Thursday,  March 13,  2003


Thayer to Communications Conference
Delegates: ‘Get Our Message Out’
Delegates gave GVP Bob Thayer a rousing ovation as he closed the IAM’s 2003 Communications Conference with a reminder that “politics is not a spectator sport.” He explained that “getting our message out and making our voices heard” is crucial if working families and their unions are to survive the withering attacks from an anti-worker White House and the economic recession its policies has produced.

“Workers will decide whether we win the battle for jobs, jobs worth fighting for.” His remarks reflected the conference theme—JOBS! Worth Fighting For, a theme emblazoned on colorful posters throughout the conference hall.

Thayer reminded delegates, primarily newsletter editors, communicators and web stewards, that “we speak for all Americans” when we demand job security, affordable healthcare and a safe and healthy workplace. “You’ve shown what you can do,” he said, “now use your skills to build a better world, a better life for all Americans.”

(Read the full text of GVP Thayer's speech:

Earlier, delegates enjoyed a spirited give-and-take with a trio of working reporters from the Chicago-area news media. The three journalists, Cheryl Corley of National Public Radio (NPR), Phil Le  Beau of CNBC, and John Schmeltzer, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter at the Chicago Tribune, urged delegates to “open a dialogue” with their hometown media.

“We have to talk to each other,” Le Beau said. There was unanimous agreement on that point. “Workplace issues are important issues,” Schmeltzer stressed. “We have to build relationships,” Corley agreed.

More Communications Conference Coverage:


Bush Medicare Plan Misses Mark…Again!
The latest White House plan to “redefine” Medicare looks a lot like the old plan, says George J. Kourpias, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans. Under his first plan, President Bush wanted to “privatize” Medicare and force seniors to join managed care programs in order to receive prescription drug coverage.

That proposal ran into fierce opposition from seniors and politicians on both sides of the aisle.

With his latest plan, the President is still trying to make seniors leave the traditional Medicare plan. If they want the insurance, that will allow them to receive prescription medicines.

“Seniors don’t want to leave Medicare,” Kourpias said. “They don’t want to leave the doctors they trust in order to get the medicines they need. Why is that so hard for this administration to understand?  What seniors do want is a prescription drug benefits under Medicare that allows them the freedom to stay with the doctors they choose, the doctors they trust.”

The Alliance supports the Medicare Rx Drug Benefits and Discount Act of 2003, sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY, and Rep. John Dingell, D-MI. The measure meets the needs of seniors and allows them to remain in the Medicare plan and still get the medicines they need, Kourpias explained.

“This is not true with the President’s plan, which falls short…again.”

IAM Women’s Dept. Takes Action
Calling for action by legislators to address joblessness, personal bankruptcies and vanishing retirement savings, the IAM Women’s Department is coordinating a vigorous effort to get union members involved at the grassroots level.

“State and local governments are facing their gravest fiscal crisis since World War II, forcing deep and drastic cuts in education, health care and public safety,” said Cheryl Eastburn, IAM Women’s Department Director.

Urging members to send a blizzard of e-mails to President Bush and members of Congress, Eastburn is directing union activists to an Action Alert on the IAM web site http://capwiz.com/iamaw/issues/?style=D& where messages can be created and quickly routed to lawmakers.

“Working families want Washington to know that funding shortages in the states are a serious matter, and they want the federal government to play a role in helping those states pay for education, health care and homeland security,” said Eastburn. “Let your voice resonate - from the White House to the Halls of Congress.”

More Charges Against Enron Execs
The federal government brought charges against two more Enron executives in the ever-widening corporate corruption scandal at the bankrupt energy trading company.

Arrest warrants were issued for Kevin Howard and Michael Krautz, charging the pair with securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in a scheme to manipulate earnings in a failed deal with the video outlet chain, Blockbuster, Inc.

Additionally, Enron and a former vice president were charges by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission with manipulating natural gas and agricultural commodity prices.

Enron's historic bankruptcy brought the consequences of corporate corruption into sharp focus, with shareholders wiped out and thousands of employees losing jobs and retirement savings


Woodworkers, Hubbell Passes Away
Administrative Assistant for the Woodworkers Department, Bill Hubbell, passed away Saturday, March 8. Funeral services will be held Thursday, March 13 at 11:00 a.m. at the New Life Foursquare Church in Canby, Oregon. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Guide Dogs of America in Bill's memory.