iMail for Thursday, September 21, 2006

Custom Made Harley-Davidson Raffled Off

A custom built and painted 2006 Harley-Davidson Street Guide FLHX raffled to benefit the Guide Dogs of America was won by Carole Mertens of Minnesota.

Another fundraiser is currently under way. The IAMAW Bike Build, allows visitors to track the progress of the custom bike being built in an effort to raise money for Guide Dogs of America.

The bike build came about through the efforts of the IAMAW, Celebrity Build TV and Guide Dogs of America to create a unique and exciting fundraiser. All proceeds from the fundraising effort will go directly to Guide Dogs of America and their mission to provide professionally-trained guide dogs to blind and visually impaired individuals at no cost.

 Public Gives GOP Congress Low Marks

Only 25 percent of Americans approve of the way the Republican-controlled Congress is handling its job, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News Poll. The public dissatisfaction with Congress, which is at its highest level since 1994, presents Democrats with a legitimate opportunity to take over the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.

Highlighting the public’s hope for change, 77 percent of those polled – including 65 percent of Republicans – said most members of Congress hadn’t done a good enough job to warrant re-election and it was time to give new people a chance. Fifty percent of respondents said they would support a Democrat in the November elections, compared to just 35 percent who said they would support a Republican. 

Race ‘Round the Track’

Local 777 in St. Louis, MO sponsored a “Machinists Night at the Races” at the I-55 Raceway in Pevely, which turned out to be an excellent organizing tool. Local members and officers staffed the IAM booth, passing out organizing material and t-shirts. As a sponsor, Local 777 was mentioned all night long by the announcer. The lodge also put up a large billboard around the track that reads “Race to Join the Proud Mechanics of Machinists Union Local 777.”

The races, held every Wednesday and Saturday night, have generated several organizing leads for the Local and District 9, as the large billboard and manned booth are there each race night.

“We received eight organizing leads just in that one night,” said Midwest GVP Phil Gruber, who, along with AA Roger Nauyalis, GLR Rod Hoffman, and former GVP Jim Brown attended the event. “This has proven to be a great opportunity to showcase our Union.”

Manufacturing Employment Continues to Sink to New Lows

Since the last manufacturing peak year in 1998, the U.S. has lost a staggering 3.4 million manufacturing jobs. A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute says the 14.2 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is near lows not seen since the 1950’s.

Blue-collar workers have also seen a 2.7 percent drop in real wages over the past year, despite the fact productivity is up.

The EPI report goes on to say in order for the U.S. to reduce it’s massive trade deficit, which is currently at a high of 6 percent of Gross Domestic Product, domestic manufacturing production must increase. “The sooner this process begins, the less wrenching it will be, and the sooner manufacturing job recovery can occur,” the report states.

 Study Finds U.S. Health Care System Broken

The U.S. health care system is barely meeting basic requirements and lagging far behind many other industrialized nations, according to a report from the non-profit and non-partisan Commonwealth fund. The report gave the U.S. health care system low grades on outcomes, quality of care, access to care and efficiency.

The authors of the report said if the U.S. improved and standardized health-care access and performance, approximately 100,000 to 150,000 lives and $50 to $100 billion dollars would be saved each year.

The report also found that only half of U.S. adults receive the recommended preventive and screening tests and one-third of adults under 65 have problems paying their medical bills or have medical debt they are paying over time.