Machinist Survey Highlights Latino Voter Priorities

Washington, D.C., June 12, 2008 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) today released results of a poll that found Latino voters would reward any presidential candidate who promoted vocational and technical education programs as part of their campaign.

The survey, conducted for the Machinists by The Mellman Group, surveyed 1,200 likely Latino voters in California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, and found overwhelming support for a proposal to guarantee two years of technical training or vocational education after high school.

Eighty-two percent favor such a publicly-funded program and seventy percent are willing to support a presidential candidate who shares their view. Seventy-one percent of Latino voters polled also identified improved training as “one of the most important” or “very important” things that could be done to improve the economy, ahead of proposals to expand international trade, cut taxes or cancel unfair trade agreements.

“There is an enormous hunger among blue collar voters everywhere for a new approach to education that is not based on the pursuit of a four-year college degree,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “The employment opportunities are well established, with ninety percent of American manufacturers reporting moderate to severe shortages of skilled production workers. What we need now are programs, funding and an awareness that this nation relies on a highly skilled workforce.”

The lack of vocational and technical training opportunities prompted the IAM to launch “America’s Edge; Our Skills, Our Kids,” an issues initiative designed to draw attention to the growing skills crisis. More information about America’s Edge is available on the IAM website.

The IAM is a highly diverse industrial trade union, with more than 50,000 members in California, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The IAM represents nearly 720,000 active and retired members under more than 5,000 contracts in aerospace, transportation, shipbuilding and defense-related industries.