Tuesday, September 2,  2003

Bush Orders Manufacturing ‘Czar’
In a visit to the nation’s industrial heartland, President George W. Bush told a rain-soaked crowd he would appoint an assistant secretary in the Commerce Department to peddle support for his administration’s trade and manufacturing policy.

Bush indicated his understanding of the jobs crisis in remarks to the crowd, saying the nation has lost “thousands of jobs in manufacturing.” In reality, the nation lost nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs since the recession began in 2001.

 “By aggressively promoting NAFTA-like trade policies and ignoring their effect on U.S. jobs, George Bush is destined to go down as the only president since Herbert Hoover to oversee a net loss in the nation’s employment level,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Hiring a single GOP hack in Washington does nothing to address the jobs crisis facing this country.”

The speech in Richfield, Ohio, was labeled a ‘policy address’ rather than a campaign visit, but all appearances point to concerns by GOP strategists that Bush may be headed down the same road that cost his father a second term in the White House. In 1992, Bush Sr. was a popular wartime president whose reelection bid lost traction and collapsed amid concerns he was indifferent to economic hardships throughout the country.

Fight to Preserve OT Pay Gets Underway
A Bush administration proposal to rewrite the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) could spell the end of overtime pay for up to 8 million U.S. workers if Congress approves new limits on the landmark labor law.

Under the Bush overtime scheme, millions of salaried workers earning from $22,101 to $65,000 would be “reclassified” as executive or administrative employees, and would no longer qualify for overtime pay rates.

The proposal would not directly affect union workers with overtime rights defined in collective bargaining agreements, however, employers would be free to shift workloads and dramatically limit the amount of overtime available for protected workers.

Just back from their month long recess, Bush allies in the GOP-controlled Congress are expected to intensify their drive for the controversial changes and a vote in the Senate could come as soon as this week or next.

For more information, members can click on www.goiam.org and view ‘The Fight in Congress,’ an in-depth video discussion of the broad assault on workers’ rights under the FSLA.  Additionally, workers are urged to take action by clicking on http://capwiz.com/iamaw/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=2996961 to send a message to their representatives in Congress urging a strong stand in the fight to protect overtime pay.

Grow Kansas joined Governor Kathleen Sebelius and hundreds of other attendees at the Labor Day festivities in Topeka, the state capito

Grow Kansas Campaign Launched
The annual Labor Day Picnic in Wichita, Kansas, drew a large crowd this year amid concerns over widespread outsourcing in the state’s high-value aviation and manufacturing industries.

The Machinists Union, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) and the Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation used the occasion to formally launch ‘Grow Kansas’, a campaign to build public and political support for preserving a strong manufacturing base in Kansas.

“We are losing jobs to other countries that will never return to Kansas,” said IAM District 70 Organizer and Grow Kansas Coordinator James ‘Rody’ Rodehorst. The aviation industry, for instance, was built from nothing in Kansas. It should stay here.

“We need to mobilize our communities to fight the rampant outsourcing of our jobs – the future of our state. The Governor has endorsed our program, and last week the County Commission issued a proclamation in support of Grow Kansas. That’s what this is about. It’s about jobs – jobs worth fighting for,” said Rodehorst.

More information about the campaign is available at www.growkansas.com.

Kentucky Auto Techs Win Pension, Health Benefits
Thirty-nine mechanics for Automotive Carrier Services in Louisville, KY joined an existing IAM bargaining unit and are now celebrating a big jump in wages and benefits, according to Automotive Department Coordinator Boysen Anderson.

“Under their last contract, these mechanics did not have a pension plan,” said Anderson. “Following a successful round of negotiations, the group joined the IAM Pension Plan, established health care coverage without co-pays and won improved holidays and vacations.”

“This is a great example of the International working with Local Lodges to improve contracts,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez.  “I want to thank Brother Anderson, District Lodge 27 Business Representative Pat Maloney and the entire Negotiating Committee for a job well done.”

 The new members will be part of Local Lodge 681.

GOP Farms-Out Fund Raising to India
The Republicans now have a “band of young and enthusiastic fundraisers,” to kick off a new telemarketing campaign to raise money for the party. Only these new “recruits” will be making their telephone pitches from the Indian cities of Noida and Gurgaon. The GOP telemarketing campaign will initially employ 75 people, but could grow larger depending upon the response it gets.

While U.S. election campaigns typically employ Americans to raise funds, Republican party leaders have given the cold shoulder to U.S. telemarketers in favor of their Indian counterparts. To add insult to injury, they are using high-tech integrated voice recognition technology to lessen the amount of human beings they have to use at all.

For more information: http://www.businessstandard.com/archives/2003/jan/50310103.016.asp

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he Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act (HR 1886) will require insurance companies to cover a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours for patients undergoing mastectomy breast surgery. You can help ensure this critical legistlation is passed by signing the online petition now.

The Summer 2003 IAM Journal is now online. Skyrocketing health care costs are causing Premium Shock for members and employers. The IAM Journal looks at what's causing the increases and what can be done to change America's health care system.

See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM profiles for 2003.

The 108th Congressional Directory . . .
get your copy. Send $5 to the MNPL Education Fund, c/o IAMAW, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD, 20772.

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.