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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,  October 1, 2002

Voter Turnout Key to Victory
Voters stayed away from the polls in near-record number during this round of primary elections, despite a mix of issues ranging from the war against terrorism to a sagging stock market. Surveys show that barely 17 percent of those eligible to vote cast ballots in gubernatorial and Senate primary elections.

The survey, conducted by the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, looked at turnout in 37 states that have held primary elections this year. Voter turnout picked up slightly in primaries held after July. “This may mean that voter interest is picking up and that there may be a somewhat higher general election turnout,” said Curtis Gans, the study’s director.

Those figure show that working family voters play a pivotal role in the looming elections. Their votes can make a major difference, especially in a low-turnout election. In the last election cycle, union households made up 26 percent of the vote.

“We can make the difference,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Our votes can determine whether working families will be heard in the new Congress. We can’t let this opportunity slip through our fingers. Let’s make our votes count. Let’s make our voices heard.”

Absentee Ballots Can Tip Close Races
Being registered to vote is meaningless if voters can’t make it to the polls. Many frail or elderly people find getting to the polls on Election Day is a major problem. In such cases, absentee ballots may be a useful alternative.

Absentee ballots typically make up about five percent of the votes cast in a national election. In a tight race, these votes can tip the balance.

To check out the rules governing absentee ballots or registration in your state, visit www.absenteeballot.net or contact local and state election officials in your area. The League of Women Voters and the public library are useful sources for information.

Drug Industry Targets Maine Bill
The drug industry’s lobbying arm mounted a full-court press seeking to overturn Maine’s prescription drug law that primarily benefits the elderly and the uninsured. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the industry’s trade association, has fought the legislation since its passage in May 2000.

The industry lost its fight in the lower courts, but has taken its case to a higher level. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case. Not surprisingly, the Bush administration is challenging the legality of the law.

The Maine legislation was the first law ever enacted to put price controls on prescription drugs and set the stage for other states to pass similar legislation.

Mark Your Calendars
Advocates for corporate responsibility are gearing up for the AFL-CIO’s “No More Business As Usual” National Day of Action on Oct. 19. Activists plan an all-out campaign to get working families to the polls in November and give pink slips to lawmakers who coddle corporate criminals. More than 100 events are planned across the nation. For more information, visit www.aflcio.org or e-mail Oct19@aflcio.org.

IAM Joins Fray at Washington Post
The IAM waded into an increasingly heated dispute at the Washington Post newspaper as IP Tom Buffenbarger urged Post management representatives to drop their efforts to strip job security language from its contract with the Newspaper Guild.

“We are prepared to extend our full support to the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild in their effort to secure a fair contract,” he said.  “The Post’s profits and reputation should be reason enough to abandon this ill-advised bid to crush legitimate bargaining rights for Post employees,” Buffenbarger added. He said the IAM and its members would strongly support the Guild in this effort.

A Post spokesman denied the IAM’s charges.

Guide Dogs Gala Slated
The cut-off date for the 22nd Guide Dogs of America gala is fast approaching. Hotel reservations for the event must be made by Oct. 18. Contact Bally’s Hotel at 1-800-833-3308. Please refer to the group reservation code SBDOG2. A new room rate has been set at $105.

For information about the banquet reservations, contact Debbie Sands or Rhonda Bissell at 818-362-5834, ext. 226 or 229.

Cubic Worldwide Members Win First Contract
Sixteen employees at Cubic Worldwide Technical Services, located at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, have ratified their first three-year agreement. The employees, who recently chose to join the IAM, work under a government service contract, where they perform work on the electronic pods attached to the F-16 aircraft. The new agreement means that most of the workers will receive wage improvements of 29% over the life of the agreement, and increased funding for benefits.

ATA Gets Conditional OK From ATSB
American Trans Air (ATA) became the most recent US carrier to win partial federal backing under a loan program put in place to help the nation's struggling airlines following last year's terrorist attacks.

The Air Transportation Stabilization Board (ATSB) conditionally approved a $148.5 million loan guarantee for the Indianapolis-based carrier. The board said that ATA demonstrated a "reasonable assurance" that it could repay the loan.

IAM District Lodge 142 represents 500 Fleet Service employees at ATA, where contract negotiations are set to resume with a federal mediator on October 14.

Only one airline, America West, has won full approval for an ATSB loan guarantee.  Conditional approval has also been given to US Airways, which is restructuring under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. United Airlines and Aloha Airlines are still awaiting an ATSB decision on their applications.

New Bidder Emerges for US Airways
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Stephen Mitchell approved an agreement last week between US Airways and the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) to provide financing for the bankrupt airline. 

RSA offered $240 million for a 37.5 percent equity investment in the airline, which is $40 million more than a previous bid by the Texas Pacific Group (TPG). The transaction includes $500 million in Debtor in Possession (DIP) financing and replaces a deal with Credit Suisse First Boston and Bank of America Corp. 

“The Machinists Union is committed to the successful restructuring of US Airways,” said GVP Robert Roach, Jr. “We will thoroughly review all legitimate bids for investment in US Airways, and only support bids that are in the best interest of our members. ”While other bidders may surface during bankruptcy, the RSA bid sets the standard other potential bidders must surpass.”