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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.


Tuesday,  January 7, 2003


Congress Urged to Act on Jobless Aid
Congress returned to the nation’s capital and has a chance to speedily restore crucially needed benefits for jobless workers whose unemployment benefits expired December 28. Before Congress adjourned in November, the Bush administration and Republican congressional leaders refused to act on a bipartisan Senate-passed bill that extended jobless benefits for 13 weeks.

Despite the holiday hardships, rising unemployment and a gloomy economic outlook, GOP leaders are expected to offer a meager, barebones plan. Several Democratic alternatives that would extend the benefits from three to six months are likely to be offered.

Tell Congress not to leave jobless workers behind:

Job Saving Pact Ratified in Spokane
IAM members at a Boeing parts plant in Spokane ratified an agreement that will keep the facility open following its sale to Pennsylvania-based Triumph Group Inc.

Workers at the plant, which makes air ducts, floor panels and cockpit components, voted 75 percent to accept the contract, which provides pension improvements, a profit sharing plan and preferential hiring for laid off members.
“When we began negotiating with Triumph, our top priority was keeping this plant open and preserving jobs for our members,” said District 751 President Mark Blondin. “Our members are now working for an employer that has committed to expanding and growing this business.”

Blondin also thanked the Spokane community and elected officials for help during the proposed sale of the plant. “It is now up to the new employer to do their part and grow this business and stabilize jobs in Spokane and this region,” he said.

Triumph has an eighth-year sole supplier contract to provide aircraft parts for Boeing Company.

Pratt Ordered to Halt Records Destruction
The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission ordered Pratt & Whitney to preserve all records connected to employees or deceased employees who developed brain tumors.

Following a complaint by the IAM, the jet engine manufacturer was recently slapped with a fine for destroying 12 to 18 boxes of employee medical records. The destruction came to light as the state Department of Public Health began an investigation of suspicious, work-related brain cancer cases at the company’s North Haven plant.

The state commission ordered the company to preserve all health and disability records, employee exposure records and records that document employee handling of hazardous materials.

More than 100 Pratt & Whitney employees have developed brain cancer according to “Worked to Death,” an organization formed by two women whose husbands died from glioblastom multiforme, a rare brain tumor linked to exposure to toxic substances.

Rich Reap Rewards From Bush Plan
President Bush’s plan to jumpstart the nation’s sagging economy by cutting taxes on the wealthy drew hoots of derision from his political opponents and a tepid response from a panel of leading economists.

Bush said critics who deride his tax cuts for upper-crust taxpayers were waging “class warfare” and that his plan would create jobs and put the economy on an even keel. Most of the tax cuts in the Bush plan do, indeed, reward taxpayers at the top of the heap. His plan to cut the dividend tax for investors guarantees more tax breaks for the wealthy, but does little to create jobs, help workers hard hit by the downturn or offer any aid to average American families.

Depending on how that new tax break is cobbled together, taxpayers with incomes of more than $1,000,000 will receive an average tax cut of some $24,230 and claim nearly 25 percent of the total benefit. Tax filers with incomes of more than $100,000 will snatch more than 75 percent of the total benefit.

“That means that all working Americans who earn less that $100,000 will divvy up the remaining 25 percent,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Now that’s what I call class warfare.”

Tax payers with incomes below the $50,000 benchmark—who file almost 70 percent of all income tax returns—would get less than 10 percent of the total benefit from the cut. That works out to an average tax break of about $76 or less.

GE Grabs ‘Grinch’ Award
General Electric Corp. easily out-distanced President Bush and Wal-Mart to grab the 2002 “Grinch of the Year” which goes to the candidate voters say has most harmed working families. The Jobs with Justice campaign, which conducts the event, said GE won because of its demands that workers and retirees pay substantial health care increases, the first-ever at mid-contract, while it lavishes millions of current and retired executives, including former CEO Jack Welch. Workers have authorized a strike over the issue. For more information, visit www.jwj.org/Grinch/2002Vote.htm 

China Labor Activists Face Death Penalty
Two jailed labor leaders who led protests last spring over rising unemployment in northeast China will now be indicted for subversion, a charge that carries the death penalty.

According to family members, Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang were initially arrested on charges of illegal assembly following daylong protests that attracted tens of thousands of laid off workers in the industrial city of Liaoyang.

The shutdown of state-run industries throughout northern China is driving an unprecedented unemployment crisis compounded by millions of Chinese migrating from rural areas seeking find work in China’s cities.

China permits no independent labor unions and despite new leadership appears ready to continue its policy of arrest, torture and imprisonment of labor organizers.

Eastern Territory Notches Organizing Wins
GVP Warren Mart announced organizing victories in two Eastern Territory districts: District 98 brought 12 new members into Local Lodge 2779 by organizing the public employees at Mt. Union Borough located in Mt. Union, Pennsylvania; and
District 15 brought 53 new members into Local Lodge 447 by organizing the drivers, dock workers and yardmen at Exel Logistics Inc., located in Westwood, Massachusetts.

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.