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Machinists at Freightliner Turn Down Company Offer
Machinists at Freightliner in Portland said no to the company's last, best and final offer and yes to a strike authorization by almost a ten to one margin on June 25th.

Kerry Talks Jobs in Ohio
Presidential hopeful John Kerry met with workers in Ohio's Stark County last week.

Cessna Machinists Authorize Strike in Wichita
Machinists at Cessna aircraft in Wichita jammed local traffic along Interstate 295 on Tuesday as they voted to authorize a strike for their negotiators.

Special Interests Push Medicare Bill
According to a study by the consumer group Public Citizen - special interests, the drug industry and HMO's spent a record 141 million dollars to push medicare legislation through Congress in 2003.

Free Trade Debunked in Senate Hearing
Last week machinists, farmers and automotive representatives converged on Capitol Hill to put a face with the hundreds of thousands of workers being hurt by unfair and faulty trade agreements.

Wal-Mart Imports Exceeds U.S. Exports
Wal-Mart rolls back prices by rolling over all competition in importing goods.

Labor 2004:
Get Out the Vote

Thousands of Union volunteers are going door to door and talking to members about where the presidential candidates stand on the key issues of good jobs and affordable health care.

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

NLRB Rejects AMFA Cessna Bid

The National Labor Relations Board dismissed an attempt by the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) to establish a separate bargaining unit for nearly 400 Cessna workers at the company’s main manufacturing site in Wichita, KS.

The board’s decision confirms the integrity of the established IAM bargaining unit at Cessna and slams the door on efforts by the non-AFL-CIO raider group to conduct a disruptive organizing campaign in the midst of contract negotiations.

“The members of Local 774 at Cessna have a long history of unity and solidarity,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “The board’s decision will allow members and representatives to focus exclusively on their upcoming contract negotiations with Cessna.”

The latest bid by AMFA to disrupt an existing bargaining unit comes despite earlier rulings by the NLRB. In 1990, the NLRB rejected a similar effort to redraw craft and class lines that have long defined the workplace at Cessna.

“AMFA routinely creates a destructive distraction wherever they appear,” declared IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Their divisive organizing tactics are well known. Less well known is how AMFA's main man — Kevin McCormack— gets paid $650,000 a year for a reason: so the company can pocket even more.”

V.P. Dick Cheney Gets an ‘F’

Vice President Dick Cheney is collecting low marks for his expletive laced exchange with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy last week on the floor of the United States Senate.

According to news reports, Cheney told the Vermont lawmaker to “go **** yourself” in response to questions about Cheney’s involvement in contracts awarded to Halliburton, the oil services company once headed by Cheney. Halliburton is under investigation by the U.S. government for allegedly overcharging the military for fuel delivered to Iraq, and some in Congress are calling for a wider probe of its Iraq contracts.

A spokesman for Senator Leahy brushed off the episode and said he thought the Vice President might be having a “bad day,” but others suggested Cheney might be one of millions of Americans suffering from workplace stress. Click here to view a video that explains what else might be behind the Vice President’s outburst.

Bush Approval Hits Record Low

President Bush took another hit this week as his approval rating dropped to 42 percent, the lowest rating since he took office in January 2001.

The New York Times/CBS News Poll also found that 51 percent of respondents feel Bush has divided the nation, compared to only 32 percent who feel he has brought it together. Meanwhile, 42 percent of respondents said the president didn’t care about the needs and problems of ordinary people.

The issue of jobs also continues to be a problem for Bush. Forty-five percent of those polled said the Bush administration is responsible for a decline in jobs, while a mere 24 percent thought it produced an increase.

Overall, 45 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of Bush and 57 percent feel the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Kerry Refuses to Cross Picket Line

In a high profile labor dispute involving Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and the city's police and firefighter's unions, John Kerry is siding with the unions.

Scheduled to deliver a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors held in Boston, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee cancelled his appearance rather than cross the picket line. "I don't cross picket lines,” declared Kerry.

In stark contrast to Kerry’s approach towards unions, President George W. Bush has taken a hard-line stance against organized labor and working families. Since becoming President, Bush threatened to use the military to end a West Coast dockworkers dispute; blocked union membership for 60,000 employees at the Transportation Security Administration and refused to comment when his Secretary of Education referred to the nation’s largest teachers union as a “terrorist organization.”

Fourth of July

Union members around the country are preparing for the Fourth of July by fighting to protect their right to form unions.

All this week, union members throughout the country will hand out literature examining the stands that President George W. Bush and presidential hopeful John Kerry take on the freedom to form unions.

Kerry has co-sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act, which, if enacted, will remove numerous hurdles workers must overcome to form unions. President Bush, meanwhile, has declined to take a position on the bill.

In the GOP-controlled Congress, anti-worker legislators are pushing a bill (H.R. 4343) that would outlaw union recognition through the “card check” procedure. Unions frequently organize workplaces by gathering signed authorization cards from workers desiring union representation. If the employer agrees, the union is automatically recognized once a majority of cards are collected. H.R. 4343, introduced by Rep. Charles Norwood, (R-GA) would outlaw card check recognition.

Apollo Project Sponsors Energy Pledge

Named after the space program launched by President John F. Kennedy, today’s Apollo Project is a visionary collaboration between labor, business and environmental groups that aims to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil while creating up to 3 million new jobs.

This July 4th weekend, Apollo Project organizers are calling on presidential candidates and elected officials to sign the Declaration of Energy Dependence, a pledge to steer the country toward renewable energy resources while cleaning up the environment and creating high value, good paying jobs.

“As our country celebrates it’s 228 th year of independence, we face real problems – from high gas prices to an outdated electricity grid,” says a letter from the Apollo Project. “It’s time to demand good jobs at home and to ensure that no American soldier is put in harm’s way defending our dependence on foreign oil.”

Health Insurance Decline

A new study indicates new jobs without health insurance are rapidly replacing jobs that provide insurance for their workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Forty-five out of fifty states demonstrate this trend.

Also, most state economies have not returned to pre-recession employment levels, and jobs continue to shift from high-wage industries to low-wage industries, more evidence that the labor market lacks strength and stability.

A lack of quality jobs offering health insurance will have a negative effect on the health of working families according to the EPI study.

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