iMail for Tuesday September 4, 2007

Worldwide Coverage for IAM Endorsement

The news last week that the IAM made a dual endorsement for New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee was quickly reported and relayed around the nation and the globe. Television reports, political blogs and radio broadcasts added to coverage that included news stories published in Japan, Australia, Europe, China and even Croatia.

“The Internet means news travels faster and further than ever before,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “The coverage is also a reflection of the influence unions and union members are expected to have in the upcoming presidential elections. It was our issues and our involvement that made the difference in the 2006 elections and we’re prepared to do the same in 2008.” To view IAM video coverage of the historic dual endorsement, go to

Trucks from Mexico Get Green Light to Roll Into U.S.

The Bush Administration is giving the final OK to allow trucks from Mexico to haul cargo directly from Mexico to any point in the United States. As part of the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trucking firms from Mexico were supposed to get access years ago, but the Clinton Administration limited their access to a small zone at large border crossings where shipments were transferred to U.S. trucks. The restrictions were in place largely because of concerns over an adequate safety inspection program to certify all trucks coming across the border meet U.S. safety standards.

The Teamsters and other groups filed suit to block the new program contending that the pilot program does not provide adequate safety and other oversight mandated by Congress last May, but their request for an emergency injunction was rejected by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the lawsuit to challenge the pilot program will proceed.

As early as this week, trucks from Mexico will have free access to the entire U.S. to haul shipments to and from Mexico, but not point-to-point in the U.S. The Bush Administration hopes to expand the program to accommodate 100 Mexican trucking companies, or roughly 540 large trucks, and that number could grow.

IAM Mourns District 75 BR Danny Givens

Friends, family and co-workers of District 75 Business Representative Danny Givens are mourning his sudden passing from an apparent heart attack at his home on September 3, Labor Day.

Givens, 53, joined the IAM in 1985 as an A/C Inspector after helping organize his workplace, Burnside/Ott in Milton, FL. He was a member of the negotiating committee that produced the first contract there and held most of the local lodge offices through the years in addition to writing and publishing the local’s newsletter.

Danny also served as an Apprentice Organizer for the IAM from July 2000 until July 2002. In 2004, he was elected Business Representative at District 75 in Daleville, AL. He is survived by a son, Daniel, stationed at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL, and his wife, Sandy.

“Danny was dedicated and committed to this union,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “It was a way of life for him. We’ll miss him terribly, and from everyone in the Machinists Union, I want to send our deepest condolences to his family.”

Ground Zero Workers Face Asthma Spike

A new study by the New York City Health Department reveals that rescue and recovery workers who rushed to the World Trade Center in the wake of the September 11 attacks are developing asthma at 12 times the normal rate for adults. The study also found that workers who arrived at the site on the day of the attack and stayed more than 90 days reported the highest rate of new asthma. Firefighters, who lost more co-workers in the Trade Center collapse than any other uniformed service, accounted for roughly 14 percent of the reported cases.

The latest findings follows a report by the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City that found 70 percent of the Ground Zero workers suffering from lung ailments and other problems from exposure to toxic chemicals that range from from asbestos to jet fuel to PCBs.

Despite concerns for workers’ health in the wake of the attacks, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assured the public the site was safe. A year later, it was revealed that in the days following the building’s collapse, the Bush White House pressured the EPA to downplay reports about health hazards at the Trade Center site.

In August 2002, President Bush vetoed a bill that included $90 million to monitor the health of rescue and clean-up workers who were at ground zero following the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The latest study was based on the responses collected by the World Trade Center Health Registry. Nearly 25,000 of the estimated 40,000 rescue workers have registered with the group.

Reservation Deadline Nears for Women’s Conference

This Friday, September 7, is the cutoff date for hotel reservations for the IAM Women’s Conference scheduled for October 10, 2007, at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The one-day conference will be held in conjunction with the Coalition of Labor Union Women’s (CLUW) Biennial Convention being held October 11-13 at the same hotel.

Hotel reservations can be made by calling the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel at 1-800-732-2111. A block of rooms has been reserved at $135 for a single or double for both conferences. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis, and must be made by September 7, 2007 for the special room rate.

If you plan to attend, please complete the registration form included with your official call letter, and return it to the IAM Women’s Department, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772.

“We are excited about this year’s conferences,” said Women’s Department Director Cheryl Eastburn, “and we hope our IAM sisters come out in force. We’ll explore ways to increase women’s participation in IAM organizing drives and then we’ll discuss the issues surrounding working women and families at the CLUW Convention. These back-to-back meetings offer IAM sisters a wonderful opportunity to learn and share information that will grow our Union.”