?

3) Does AMFA guarantee that no AMFA-represented member will come back to work while IAM members who have stood with AMFA have not been returned to work?

4) Will the AMFA membership be allowed to vote whether or not to accept a contract to strike or will it be an elite few that make that decision?

IAM members will not be duped into standing with AMFA. AMFA has never honored an IAM picket line. To represent otherwise, as stated in your July 20th letter to all members on NWA property, is nothing more than an attempt to use trickery and deceit to persuade IAM members to stand with you.

The IAM is monitoring the situation very closely with ALPA representatives. The Machinists Union takes our moral and legal responsibility to protect our members seriously, and whatever action we recommend will be in the best interests of the Machinists Union membership at Northwest Airlines.

In your July 27th letter you requested that we encourage our members to stand with AMFA, thereby recognizing that whether or not someone stands with your organization is an individual choice. However, it would be very difficult for any IAM member to stand with your organization knowing full well that if AMFA wins, the IAM members lose, because AMFA, the institution, is fighting for IAM members to pay more in sacrifices than is currently proposed by Northwest Airlines.

Our members can rest assured that whatever action the IAM takes will be in the best interests of its members.

Robert Roach, Jr.

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