from the IAM communications department
General Secretary Treasurer
GVP Western Territory
GVP Midwest Territory
GVP IAM Headquarters
GVP Southern Territory
GVP Eastern Territory
|Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Workers Say ‘No’ to Fast Track
More than 4,100 union members and other activists made their voices heard in the “Stop Fast Track e-Activist National call-In Day” on July 17. At the same time, several hundred IAM members used their union’s website to send letters to their congressional delegations urging them to defeat the jobs-stealing measure.
In no uncertain terms, working families told Congress that Fast Track is the wrong track for new trade agreements. The phone calls and letters urged Congress to vote against any Fast Track legislation that does not require stringent, enforceable workers rights and environmental standards.
President Bush wants legislation that will allow them to rush trade agreements through Congress with no changes and with minimal review. Callers targeted two current Fast Track bills, H.R.2149 and S. 1104, that explicitly bar the addition of strong workers’ rights or environmental protections.
Bush and his allies want Fast Track authority so they can push through the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which would extend jobs-stealing NAFTA-like provisions throughout most of the Western Hemisphere and create the largest free-trade zone in the world.
Bush Panel Distorts Social Security
President Bush’s hand-picked Social Security privatization commission released a report using scare tactics and half-truths to convince the public that America’s most effective family support program is in critical condition.
The new report argues that Social Security has no real assets and no ability to pay for future benefits. The fact is that Social Security has a reliable stream of income from payroll taxes and trillions of dollars in U.S. Treasury notes the government has a legal obligation to pay.
President Bush made no provisions for the future health of the program when successfully lobbied for his multi-trillion dollar tax cut earlier this year. “The budget surplus was squandered on tax cuts for the wealthy. It should have been used to protect Social Security,” argued IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Now George Bush wants to let Wall Street feast on the trust fund.”
According to analyses by the Campaign for America’s Future, the General Accounting Office, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a host of others, privatization leads to benefit cuts, a higher retirement age and a return to federal budget deficits.
California Workers Rally for OSHA Standards
Union leaders and workplace safety activists rallied in California this week at the third and final public hearing staged by the Department of Labor to ‘consider’ new guidelines for ergonomic hazards in the workplace.
The public hearings represent a setback for the much needed workplace standards, with federal officials calling for ‘discussion’ rather than action and considering voluntary measures rather than strong, enforceable protection for the 1.8 million workers who suffer painful ergonomic-related injuries each year.
More than 10 years of research, including a definitive study by the National Academy of Sciences confirmed the link between repetitive and poorly designed jobs and the crippling injuries that cost employers more than $50 billion annually. “There is no doubt that musculoskeletal disorders of the low back and upper extremities are an important and costly national health problem,” said the independent report.
IAM members wishing to make their voice heard on this important issue can submit written comments to the Dept. of Labor by following instructions on the IAM Safety and Health link of the IAM website at http://www.goiam.org/visit.asp?c=1719.
Guide Dog Bikers Near Halfway Mark
IAM members Ron McGaha and Don Branin roared through blazing heat and torrential downpours as they put their union-made Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and themselves, through a grueling 11,500-mile “Guide Dogs North American Tour” across the U.S. and Canada.
The trek is designed to raise money for Guide Dogs of America, the IAM’s innovative program that provides guide dogs to sightless people free of charge. The tour began July 15 in Blaine, WA, and the two dauntless bikers expect to spend about 25 days on the road before ending the trip back home in Seattle.
A highlight of the journey will be a scheduled stopover at IAM Headquarters in Upper Marlboro, MD, later this week.
The trip is designed to raise funds for Guide Dogs, which was founded more than 50 years ago by a retired IAM member. For information on how to contribute to the Tour, contact Maria Cordone at 301-967-3433, Email: email@example.com
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