Thursday, April 3, 2003
Rally to Save Jobs
“Last year, the company said if we found ways to cut costs, the jobs would stay here,” said Lee Carney, a single mother and IAM activist. “We cut the costs, but they’ve never stopped trying to outsource our jobs.”
IAM representatives pledged an all-out campaign to keep the aerospace work in the communities. “This town was built on this industry,” said Frank Santos, IAM Aerospace coordinator. “We will not allow these companies to kill these cities.” Santos noted that every aerospace job “supports four or five additional jobs.” Shipping those jobs to Mexico would “bring an economic Dust Bowl here,” he said. “This city would dry up and blow away.”
Other rally speakers echoed those words. “Since they passed NAFTA and Fast Track, they’ve bled this country of every job we’ve had,” said DBR Steve Rooney of District 70. He blamed those lawbreakers who backed those unfair trade deals for making it increasingly convenient, and highly profitable, to export jobs. Since 1998, more than 2.5 million manufacturing jobs have left the U.S. for low-wage, nonunion facilities on foreign shores.
Airline Worker Relief
In the House, the 26-week extension is part of a separate bill, the Air Transportation Employees Assistance Act (H.R. 1553) which was introduced by Representatives Phil English (R-PA) and James Oberstar (D-MN).
“These bills won’t pass unless we act. I urge every IAM member to contact their representatives and demand that workers be part of any airline aid package,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “We need to keep the pressure on Congress and not let them forget about airline employees like they did after September 11th.”
To send a message to your Senators and Representative, go to the Action Alert and Advocacy page of www.goiam.org and click on “War Funding Should Include Airline Aid” (http://congress.nw.dc.us/iamaw/issues/alert/?alertid=1795836).
IAM Wins Indianapolis Base Closing Dispute
Social Security Obits
That’s not good news for those White House doom-and-gloom purveyors who’re dying to privatize the system and set off a feeding frenzy by Wall Street predators salivating at the prospect of pillaging the Social Security trust fund. The Bush administration appointed most of the trustees, so it can’t logically dispute their findings.
“Most of that projected shortfall could be met by doing away with the ceiling on income subject to Social Security taxes,” explained IP Tom Buffenbarger. “The limit now is about $80,000. This means most working people pay those taxes on all their income all year long. Multimillionaires like Enron’s Ken Lay have paid their taxes for the year by about 20 minutes past midnight on New Year’s Eve. They should pay their fair share, just like working people do,” he said.
There’s mixed news from the Medicare front. The trustees report that Medicare’s financial condition dipped a bit last year. The insolvency date for the program’s Part A Hospital Trust Fund was set at 2026, a four-year drop from the previous year. The decline stems from lost revenues caused by the soaring jobless rate and an increase in hospital expenses because of higher inpatient admissions. The report said Medicare Part B, which covers doctors’ services, outpatient care and other medical services remains “adequately funded into the future.”
IAM Member Dies in Shipyard Fire
The Workers Memorial commemorates IAM members killed in workplace tragedies and stands as a somber reminder that “workplace safety and health will always rank high on our union’s list of priorities,” pledged IP Tom Buffenbarger. “On behalf of the IAM and all our members, I extend our most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our fallen brother.”
An OSHA investigation into the accident is underway, added Mike Flynn, IAM Safety & Health director. “We will be keeping a close eye on their findings,” he said. Flynn noted that a ceremony honoring the IAM’s fallen members will be held at the memorial on April 28, Worker’s Memorial Day—the day set aside to “mourn for the dead, fight for the living.”
New Hampshire Workers Scuttle RTW
The state’s 40,000 union family members generated more than 48,000 postcards and letters opposing the bill during the three-month campaign. Union members handed over 20,000 of those to state lawmakers and Gov. Craig Benson the day of the vote. Additionally, workers staged rallies, met with legislators and mounted a massive campaign against the anti-worker measure.
Chapman, Solomon In
Grand Lodge Moves