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Tuesday,  April 22,  2003

Machinists Target Corporate Greed
This week, the IAM mounts a campaign against corporate greed that is beginning to pick up support from surprising quarters. The IAM plans actions at shareholder meetings held by three corporate icons: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, noted IP Tom Buffenbarger.

“The IAM is proud to take its historic role of fighting for justice on the job and service to the community into the realm of corporate governance,” Buffenbarger said. “We have seen far too many examples of unshackled corporate greed and the devastation it brings to working families and to their communities,” Buffenbarger said.

The campaign kicks off April 23 at Raytheon Corp.’s shareholders’ meeting in Lexington, MA. “That’s a fitting location,” Buffenbarger pointed out. “That’s where those ‘embattled farmers stood and fired the shots heard round the world’, “ he said, referring to one of the first battles of the American Revolution.

“Raytheon’s severance packages for senior executives are outrageously bloated,” Buffenbarger charged.  “These bonuses are a huge drain on company resources that could be better directed towards retirement security for workers and their families. Raytheon’s ‘golden parachutes’ must be held to a higher level of scrutiny than in the past,” he charged.

Similar actions are scheduled at Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Despite Bush, Workers Win Pay Extension
When President Bush flew in to St. Louis last week to praise District 837 members who produce the F-18 fighter jet, he said “The successes of our military begin right here on the factory floors.” What he forgot to mention was that 238 IAM members in the audience were scheduled to receive layoff notices within 72 hours of his visit. The President also didn’t say anything about his efforts just days before to block a 26-week extension of unemployment benefits.

President Bush has consistently praised workers in public while working behind the scenes to undermine them. He praised labor’s incredible response after 9/11 and then opposed funding for more police and firefighters. He praised members of the armed forces for their service in Iraq, yet proposed a budget that cuts veterans benefits.

As the 26-week unemployment extension was working its way through Congress, President Bush said that “The Administration strongly opposes the provision in the Senate bill that provides extended unemployment insurance benefits to workers who are displaced from the airlines and related industries.”

The President’s allies in the Senate tried to cut the proposed extension to 13 weeks and limit it to just airline workers. House GOP leaders blocked adding the extension to an appropriations bill. Yet with strong Democratic support and help from key House and Senate Republicans, the final bill had the full 26-week extension and it applied to workers in the airline, aerospace, airport and related industries.

For the complete record of President Bush’s initiatives, from gutting overtime pay rules to denying federal workers the right to join unions, see the AFL-CIO’s BushWatch at www.aflcio.org.

Congress Recesses: Make Your Voice Heard
With your congressional representatives enjoying their spring recess, it’s a good time to visit them at their district offices and let them know how you feel about the issues they will be debating when they return to work April 28.

Tell them that America needs good jobs and a strong economy, not more tax breaks for the rich. That $550 billion for the tax cut that President George W. Bush is peddling comes from programs that benefit working families. That huge sum comes from cuts in education, health care, veterans’ benefits, worker safety programs and the growing need to rebuild our national infrastructure—roads, bridges and schools.

At the same, the White House is demanding regulations that limit workers’ overtime pay and congressional Republicans are pushing legislation that allows employers to offer comp time in lieu of overtime pay.

Make your appointments now. Let them know how you feel. Make your voices heard. To download fliers about the tax cut or or the Bush attack on overtime pay, visit www.workingfamiliestoolkit.org.

Local 701 Racks Up a Win
IAM Local 701 brought 17 new members into the union after a hard-fought organizing campaign at Terry’s Lincoln Mercury Body Shop in Frankfort, IL. The new members are body repair and paint technicians.

“Their solidarity and their commitment only increased as the employer’s opposition to their campaign mounted,” said Dave Mullin, Local 701 organizer. Their main issues were fair pay and health care for themselves and their families, Mullin explained.

Like to take pictures? Good with a camera? Then you should enter this year's IAM Photography Contest.
Find out more information

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.