Preliminary findings from the biennial
State of Working America from the
Economic Policy Institute.
President Bush signed Fast Track legislation that will usher in a
new round of NAFTA-style agreements.
To get the Facts about 'Free
Trade' and its damaging effect on America's workers, read "The
Real Cost of 'Free' Trade" from Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders.
Live Here if You
Join Eastern Territory IAM members in a tour
of the Maquiladora area in Tijuana, Mexico to see firsthand the
deplorable living and working conditions of Mexican workers.
Get Your Convention Gear
Check out gear for the
R. Thomas Buffenbarger
Donald E. Wharton
Alex M. Bay
Robert V. Thayer
Warren L. Mart
Robert Roach, Jr.
September 19, 2002
Machinists at US Airways Ratify Proposal
Mechanic & Related members at US Airways ratified contract amendments
worth $160 million in annual savings as part of the bankrupt carrier’s
The vote, which carried by 57 percent, marks the second time US Airways’
Mechanic & Related employees were polled on the company’s restructuring
proposal. A re-vote was scheduled after US Airways’ CEO David Siegel
acknowledged statements he made prior to the initial vote led to
confusion over the consequences of rejection.
“The decision to
hold a re-vote was made when it was clear that employees initially
received misleading information,” said IAM District 141-M President
Scotty Ford. “Ratification of this proposal restricts US Airways from
seeking further cost reductions from IAM members in bankruptcy
The proposal covers
US Airways’ 6,800 Mechanic & Related employees. The carrier’s 5,400
Fleet Service Employees, represented by IAM District 141, approved a
separate proposal on August 28, 2002.
Ground Zero Heroes
Plagued by Illness
According to a recent Washington Post article, workers who braved
smoke and fire following the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers
are facing serious respiratory illnesses.
Doctors at Mount
Sinai’s Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental
Medicine were among the first to recognize the potential for widespread
health consequences. The center has already treated 600 workers exposed
to smoke, dust and airborne toxins, with 60 percent suffering persistent
and potentially long term upper and lower respiratory problems.
The IAM is
supporting the work of the Selikoff Center by donating all profits from
the sale of its ‘Everyday Heroes’ documentary. “The film tells
the story of the men and women who worked at Ground Zero,” said IP
Buffenbarger. “But the story does not end there. We need to do
everything possible to protect these workers who risked their lives and
their health when we needed help most.”
For more information
on the ‘Everyday Heroes’ project and how you can help, go to
IAM Federal Workers Standing Firm
Government employees have a proud history of providing service to this
country and its citizens,” said Rick Brown, DBR, Federal District 1, at
the annual convention of IAM Federal Employees. “We will stand up to the
current assault on federal workers at the same time we reach out and
organize a new generation of government employees.”
The rights of
unionized federal workers are currently threatened by proposals that
would give administration officials the right to revoke union and civil
service protections for many of the 170,000 employees slated to become
part of the new Homeland Security Department.
protections and collective bargaining rights are not a threat to
national security,” said Frank Carelli,
“Despite the view of
anti-union zealots, the war on terrorism, here and abroad, is about
protecting freedoms such as the right to belong to a union – not
White House Targets Worker Rights
The Bush administration and its Republican allies in the Senate put
worker rights squarely in its crosshairs as debate opens on Homeland
Security issues. Bush wants to strip away basic rights enjoyed by some
170,000 workers who will be affected by the bill.
Bush says he will veto any bill that maintains workers collective
bargaining rights and civil service protections. The Senate version,
authored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-CT, does just that.
You can urge your senators to protect these basic rights by sending an
‘Action Alert’ email message at the Politics and Legislation section of
or call the Capitol switchboard at 202 224-3121.
Blue Ribbon Commission Drafts Final Report
Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission gathered at the Winpisinger Center
last weekend to draft a final report of the comments made by IAM members
at 40 town-hall meetings held last Spring and early Summer. Eight groups
with five members each crossed the U.S and Canada to listen to what IAM
members had to say about their union and what changes are needed. The
five-member groups were made up of leaders from local, district and
grand lodge levels and came from different industries and regions in
“These Blue Ribbon Commission members did a terrific job. Each group
went out and listened carefully to our members. They learned what our
members are most concerned about and what changes we need to make,” said
Blue Ribbon Commission Chairperson GVP Robert Thayer. “The Executive
Council will use the final report generated at this meeting to recommend
important changes for the years ahead.”
Eastern Territory Gains New Members
District 12 recently organized 28 new members at Maryland-based Cobro
Corporation. Workers there operate test equipment and provide data
analysis for U.S. government agencies on a wide range of machinery,
engines and vehicles.
“On behalf of the
IAM and members throughout the Eastern Territory, I’d like to welcome
the members at Cobro Corp. into the Machinists Union,” said GVP Warren
Mart. “Our objective is to provide first class service and
representation for every bargaining unit, regardless of size.” Mart
recognized Organizer Henry Scott, Shop Stewards Dorothy Hartman and Milo
Cremeans, and District 12 DBR Vickie Fultonberger for their work in this
latest Eastern Territory win.
SEC Probes GE Payoff to Welch
That enormous retirement package General Electric forked over to Jack
Welch, its former CEO, has come under scrutiny from the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm said it is cooperating with the
Welsh raised the corporate greed bar to new heights with a retirement
package that called for GE to pick up the tab for his Manhattan luxury
apartment, including food, wine, cooks, waiters, laundry and
furnishings. It also included prime seats at sky boxes at Yankee Stadium
and Fenway Park and other perks.
This comes in addition his $9 million pension and other goodies,
including a lucrative consulting contract.
Welsh has said he will give up all the extras and struggle to get by
with just the pension itself. He may have to dip into his personal
savings if times get really hard. He is said to have amassed a personal
fortune of some $900 million.
Prescription Drugs Tops Election Agenda
Both major political parties grabbed onto a prescription drug
benefit for senior citizens in fierce battle to win votes among that
high-turnout voter bloc. Republicans tout a House-passed bill they claim
will help older Americans pay their prescription drug bills.
Democrats say that measure is a fraud, since it has a yawning gap in
coverage and funnels billions of dollars in subsidies to HMOs and big
drug companies. It also allows HMOs and drug companies to make most of
the decisions--how much the plan costs, which drugs are included in the
plan and whether or not to even offer coverage for seniors, Democratic
Republicans point to the fact the Democratic-controlled Senate has yet
to pass a drug bill.
"As activists, it is our job to make sure that every retiree in America
understands why the House measure is absolutely the wrong bill to
address the problem and why no bill in the Senate is better than a bad
bill," explained George J. Kourpias, who heads the Alliance of Retired
Bayer Offers to Sell
Indiana Plant for $1
four years of dismantling assembly lines and shipping work to Mexico and
Germany, the pharmaceutical giant Bayer is looking to finish the job by
offering to sell the hollowed out remnants of its Elkhart, Indiana
factory complex for one dollar.
charge Bayer’s plan is designed to relieve the company of a $372,000
annual tax bill and annual maintenance costs of $7 million. Demolishing
the complex, a move favored by some residents, would cost Bayer as much
as $20 million.
Prior to layoffs and
shipping work offshore, the plant employed 3,000 people in and around
Elkhart. Less than 750 remain.