Tuesday, October 28,  2003

IAM members at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tuscon, Arizona, get details on the "last, best, and final" contract offer from the company.

Raytheon Members Reject Contract, Authorize Strike
Setting the stage for a possible strike at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ, members of IAM Local 933 voted by a wide margin to reject the company’s so-called “last, best and final” contract offer. In a subsequent vote, the members voted to authorize a strike at Raytheon if company officials fail to improve their contract offer.

The local’s IAM negotiators recommended a vote against the proposal that included a lump sum signing bonus in lieu of annual wage increases and up to $560 in monthly medical premium costs for retirees.

GOP Unveils New Corporate Tax Cuts
Setting a new standard in lobbyist-drafted legislation, the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee unveiled a proposal this week to cut corporate taxes by yet another $142 billion over the next ten years.

The legislation includes an $8.2 billion break for tax dodging U.S. firms that move to offshore locations and reduces the corporate income tax rate from 35 to 32 percent. The treasury-draining proposal comes despite a projected federal budget deficit of more than $500 billion.

“What should have been a legislative relief package for manufacturers and workers hammered by the Bush-Greenspan recession is just another example of this administration’s radical agenda for America,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “There is no excuse for ignoring the needs of millions of U.S. workers while reducing corporate tax revenues that are at the lowest levels since 1983.”

Additional lobbying by architectural and engineering firms won their inclusion under the GOP giveaway, making Vice President Dick Cheney’s old firm, Halliburton, eligible for yet another tax break.

U-Haul Campaign Goes Nationwide
Workers at U-Haul facilities in Nevada and California face some of the worst working conditions in the United States. Racial, ethnic and religious discrimination by supervisors is commonplace. The response by local management to complaints from workers has been to fire employees without cause or notice.

A nationwide campaign to bring U-Haul into the 21st century is underway. In addition to union organizing efforts and a concerted legal strategy in California and Nevada, IAM members across North America are encouraged to participate in an e-mail campaign to hold U-Haul President Edward “Joe” Shoen accountable for the abysmal working conditions at his company. Click here to send your e-mail and join the fight for justice at U-Haul.

Take the Airline Workplace Survey
The Machinists Union and Public Agenda, a non-profit research organization, are teaming up to give airline workers an opportunity to sound off on one of the most important issues in the transportation industry today.

Rudeness, disrespect and even physical assault should not be part of anyone’s job description, but airport workers and flight crews routinely face abuse from passengers that would not be tolerated anywhere else.

In an effort to measure the extent of this behavior, Public Agenda and the IAM are conducting an online survey where employees themselves can provide the data to accurately determine the scope of the problem.

The survey questionnaire takes only a few minutes to complete and can be taken online at www.publicagenda.org/specials/iamaw, or downloaded and printed from www.iamaw.org/publications/pdfs/Public_Agenda_Survey.pdf.

Participation in the survey is completely anonymous.

Results will be used to generate a national discussion on the issue of respect and civility toward transportation employees.

GOP Puts Medicare in Cross Hairs
The Bush administration and its congressional allies added Medicare to its prime targets list, a list that includes overtime provisions and good jobs. Behind closed doors, GOP leaders and their drug industry henchmen are crafting a bogus prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

It is a flawed proposal that radically changes Medicare and harms far more than it helps America’s current and future retirees. The proposal attempts to privatize Medicare and put seniors at the mercy of insurance companies. At the same time, it leaves millions of seniors with huge drug costs despite a 50 percent Medicare premium increase.

Also, the measure threatens employer-provided drug coverage for as many as 4 million retirees who could lose such coverage if the proposal passes.

House Republicans sought to insert huge tax breaks for anyone subscribing to “medical savings accounts” that have been included in every GOP House measure for some time. Since the measure primarily benefits the well to do, opponents see that as just another back-door attempt to fundamentally restructure Medicare.

A bipartisan group of 41 senators wrote President Bush and warned him that “a partisan conference report that jeopardizes Medicare and does not provide meaningful assistance to the elderly and disabled should not and will not pass.”

To send a message to your lawmakers on this issue, visit www.aflcio.org.

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Two candidates came to Cincinnati to vie for the IAM's endorsement for President in 2004. Only one came away with the prize.  Read all about it in the online version of The IAM Journal.

 . . . and it's time to order your copy. This years calendar is filled with the winners of the annual IAM photograohy contest. Plus, for every calendar sold, the IAM will donate one dollar to the Guide Dogs of America. Last year, calendar sales earned $25, 000 for the GDA. Click here to download a calendar order form. Print it our on your home computer and mail it back to the IAM.

Once each year an independent panel of judges decide which locals and districts publish the best newsletters and best websites. Check out the winners.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is back flying combat missions. This time, however, he seeks to shoot down the proposed lease of Boeing 767 tankers by the US Air Force. And he is using every weapon at his disposal to chalk up another kill. Help stop John McCain and save North American jobs.

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 http://flatratetech.com. The fast-growing site offers forums for Ford customers, technicians and dealers to exchange information.


See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM profiles for 2003.

The 108th Congressional Directory . . .
get your copy. Send $5 to the MNPL Education Fund, c/o IAMAW, 9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD, 20772.

The official site for the 36th Grand Lodge Convention to be held in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio is now online. Check it our for convention news, sponsorship offers, and convention gear.