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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 14, 2003

Federal Workers Denied Bargaining Rights
The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) decision to deny collective bargaining rights for 56,000 newly federalized airport security screeners was branded by union leaders and lawmakers as an insult to millions of loyal and dedicated union workers.

Admiral James Loy, Undersecretary for Transportation Security, issued the order barring unions at the TSA, stating, “Mandatory collective bargaining is not compatible with the flexibility required to wage the war against terrorism.”

“‘Neolithic’ is the only way to describe the decision,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “To imply that these potential union members might be a threat to this nation is reactionary, repulsive and just plain wrong.”

“It’s not homeland security; it’s union busting,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), who noted the administration already has the authority to suspend collective bargaining rights during a true national emergency.

Maytag Move Stiffs Taxpayers, Workers
The October 11 decision by Maytag to close its Galesburg, IL refrigerator plant and move production to Reynosa, Mexico will impact far more than the 1,600 IAM members who will be out of work when the plant closes.

The loss of $670,000 in city tax revenues will translate into the loss of nine school teachers, one full-time and several part-time teachers at the local junior college, a deputy sheriff, a courthouse employee, two part-time librarians, an employee of the city sewer plant, two or three city hall employees and a fire department employee.

The Mexico move by Maytag comes despite more than $9 million in tax breaks and incentives provided by the State of Illinois and the City of Galesburg to keep the company in the U.S.

More than 45 percent of the Maytag workforce is made up of family members, with 26 percent between the ages of 50 and 59 years old. More than 100 IAM workers at Maytag are within 2 to 5 years of retiring with full pension and health care benefits.

By contrast, Maytag workers in Mexico will be paid approximately $2.00 per hour. For additional information about the Maytag-Galesburg Plant Closure, go to: http://www.goiam.org/territories.asp?c=3908

GE Strikers Protest Health Care Hike
General Electric’s two largest unions, the IUE-CWA and the Electrical Workers, mounted a two-day strike involving more than 16,000 workers to protest health coverage increases imposed by the GE in mid-contract.

Some 3,000 IAM-represented workers showed solidarity with the strikers by honoring picket lines, and by wearing shirts, caps, buttons and other symbols of unity with the strikers. GE has said it will demand further health care increases when national bargaining begins in May.

“We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this matter,” said GVP Bob Thayer, who will head the IAM delegation when contract talks open with GE. “Gouging workers to meet Wall Street profit goals sets new lows in corporate behavior.”

Corporate attempts to shift more health care costs to workers are likely to be a growing concern in contract bargaining in every sector this year.

Machinists Ratify US Airways Pacts
Three IAM groups at US Airways voted Jan. 10 to provide the carrier with nearly $60 million in annual savings to support the carrier’s bankruptcy recovery program and to preserve jobs at the airline.

Wage rates for 11,150 IAM members at US Airways are unaffected by the package containing productivity enhancements and insurance modifications. The accord provides financial relief in addition to $219 million in annual savings provided by IAM members following the carrier’s initial bankruptcy filing in August.

“IAM members have once again demonstrated their commitment to US Airways’ future,” said Randy Canale, District 141 president, representing 4,900 Fleet Service employees at US Airways. “Their sacrifice and commitment to the survival of this carrier deserves to be commended,” added Scotty Ford, president of District 141-M, on behalf of 6,250 Maintenance Instructors and Mechanical & Related members at US Airways.

UTC Bargaining Committee meets in Palm Beach Florida.

Unions To Coordinate Bargaining at UTC
In preparation for upcoming negotiations and future organizing drives at United Technology Corporation (UTC), decision makers from six international unions met to take the offensive on job creation in the many industries UTC operates in North America.

Union leaders from the Machinists, Teamsters, Steel Workers, Sheet Metal Workers, Auto Workers and CAW-TCA Quebec formed a coordinated bargaining committee to share critical information regarding jobs, wages, health benefits and job security. Additional North American unions with members at UTC will also take part.

The coordinated bargaining committee will benefit more than 20,000 union members at the giant aerospace and manufacturing conglomerate.

“We recognized the need to reach across traditional geographic and union boundaries to meet the needs of union members throughout this troubled industry,” said Gary Allen, IAM Aerospace Coordinator. “The future of so many communities is at stake. We must be prepared to combine our resources whenever necessary to protect our members and their families.”

Judge Orders Pay Cuts at UAL
Bankruptcy Judge Eugene Wedoff overruled objections by the IAM and ordered a temporary 13 percent pay cut for more than 37,500 IAM members at United Airlines.

The wage reductions are retroactive to January 1, 2003, and will remain in effect until new agreements between United and the IAM are reached, ratified and accepted by the court.

Negotiations between the carrier and Districts 141 and 141-M will continue this week as members absorb the latest consequences of working under bankruptcy at the nation’s second largest airline.

Following the judge’s ruling, United withdrew an application to dissolve labor contracts in their entirety at United. The carrier said it would resubmit the application on March 15, 2003 for any union that did not negotiate and ratify participation in a long-term recovery plan.

IAM Mourns Anna Samick
Funeral services for Anna Samick, an IAM member for 30 years, were held today in Hebron, IN, reports GVP Warren Mart. Samick recently retired as the Eastern territory education representative.

“We remember Anna as a truly outstanding trade unionist and a dear friend. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her,” Mart said.

Samick joined the IAM in 1972 and quickly made her leadership skills known. She was elected a business representative for District 72 in 1980, one of the first women to achieve that office. She served as directing representative before moving to District 90 as a business representative.

Samick was the first woman to join the educational staff at the Winpisinger Center, where she served for five years until her retirement two years ago.

“Anna was a pioneer educator,” said Director Jim Leslie. “She brought a wealth of experience and commitment to the labor movement. Anna was truly respected and loved by the thousands of IAM members she taught at the school,” he added.

“The trade union movement was her life,” noted IP Tom Buffenbarger, “and the IAM was her passion. Her legacy of excellence sets a high standard for all who knew her.  On behalf of this Union and all of its members, I extend our most heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.”

Why it matters to you who is appointed to lifetime federal judgeships. Opinion by former Ohio Senator, Howard Metzenbaum


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.