from the IAM communications department

International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger

General Secretary-Treasurer 
Donald E. Wharton

GVP Western Territory
Lee Pearson

GVP Canada 
Dave Ritchie

GVP Midwest Territory
Alex M. Bay

GVP IAM Headquarters 
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Southern Territory 
George Hooper

GVP Eastern Territory 
Warren L. Mart 

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.

Thursday, March 1, 2001

Bush’s ‘Rosy Scenario’ Ignores Working Families
The agenda President Bush outlined in his first appearance before Congress does little for working families, noted IP Tom Buffenbarger. “He was right to point out the warning signs: increasing layoffs, rising energy prices, too many failing schools, persistent poverty, the stubborn vestiges of racism.”

 Buffenbarger added to that list: “the decline of America’s industrial base, the recession in the manufacturing sector, the shortage of technical training opportunities, the rising number of workplace-related injuries.”

 Bush’s plan leads to “remedies and reactions that are just plain wrong,” Buffenbarger said. “We need a tax cut aimed at working families that puts real dollars in their pockets, not pocket change. We need to protect Social Security, not toss it to the vultures on Wall Street. We need to save North American jobs, not speed their transfer to China or South America.

“North American workers aren’t statistics. They are losing their jobs and many of those jobs aren’t coming back,” Buffenbarger said. “We need tax cuts and government programs that help people who need it most—working families who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Bush Inks Anti-Worker Executive Orders
 As promised, President Bush signed a quartet of Executive Orders reversing pro-worker policies put in place by his predecessor. Bush abolished the Federal Sector
Labor-Management Partnership signed in 1993 to bring flexibility in resolving workplace issues in the federal sector. In other actions, Bush signed an order depriving service workers on federal projects of any job security provisions when the federal government changes contractors.

Also, the new President barred federal agencies from entering into any agreement with labor organizations on federal construction projects. Such “project labor agreements” effectively stabilize labor-management relations enabling all contractors to bid on equal terms on federal construction projects.

Finally, Bush revived an anti-union ploy that requires government contractors to post notices informing workers they cannot be forced to join unions, and that those who do not join may object to paying that portion of agency fees that are not related to collective bargaining.

The Bush order does not require such employers to inform workers of their rights to organize and to join unions to represent them.

Tax Cut Too Rich for the Rich?
 President Bush’s generous tax cut plan proved too rich for at least some of its beneficiaries, and some of its most favored beneficiaries at that. More than a hundred wealthy Americans, including Warren Buffett and the father of Bill Gates, are urging Congress NOT to repeal estate taxes and other plums tossed to the wealthiest taxpayers.
  “Repealing the estate tax would enrich the heirs of America’s millionaires and billionaires while hurting families who struggle to make ends meet,” warned Warren H. Gates, Sr. To make up for the shortfall in government revenues, taxes will have to be increased on those less able to pay or by cutting Social Security, Medicare, environmental protections and other vital federal programs, he added
The so-called “death tax” kicks in at the $675,000 threshold. That amount rises to $1 million in 2006. Family farms and family businesses already enjoy the $1 million exemption. Repealing the tax will benefit a bare handful of the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers.

Farm Workers End Grape Boycott
 Pointing out that many of its goals have been met, the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) ended its 16-year boycott of non-union California table grapes.
“Cesar Chavez’s crusade to eliminate use of five of the most toxic chemicals plaguing farm workers and their families has been largely successful,” notes UFW President Arturo Rodriquez. He said that three of the worst pesticides “are gone”, that a fourth is scheduled to be banned by the year 2005, and that severe restrictions have been placed on the fifth noxious chemical.

 The trade union movement, citizen and religious groups joined the boycott and helped bring it to a victorious conclusion.
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Boycott Lifted at Crown Corp
A bitter dispute between refinery workers in Texas and the Crown Central Petroleum ended with a collective bargaining agreement for the workers and ended a bitter boycott against the firm, reports Jim Pinto, who heads the IAM’s Collective Bargaining Dept. “The boycott is over and activities targeting Crown, including Crown service stations, Zippy Mart and Fast Fare outlets should cease,” he said. The workers are represented by PACE.
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