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Why did Local 171 go out on strike?

Click here for the story behind the story.

The Fall edition of the IAM Journal focuses on the upcoming election on November 5, 2002―the issues, the candidates and how your vote can help put North America back on track.

Read the online edition of the IAM Journal at:

Winners of the 2002 IAM Photography Contest.

First Place
Edward W. Griffith,
Local Lodge 2061
Rockledge, Florida, United Space Alliance
Ready for Blast Off
Click here to see the winning entries.

A Fresh Approach to Human Rights
IAM Leads on Health Care
Don't Vote Don't Vent

Another HPWO and Harley Success Story

Gore Attacks Bush On Economy

Homeland Security Stalemate

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 29, 2002

IAM Mourns Sen. Paul Wellstone
Working families lost a true champion when Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-MN, his wife, Sheila and daughter, Marcia, three staff aides and two-member flight crew perished in a plane crash last week.

“He was a man of principle who never wavered in his convictions,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “He was a ferocious fighter for social justice and economic dignity for working families. We were proud to stand with him in these fights and we mourn him deeply. There are no words that can express the depth of our condolences. We can only pledge to pick up his banner and continue fighting for his causes, which are also ours.”

Election 2002: Up for Grabs
A close scrutiny of political pundits, pollsters and party operatives make one thing perfectly clear. No one, not even these “experts”, can offer anything more than an opinion on the results of next week’s crucial election.

With 34 Senate seats, 435 House slots, 36 gubernatorial races and hundreds of other state and local campaigns cluttering the ballot, seasoned observers project outcomes that crisscross the political landscape. These congressional elections are among the most volatile, unpredictable and expensive in recent memory.

One fact stands out from this murky portrait. Voter turnout is crucial. “It always comes down to this,” stressed IP Tom Buffenbarger. “The winners will be those who get their supporters to the polls. That’s why working families are so crucial in this election. We can make the difference in so many of these close elections.”

With just a week left until the Nov. 5 vote, working families and their unions have cranked up a massive grassroots campaign to get pro-worker voters to the polls. The union movement’s get-out-the-vote efforts have played a decisive role in recent elections and could dramatically affect the outcome of next month’s balloting.

Voters from union households made up 26 percent of the overall vote in 2000, up from 19 percent just four years earlier when the trade union movement launched its get-out-the-vote effort. For more information, visit www.aflcio.org/politics.

Stock Plunge Whipsaws Retirement Hopes
Those who say Social Security funds should be diverted to Wall Street investment strategists may wish to rethink that option. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonpartisan economic think tank, reports that “when the stock bubble burst, it left the average family facing the dismal prospect of having only 43 percent of the income they need for an adequate retirement.”

In its study, “Retirement Out of Reach,” EPI made several startling observations. Among them:

  • Most households used the new wealth gained from the stock market to increase debt and consumption.

  • Between 1992 and 2000 while the stock market grew by 13.9 percent per year, households increased their debt more than they raised their assets. The ratio of total household debt to income grew from 72 percent at the end of 1992 to 83 percent by March 2001.

  • It will take the average household more than 30 years to recover the wealth lost in 2000 and 2001.

“One of the saddest things about this situation is that retirees who had their 401(k) funds invested in the stock market do not have the luxury of 30 years to rebuild their so-called wealth, said George J. Kourpias, president of the Alliance of Retired Americans. “Most of them needed their funds to help pay the ever-increasing costs of their prescription drugs.”

Arbitrator Finds for Boeing
An arbitrator has decided the Boeing Co. could exploit key job security provisions contained in its 1999 contract with the IAM.

After hearing months of testimony and reviewing hundreds of documents, the arbitrator found that Boeing had not violated the agreement by subcontracting IAM work and laying off thousands of union members.

“This decision shows why the IAM fought so hard for stronger job security language in the 2002 contract and why we continue to battle for jobs and for clear, strong job protections,” said IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Boeing is running away from the U.S. and sending jobs overseas. The IAM will stand its ground, fight for good jobs and a decent future building airplanes right here in the U.S.A.”

Settled Suit Brings Benefits for Rail Workers
The Kansas State Treasurer and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company settled a federal lawsuit that could affect the families or heirs of tens of thousands of deceased railroad workers nationwide.

In an agreement reached earlier this month, MetLife agreed to set up a program to notify railroad workers and their families who might be eligible for a $2,000 death benefit under certain MetLife group life policies. The unpaid benefit, which was included in certain contracts between railroads and labor unions as far back as 1966, covered workers at 20 rail unions, including the IAM.

Information regarding the settlement can be found at www.goiam.org/territories.asp?c=3676. Additionally, MetLife has agreed to publish notices in federal Railroad Retirement Pension Board newsletters and on state insurance department Internet sites.

IAM, Metal Trades Buck Dow Decert Effort
Despite the presence of a high-profile, union-busting firm and mandatory employee attendance at captive-audience propaganda sessions, the IAM led other members of the Texas City Metal Trades Council in resisting a union-de-certification effort at the local Dow Chemical facility. Union voters at Dow voted 236-106 to retain union representation.

Dow had hired a union-busting firm who had claimed to never have lost a de-certification election. The firm immediately began holding mandatory meetings with all hourly employees each day for three weeks. Some employees attended 12 hours at a time; maintenance employees attended eight hours the first day and four hours the next. Their brainwashing sessions also required those employees on off shifts to come to work to cover areas where the employees had to stay over for the brainwashing sessions.

“I am appalled with the brainwashing attempted by Dow, but I’m proud of the workers who were undaunted by the company’s pressure tactics, and voted to retain the union,” said Southern Territory GVP George Hooper. “It shows the pride that built this great country.”

Guide Dogs of America Banquet Looms
A limited number of rooms have been made available for the Guide Dogs of America event slated for November 16 in Las Vegas. IAM members who have been unable to make reservations at Bally’s Hotel, where the event will be held, may call Debbie Sands, program coordinator, at 818-362-5834, ext. 226.

In addition to the awards banquet, the affair includes a charity golf tournament. All proceeds from the affair goes to the IAM’s innovative Guide Dogs facility in Sylmar, CA.