from the IAM communications department
GVP Western Territory
GVP Midwest Territory
GVP IAM Headquarters
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GVP Eastern Territory
|Friday, May 25, 2001
WWW Center Launches Union History Project
A program aimed at collecting and preserving the IAM’s heritage took shape this week at the Winpisinger Center in southern Maryland. Twenty union history buffs, including active and retired members, came together for a pilot program to learn the basic skills of union historians and archivists.
“The focus is on how to design a history project, how to organize it, how to handle historical evidence and how to get the project done,” explained Dorothy Fennell, a labor historian at Cornell, who coordinated the new project. “Union history is too important to leave to the historians alone,” she said. “Trade unionists must either recover their history or lose it.”
The group broke into two-member
teams, pairing a retiree with an
“It’s a worthwhile project,” noted John Wong, from Local 1414 in San Mateo, CA. He was paired with retired DBR Frank Souza of District 190. “This is a very interesting project,” Souza said. “I’ll know more after I’ve had a little more experience with it,” he laughed.
Social Historian Rachel Bernstein
of New York University, Pamela Hackbart-Dean, from the Southern Labor Archives
in Atlanta, GA, and Katie Briggs, a research associate at Cornell University,
joined Fennell for the project. Charley Micalleff, the Center’s assistant
director, played a major role in putting innovative program together, explained
Director Jim Leslie.
Rail Retirement Bill Approved By House Committee
In a triple victory for railroads, railroad workers and railroad retirees, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to approve H.R. 1140, the Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act of 2001.
With 355 co-sponsors and the support of rail labor and management, full passage in the House of Representatives is anticipated. The bill would provide a minimum guarantee for surviving spouses of rail retirees, who suffer deep cuts in benefits when a retiree passes away.
The bill also reduces the retirement age for long-time rail employees, shortens the vesting period and provides a retiree health insurance plan. The proposal gained the support of rail management by allowing investments to ensure the solvency of the retirement plan without creating taxpayer dependency.
“This can be the year we make railroad retirement security a reality,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “We extend our thanks to Committee Chairman Don Young (R-AK) and ranking member James Oberstar (D-MN) for their efforts and we encourage every IAM member to contact their legislators and urge their support for this important legislation.”
A companion bill, S.697 has
been introduced in the Senate. To contact your representative, visit the
newly designed IAM website at: http://www.goiam.org/politics.asp
New Alliance to Fight for Prescription Drug Coverage
The Alliance for Retired Americans, a new 2.5 million member AFL-CIO backed advocacy group for seniors, kicked off its first day in business with a “Speakout” for real prescription drug coverage outside the U.S. Capitol.
The new Alliance builds on the work done by the former National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSC). The new Alliance “creates a place for people who care passionately about seniors’ issues to speak out and take action,” said former IP George Kourpias, who is now the Alliance’s president.
The Alliance’s “sole purpose
is to be an advocate for retired workers and their families … And we believe
its size and national scope make it an instant political force to be reckoned
with,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said at the Capitol rally.
Airline Coordinator Jim Sprang To Retire June 1
Looking forward to even more of the active lifestyle he now enjoys, Airline Coordinator Jim Sprang will retire on June 1, capping an IAM career that began more than three decades ago in Kansas City, Missouri.
“Jim has been a committed member of this union since 1961,” said Transportation GVP Robert Roach Jr. Starting as an aircraft cleaner, Jim became an aircraft mechanic in 1967. He served as Shop Steward and Committee Chairman for Local Lodge 1650 and later as General Chairman for District 142. In 1993, Jim was appointed to the Grand Lodge staff as Assistant Airline Coordinator, serving as Airline Coordinator since June 1994. “Jim deserves our gratitude and respect for his years of sacrifice and service,” said Roach. “His experience, leadership and sound advice are invaluable.”
Assistant Airline Coordinator
Jim Varsel will replace Sprang as Airline Coordinator.
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