iMail Tuesday, May 18, 2004
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The IAM's Third Annual Day of Action
The column of marchers stretched from three blocks during the IAM Transportation Department's third annual Day of Action.

Vice President Cheney Cheers Wal-Mart Wages
Vice President Dick Cheney was out stumping for Wal-Mart last week declaring that the chain exemplifies some of the very best qualities in our country.

2004 Legislative Conference
Machinists took the fight for good American jobs directly to the doors of Congress during the annual IAM Legislative Conference in Washington, DC.

Officers & Territories

R. Thomas Buffenbarger
International President

Warren L. Mart

Lee Pearson
GVP Western Territory

Dave Ritchie
GVP Canada

Robert V. Thayer
GVP Headquarters

Robert Roach, Jr.
GVP Transportation

Lynn Tucker
GVP Eastern Territory

Robert Martinez
GVP Southern Territory

James Brown
GVP Midwest Territory

Maytag CEO Grilled Over Outsourcing

«Since 2002, Maytag has been at the center of the national outrage over outsourcing U.S. jobs to low wage countries. Maytag announced it would close its Galesburg, IL facility and move all work to Reynosa, Mexico, where workers are paid $6.50 per day.

Maytag CEO Ralph Hake dodged questions about outsourcing from angry shareholders and union representatives during the company's annual meeting in Newton, Iowa.

“According to your own company guidelines, you are supposed to consider the communities in which you operate,” said Midwest GVP James E. Brown, who questioned Hake at the annual shareholders meeting. “If you ignore the loyalty of workers who build your products and the concerns of citizens whose taxes support your factories and even the   shareholders whose resolutions you refuse to adopt, then who exactly do you answer to, Mr. Hake?”

Since 2002, Maytag has been at the center of the national outrage over outsourcing U.S. jobs to low wage countries. Despite a history of acquiring millions in taxpayer incentives and record high productivity from its U.S. workforce, Maytag announced it would close its Galesburg, IL facility and move all work to Reynosa, Mexico, where workers are paid $6.50 per day.

Dismissing protests of shareholders, shoppers and workers alike, CEO Hake ignored quality concerns and said that U.S. consumers did not care where their products were made. In response to questions about Maytag workers serving in the military whose jobs at Galesburg are being eliminated, Hake offered little sympathy.

Members to Vote at Boeing-St. Louis

After 24 hours of non-stop negotiations, the District 837 Bargaining Committee received the so-called “last, best and final” contract offer from the Boeing Company. “We came a long way from the initial economic proposal presented by Boeing last week,” said Rick Smith, District 837 President and Chief Negotiator for the 2,800 IAM members employed at Boeing-St. Louis. “It will now be up to the individual members of this District to decide if the best and final offer submitted by Boeing is acceptable or not.”

Click here to view key details of the proposed contract. The full text of the proposed accord will be distributed prior to the ratification vote, scheduled for Sunday, May 23, 2004.

Boeing’s latest offer came on the heels of solidarity rallies that sent an unmistakable message that the company’s original economic offer was not going to fly with the highly skilled men and women who build some of this country’s most sophisticated military aircraft and munitions.

V.P. Cheney Boosts Wal-Mart

Vice President Dick Cheney made a trip to Wal-Mart’s hometown in Bentonville, Arkansas to praise the corporation as a model for America. “The story of Wal-Mart exemplifies some of the very best qualities in our country -- hard work, the spirit of enterprise, fair dealing, and integrity,” said Cheney. “You are making a vital contribution to the most prosperous economy in the world.”

What makes Cheney so eager to boost Wal-Mart? Besides being one of largest contributors to the 2004 election cycle, maybe it’s because Wal-Mart fits in so well with the Bush Administration’s vision for America: low wages, concentration of wealth, no unions and increased globalization.

The average Wal-Mart worker makes about eight dollars per hour, which puts a family of four well below the poverty line. They are even eligible for food stamps and Medicaid. And who profits? Founder Sam Walton’s five heirs are worth more than $20 billion each.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, is also notoriously anti-union. A series of lawsuits by employees have alleged lower rates of promotion for women, deleting hours from time sheets, forced unpaid overtime and locking employees in the store while forcing them to work for free.

