iMail Thursday October 14, 2004
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A Misstep For the Bush Admini-strations DOL
The Monday September 27, 2004, Washington Post reports that the DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy, didn't practice what they preach.

Mobolize, Organize, Get Out the Vote
Congressman John Lewis of Georgia spoke to the delegates and the Grand Lodge Convention on Friday, September 24th.

Campaigns Fail to Reach Young Voters
Politicians are not reaching young people because campaigns are failing to think outside the box, according to a recent poll.

Early Ballots Allow Election Day Ease
In some battleground states this year, voters will be able to cast their votes nearly six weeks before Election Day.

Poverty On the Rise in America
Data released by the Census Bureau last week shows that a frightening number of Americans are now living below the poverty line and without health insurance.

Where Do Your Dues Dollars Go?
This video package focuses on where the IAM's workers' dues dollars go. This video is a valuable resource that shows members and potential members alike how the IAM works for its members and the value that comes with IAM membership.

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Officers & Territories

R. Thomas Buffenbarger
International President

Warren L. Mart

Lee Pearson
GVP Western Territory

Dave Ritchie
GVP Canada

Robert V. Thayer
GVP Headquarters

Robert Roach, Jr.
GVP Transportation

Lynn Tucker
GVP Eastern Territory

Robert Martinez
GVP Southern Territory

James Brown
GVP Midwest Territory


Kerry Defends U.S. Jobs in Third Debate

“JOBS! Worth Fighting For” signs welcomed union members to an IAM-sponsored debate-watching rally in Tempe, Arizona.

In the last of three presidential debates, the candidates clashed over domestic issues including jobs, healthcare and the need to preserve Social Security. “This is the first president in 72 years to preside over an economy in America that has lost jobs,” charged Kerry, whose performance in the debates is contributing to momentum in the polls and enthusiasm on the campaign trail.

While not as visibly irritated as he appeared in the first two debates, the president again appeared uncomfortable answering questions in front of an audience that was not hand picked by campaign staffers. In a convoluted response to one question from debate moderator Bob Shieffer, President Bush cited his education policy as an answer to the problem of U.S. jobs being moved overseas.

“Both candidates could do a better job responding to the jobs crisis in this country,” said IP Buffenbarger. “Out in the real world, the threat to our jobs is much more than just a policy question. It is the single most important issue facing working families in America today.”

The candidates sparred for 90 minutes before a live audience in Tempe, Arizona while millions watched at home or at debate gatherings around the country. With many polls showing the race tightening in the final weeks, the debates took on added importance.

Bush Civil Rights Record Shelved

A scathing report on the Bush administration’s civil rights record will remain officially sealed until after the elections, despite efforts by some members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to release the report.

In the draft report, the Bush administration was harshly criticized for failure to maintain funding for civil rights enforcement agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

The attempt by the Labor Department to close the Women’s Bureau, despite ongoing wage disparity between men and women workers, was also cited as an example of the administration’s effort to smother debate over gender discrimination in the workplace.

The draft report was also unusually critical of efforts by the president to characterize so-called “faith based initiatives” as civil rights measures. “The faith based initiative has nothing to do with civil rights,” said the report, which noted how the president’s faith based initiatives allow for money to be given to organizations that discriminate on the basis of religion and sexual discrimination.


Economists Urge Increase In Minimum Wage

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a statement signed by 562 economists supporting a modest increase in the federal minimum wage. The group of economists, which includes four Nobel Prize winners, stated they believe an increase will benefit low wage workers, the labor market and the overall economy.

The federal minimum wage has not been increased since 1997, the second longest stretch without an increase since the minimum wage was enacted in 1938.

“The real value of today’s federal minimum wage is less than it has been in 46 out of the last 48 years. Moreover, the ratio of the minimum wage to the average hourly wage on non-supervisory workers is 33 percent, its lowest level in 55 years. This decline is causing hardship for low-wage workers and their families,” the statement says.


District 190 Wins Big Arbitration Award

Forty-six IAM members will share close to $610,000 in severance pay, following an arbitrator’s ruling that reversed a decision by a California company to withhold severance from employees who were eligible to collect a pension.

Shortly before Christmas, 2003, Rexam announced they were closing their San Leandro, CA facility and claimed workers who were eligible to collect a pension would not be eligible to receive the severance package.

“We claimed this is age discrimination,” said attorney Jonathan Siegel, who successfully argued the case on behalf of the IAM members at Rexam. “It's a good win,” says Administrative Assistant Herman Howell. “Closing this facility was really sad, but getting this decision was a great feeling.”

Former Shop Steward Jim Duran says he started calling the members as soon as he heard the news. “Those were happy calls,” said Duran. “I can say with confidence that this is the benefit you get from being in a union. Thank goodness for the union.”

Former steward Bernice Taylor agrees: “I think it’s wonderful. The hard work that the union, the attorney and Herman did was tremendous. The fight was hard, but they were determined to win.”


Corporate Tax Bill Moves Through Senate

The Senate passed a massive $136 billion corporate tax package this week that amounted to an unprecedented special interest handout with incentives for companies to send jobs overseas.

The bill was originally intended to fix a U.S. export subsidy that had been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization, but quickly became a special interest free for all with tax breaks inserted for natural gas companies, the timber industry, archery-gear makers, Alaskan whalers, ceiling fan makers, cruise-ship companies, foreign gamblers and Hollywood filmmakers. The cost to taxpayers for this bill over the next decade could be close to $80 billion, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The bill, which President Bush is expected to sign into law, also includes tax breaks for U.S. multinational companies, which could encourage even more companies to move jobs overseas.

“On issue after issue in this legislation, elite corporate interests are the winners at the expense of average Americans,” said Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. “If the middle class is the backbone of America, then this bill is contrary to American values.”



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The winners of the 2004 Newsletter & Website Contest.

Across North America IAM members work day in and day out in jobs that are the heart of the economies of both countries proving the Machinists are North America's Might. Read it now in the online edition of the Summer 2004 IAM Journal.

IAM2004 See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM2004

Cincinnati Skyline The official site for the 36th Grand Lodge Convention held in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Check the "Highlights" section for covrage of Convention events and photos.

Check out NewsBriefs, a regular online news service for IAM editors, webstewards & communicators. En Francais.

FlatRateTech is an organization “created for and by Ford and Lincoln Mercury service technicians solely to speak as one loud voice rather than 50,000 smaller voices.” according to their website The fast-growing site offers forums for Ford customers, technicians and dealers to exchange information.