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Tuesday,  May 6,  2003

Pentagon Proposal Threatens U.S. Defense
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) wants to gut long-standing “Buy American” legislation with a bill to give the Secretary of Defense broad powers to ignore current laws requiring the Pentagon buy American-made goods and services.

“The ‘Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act’ is a frontal assault on one of the last barriers to globalization of our nation’s defense industry,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “If successful, the move will further reduce our national manufacturing capability and increase U.S. dependence on foreign suppliers in key national security areas.”

The new legislation is part of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s effort to outsource significant portions of Pentagon operations, including many of the jobs now performed by DOD civilian employees.

The IAM and a coalition of labor unions and manufacturers are calling on lawmakers to oppose the Rumsfeld Plan, urging Congress to support solutions to the problems associated with the alarming decline in American defense industrial capabilities.

“It is astonishing that the Department of Defense would recommend the repeal of U.S. laws requiring that weapon systems for our national defense be manufactured in America,” said Cynthia Brown, president of the Business-Labor Coalition to Save the Defense Industrial Base.

To send a message to Congress urging support for “Buy American” legislation and a strong U.S.-based national defense capability, point your browser to: http://goiam.org/politics.asp and click on Support "Buy American Laws

Unemployment Rate Hits 8-Year High
The national unemployment rate rose to 6 percent last month, as the teetering economy shed another 48,000 jobs. The figure brings the number of jobs lost during the past three months to more than half a million.

Job losses in April were concentrated in airlines, retail and manufacturing.

The official count of unemployed U.S. workers now stands at 8.8 million, according to the U.S. Labor Department. That figure fails to include millions of long-term unemployed workers who are not part of the Department’s month-to-month figures. Of those that are counted, more than 2 million have been without work for 27 weeks or more.

The Labor Department also reported the average duration of unemployment jumped to 19.6 weeks – a 20 year high.

Automotive Pact Reached in St. Paul
IAM District 77 and Local 737 reached a new 3-year agreement with the St. Paul Auto Dealers Association, covering 880 IAM members in the greater St. Paul, MN area.

The contract includes wage hikes, pension increases and a provision whereby the employer picks up the increased cost of health care insurance.

According to IAM District 77, the agreement exemplifies the good relationship between the IAM and the St. Paul Auto Dealers Association.

May is ‘Older Americans Month’
In a statement praising the contributions of older Americans, former IAM International President George Kourpias said, “It’s time to renew our commitment to the well-being of older Americans and to protect their right to security in retirement.”

Kourpias, now President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, recalled being in the room when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Older American Act. “It’s a great piece of legislation, and I was honored to be there. The law provides for Meals on Wheels, transportation, senior centers and home care services,” said Kourpias.

“This month as we honor our seniors, the Alliance for Retired Americans renews its commitment to fight for and protect those issues that seniors care about most – Social Security, Medicare, Older Americans Act programs and a prescription drug benefit.”

Pennsylvania Mechanics Get First Pact
Shortly after organizing auto and truck mechanics at Greenwich Terminals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, District 15 announced a first contract on behalf of the new members. The agreement raises the total number of first agreements in the Eastern Territory to 13 for the year.

“On behalf of the Eastern Territory office and its members, I extend our congratulations and appreciation to District Lodge 15 DBR John Scarfi, Assistant DBR James Conigliaro, BR Michael Walsh and staff,” said Eastern Territory GVP Warren Mart. “A special thanks goes to our determined members at Greenwich Terminals.”

Strike Idles Waukesha Engine Works
More than 400 members of IAM Local 1377 walked of the job last week at Waukesha Engine Co. after voting 414-10 to reject the company’s final offer. The strike is the first at the Wisconsin plant since 1979.

Issues in the strike include a proposed two-tier pay scale for union workers; a proposal requiring retirees to pay $125 to $150 a month toward their health insurance and a proposal to allow the company to layoff employees without regard to seniority.

IAM retirees began picketing the profitable company last month over proposed increases in retiree health care costs. Health benefits for nearly 340 retirees are included in the current agreement.

Union Show Draws More Than 200,000
Nearly a quarter-million visitors streamed through the doors of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for this year’s AFL-CIO Union Industries Show.

The annual event showcases the thousands of quality products and services produced by union-represented workers. More than three dozen International and local unions participated in this year’s show, titled “The American Dream - Union Made.” The exhibits covered the equivalent of four football fields.

IAM members at the show proudly exhibited products from John Deere, Amana, York International, Harley-Davidson, US Repeating Arms, Thor America, Savage Arms, US Airways and Weeres Industries. The IAM’s Apprenticeship Department manned a display and a perennial favorite of show-goers was the IAM-supported charity, Guide Dogs of America.

The first Union-Industries Show was held in 1938 in Cincinnati. Fifty-eight exhibitors from twenty-four international unions greeted more than 138,000 visitors. For more information on this year’s show and a photo gallery of past shows, visit the Show’s website at www.unionindustriesshow.org.

Harley ‘Hugger’ Drawing Set for July 10
It’s not too late to purchase tickets for the Harley Davidson Anniversary Edition “Hugger” motorcycle that will be raffled off at the IAM Staff Conference in Cincinnati on July 10, reports GVP Warren Mart. “This marvelous machine is ‘Made in the USA’ by IAM members and proceeds from the raffle will be used for our 2004 Grand Lodge Convention,” Mart said.

Mart added that GLR Raymond Briggs is coordinating fundraising activities for the convention. Briggs can be contacted through the Eastern Territory office at 513-772-9310.

See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM profiles for 2003.

Everyday discounts
and benefits for union members.
Go to: Union Privilege


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.