Long Distance Information, Give me Memphis, Tennessee

I’ll be writing a story soon about a Downtown Memphis business owner who hails from Europe.

One of the interesting things about him is his enthusiasm for his adopted hometown, which is infectious.

He actually told me, “I knew where Memphis was before I ever knew where London was.”

Shelby Farms Park to Welcome Capitol Christmas Tree

The official Capitol Christmas Tree is expected to arrive at Shelby Farms Park today around 4:00 p.m.

Mascot Thomas the Buffalo and park officials will welcome the 75-foot evergreen in the park’s kite field, and Capitol Christmas Tree Tour officials will remain on site for several hours to interact with the public.

The tree, which originated in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, will make additional stops in Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland before reaching its final destination in Washington, D.C., where it will be presented to Congress on November 29.

Delta Continues to Reject Union Representation

More than 53 percent of Delta Air Lines below-wing Airport Customer Service (ACS) and Cargo warehouse employees voting in the Fleet Service election rejected representation by the International Association of Machinists (IAM).

Out of 10,593 votes cast – 5,569 were against and 4,909 votes were for IAM, according to the National Mediation Board (NMB). There were 13,104 eligible voters, out of which 37.5 percent voted for the IAM.

Earlier this month, Delta’s flight attendants rejected AFA representation, Delta’s simulator technicians twice rejected IAM representation in 2010 and Delta’s meteorologists rejected union representation in March 2009. These groups total more than 40,000 employees.

“I know you have questions about what happens next,” Gil West, senior vice president of airport customer service, said in a memo to employees. “We are ready to begin the process of aligning pay, benefits and work rules, and producing a single seniority list as quickly as possible.”

“The actual date when we can begin this transition will largely depend on whether the IAM respects your decision or chooses to file interference claims. We believe the IAM has no basis for filing interference, but if they do, we will not be in a position to align pay, benefits and work rules until the final resolution of representation is achieved. I know you’re ready to move forward and we are urging the IAM to respect your choice.”

Delta employees continue voting in two remaining representation elections as a result of Delta’s merger with Northwest. Results for stock clerks and supply attendant employees in Delta’s stores organization will be announced today, and results for reservation sales and customer-facing airport and cargo agents in the Passenger Service craft or class will be announced on Dec. 7. Stay tuned!

Do you Believe in Memphis?

If you can describe someone or something good in Memphis in roughly double the maximum length of a Twitter post, head over to www.believeinmemphis.com and spread the love.

The site appears to be little more than a simple community bulletin board with which to honor the unsung heroes of our sophisticated yet unruly river town.

I think I ought to leave a post about Ray Williams and his crew. Because my stomach believes the proprietors of Soul Fish in Midtown are special Memphians, indeed.

Crystal Award Winners Include Huey’s, First Tennessee Foundation

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) held its 2010 National Philanthropy Day/Crystal Awards luncheon yesterday to honor individuals, businesses and organizations for their outstanding philanthropic efforts in the Memphis community. WMC-TV Anchor Joe Birch emceed the event at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis.

The AFP represents nearly 30,000 members in more than 213 chapters throughout the world working to advance philanthropy. The Memphis chapter this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The winners:

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser

David Pickler, Pickler Companies

Outstanding Philanthropist

Marilyn & Jack Belz

Outstanding Corporation


Outstanding Foundation or Philanthropic Organization

First Tennessee Foundation

Outstanding Fundraising Executive

Virginia Stallworth, Memphis Child Advocacy Center

Outstanding Executive Leader

Ryan Fleur, Memphis Symphony Orchestra