iMail for Thursday September 29, 2005

The Hammer Gets Nailed

Tom DeLay, the one-time exterminator from Houston, TX who rose to the pinnacle of political power in Washington, D.C., was indicted Sept. 28 for his alleged part in a campaign finance scheme linked to congressional redistricting in Texas that led, ultimately, to Republican control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Under House rules, the former bug catcher was forced to immediately step down from his position as House Majority Leader, where he had earned the nickname “The Hammer” for his ruthless partisan leadership style. DeLay could serve two years in prison if convicted on the single charge of criminal conspiracy.
The indictment is not connected to multiple ethical charges that led to three rebukes by the House Ethics Committee in 2004, or to outrage over DeLay’s practice of extending floor votes on controversial legislation until a Republican majority could be achieved. The “vote-whipping” practice drew widespread attention when it was revealed the 58-year old DeLay told one lawmaker he would support his son’s bid for Congress if the lawmaker would change his vote on the GOP’s deeply flawed Medicare prescription drug bill.


Boeing Machinists Vote Today on New Contract

Voting is underway on the revised contract offer for 18,400 IAM members working at Boeing facilities in Kansas, Oregon and Washington state. Results will be posted late this evening at and following tabulation of ballots from all locations.
A simple majority of those voting is required to ratify the offer. If members ratify the contract, the strike would end and members could return to work as early as 11 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2005.


Register Now for 2005 Communications Conference

The deadline to register for the 2005 Communications Conference is fast approaching and members wishing to attend this important event should complete the attached registration form  and return it immediately VIA FAX to the IAM Communications Dept. at 301-967-4586. This year’s conference will be held Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Wichita, KS.
Among the guests at this year’s conference will be nationally known author Thomas Frank, who’s book “What’s The Matter With Kansas” drew critical raves for its analysis of the 2004 election cycle. Also featured at the conference will be the winners of the IAM Newsletter and Web Steward Competition, who will be honored at an Awards Ceremony on Oct. 31.


Organizing Hat Trick for Southern Territory

A group of 31 mine workers employed by Feldspar Corporation in Edgar, FL, the state’s oldest continually operated mine, voted recently to join the IAM. “The biggest issue was respect and a voice on the job,” said District 112 Directing Business Representative Steve Hernandez. “Wages and benefits are very important, but people want fair treatment.” The group will join other surface mine contracts with the IAM in Local Lodge 1098.
District 75 also won a recent vote at Ft. Rucker, AL for 12 Flight Simulator Operators with L-3 Communications. The Technicians join over 3,000 IAM members already at Ft. Rucker.
Rounding out the trio of organizing victories, District 110 recently organized 5 Airframe and Powerplant Maintenance Technicians at Cherry Point, NC. The new members there work for Dyncorp.
“I’m happy to welcome our newest members,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “Congratulations to these Districts and Locals who put in the hard work necessary to bring these new members into the Machinists family.”


‘Septemberfest’ Salutes Labor in Nebraska

Members of Local 31  played a pivotal role in this year’s Septemberfest: the annual Labor celebration in Omaha, Nebraska.
GVP Jim Brown of the Midwest Territory helped lead the parade at Omaha’s annual salute to working men and women in the community. GVP Brown was joined by Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey and Omaha Federation of Labor President Terry Moore.
Local 31 members also marched in the parade, many riding on Harley-Davidson motorcycles as part of the Harley-Davidson Traveling Museum. Members worked all day at the event, showing over 2,000 guests what the Harley-Davidson exhibit had to offer.
Local 31, IP Tom Buffenbarger, GVP Brown, Harley-Davidson and the Omaha Federation of Labor all helped make this year’s celebration a success.


China Imposes New Internet Curbs

The Chinese government is continuing its efforts to limit free speech on the Internet in China, announcing new restrictions on what the Communist government considers to be “unhealthy news.”
Only “healthy and civilized news and information that is beneficial to the improvement of the quality of the nation, beneficial to its economic development and conducive to social progress” will be permitted, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
U.S. firms such as Yahoo and Google have already shown a willingness to comply with China’s censorship as they compete to serve China’s 100-million citizens on the Internet.
Yahoo, for instance, recently admitted to providing China with private e-mail information that helped lead to the jailing of a Chinese journalist who sent an email that the government called a ‘state secret’. Google and Microsoft have also reportedly both helped China in their efforts to censor content on the Internet.


Harley Bike Build Nets $15,000 for Guide Dogs

District Lodge 98, Local Lodge 175 and the Harley-Davidson company sponsored a bike build booth at the All-Star Choppers show in Ocean City, MD that attracted thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the East coast.
Members of Local 175  from York, Pennsylvania’s Harley-Davidson facility built a 2006 Harley-Davidson Street Guide FLHX during the event. On the last day the bike was raffled off. Mike Edwards from Ellicott City, MD won the bike and $15,391.00 in raffle proceeds went to Guide Dogs of America.
“On behalf of the entire Eastern Territory, I extend our congratulations and appreciation to District Lodge 98, DBR Tom Boger, Local 175 President Paul Quickel, Recording Secretary Donna Kaltreider, members Edna Gorby, Eric Williams, Joe Sinclair, Harley Davidson’s Bill Law, the bike build team and all the volunteers who sold tickets,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker, Jr.


GOP Group Targets Federal Workers’ Health Care

Determined to promote a radical conservative agenda of less government at any cost, a group of Republican House members is calling for cuts to some federal retirees’ benefits to help offset the cost of Hurricane Katrina recovery.
The House Republican Study Committee released a package of recommendations known as “Operation Offset” Wednesday that called for calculating retirement annuities for federal employees based on an average of their five highest-earning years of service. Employees’ current annuities are based on a high three-year average. Adding two years of lower pay would decrease the average, and thus reduce retirees’ defined benefits.
The Republican Study Committee, headed up by Rep. Mike Pence, R-IN, is made up of about 100 House Republicans who push conservative social and economic policies. The RSC said it estimates the change in retirement calculations would cut $5.2 billion in benefits over ten years.

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