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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 15, 2002

IAM-UPS Negotiations Begin
Four days of contract talks between the Machinists Union and United Parcel Service (UPS) get underway in Ft. Lauderdale today on behalf of 3,200 mechanics and maintenance workers who maintain UPS’ familiar fleet of delivery trucks and vans.

The employees are covered by 21 separate agreements at more than 100 locations nationwide, where local negotiations have already resolved most work-rule issues. The Florida talks will bring local negotiators together for coordinated bargaining on pay, benefits and job security language.

“UPS is a highly successful company with a worldwide reputation for quality,” said Boysen Anderson, IAM Automotive coordinator and overall coordinator for the UPS negotiations. “IAM members help maintain that reputation and deserve to be compensated accordingly.”

Additional issues for negotiators include placing limits on repair work being contracted out and control of rising health care costs. “We’ve seen proposals that would dramatically change the way health care is delivered to our members,” said Steve Sleigh, IAM director of Strategic Resources. “Any changes made to control costs must also result in overall improvements to health care.”

A special website at www.goiam.org will provide daily updates and information about the IAM-UPS negotiations.

Drug Plan Fiasco Sparks Seniors’ Ire
Senior citizens form a potent voting bloc and politicians of every stripe have moved into harm’s way as these voters and their advocacy groups focus on the issues that resonate with them. The soaring costs of prescription drugs ranks near the top of that issues list.

The Republican-controlled House passed a bill that offers little more than political cover, while blocking a floor vote on a Democratic measure that was more in line with senior needs, according to the Alliance for Retired Americans, a labor-endorsed organization that works for seniors.

“The Republican bill got the stamp of approval from the pharmaceutical industry, but what’s good for the drug industry does nothing for senior citizens who need affordable prescriptions medicines,” said George Kourpias, Alliance president.

Recent news accounts echo that assessment. “Drug pricing is an issue that speaks to voters of all kinds,” notes the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

The industry understands the depth of feeling on the issue. It moved to set up a front group—called Citizens for Better Medicare—and flooded the airwaves with commercials flogging Democrats for “playing politics” by backing legislation to reduce drug prices. The group is headed by the industry’s former marketing director. The industry dumped more than $100 million on the so-called “grassroots organization.”

The Democratic plan would have lowered drug prices using Medicare’s clout to negotiate better prices; guaranteed coverage for all seniors under Medicare and would have allowed all seniors with prescription drug plans to keep them, Kourpias said.

“We should keep these matters in mind when we march to the polls November 5,” he said.

Hill Recess Offers Opportunities
Working families have a golden opportunity to make their voices heard when Congress recesses for the November elections later this week. “This offers one last chance to find out how these candidates feel on important issues,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “It also a good chance to let them know how we feel as working Americans about jobs, Social Security, job safety and health, affordable health care, and pension security.”

Working families may determine control of both House and Senate, as well as decide the outcome of the 36 gubernatorial races underway this year. Union members proved decisive at the polls two years ago. Voters from union households accounted for 26 percent of the vote overall and voted in even higher proportions in key battleground states. In Michigan, for example, 43 percent of all voters were members of union households.

U.S. Governor’s Races Heat Up
Union voter registration is up nearly 25 percent in Florida, where tens of thousands of union members are getting ready to cast ballots in one of the country’s most closely watched gubernatorial elections.

Florida is just one of 36 states where voters will choose governors in addition to state and local representatives. Voters in California, Michigan and Illinois are also being heavily lobbied in races for control of their state’s governor’s mansions.

While Election Day turnout in midterm elections is traditionally low, voter’s attention this year is galvanized by state house scandals and the consequences for working families of state budgets on the brink of going bust.

“The impact governor’s can make in our everyday lives is dramatic enough in normal circumstances,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “In times of economic crisis, the effect is intensified. Every IAM member owes it to themselves, their families and their fellow workers to find out what’s happening in their state and vote on Nov. 5.”

Maytag Moves to Mexico
Iowa-based Maytag Corp. will close a U.S. refrigerator factory in 2004, completing an exodus to Mexico that will cost 1,600 workers their jobs at the company’s Galesburg, Illinois manufacturing plant.

Despite an appliance market that is largely U.S.-based, Maytag will join hundreds of corporations taking advantage of a low-wage welcome mat created in Mexico by free trade legislators and the North American Free Trade Act. (NAFTA).

Earlier this year, Maytag began building appliance parts at its first non-U.S. factory in Reynosa, Mexico. The company now says it plans to build a final assembly factory in Mexico within two years. More than 2 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost since January 2000.

Springfield Lincoln Mercury Mazda Goes IAM
Fourteen new members have joined the IAM ranks in the wake of an organizing victory at Springfield Lincoln Mercury Mazda in Springfield, IL. The new members, auto and lube technicians, main concerns were wages and having a voice at work. IAM District 55 BR Joe Pluger said, “Our new members stuck together seeking dignity, respect and justice in the workplace.”