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 11, 2002 

PEB Rejects UAL Bid for Secret Hearings
An attempt by United Airlines to seal the record of its financial presentation to the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) was swept aside when board chair Helen Witt agreed with Machinists legal representatives who argued to keep the hearings open.

The confrontation came on the second day of testimony before the board appointed by President Bush to make settlement recommendations in the high-profile contract dispute at United. Lawyers for the company told the board their presentation contained extremely sensitive financial information and asked for the testimony to be sealed and excluded from the public record of proceedings. 

The company also requested signed confidentiality statements from IAM representatives as a pre-condition to be present in the hearing room during the testimony.

United’s motion was immediately challenged by the IAM team who made an extensive financial presentation the day before. “If there was ever a time for United Airlines to be forthcoming with its employees, this is it,” said GVP Robert Roach Jr., GVP. 

After leaving the hearing room briefly to deliberate, the 3-member board returned and ruled in favor of the union and rejected the company’s confidentiality request.

All testimony will be included in the transcript released by the board with its report.

Enron Scandal Threatens White House
White House PR operatives scurried to distance the Bush administration from the growing scandal enveloping Enron Corp., a Texas-based firm with close ties to both President Bush and his father, as well as other administration figures.

Enron’s bankruptcy filing wiped out the life savings, and pensions of thousands of its employees, but top officials bailed out with millions of dollars from stock sales before the collapse.

The firm contributed more than $500, 000 to various Bush campaigns, and its hefty campaign contributions to Attorney General John Ashcroft forced him and a top aide to step away from Justice Department probes into the spreading scandal. Ashcroft received more than $57,000 in campaign contributions from Enron in his failed run for a Senate seat.

At the same time officials from the accounting firm that regularly monitored Enron’s financial affairs admitted its employees had destroyed thousands of Enron-related documents that could be vital to Justice Department investigators. Officials from Arthur Andersen said staffers destroyed “a significant, but undetermined number” of Enron-related documents. The Securities and Exchange Commission said it is widening its investigation to include Andersen’s role in the affair.

Economic Stimulus Bill Ignores Workers
Look for President Bush to make a major effort to jam a major “corporate relief package” through Congress later this month. Bush’s  $100 billion stimulus plan is packed with huge tax giveaways to Big Business and the wealthiest taxpayers.

There is nothing for laid-off workers and their families.

The White House claims the measure sets aside $12 billion for unemployment insurance and health care subsidies, money to provide assistance for workers to maintain or obtain healthcare coverage. But those funds are in the form of block grants to the states with no requirement that the funds must be spent on those programs.

“We need real relief for laid-off workers and their families,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger, “not this Band-Aid approach to a major problem.” He urged IAM members to contact their congressional delegations and urge them to put working families at the top of the list where they belong.

All in the Family
President Bush has named a management attorney and OSHA critic to the Labor Department’s top legal post. His name is Eugene Scalia and, yes, he is the son of Justice Scalia. As Labor Department solicitor, Scalia will have jurisdiction over an array of issues ranging from workplace safety to pension rights. He has been a harsh critic of the department’s policies on workplace safety issues and doesn’t believe ergonomics are real.

Scalia has said, “employees most likely to complain of musculoskeletal discomfort are those who do not like their jobs.” That comment came in comments on behalf of United Parcel Service. He faces confirmation hearings before a Senate committee chaired by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA.

On a related note, the 28-year-old son of retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond has been named U.S. attorney for the state of South Carolina. The 97-year-old Thurmond, who bolted the Democratic Party to run as a Dixiecrat in 1948 and who later joined the GOP, will retire at the end of his Senate term.

New Unemployment Claims Remain High
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment last week exceeded 395,000. While down from 451,000 new claims a week earlier, it was not good news for those who claim no economic stimulus is needed.

The manufacturing sector suffered the most during this prolonged slowdown.  In December, manufacturing employment fell by 133,000 making the total drop for the year 1.3 million.  Nearly every manufacturing industry continued to loose jobs during the month.  

Transportation equipment, which includes motor vehicle and aircraft manufacturing lost 18,000 jobs in December making its unemployment rate rise from 3.2 percent in 2000 to 6.1 percent for 2001.

What a difference a year makes! The unemployment rate rose from 3.7 percent in December 2000 to 6.8 percent in December 2001.

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