iMail for Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Call your Representatives today at 877-331-1223 and urge them to vote for the Economic Stimulus legislation.

In Defense of Real Economic Stimulus

While members of a House-Senate Conference Committee hammer out the details of a bill to stimulate the economy, IAM President Tom Buffenbarger is calling on lawmakers to move quickly before the recession gathers unstoppable momentum.

In addition to urging quick passage of the tax cuts, spending programs and the ‘Buy American’ provisions currently under consideration, Buffenbarger also called for a second stimulus package, one focused on rebuilding America’s manufacturing economy.

“Our only recourse is to make things other nations will buy,” said Buffenbarger in U.S. Jobs Worth Fighting For,’ an editorial published in this week’s Chicago Tribune. “To stimulate our own economic revival, we must renovate our plants, install new machinery and hone the skills of our workforce.”

Buffenbarger cited the millions of new jobs created under Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) as a template for jump starting local economies. “Today’s unemployed can be put to work renovating factories and installing new equipment; devising new financing, marketing and sales packages for local businesses; and reinventing our decaying skills-delivery system,” said Buffenbarger. “But an effective manufacturing sector stimulus package cannot stop there.”

The need for high-tech skills training has never been more acute, argued Buffenbarger, as the economy shifts gears and millions of displaced workers begin to look for opportunities to reenter the workforce.

“Two years of technical training should be offered to recent high school graduates and recently unemployed adults,” said Buffenbarger. “Tuition at community colleges, universities and high-tech institutes should be heavily subsidized by the federal government as it was after World War II.”

Click here to read the full editorial in the Chicago Tribune.


Mapping the Decline of a Once Robust Economy

There may not be a more vivid representation of how much the country has been transformed under eight years of the Bush administration, than these two employment maps from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The first map, above, with progressively darker colors indicating higher unemployment rates in each county, reflects an overall national employment rate of 4.0 percent in December 2000. In addition to low unemployment, the country boasted a budget surplus of $167 billion and five consecutive years of real wage growth.

The second map, reflecting average county unemployment data as of November 2008, shows a cancer of high unemployment spreading from Maine to Michigan and deep into southern and western states. As stark as this graphic representation is, it does not include the last three months, when more than a half million Americans lost their jobs each month.

The second map also reflects the eight-year loss of millions of manufacturing jobs and sixty straight months of employment decline in the U.S. manufacturing sector, a fundamental lynchpin of economic activity in hundreds of small towns and cities.

“For eight years, we have witnessed a systematic assault on manufacturing jobs across America,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “These maps give a clear picture of the extent of the damage and the amount of work that must now be done. The first step must be to approve the economic stimulus package before Congress and get the money flowing for retooling and retraining. There is no time to lose.”


Obama Revokes Bush Ban on Project Labor Agreements

Working families scored again with the overturning of another anti-worker Bush order.

President Barack Obama revoked the Bush administration’s ban on project labor agreements (PLAs) on federally funded construction projects. The ban was one of the first orders signed by Bush when he took office in 2001.

PLAs are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements meant to ensure fair wages, benefits, work rules, and methods for settling grievances on large federal or federally funded multi-contractor construction projects. Communities, oftentimes, benefit from negotiated outreach programs and the hiring of local residents.

This latest action is the fourth executive order signed by President Obama that’s meant to reposition the American worker in this ailing economy. The previous three, signed just days after his first day in office, also reversed anti-labor federal contract policies put in place by the former administration.

Obama has also instructed the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to provide recommendations about whether broader use of PLAs, with respect to both federal construction contracts and those receiving federal assistance, might also be necessary.

Register Now for Spanish Leadership Classes I and II

Spanish Leadership participants, from left, Jose Rodriguez-Baez, LL2725, Maria Hernandez, LL2005, Cesar Gonzalez, USTAC, GUATEMALA.

Spaces are still available for the Spanish Leadership I class scheduled for April 5 – 10, 2009, at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, Maryland.  The Spanish Leadership I program covers the same subjects included in the regular Leadership I Program but with all classroom instruction and materials in Spanish.

Registrations are also being accepted for the upcoming Spanish Leadership II, which will be held at the William W. Winpisinger Center June 21 – 26, 2008.

Lodges are encouraged to take action as soon as possible to enroll members in both programs.  Any member who has taken Leadership I, in either Spanish or English, is eligible to take Spanish Leadership II.  Enrollments in both the Spanish Leadership I and Leadership II programs do not count against a lodge’s regular leadership program allotment.

Click here for the enrollment forms for Spanish Leadership I and Spanish Leadership II or contact Anne Wiberg at 301-373-8823.

Matricúlese ahora para clases de liderazgo español I y II

Todavía existen vacantes para la clase de Liderazgo Español I que está programada para 5 – 10 de abril, 2009, en el Centro Educativo William W. Winpinsinger en Hollywood, Maryland.  El Programa de Liderazgo Español cubre los mismos temas y sujetos que son incluidos en la clase regular de Liderazgo en Inglés, solo que las clases son instruidas con materiales totalmente en Español.

Espacios también están disponibles para el programa Liderazgo Español II, programada para 21 – 26 de junio, 2009 en el Centro William W. Winpisinger.  Se les pide a las logias que tomen acción lo mas pronto posible para que ingresen a sus miembros para ambos programas.  Los miembros que asisitieron Liderazgo I–en Español o en Inglés–puedan registrarse para Liderazgo Español II.  En ambas clases de Liderazgo Español I y Liderazgo Español II, no cuentan en contra de las Logias o los Distritos para las clases regulares de Inglés.

Marque aqui para la solicitud para la clase de Liderazgo Español I y Liderazgo  Español II o por favor llame a Anne Wiberg al 301-373-8823.

Professional Forest Workers in Wisconsin Vote NFFE-IAM

The IAM would like to congratulate the professional employees of the U.S. Forest Service’s Eastern Regional Office, located in Milwaukee, WI.

The group, which includes soil scientists, engineers, foresters, hydrologists and fire management officials, recently chose the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE-IAM) as their exclusive bargaining representative.

The vote added 43 potential new members to the bargaining unit. The non-professional employees working at the office were already represented by NFFE-IAM Local 2165, which now represents both groups.