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Tuesday,  April 1,  2003

War in Iraq Impacts Workers
“Let there be no mistake. We stand by our brave fighting men and women with the same dedication and devotion that they themselves bring to their duties. We may have our differences with this President, but we will never waver in our commitment to our sons and daughters, and to our union brothers and sisters who have answered our country’s call,” declared IP Tom Buffenbarger. “We wish for a speedy end to this war and a safe return for each and every one of them. Let us pray for that outcome.”

More than 20,000 union members belong to the National Guard and to various military reserve units. Many of them have been called to active duty and are serving overseas, Buffenbarger noted. “They do not forfeit their workplace rights when they’re called to serve,” he said.

When they return, they are entitled to the same status, pay and benefits as they would receive had they not gone on active duty. For more information, visit www.aflcio.org/reserverights

Justice at Taylor Machine After 12 Years
The National Labor Relations Board ordered Taylor Machine Products in Detroit, Michigan, to pay $188,273, plus interest, to seven IAM supporters who were unlawfully discharged during a 1991 organizing campaign at the plant.

The IAM filed charges against the company following the firings and stood by the employees during more than a decade of hearings and court appearances.

“We welcome the ruling despite the prolonged legal battle required to resolve this case,” said GVP Warren Mart. “Organizing rights are routinely challenged by employers. They will find the IAM does not walk away from workers willing to stand up for their rights.

“On behalf of the Eastern Territory office, I would like to thank Organizing Department Director Ken Walsh, District Lodge 60 and all those involved for a job well done,” said Mart.

New Chapter Begins for US Airways
The nation’s seventh largest airline emerged from bankruptcy this week after shedding thousands of employees, more than a hundred aircraft and more than $2 billion in debt. US Airways entered Chapter 11 protection in August after suffering historic revenue losses in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

Employees at US Airways are credited with making the sacrifices needed for the company to successfully emerge from bankruptcy. “Our members, along with all US Airways employees, made enormous sacrifices so that their airline would survive,” said GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “Without their dedication, US Airways would not be here today.”

The reorganized US Airways will operate with help from a $900 million loan guaranteed by the federal government and a $240 million equity investment from the Retirement Systems of Alabama Holdings (RSA).

Defense Offset Deals Cost U.S. Jobs
Offset transactions in the defense industry cost U.S. workers nearly 9,500 jobs each year between 1993 and 1999, according to a new report from the U.S. Commerce Department.

“The significance of these offset deals continues to increase,” said Owen Herrnstadt, director of the IAM’s Trade and Globalization Dept.  “The threat they pose to U.S. workers is enormous.”

During the 6-year period, “U.S. defense companies entered into 307 offset agreements…with an export contract value of $40.2 billion,” said the report.

The report noted a destabilizing threat to the entire aerospace industry: “Because 90 percent of offset agreements are aerospace-related, concerns about the continued economic stability of U.S. prime contractors in the aerospace infrastructure have increased.”

Outsourcing, a soft economy, subcontracting and trade offsets were cited in the final report by the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry for widespread aerospace job losses in 2002.

Organizing Wins in Missouri and Illinois
Service technicians at Royal Gate Dodge in Ellisville, Missouri, and employees in the Office of the Recorder in Adams County, Illinois, joined the IAM recently following organizing campaigns run by IAM representatives in the Midwest Territory.

District 55 Business Representative Terry Lindley said the Adams County employees were a determined bunch. “This was a team effort,” said Lindley. “Winning pay, benefits and a voice in the workplace were their main issues.”

The new members at Royal Gate Dodge celebrated a hard fought win, battling for a written contract, a pension plan, dental and vision insurance. “Their willingness to stick together was the key to their victory,” said District 9 Organizer Mark Conner. 

The Midwest Territory extended a warm welcome to the new members and congratulations to BR Terry Lindley and Organizers Mark Connor and Scott Stackle for their hard work and dedication.

Airline Aid Proposals Ignore Workers, Again!
The debate in Congress over financial aid for airlines gives ammo to activists who charge House Republicans with supporting an agenda that does nothing to help more than 120,000 airline workers laid off since Sept. 11, 2001.

The ranks of unemployed airline workers swelled by more than 10,000 in recent days as carriers cut schedules and staff in response to reduced passenger demand and concerns over the U.S. war in Iraq.

Some in the Bush administration are opposed to any aid for airlines, calling instead for a massive restructuring of the industry, with bankruptcy and liquidation used to force drastic cuts in employee pay and benefits.

To send a message to Congress calling for aid to airline workers, go to the Action Alerts & Advocacy page of the IAM web site at http://congress.nw.dc.us/iamaw/issues/alert/?alertid=1795836

Urgent Need for Jobs Policy Now
The unemployment crisis in this country is at epidemic proportions with more than two million manufacturing jobs lost during the last 18 months and entire industries on the brink of collapse.

Without quick action and a commitment by our elected officials, the crisis threatens to expand beyond our nation's ability to address it.

“We are up against trade and tax policies that actually encourage corporations to move their facilities overseas,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “I strongly urge every IAM members to speak out about this urgent crisis and to urge your elected representatives to make job creation policies a priority before it’s too late.”

To send a message to Congress urging support for a national jobs policy, click here: http://congress.nw.dc.us/iamaw/issues/alert/?alertid=1795656

Maryland Maintenance Workers Join IAM
District Lodge 12 brought 82 new members into Local Lodge 193 by organizing Building Maintenance Technicians at Capitol Hill Maintenance in Maryland.

Eastern Territory GVP Warren Mart credited a team approach for the organizing win. “On behalf of the Eastern Territory office and its members, I extend our congratulations and appreciation to District Lodge 12 Business Representative Rick Compher and DBR Vickie Fultonberger and Organizing volunteer Bill Winpisinger.” Mart also thanked GLR George Myers, Apprentice Organizers Shellie Zegarac and Gary Anthony for a job well done.

Legislative Conference Deadline Looms
Hotel reservations for the 2003 Legislative Conference must be made by April 18, reports Rich Michalski, Legislative Affairs director. The session opens May 19 and ends May 22 at the Hyatt Regency Washington hotel in the nation’s capital. To make your reservation, call the hotel at 202-737-1234. Be sure to inform them you are with the IAM to receive the group rate.

“Delegates attending the conference should pre-schedule meetings with their senators and congressional representatives,” Michalski said. Two afternoons during the conference have been set aside for meeting with congressional delegations. IP Tom Buffenbarger heads a list of distinguished speakers and delegates face a full agenda of activities, Michalski added.

He urged delegates to act quickly to ensure reservations are available for this important event.

Tell Congress that any war funding should include airlines and out-of-work airline employees.
Take action now!

The recession and misguided government policies for trade and the economy are wiping out millions of jobs. The IAM brings together economic and policy experts to find ways to create and keep good-paying jobs in North America. The Spring 2003 IAM Journal.

The AFL-CIO has set up an exciting new website that will focus exclusively on state legislative issues. It will be password protected to enable state federations and central labor councils, affiliate unions, and union-friendly legislators to share information about state and local legislation.

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.