And what of the “vital contribution to the most prosperous economy in the world?” Cheney meant the U.S. but he could just as easily mean China. Sam Walton titled his autobiography “Made in America,” but that’s no more. The Washington Post reports that “more than 80 percent of the 6,000 factories in Wal-Mart’s worldwide database of suppliers are in China.” And the estimated $15 billion of Chinese-made goods Wal-Mart purchased in 2003 account “for nearly one-eighth of all Chinese exports to the United States.” The Post also cites the increased competition among suppliers in China for Wal-Mart’s business for driving down wages even lower for Chinese workers.

If that’s the Bush Administration’s idea of “fair dealing and integrity,” we’re in a lot of trouble.

Read more about VP Cheney & Wal-Mart
View the IAM video: Cheney Cheers Wal-Mart Wages

Bush Speech Proves Kiss of Death for Ohio Workers

An Ohio manufacturing company that George W. Bush used last year as a backdrop for a speech to show how his economic policies were working closed down the plant and laid off 1,300 workers.

Bush had visited a Canton, Ohio Timken bearings factory, touted his economic plans and talked about jobs and growth. Timken announced this week that they're shutting down that plant that the President visited a year ago.

The president said in his speech at the time: “ The greatest strength of the American economy is found right here, right in this room, found in the pride and skill of the American work force. Last year, productivity growth in America was 4.8 percent — that is the best annual increase since 1980. Here at Timken, last year, productivity rose 10 percent. Which means that America can compete with any nation in the world because we got the finest workers in the world. ”

IAM and Air Canada in Tentative Accord

The IAM and insolvent Air Canada announced a tentative agreement on May 16 over $200 million in cost savings needed to satisfy the labor conditions outlined in the Deutsche Bank Standby Purchase Agreement.

“The workers have done their part to keep this airline flying with wage adjustments and reduced hours of work; now it's time for the government to step up to the plate,” said Canadian GVP Dave Ritchie, who called on the Canadian government to do more. “Its policies have left not only this airline but also the entire air transport industry in this country in constant turmoil. We can't compete on an equal basis unless the government lowers aviation fuel taxes, airport rents and navigation fees.”

The agreement is subject to membership ratification and contingent on all other union and non-union employee groups at Air Canada meeting their cost saving targets. The IAM is Air Canada's largest union representing 11,500 technical operations and airport ground service, finance, cargo and clerical personnel.

Key House Panel Backs Tanker Deal

The House Armed Services Committee is backing a plan that calls for the replacement of the nation’s aging fleet of airborne tankers to begin immediately.

By a unanimous vote, the committee proposed language for the $422 billion defense authorization bill that would waive current requirements for additional study and allow the stalled $23.5 billion tanker replacement deal with Boeing to go forward immediately.

The development marks latest round in the battle to overcome the scandal involving Boeing’s recruitment of an Air Force official involved in the initial negotiations with the Air Force on the tanker project. “We have to move ahead on this,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services panel.

Delay in the tanker deal could have a devastating impact on Machinists who staff the company’s 767 production line in Everett, WA. Hundreds of additional jobs could be jeopardized in Wichita, KS, where Boeing plans to modify the aircraft for military use.

Tell Congress to Support US Jobs, Fund the 767 Tanker Program.

Card Check Win Brings New Members

Thanks to hard work by Eastern Territory organizers and a neutrality agreement that protected employees’ right to choose a union, 170 traffic control workers employed by Area Wide Protective Services (AWP) won IAM representation earlier this month.

The win brings union membership to highway flaggers and other workers at construction sites served by the Akron, Ohio firm.

The neutrality agreement between the IAM and AWP followed a hard won organizing campaign in York, PA, according to Dave Porter, the Eastern Territory Organizing Leader who brokered the union rights agreement. Union representation rights would be achieved if a majority of employees signed union authorization cards. The accord also required company representatives to remain neutral on the matter of union representation at all AWP facilities. Additional AWP organizing campaigns are now underway.

“Congratulations to GLR George Myers and Frank Hannigan and Apprentice Organizer Ed Kuss for their work on this win,” said Ken Walsh, IAM Organizing Director. “Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. and the Eastern Territory staff also provided invaluable assistance and many volunteers during the campaign.” The new members will join IAM District Lodges 97 and 34.

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Elected leaders across the country are calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be replaced over the handling of the Iraq war and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

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Photo Contest The IAM is repeating its members-only photo contest again this year and you are encouraged to enter. Photo entries should catch IAM members at work in unposed photos. If your entry wins, you'll win a cash prize and your photo will appear in the 2005 IAM Calendar.
Go to:pc2005.

IAM2004 See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM2004

Cincinnati Skyline 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.