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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 23, 2003

IAM-represented Respiratory Therapists in Voorhees, New
Jersey, striking for first contract are confronted by SWAT
teams and police snipers.

IAM Pickets Face Riot Police, Gun Barrels
IP Tom Buffenbarger and GVP Warren Mart joined more than 100 IAM members and marched under the eye of heavily armed local police to demand a first contract for striking respiratory therapists at a pediatric care facility in Voorhees, New Jersey.

“The presence of riot police with sniper rifles on nearby rooftops gives you an idea what kind of management mentality these health care workers are facing,” said Buffenbarger.

The 45 therapists, who provide specialty care for critically sick and injured children at the Voorhees Pediatric Facility (VPF) are seeking wages in line with the national average and sufficient staffing to meet the hospital's own minimum care requirements.

Meanwhile, state health department officials announced plans to investigate the death of a 6-year old patient at the facility. “We don’t know how the child died,” said Dan Chmelko, District 1 Directing Business Representative, who said workers inside the facility complained of short staffing and a delay in responding to a distress alarm from the boy’s room.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) cited the hospital in May for intimidation, coercion and failure to bargain collectively. The therapists have been seeking a first contract since joining the IAM in October of 2000.

Help Save Amtrak Jobs
The nation’s passenger rail system is facing a complete shutdown if Congress fails to provide sufficient funding.

Members are urged to take action and help save 23,000 jobs by contacting your representatives immediately and urging support for the $1.2 billion appropriation for fiscal 2003. 

To send an e-mail message telling Congress to provide the desperately needed funds to keep the Amtrak alive, go to:

U.S. Mayors Demand Jobs Policy
The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a report this week showing metropolitan areas in the United States lost more than 646,000 jobs in 2002. The mayors called on the federal government to respond to the urban jobs crisis and said they want an economic plan that stimulates widespread job creation.

The report identified 82,300 jobs lost in New York City during 2002, a six-fold increase over job loss in 2001. In Chicago, 56,000 jobs were lost in 2002, up three fold from 2001. Atlanta posted 51,800 jobs lost in 2001, more than five times the number lost the previous year.

“These numbers are not just statistics,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “They represent real people – family breadwinners suddenly out of work.”

Nationally, the number of U.S. workers making new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 18,000 to 381,000 in the week ending January 18. The government’s tally of Americans claiming unemployment benefits for two weeks or more rose 87,000 to 3.4 million as of January 11, the latest date for which figures are available.

Bush Policies Slash Jobs
If President Bush really wants to pull the economy out of its recession, perhaps he should get out of the “economic stimulus” business. Two years ago, Bush said his $1.35 trillion tax cut would help “jump-start the American economy.” That didn’t happen.

In fact, the recession deepened. Over the past two years, nearly two million jobs disappeared. The jobless numbers climbed to 6 percent. When he took office, Bush inherited a booming economy, a balanced budget and a record surplus, allegedly earmarked to strengthen Social Security, and a jobless rate of 3.9 percent—a 40-year low.

In his upcoming State of the Union address, Bush is expected to outline his newest “economic stimulus” package; the featured centerpiece is another huge tax cut for the wealthiest taxpayers and for the corporate sector.

It’s the latest installment of his “Leave No Millionaire Behind” strategy, noted Sen. Tom Daschle, D-SD, in a caustic assessment. Other critics point out that the $236 billion surplus outgoing President Bill Clinton left behind turned into a $157 deficit last year. That deficit is projected to reach as much as $350 billion by fiscal year 2004. If so, that deficit would easily eclipse the previous deficit record of $290.4 billion set by the first President Bush in 1992.

Super Bowl Pizzas: Hold the Mushrooms
Here’s a way to lend a helping hand to Farmworkers struggling to win a contract at the Pictsweet mushroom facility in Ventura, CA. They have been fighting this battle for 15 years. These workers labor in dark, damp rooms with slippery floors where workplace injuries happen frequently.

Pizza Hut is one of the largest buyers of mushrooms from the facility, despite Pictsweet’s lengthy record of labor law violations. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the year’s biggest pizza purchase days.

You can help make a difference for these workers by refusing to use Pictsweet mushrooms on your pizza.

Tell Pizza Hut to hold the mushrooms and give these struggling workers a hand. E-mail the big cheeses at Pizza Hut and make your voices heard. You can send your message by clicking on http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/NoPictsweetMushrooms.

Social Security Under Fire
Proposals by a commission hand-picked by President Bush to partially privatize Social Security would require cutting benefits, increasing taxes or raising the retirement age. Those findings come from a new report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO). The report confirms research by unions and their allies that favor preserving the nation’s most successful family insurance program.

The report was released at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in Washington, DC. The full report is available at www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-o3-310.

Ontario Machinists Refuse Fleet Offer
Canadian IAM members at Locals 171 and 939 voted overwhelmingly to reject the latest contract offer from Fleet Industries in Ft. Erie, Ontario, saying the offer would mean immediate layoffs and no assurance that recalls would be based on seniority.

The offer from Fleet asked IAM members to ignore certain articles under the Labour Relations Act of Ontario and would take away some of the basic rights that all other provincial employees enjoy.

”They haven’t wanted to negotiate,” says Mark MacDonald, President of Local 939. “Negotiating means moving towards a middle ground. They don’t want that. They’re sprinting in the other direction.”

”Each offer has been progressively worse," says Julius Antal, president of Local 171. “This is not bargaining in good faith. This isn't bargaining at all. One wonders about the real motive behind Fleet's behaviour.”

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.