iMail Thursday July 22, 2004
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HourlyPay Falls in June
Hourly earnings for production workers fell 1.1 percent in June even after accounting for inflation, according to a July 16th report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where Do Your Dues Dollars Go?

Studies Attack Bush Overtime Revisions
A study released by the Economic Policy Institute on Wednesday claims that the revisions to overtime rules proposed by the Bush administration could result in the loss of overtime pay for 6 million workers.

We're Taking Back America - Labor Day 2004
Labor Day was a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Retiree Drug Benefits Could Be Cut
Employers will reduce or eliminate prescription drug benefits for 3.8 million retirees when new Medicare benefits take effect in 2006, according to a July 15th New York Times article.

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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

«Joseph Grant (l) of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation with GVP Robert Roach, Jr. at the District 141 Chairpersons Conference in Philadelphia.

District 141 Conference Spotlights Pension Issues

IAM representatives met with a senior representatives of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) in Philadelphia this week to review the highly regulated world of the federal pension insurance program.

For more than two hours, Joseph Grant, the PBGC’s Chief Operating Officer, explained the agency’s responsibilities and fielded questions at the District 141 Chairperson’s Conference about how individual workers might fare if their pensions were administered by the PBGC. Many of the questions focused on bankrupt United Airlines, where employees are concerned over a recent decision by the company to defer a $72 million pension funding payment.

In the weeks to come, IAM representatives will distribute additional information to local lodges regarding steps being taken to protect pensions for IAM members at United Airlines and air carriers across the U.S.

Stop the DoD Steamroller

There’s a steamroller headed for Defense Department employees, and it’s called the National Security Personnel System. Last November, Congress gave the Department of Defense (DoD) limited authority to establish a new personnel system for it’s civilian workers. The new personnel system, called the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), will re-write the rules for collective bargaining, appeals processes, seniority, reduction in force procedures, veterans’ preference pay and promotion procedures and much more.

The IAM and Federal District 1 have joined with more than 30 unions to fight the adverse affects of the NSPS system. In several meetings with DoD officials, they’ve asked what’s wrong with the current system and if there are problems, how can labor help fix them. “They haven’t given us any good answers,” said IAM Government Employees Director Frank Carelli.

Now DoD has begun to hold focus groups in installations across the country to get employees to help develop the NSPS. “It’s the equivalent of telling a person condemned to death by hanging to braid the rope and grow the tree that will take their life. In the end there’s just nothing in their best interest in it for them,” said Carelli.

Carelli urged DoD employees invited to attend focus groups to ask some very hard questions about what impact NSPS will have on them. For background information and a list of questions, go to: Stop the DoD Steamroller.

IAM Announces Transportation Activists Program

The IAM Transportation Department is launching the Transportation Activist Program (TAP), a grassroots program designed to provide members with accurate information about the history and resources of their union.

“The Transportation Department is seeking 500 volunteer activists from Air and Rail Local Lodges to receive specialized training in IAM structure and services, labor history, organizing, political action and modern communication techniques,” said GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “TAP participants will be a core group of volunteers with a desire to not only learn more about their union, but to teach others as well.”

Training for the program will take place either at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education & Technology Center in Maryland or instructors may travel to locations with a large number of volunteers from a particular geographical area.

“Upon completion of the training, the volunteers will serve as vital resources for the Grand Lodge, District Lodge and Local Lodge Executive Board,” said Roach. “TAP participants will play a critical role in keeping our members informed and our union strong.”

Click TAP Q&A for more information and TAP Registration Form to register for the Transportation Activists Program.

Army Turns to Outsourcing for Ammo

Estimating that it will need an additional 1.5 billon rounds this year for M-16s and other small arms, the U.S. Army is facing an ammunition crisis.

Maintaining two wars simultaneously in Afghanistan and Iraq and increased live fire training for troops being deployed there, the Army is turning to producers like Israeli Military Industries for additional small arms ammo.

While much of the cause for the shortage is traced to increased military activity, industry analysts also point to a shutdown of factories in recent years and the unexpected level of resistance in Iraq. The Army currently relies on one plant in Missouri for its small-caliber ammunition, sharply limiting its options.

U.S. dependency on foreign suppliers raises the possibility of vital military supplies being held hostage to policy disputes between governments. Some members of Congress are concerned. "We need to keep the manufacturing base here and if that costs a little more money, so what?" said Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "If defense is worth having, it's worth paying for."

A Gov’t Website for the Homeless?

In a puzzling use of taxpayer dollars, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a website where homeless Americans can look for jobs and learn about the President’s lofty goal “of ending chronic homelessness in 10 years.”

While the number of American households with computers and Internet access is growing each year, no data is available on the number of homeless people who own personal computers. The DOL did not say how it expects the growing population of homeless Americans, including many children, to access the government site.

Unions Opposed to Postal ‘Reform’ Bill

U.S. labor unions are lobbying to defeat the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (H.R. 4341), legislation that would give foreign air carriers the right to bid against U.S. carriers for contracts to carry U.S. mail overseas. Under current law, U.S. carriers transport overseas mail exclusively unless there is no U.S. carrier serving the destination city.

The proposed legislation is a clear threat to jobs, revenue and financial stability in an industry that is still reeling in the wake of an historic travel recession made worse by the war in Iraq, the SARS epidemic and record high fuel prices. Since 2001, more than 150,000 U.S. airline workers have seen their jobs disappear.

Carriage of international mail is a major source of revenue at many U.S. airlines. H.R. 4341 represents a callous disregard for American jobs by encouraging foreign carriers to bid for contracts to deliver U.S. mail to international destinations.

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Across North America IAM members work day in and day out in jobs that are the heart of the economies of both countries proving the Machinists are North America's Might. Read it now in the online edition of the Summer 2004 IAM Journal.

ake your voice heard regarding the new overtime regulations set to take effect August 23. Urge your senators and representative to stop the overtime take away before it starts.

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.

Check out NewsBriefs, a regular online news service for IAM editors, webstewards & communicators. En Francais.

FlatRateTech is an organization “created for and by Ford and Lincoln Mercury service technicians solely to speak as one loud voice rather than 50,000 smaller voices.” according to their website The fast-growing site offers forums for Ford customers, technicians and dealers to exchange information.