labor issues you care about  . . . in streaming video

Video: IAM Storms Iowa
IAM members in Iowa get ready for Presidential caucus.

Video: The IAM Takes the Fight for JOBS to Iowa
IAM President Tom Buffenbarger tours Iowa to call attention to the JOBS! crisis in America.

Video: DOL Suggests Bosses Skirt the Laws on OT
President Bush's Department of Labor issues guidelines to help employers avoid paying overtime.

Video: Economic Earthquake
New AFL-CIO study rates economy on "Economic Richter Scale" for the nation and each state.

Trade Deficit
Continues to Soar

The US Commerce Department announced today that the nation's trade deficit soared in October.

Job Loss Persists
Economic reports out over the last few weeks have been surprisingly strong, but the lack of job creation still has many economists worried.

Help Protect Overtime
A nationwide campaign to protect overtime pay is underway this week. IAM members are urged to join the fight to protect 8 million working families and their right to receive overtime pay.


International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger 

Secretary-Treasurer Warren L. Mart

GVP Western  Territory
Lee Pearson 

GVP Canada
Dave Ritchie 

GVP Headquarters
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.

GVP Eastern
Lynn Tucker 

GVP Southern Territory
Robert Martinez

GVP Midwest Territory
James Brown



Thursday, February 5,  2004

House Passes Unemployment Extension
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a six-month extension of federal unemployment benefits by a vote of 227 to 179. Only 39 Republicans supported the bill. House GOP leaders let the federal extension expire last year one week before Christmas, citing no need to help the nation’s unemployed.

The House approved an amendment by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) to the Community Services Block Grant Act. The extension will not go into effect unless the Senate enacts similar legislation and the President signs it.

The estimated 375,000 people who will exhaust unemployment benefits in January and not have jobs is the highest single-month total in 30 years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org). About 80,000 to 90,000 people are exhausting benefits each week.

Click here to send a message to Congress to support a federal unemployment benefit extension.

Local 701 Hosts 4th Annual Pit Crew Competition


Nineteen high schools and nine colleges entered the 4th Annual Chi-town Teardown Pit Crew Competition this year.

IAM Mechanics Local 701 in Countryside, IL and Ford Motor Company sponsored the 4th Annual Chi-town Teardown Pit Crew Competition where high school and college teams race the clock to disassemble and rebuild automobile engines.

Nineteen high schools and nine colleges entered the competition this year with winning teams receiving a brand new Ford pickup or mini-van. The teams tore down and rebuilt 5.4-liter Ford Triton V-8 engines for time and accuracy. 

With a time of twelve minutes, the winners in the high school division were a team of students from the Technical Center of Dupage in Addison, IL.  They completed a task that would be similar to getting a valve job at your local dealership.

The winning college team, with a time of 48 minutes, was Lincoln Technical Institute from Melrose Park, IL.  This team repeated as champ for the 3rd year in a row.  The teardown contest for these teams required a more detailed disassembly and rebuild.

The 30 engines used in the competition were presented to the competing schools for use in their auto shop program. Members of the winning teams also received IAM watches and leather Mechanics Local 701 jackets.

For more about the
4th Annual Chi-town Teardown Pit Crew Competition:

IAM to Appeal Airbus Outsourcing Decision
The IAM will appeal the 2-1 decision of a three-judge panel overturning a lower court’s injunction preventing US Airways from subcontracting heavy maintenance of its Airbus aircraft. “This issue is too important to allow a split decision by a 3-judge panel be the final word,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger.

The Appeals Court did not rule on the merits of the IAM’s assertion that its collective bargaining agreement requires US Airways’ IAM-represented employees to perform Airbus heavy maintenance work. Rather, the Court ruled the dispute should be resolved through binding arbitration. 

“The Machinists Union will continue to take all legal steps to protect the interests and jobs of our membership,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr.

The District Court’s October 21, 2003, injunction prohibiting US Airways from subcontracting Airbus maintenance to a foreign-owned, non-union facility will remain in force pending a determination by the Appeals Court on the IAM’s petition.

UAL V.P. Threatens Retirees
The latest move in United Airline's assault on retirees’ health benefits is a letter from a UAL executive threatening court action if representatives for the former employees do not agree to higher costs and benefit cutbacks for retirees.

The initial Jan. 13 announcement by United that it would seek to cut retiree benefits sparked immediate outrage among employees, including hundreds who made retirement decisions believing their medical benefits would be protected.

In the latest letter to retirees, UAL Vice President Pete McDonald calls the company’s about face “a necessary part of the company’s overall business plan” and says it will petition the Bankruptcy Court if negotiations do not achieve the cuts it seeks.

“United spends less than 1 percent of its total operating costs on retiree medical benefits,” said GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “IAM members at United already agreed to contract changes that save the airline $450 million per year. There is no financial justification whatsoever for this malicious betrayal of United’s loyal former employees.”

Canadian Call Workers Say ‘IAM Oui’
The 76 employees of Grand & Toy Limited in Toronto have said, “Machinists, Yes”.
The employees, who work in a call center at Grand & Toys corporate headquarters in Toronto, voted for IAM representation in December however, challenges by the company delayed the vote count until Wednesday, January 21.
”These workers deserve credit for their courage and persistence in getting unionized in the face of a strong company campaign,” said IAM organizer Scott Jackson.

The new IAM members, mostly women, process orders for clients and retail outlets. They placed job security and a voice in the workplace at the top of the list as to why they requested the IAM's assistance.
Grand & Toy is the largest commercial supplier of office products in Canada, with 21 sales offices, eight regional distribution centers and 75 retail locations.

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See who works for you,
how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM2004

President Bush's promise of new jobs is falling far short. Find out how much at www.jobwatch.org

FlatRateTech is an organization “created for and by Ford and Lincoln Mercury service technicians solely to speak as one loud voice rather than 50,000 smaller voices,” according to their website http://flatratetech.com. The fast-growing site offers forums for Ford customers, technicians and dealers to exchange information.


The 108th Congressional Directory . . .
get your copy. Send $5 to the MNPL Education Fund, c/o IAMAW, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD, 20772.

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.