The IAM kicks off a campaign to organize Automotive Technicians and Mechanics in Las Vegas, Nevada

Jose Alfonso Rodriguez, son of retired Grand Lodge Representative Sam Rodriguez, administered last rites to Father Michael Judge. 

Get Your Convention Gear Check out gear for the 2004 IAM Convention

Order your 2002 IAM Calendar Now. The 2002 calendar features winners of this year's IAM Photography Contest. 
Send a check for $5.00 to: 
IAM Calendar
c/o IAM Communications 
9000  Machinists Place
Upper Marlboro, MD
Local Lodges and Districts can download a bulk order form for large calendar requests.

Executive Council

International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger 

Secretary Treasurer
Donald E. Wharton 

GVP Western 
Lee Pearson 

GVP Canada 
GVP Canada
Dave Ritchie 

GVP Midwest 
Alex M. Bay 

GVP Headquarters
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Southern 
GVP Southern
George Hooper 

GVP Eastern
Warren L. Mart 

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.

Friday, January 4, 2002 

Rail Retirement Law Takes Effect
The Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act of 2001 takes effect this week after a three-year battle to increase retirement benefits for railroad workers and surviving spouses. The legislation, signed into law on December 21, 2001, raises benefits, cuts payroll taxes and allows a portion of the railroad retirement fund to be invested in private securities.

A key provision of the new law increases benefits for spouses of deceased rail workers. Surviving spouses will now be eligible for 100 percent of the retiree’s retirement benefit. Previously, the spouse’s retirement benefit was limited to 50 percent of the retirees’ annuity. Additional benefits include lowering the retirement age from 62 to 60 for workers with 30 years of service and health insurance for retirees with benefit increases pegged to the medical inflation rate.

Detailed information on benefits, service requirements, financing provisions and effective dates of the new law is available from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board at http://www.rrb.gov/opa/pr/pr0113.html.

Dates Set For UAL PEB Hearings
The Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) appointed by President Bush to block a work stoppage at United Airlines will take testimony from IAM representatives and UAL officials during three days of hearings set to begin on January 9, 2002.

The 3-person PEB, established by executive order on December 20, has 30 days to complete an investigation and make non-binding settlement recommendations in the 2-year old contract dispute between UAL and 15,000 mechanic and related employees represented by IAM District 141-M.

“The Bush emergency board sets the stage for Congress to impose a contract on employees at United Airlines,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Airline lobbyists and the Bush administration are using this situation to undermine the wages and bargaining rights of airline employees everywhere.”

The PEB’s recommendations can be forced on employees by an act of Congress if no voluntary agreement is reached at the end of a second 30-day cooling off period following the board’s month long investigation.

“Every union member, every airline and non-airline worker should pay close attention as this drama unfolds,” said Buffenbarger. “The stakes are high and the outcome, one way or the other, will affect us all for years to come.”

Tell ’em To Torque Off
The IAM kicks off a campaign Monday to organize Automotive Technicians and Mechanics in Las Vegas, Nevada. Workers in auto dealerships there have been hit hard by health care increases and sub-par wages and benefits. Check out the campaign website: http://www.iamaw.org/publications/torque/index.htm.

Unemployment Rate Rises Again
Layoffs rose last month to their highest level in 8 years, making 2001 the worst year since 1998. Last year companies announced close to 1.8 million job cuts.

With the unemployment rate rising to 5.8 percent, the economic slowdown is hitting more and more workers each day. Three significant sectors have suffered severely:  manufacturing/industrial, high technology and travel.  In addition the auto and aerospace industries have been hit hard with massive reductions.

While some economists refuse to use the “R” word, continuing layoffs will deepen any recession by reducing consumer spending, which makes up two thirds of the economy.

Even if the economy begins to recover later this year, jobs will be hard to find as employers hold back rebuilding their staffs to ensure that the recovery will last.

Bush Closes Women’s Bureau
President Bush followed a stream of anti-worker initiatives during his first year in office with an announcement he was closing the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, the only federal agency specifically mandated to represent the needs of working women. The Women’s Bureau was established in 1920 and its mandate is to “advocate and inform women directly, and the public as well, of women’s work rights and employment issues.”

The Women’s Bureau was instrumental in passing the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, assisted women working in the war industry in World War II, fought for the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and to pass the Equal Pay Act in 1963 and advocated for family-friendly employer policies such as the Family and Medical Leave Law in 1993.

Bush’s action will eliminate the Women’s Bureau Equal Pay program. Last year, the Bush Administration shut down the White House Women’s Initiatives Office.

Eastern Territory Racks Up
Organizing Wins in 2001

The Eastern Territory ended 2001 on a positive note for organizing. Out of 104 elections, the IAM won 94 for an astounding win rate of 90.4 percent. The election wins meant 1849 working people now have the benefit of union representation.

“Everyone in the Eastern Territory worked hard on these campaigns and we can all take great pride in these victories,” said Eastern GVP Warren Mart. “Congratulations to everyone involved and we look forward to a successful year in 2002.”

 Major Aerospace Contracts Up in 2002
Contracts covering more than 76,000 IAM aerospace workers will expire this year in 60 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

Major IAM agreements for 2002 include Lockheed Martin (expires March 1 in Sunnyvale and Palmdale, CA; Marietta, GA; and Cape Canaveral, FL) and the Boeing Co. (expires September 1 in Wichita, KS; Portland, WA; and the Puget Sound region, WA; Oct. 27 in Torrance, Long Beach and Huntington Beach, CA).

“Job Security continues to be the overriding issue,” said GVP Bob Thayer, who directs the IAM Aerospace Department. “The U.S. cannot continue exporting skilled jobs and advanced technologies all over the world and hope to remain the world leader in aerospace. It may be profitable in the short run for individual corporations, but it is destroying the industry as well as the livelihoods of the aerospace work force.”

Final Call For IAM Scholarship Contest
“'Last call’ is fast approaching for 2002 IAM Scholarship applications. To obtain an application packet, immediately write or call the IAM Scholarship Office. You must tell them whether you are an IAM member or the high school Senior child of an IAM member, and whether you want an application for a College Scholarship or a Vocational/Technical School Scholarship.

Completed application packets must be returned and postmarked by February 22. Applicants must be IAM members or the children of IAM members with at least two years’ continuous membership in the union.

Contact the IAM Scholarship Program at (301) 967-4708 or write: IAM Scholarship Program, 9000 Machinists Place, Room 117, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-22687. For complete information, click on: http://goiam.org/visit.asp?c=669

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