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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 Dare

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 2004 IAM Convention


Executive Council

International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger 

Secretary Treasurer
Donald E. Wharton 

GVP Western 
Lee Pearson 

GVP Canada
Dave Ritchie 

GVP Midwest 
Alex M. Bay 

GVP Headquarters
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Southern
George Hooper 

GVP Eastern
Warren L. Mart 

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.


Tuesday,  September 24, 2002

Homeland Security Fight Heats Up
President Bush declared he would veto any homeland security legislation that protects worker rights when the Senate debates the issue this week. Bush wants legislation that strips away civil service protections and collective bargaining rights for the 170,000 federal workers slated for the new department.

“Protecting our civil liberties, including the right to belong to a union of our choosing, is as much a part of homeland security as is the war against terrorism,” argued Frank Carelli, who heads the IAM’s Government Employees Department.

Bush said legislation now before the Senate “would weaken my existing authority to prohibit collective bargaining” when dealing with national security issues. He wants a Senate bill that mirrors a version passed by the GOP-controlled House that eliminates any worker protection.

“This sets a horrible precedent,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. He urged working families to make their voices heard on this crucial issue. For more details, visit the IAM legislative action page at www.goiam.org/politics.asp. “Tell your senators that government employees have rights, too,” Buffenbarger said.

National Rail Negotiations to Resume
The long-stalled Class 1 rail negotiations on behalf of nearly 10,000 IAM railroad members will resume in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 31, 2002. A subsequent meeting between a union coalition comprised of the IAM and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association and management’s representatives, the National Railway Labor Conference, will take place on November 1, 2002.

Airline CEO’s March on Washington – again!
A limousine line up of airline CEO’s will arrive in Washington this week carrying a laundry list of big-ticket items they want from their well-paid politicians.

In addition to a larger portion of security-related costs, the airline execs are looking to leave U.S. taxpayers with financial responsibility for screening caterers and retrofitting aircraft with bulletproof cockpit doors. The airlines are also seeking a temporary suspension of taxes and fees if the U.S. goes to war with Iraq.

The airline’s well-worn path to Washington has been paved with more than $264 million in lobbying and soft dollar contributions since 1999. Immediately prior to last year’s airline bailout legislation, more than $1.2 million in donations flowed directly to members of the House committees that handled the bills.

FedEx Chief Joins Corporate Greed Fest
While transportation industry employees struggle to survive, corporate executives in the same industry are taking good care of themselves. FedEx CEO Fred Smith will pocket a cool $1.15 million in salary next fiscal year to go along with his annual 2002 bonus of $1.32 million. Annual compensation for Mr. Smith jumped 18.6 percent to $2.75 million, including $172,000 for his personal use of corporate aircraft.

Smith took time out from his well-paid position last year to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee, calling for drastic changes to airline employee’s collective bargaining rights. At the same hearing Smith defended the multi-million dollar pay and perks packages for airline executives. “Top executive talent is very hard to find,” sniffed Smith.

California Workers Get Paid Family Leave
California Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill this week authorizing paid leave for workers who take up to six weeks off to care for a newborn, a newly adopted child or a sick family member. The bill is the first of its kind in the nation.

Employees will be eligible to receive 55 percent of their wages while on leave, with a maximum benefit of $728 per week. The bill expands the Family Medical Leave Act, signed in 1993 by President Clinton providing unpaid medical leave.

“Californians should never have to make the choice between being good workers and being good parents,” said Gov. Davis. “This bill will help million of California workers meet their responsibilities to both their family and their employers.”

The bill’s passage is a victory for organized labor, which is urging other states to follow California’s lead. Business groups lobbied heavily against the bill, calling it a ‘job killer.’ “Their real objection was that they simply did not want workers to take time off, no matter how needy they might be in terms of family care,” said California State Senator Shelia Kuehl, the bill’s sponsor.

Unions Push Full Disclosure Rule
for Proxy Voting

Responding to pressure from the Machinists Union and AFL-CIO affiliates, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering a rule change requiring mutual funds to disclose how and why they vote in proxy fights.

“Passage of this rule would hold these funds publicly accountable to the concerns of the 93 million shareholders who own stock through mutual funds,” said Dr. Stephen Sleigh, IAM Director of Strategic Resources. “Mutual fund votes carry enormous weight in decisions that can substantially effect the value of employee retirement plans, executive compensation and matters of corporate accountability.”

Mutual funds control $3 trillion in stocks, including large holdings on behalf of many employees’ retirement and pension plans. 

“It’s time to break fund managers’ habit of voting with management,” said Sleigh. “Proxy votes represent a great opportunity for responsible shareholder resolutions to be implemented. There is no reason why employee-investors should have to overcome the power of their own shares being used against them.”

Medicare Crucial to Seniors
A new study again points out the vital role the Medicare program plays for current and future retirees, as well as why it is crucial to add a universal, voluntary, comprehensive and affordable prescription drug benefit to the program. The survey found that 17 percent of all employers have virtually stopped paying for health coverage for their retirees. Another 20 percent of employers have stopped providing health care coverage for new workers.

The survey predicts that by 2031, employers will pay less than 10 percent of retiree health costs. Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a human resources consulting firm, conducted the survey.