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Government Employees

Collective Bargaining

Unions Win Mutual Fund Fight

Third Annual Pit Crew Competition

Buffenbarger Blasts DeLay

Jobs Worth Fighting For

Mayors Want Jobs


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,  March 4,  2003

Machinists at Bombardier Ratify Contract
IAM Local Lodge 639 members at Bombardier Aerospace in Wichita ratified a restructuring pact that extends the current agreement and includes assurances the Wichita facility will remain open.

The accord was ratified in a large turnout by a majority of those voting and its terms reflected the sharp downturn in the turbo prop and business jet market worldwide.

“In light of the current economic condition of the company, the membership made the right decision,” said Steve Rooney, District 70 President and Directing Business Representative. “The work will remain here and the plant will remain open.

“I hope that Bombardier will remember what happened here today and the sacrifices our membership made when they were asked and accepted these changes,” said Rooney.

The changes to the current agreement will become effective March 4, 2003 and extend to October 2, 2006.

Bush Blames GOP for Security Shortfall
Ahhhhhhhh, how soon they forget. That would be the litany of congressional Republicans whose 2003 federal budget first drew high praise from the White House, but then came under fire from President Bush for under-funding homeland security efforts.

Bush initially praised the GOP-passed budget, but reversed course when it came under close scrutiny. His shift angered congressional Republicans who worked closed with the White House to limit the amount of money budgeted for homeland security. Homeland security needs to include funds for firefighters, emergency medical personnel, customs agents and many others needed to confront the nation’s security needs.

Social Security: Set the Record Straight
A recent poll on Social Security makes clear why it is essential for older men and women to educate their children on the facts about the solvency of the retirement program. Almost half of all current workers in the United States doubt there will be sufficient funds to underwrite their Social Security benefits when they retire, according to the poll conducted by Prudential Financial Inc.

Concern was greatest among those under the age of 35 and those who earn less than $50,000 a year.

“Social Security currently provides guaranteed retirement income to more than 43 million Americans,” points out George J. Kourpias, who heads the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Social Security is a fiscally sound and efficiently managed retirement income system backed by the full weight of the U.S. government.”

Bush Approval Numbers Slipping Fast
A new poll shows public support is fading fast for President Bush’s handling of the economy, bringing his job approval ratings to their lowest level since before the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

With an overall job approval rating at 54 percent, the latest poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found 48 percent disapprove of the president’s economic policy. More than half of those polled, 56 percent, said they were very concerned they would not have enough money for their retirement. The figure is up from 42 percent in May 1997.

Seniors’ Boycott Targets Glaxo
A growing number of senior citizens and retirees are signing onto a boycott of over-the-counter products produced by pharmaceutical giant Glaxo-Smith-Kline. The boycott protests the firm’s actions in cutting off supplies of its prescription medicines to Canadian pharmacies that sell to Americans.

The Glaxo products on the boycott list include the antacid Tums, Aquafresh toothpaste, Contac cold remedy and dozens of other products. Many affiliates of the Alliance for Retired Americans took up the fight. The 15,000-member Minnesota Senior Federation, an Alliance affiliate, is spearheading several actions against Glaxo.

Other affiliates held rallies protesting Glaxo’s actions. “If Glaxo can afford to sell the drugs in Canada at that price, why should they object when Canada sells them back here?” asked Phil Member, president of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council.

Despite Deaths, Bush Waters Down Rules
Under heavy pressure from meat industry lobbyists, the Bush administration watered-down proposed rules to protect consumers from the deadly Listeria bacteria. The meat industry contributed generously to Republicans in the last election cycle.

After seven people died and dozens more were hospitalized from a Listeria outbreak last year, the Agriculture Department devised a plan to protect the public from further outbreaks. It would have put federal inspectors inside the plants that produce ready-to-eat meat products, such as bologna and other deli meats.

Meat industry lobbyists objected and took their complaints directly to the White House. After a White House review, the USDA issued much weaker rules. Industry lobbyists were ecstatic with their success. They crowed that USDA staffers “bought into much of the industry proposal” and said the new rules were the result of “industry efforts at the White House level,” according to Time Magazine.

A substantially high amount of people in workplaces today are suffering from low back pain or low back musculoskeletal disorders, which are both common and costly. Find out more.

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.