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Executive Council

International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger 

Secretary Treasurer
Donald E. Wharton 

GVP Western 
Lee Pearson 

GVP Canada
Dave Ritchie 

GVP Midwest 
Alex M. Bay 

GVP Headquarters
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Southern
George Hooper 

GVP Eastern
Warren L. Mart 

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.


Thursday,  January 2, 2003

Unemployment Runs Out for Nearly 1 Million
Unemployment checks ran out for more than 830,000 men and women Dec. 28 when GOP leaders sent Congress home for the holidays without passing an emergency benefit extension.

“The White House and the Republican leadership in Congress had a chance to help those who are struggling in our failing economy. Instead, they chose to enjoy the holidays while leaving a ‘Christmas Massacre’ for 830,000 unemployed Americans who lost benefits after Dec. 28,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger.

The current GOP Congress has extended unemployment benefits just once during the current recession. In the recession in the early 1990s, Congress extended unemployment benefits five times.

The Bush Administration failed to urge an extension of jobless benefits when Congress was actually in session and working. Further, Bush’s plan would help only those workers whose benefits ran out on December 28, but would do nothing for the estimated 95,000 workers who will exhaust their benefits each week in the months ahead. While the President's proposal goes further than the House Republicans were willing to go, it offers no hope to those who will be hardest hit in 2003.

“The Bush Administration and their allies in Congress should be ashamed. They gave $15 billion in handouts to the airline industry after Sept. 11, but refused to give the airline workers who lost their jobs a single cent,” said Buffenbarger. “Now they are debating giving even more tax breaks to the wealthy while they refuse to extend unemployment benefits during a recession, something previous lawmakers managed to do without fail. It’s ridiculous.”

SWA Vote Set For Month of January
An IAM-Southwest Airlines contract that became amendable a little more seven weeks ago has been amended and improved, and is ready for the membership to vote on this month. “At a time when our industry is experiencing its greatest challenges, this agreement shows what can be accomplished when a well-managed company and dedicated employees work together,” said District 142 President William O’Driscoll.

The new six-year agreement features substantial wage increases, an employee stock option plan, improved job scope language and premium pay for bilingual reservation agents. Informational meetings for members are being scheduled and voting will be completed by January 30, 2003. The IAM-Southwest Airlines Agreement became amendable on November 10, 2002.

Jobless Rate Jumps Says Labor Dept.
The nation's jobless rate jumped sharply last month, and payrolls contracted by 40,000, in what was a considerably worse-than-expected employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate was 6.0% in November, up 0.3 percentage points from October's rate, and the highest since April 2002. Since unemployment's low point in October 2000, the jobless rolls have increased by three million. Long-term unemployment also rose last month, underscoring the difficulty finding work in this jobless recovery.

Another sign of weakness was the large decline of 390,000 in November's labor force. While this measure is volatile on a month-to-month basis, over the course of the year the labor force is growing at a 0.5% annual rate, half as fast as in 2000. This slowdown is likely driven by potential job seekers simply giving up the search for employment in such a weak market. So even when the competition for scarce jobs is declining, November still saw an up-tick in unemployment, underscoring the difficulty faced by those job seekers who are still actively searching for employment.

IAM Objects to UAL Temporary Pay Cut
After a status conference on December 30, 2002 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois regarding United’s 1113(e) motion to impose emergency temporary wage reductions on IAM members, the IAM filed its objection to United’s 1113(e) application for temporary pay cuts (click here for the complete text of the objection).

There are currently two measures before the bankruptcy court, an 1113(e) motion for temporary pay cuts and an 1113(c) motion to reject, or dissolve labor contracts in their entirety.

United Airlines indicated it will withhold its response to the IAM’s objection until the completion of ratification voting on temporary wage reductions by ALPA (29 percent), AFA (9 percent), TWU (13 percent) and PAFCA (13 percent).

If any of the aforementioned unions reject United’s interim wage cut proposal, United’s application to impose temporary wage reductions on IAM members would be withdrawn and United’s 1113(c) application to reject collective bargaining agreements for all unions would immediately go forward.

If all other unions accept United’s proposals, a decision regarding United’s application to have 13 percent wage cuts temporarily imposed on IAM members, retroactive to January 1, 2003, is expected by January 10, 2003. If wage reductions are in place for all unionized employees, United has indicated it will delay filing its 1113(c) application for rejection of labor contracts until March 15, 2003.

January 10 Vote on US Airways Cuts
As part of its ongoing restructuring at US Airways, the IAM reached two tentative agreements for 11,100 IAM-represented employees at the carrier. The tentative agreements call for productivity enhancements, staffing flexibility and modifications to medical benefit plans. If ratified, the two agreements would provide significant cost savings to the bankrupt carrier.

Each IAM District will vote on separate tentative agreements. IAM District 141 represents US Airways’ 4,900 Fleet Service employees. IAM District 141-M represents the carrier’s 6,200 Mechanical & Related employees. Informational meetings are being scheduled and voting will take place for both Districts on January 10, 2003.

Details of the tentative agreements can be found on the two District web sites at www.iam141.org and www.iam141m.org.

(From Left to Right)
BR Karl Sarpolis, from the Local 49 Shop Committee
Bryan Gasperini and Brad Childers, DBR Carl Gallman

LL 49 Members Learn Lesson of Solidarity
When the management of Chicago’s Parkview Metal Products laid off its 10 most senior employees after a successful organizing drive, they didn’t suspect they would also be providing a life lesson in worker solidarity and the value of belonging to a union.

The IAM immediately swung into action and the company soon faced charges from the National Labor Relations Board. A settlement gained reinstatement for the 10 laid-off members, as well as $150,000 in lost pay and benefits.

“Our new members held solid throughout this process,” said District 8 Director Carl Gallman. “Not only did they get the IAM representation they wanted, but they were successful in achieving a first contract with good wage increases in each year of the 3-year contract plus a bonus in the first year.”

The official site for the 36th Grand Lodge Convention to be held in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio is now online. Check it our for convention news, sponsorship offers, and convention gear.

The Winners of the 2002 Newsletter & Website Contest and a report for the judges, too.