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 26, 2002
Coalition Plan Buoys United Airlines
coalition of five unions representing more than 70,000 employees at
United Airlines presented the financially troubled airline with a
recovery proposal worth $5 billion in savings over a five-year period.
The extraordinary coalition reached agreement on the proposal’s
framework to protect jobs at the airline and to support the carrier’s
application for a $1.8 loan guarantee from the Air Transportation
“The IAM agreed to enter into discussions with the carrier in an attempt
to avoid a United Airlines bankruptcy,” said Scotty Ford, District 141-M
president. “We are pleased we came to an agreement with our coalition
partners,” added Randy Canale, District 141 president. The two IAM
districts represent more than 35,000 United Airlines employees.
“Together with other cost savings and broad strategic initiatives
developed over the past few weeks, the coalition framework will enable
the Company to improve its core annual profitability by $2 or $3 billion
in the most challenging industry environment in history,” wrote
coalition members in a letter to UAL CEO Glenn Tilton.
Homeland Security and
President George W. Bush derided Senate Democrats for siding with
“special interests in Washington, DC,” and stalling passage of his
Homeland Security bill. The “special interests” who stoked the
presidential temper are the 170,000 federal employees who will be
staffing the proposed new department.
Bush wants to strip away civil service protections that have been in
place for decades and eliminate collective bargaining rights for more
than 50,000 of those workers. “These workers are ‘special interests’ who
deserve the same rights enjoyed by working people across the nation,”
said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Many of them are veterans, many of them
served in Korea, Vietnam and other trouble spots throughout the world.
They have proven their dedication to homeland security. They are,
The hotly debated issues may come to a floor vote this week. To let your
senators know how you feel, visit
www.goiam.org/politics.asp. “Tell your senators that government
workers have earned these rights. Make your voices heard,” Buffenbarger
Incomes Drop, Poverty Rate Rises
Bush recession continues to take a heavy toll on America’s working
families. Skewed trade policies, lay-offs and other factors related to
the recession, which began last year, brought about the first decline in
household income in 10 years and an increase in the poverty rate,
according to figures released by the Census Bureau.
Real median household income fell by 2.2 percent, the Bureau noted. The
typical household now takes in $1,127 less than it did in 1999. At the
same time, the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen.
Households ranking in the top 20 percent snagged more than half of all
income in the United States. The bottom 20 percent took home a meager
3.5 percent, down from 4 percent in 1999.
IAM Contributes to Patient Safety Initiative
response to one element of the American health care crisis, the IAM is
working with health care professionals to develop an interconnected,
electronic health information network to prevent medical mishaps and
provide better overall patient care.
“This is an important opportunity for the IAM to influence the creation
of a common electronic health care data information system,” said IAM
Strategic Resources director Steve Sleigh.
The public-private initiative will be developed under the direction of
the non-profit Markle Foundation in New York. “The proposed network
stands to produce great strides in patient safety and quality health
Drug Industry Profits High
Fortune Magazine says "drug companies pocket a far higher
percentage of profits than any other industry--18.6 percent." The
pharmaceutical industry's profits of $20.3 billion dwarf its nearest
competitor--the automotive industry--which recorded profits of $15.4
billion. One drug firm, Merck, ranked among the nation's most profitable
corporations. According to Fortune, "Merck's almost $6 billion in
profits made it the 13th most profitable company in the nation."
Laid-Off WorldCom Workers Get Help
The AFL-CIO and laid-off WorldCom workers asked a federal bankruptcy
judge to grant WorldCom's request for approval to pay severance benefits
to workers left stranded by the firm's bankruptcy. The federation and
the workers asked the court to allow all or some of the benefits to be
paid as a lump sum, make extended health benefits retroactive to avoid
gaps in coverage and provide documentation workers can use in job
The WorldCom effort is modeled on the campaign former Enron workers used
to win a precedent-setting $34 million severance settlement. The AFL-CIO
and its affiliates played key roles in the effort.
Appeals Court Stings
Workers won a round against multinational conglomerates when a federal
appeals court ruled that such firms may be held liable in U.S. courts
for human rights violations committed by others abroad.
A three-judge panel
of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that workers can sue
Unocal Corp. for allegedly turning a blind eye to human rights abuses,
including murder and rape, of Burmese villagers. World unions charge
government officials forced villagers to work on a $1.2 billion natural
gas pipeline in Burma.