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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 11,  2003

Rhonda Studer (left) from Local Lodge 63 and Nancy LeMont from LL 623 applaud IP Buffenbarger at the 2003 Communications Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

Conference Delegates Get the Message
More than 150 delegates, staff and guests at the 2003 IAM Communications Conference heard IP Tom Buffenbarger call for an end to policies that are stripping North America of it’s economic birthright.

“We are headed for trouble – big trouble,” warned Buffenbarger. “The so-called ‘stimulus package’ proposed by the Bush Administration, with yet another tax cut for the exceedingly wealthy, will do nothing any time soon – and probably not much ever – to create American jobs.

“It’s a catastrophe in the making,” said Buffenbarger in a speech to the conference of newsletter editors, web stewards and IAM officials from across the U.S. and Canada. “The last time we had only 16.5 million manufacturing jobs, John F. Kennedy was President – and the country had a hundred million fewer people.”

The IP was equally dismissive of proposals by Republican and Democrats. "I am sick of their flimsy excuses for not having a philosophy, for not having an industrial policy, for not having a jobs creation strategy. The Democrats are not as bad as the Republicans,” said Buffenbarger, “but they’re not a whole hell of a lot better either.”

 Throughout the speech and in a 12-page feature article in the latest issue of the IAM Journal,  Buffenbarger repeated the refrain he hoped would ring in the ears of policymakers from Washington to Ottawa:  “What we need most are JOBS!” said Buffenbarger, “JOBS worth fighting for.”

Related Link: http://www.iamaw.org/publications/spring2003/cover_story.htm

Bush Doll: Texas Accent, Made in China
Remember those bogus “Made in the USA” boxes used as a backdrop for President Bush’s speech in St. Louis?  Remember the cartons in the foreground with the taped-over labels saying “Made in China?”

Here’s another one for the collection, this one reported in The Hill newspaper, an irreverent weekly that delights in such exposes.

Seems that a popular battery-powered doll that looks like the president and sounds like the president carries the same “made in China” label. “I come from Texas,” the newspaper quotes the George Bush doll reciting one of its 16 sound bites. “We couldn’t find a factory in this country that could make the doll and keep the costs down,” claimed the chief of the California company that makes the doll.

The White House had no comment, the newspaper reported.

Cash Balance Pensions for Congress?
Nearly every member of Congress would see their personal pensions cut significantly if the Congressional defined benefit pension plan was converted to a so-called ‘cash balance’ plan.

According to a new study by the Congressional Research Service, pensions for some members of Congress would be reduced by hundreds of thousands of dollars if the switch were applied to them.

A move by House Republicans is currently underway to lift the moratorium preventing corporations from unilaterally converting employees’ traditional pension plans to the controversial cash balance plans.

At companies where the switch occurred, senior employees often found their anticipated pension amount cut by as much as half, leading to hundreds of age discrimination lawsuits.

Railroading Labor Law
In a March 7 Aviation Daily article regarding the Railway Labor Act, Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. rejected any effort to amend the law to replace collective bargaining with mandatory arbitration, often called ‘baseball arbitration.’

“The public relations and legislative campaign underway by the nation 's major air carriers is designed to severely undermine the collective bargaining process and weaken the rights of all airline employees,” wrote Roach in the Daily’s ‘Departures’ column.

“The changes currently being discussed would remove any incentive for the airlines to negotiate fairly, eliminating the possibility of workers and management reaching voluntary agreements.”

GVP Roach said the current law works for both labor and management when used properly.

“The RLA is effective when airline management approaches negotiations responsibly,” said Roach.  “Since 1997, the National Mediation Board successfully resolved more than 600 mediation cases without strikes and service interruptions. During that time, only three cases resulted in strikes or lockouts.”

Click http://www.goiam.org/territories.asp?c=4097 to view the full article.

Medicare Plan May Bankrupt System
A White House plan to revise Medicare may worsen its long-term financial problem, not improve it. In a startling admission, the Bush administration’s point man for Medicare told the Wall Street Journal the Bush proposal would “probably” accelerate the date the Medicare fund becomes insolvent.

The Bush proposal is “more costly than the current system,” admitted Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. Medicare’s trustees say the system will remain solvent until 2030. In his presidential campaign, Bush pledged to set Medicare “on firm financial ground,” the Journal noted. Thompson said that insuring the system’s long-term growth would require further changes later.

In a related development, Families USA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a state-by-state report showing 75 million Americans went without health insurance at some point in 2001 and 2002. The report specifically attributes the burgeoning health care crisis to the ongoing Bush Recession and soaring health care costs.

The report came shortly after Bush unveiled a prescription drug plan that, according to the Washington Post, “health care economists said would be a bonanza for the pharmaceutical and managed-care industries, both of which are huge donors to Republicans.”  Despite the growing crisis, the Bush proposal would provide little, if any, guarantees of coverage, critics claim.

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.