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New Rose Honors UFW Founder Cesar Chavez
Gardeners who want the union label on their flowers may want to check this one out. Farm Workers members have teamed up with California flower grower Bear Creek to develop a rose dedicated to the memory of UFW founder Cesar Chavez. Ten percent of the proceeds from sale of the lustrous red rose go to the Cesar A. Chavez Foundation, which educates young people about the union leader’s legacy.To order, call 800-292-4769 or visit

American Standoff
Driven by the inspiring stories of three determined rank-and-file workers who are willing to put everything on the line, American Standoff captures the Teamsters union's high-stakes battle against trucking giant Overnite Transportation.
HBO, June 10, 8pm

Three West Coast governorsJohn A. Kitzhaber, Gary Locke and Gray Davis -- were interviewed recently on the IAM’s Third Shift program. Jobs, healthcare and college costs were some of the issues affecting working families that the governors addressed.

Find out about health care in your state:

The Kaiser Family Foundation's State Health Facts Online resource contains the latest state-level data on demographics, health, and health policy, including health coverage, access, financing, and state legislation.

Get Your Convention Gear Check out gear for the 2004 IAM Convention


Executive Council

International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger 

Secretary Treasurer
Donald E. Wharton 

GVP Western 
Lee Pearson 

GVP Canada
Dave Ritchie 

GVP Midwest 
Alex M. Bay 

GVP Headquarters
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Southern
George Hooper 

GVP Eastern
Warren L. Mart 

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.


Friday, June 7, 2002

RX Express Off to Great Start
The RX Express, organized by the Alliance for Retired Americans, roared off to a great start. Four busloads of senior citizens, from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Ohio, have made the trip to Canada to buy prescription drugs at costs far lower than in the United States.

“These trips are needed to draw attention in Congress,” said George Kourpias, Alliance president. “Congress needs to act on a Medicare prescription drug benefit so our seniors don’t have to make these trips.”

The trips have drawn considerable publicity to the plight of seniors, noted Alliance officials, and local politicians have hurried to associate themselves with the cause, they say.

Despite a pledge by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-IL, on May 1 that a drug benefit bill would be passed by the Memorial Day recess; no such legislation has made it to the floor.

Byline Strike Slams Washington Post
Reporters, photographers, columnists, critics and artists mounted a two-day byline strike against the Washington Post, which has been seen as a bastion of liberalism since its Watergate exposures that toppled President Richard Nixon.

The Post staffers, represented by the Newspaper Guild, have been working without a contract since mid-May. Talks stalled over the newspaper’s demands for concessions and its insistence on imposing new restrictions on union activities, a spokesman said.

During those heady Watergate days, the Post had 12 unions, including a strong Guild, with a union security clause that guaranteed 80 percent union membership and—not coincidently—the highest newspaper wage scale in the United States. Today, all that remains is the Guild, which lost its 80 percent guarantee in previous negotiations, and the tiny remnants of six smaller unions.

Despite its enormous wealth and over-funded pension fund, the Post’s wage offer calls for a zero percent wage increase the first year and pay hikes ranging between 1 and 2 percent in the second and third years.

“We stand behind our brothers and sisters in this fight,” pledged IP Tom Buffenbarger. “We support their demands for a fair contract and an end to union-busting at the Post.” As a first step, he offered Guild representatives free use of the IAM’s studio and all facilities to help them make their voices heard.

The Rich Get Richer…
Over the past 20 years, the income gap between the wealthy families and low-and middle-come families in the US rose to historic highs, despite sustained periods of economic growth in the 1980s and 90s, according to the AFL-CIO magazine America@Work.

New York saw the biggest increase in income inequality over that time—real income for the bottom fifth of families fell $800. The average income for the top one-fifth increased by $56,800.

“I guess that’s why President Bush saw fit to give those rich folks such a huge tax cut,” scoffed IP Tom Buffenbarger. “That $56,800 pay raise for the already wealthy is more than most folks make in a year.”

Both the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities have studied the income imbalance. For a copy of their study, Pulling Apart, A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends, visit or

Voice@Work Month in Full Swing
Throughout June, workers across the nation who are organizing unions will be reaching out to their communities, explaining why they want a voice at work. At the same time, they are shining the spotlight on employers who deny them the freedom to make their own decisions about unions.

By drawing in community groups, elected officials and religious leaders in workers’ struggles, today’s unions are reducing employer interference and laying the groundwork for fundamental reform of America‘s outmoded labor laws.

For additional information on June Voice@Work activities, visit

Showdown at the Amtrak Corral
Amtrak’s financial condition is so serious that the entire passenger rail system could be shut down within weeks unless a $200 million loan is approved, according to David Gunn, Amtrak’s new president.

The proposed shutdown would involve all lines, not just the long distance trains, previously targeted for closure by former Amtrak president George Warrington.

Amtrak is struggling to win $1.2 billion in federal funding amid calls by the congressionally appointed Amtrak Reform Council for an end to federal funding and a liquidation of the national rail services’ routes and assets.

In a message to employees, including several thousand IAM members, Gunn outlined a restructuring program that includes a reduction of Amtrak “vice president” titles from 84 to 20. In addition, 150 House members and 35 senators have committed to the much needed $ 1.2 billion fiscal 2003 appropriation for Amtrak.