iMail archives


visit goiam.org

print version

iMail signup

Thursday,  May 15,  2003

GOP Leaders Snub Jobless Workers
The GOP-dominated Congress walked away from jobless workers as it squabbled over the size of a White House-backed tax cut that primarily enriches the already rich.

“President Bush and his allies on Capitol Hill are so determined to pass his ‘leave no millionaire behind’ scheme that they have no time for unemployed Americans,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “More than a million workers will lose jobless benefits at the end of this month, but we haven’t heard a word from the President about their struggles.”

Several Democrats attempted to attack jobless benefit extensions onto various bills, but the Republican majority continued to shoot them down. Most recently, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA, proposed an amendment to extend the federal program through November and provide jobless workers an additional 26 weeks of jobless benefits. The measure failed, but Kennedy promised another fight on the same issue.

President Bush claims his massive tax cut will stimulate the economy and provide “1.4 million jobs by the end of 2004.” Critics disagree and point out that his $1.6 trillion tax cut in 2001 neither stimulated the economy nor created jobs. More than 2 million jobs have disappeared since Bush took office.

“That’s unacceptable,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-CA. “let’s give Bush the pink slip for the worst job loss since the Great Depression.

DeLay Ploy Splinters Texas Legislature
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-TX, made a trip back home and dropped off a congressional re-mapping with some GOP friends in the Texas legislature. That ploy sparked a political firestorm that’s eye-popping even by Texas standards.

“I’m the House majority leader and I want more seats,” DeLay said. The redistricting proposal comes barely two years after a redistricting effort following the latest census returns.

Fifty Texas Democrats quietly left the legislative session and sought sanctuary in Oklahoma. That left the legislature without a quorum and unable to conduct its business. Governor Rick Perry ordered Texas Rangers to hunt down the errant Democrats and bring them back to work—so far that legendary posse has come up empty-handed. New Mexico’s attorney general said she had issued “an all-points bulletin for law enforcement to be on the lookout for any politicians in favor of health care and against tax cuts for the wealthy,” columnist Molly Ivins reported in a recent article.

IAM Wins Limits on Foreign Repair Stations
In a move welcomed by the IAM and its allies in the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), the House Aviation Subcommittee raised the bar for aviation safety nationwide by requiring strict oversight of overseas aircraft repair facilities.

"Airlines are increasingly sending U.S. aircraft to foreign repair stations for routine maintenance," said Transportation GVP Robert Roach, Jr. "This practice compromises the safety of our aircraft, the stability of our industry and the livelihoods of thousands of highly skilled aircraft technicians here in the United States.

"It is unfortunate that some carriers, notably Northwest Airlines, are expanding their use of these foreign repair stations. It is equally unfortunate that the non-AFL-CIO organization representing Northwest’s aircraft mechanics is unable or unwilling to curb this dangerous and destructive practice,” said GVP Roach.

IAM contracts, including the agreement recently ratified by members at United Airlines, severely restrict the transfer of maintenance work to overseas facilities.

Canadian Machinist Receives Chavez Award
IAM member Michael MacIsaac is one of four people to be awarded the annual César Chavez Black Eagle Award, recognizing those who fight for the rights of farm workers in Canada.

MacIssac is a member of IAM Local Lodge 1953 and currently serves as a Labor Education Coordinator for the Canadian Labour Council (CLC). His work on behalf of farm workers in Canada dates back nearly thirty years to campaigns to protect farm workers’ health and safety.

“These workers were subject not only to the usual unsafe conditions; they were subject to daily exposure to pesticides and chemicals,” said MacIsaac.

Asked why he won the award, MacIssac immediately acknowledged that many others could easily have been chosen. “Part of the success of any cause is getting the word out. I was lucky enough to be in a position to do so.”

As a member of Local 1953 in Winnipeg, MacIssac served as Shop Steward, President and Directing Business Representative of District 181 in Winnipeg.

Cyberlodge Draws Media Interest
The IAM’s organizing project known as ‘Cyberlodge’ is gaining attention here and abroad from newsletters serving software and computer programmers, designers and tech workers.

“There are certainly plenty of disgruntled – often unemployed – programmers and other IT (information technology) workers out there right now who might be willing to join a group that promises to help them find decent paying jobs with union-style benefits,” wrote Robin Miller in the May 15 issue of NewsForge.com.

The article, reprinted in the British web periodical, The Register, described the plight of information technology workers worldwide, and linked readers to the Cyberlodge website at www.cyberlodge.org.

Since it’s launch, the Cyberlodge site has served as a forum for tech workers to debate the concept of an ‘open source’ union - one that could provide traditional union benefits such as health insurance or pensions, to workers who move frequently from job to job. 

Newsletter/Website Contest Opens
The official announcement for the 2003 IAM Newsletter & Website Contest has been mailed to all district and local unions. It is open to all newsletters published between May 2002 and May 2003, as well as websites operating online during that same judging period, notes Rick Sloan, Communications director.

Awards will be presented for general excellence, layout & design and for best feature. Deadline for entries is July 31. For additional details, contact the Communications Department, 301-967-4520.

IAM Celebrates Asian Heritage Month
The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA) celebrated Asian Heritage Month by paying homage to Canadians of Asian origin and their contributions to Canadian society. ACLA also elected its first-ever executive board, giving the nod to Jenny Ahn and Frank Saptel as co-presidents. Saptel has a long history of labour, social and political involvement and works for the IAM as a Communications Rep in the Canadian office. Also elected as Recording Secretary was LL 905's Leonard Yeung,


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

The 108th Congressional Directory . . .
get your copy. Send $5 to the MNPL Education Fund, c/o IAMAW, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD, 20772.

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.