Friday, November 16, 2001
The IAM's Executive Council this week initiated
the Everyday Heroes project - an effort to collect 100 hours of
historic interviews with workers who responded to the attacks of September
11th. Those videotapes will be edited into a half hour
documentary early next year.
You can keep track of the progress of the Everyday Heroes project by
clicking on the icon at the bottom of the GOIAM homepage. It will take you
to a videotaped interview with Jimmy Willis, a TWU shop steward who worked
at Ground Zero in the hours following the September 11th attacks. Each day
another thumbnail sketch of one of workers who responded to this crisis will
be posted to the site.
"It is not necessarily the individual acts of heroism that we are trying to
capture," explained Jim Conigliaro, Assistant Directing Business Rep of
District 15. "It is the epic and heroic efforts of workers who responded to
this tragedy. Some dug for survivors at Ground Zero, some helped evacuate
millions, some fed the hungry or protected the children, some figured out
ways to find jobs for the unemployed, some began the process of rebuilding,
and some just did whatever needed to be done. We are capturing their
Everyday Heroes is an ongoing video chronicle of those stories. You can
view it at http://www.goiam.org.
Senate GOP Stalls Stimulus Package
Republicans blocked a pro-worker economic stimulus plan because it favored
working families at the expense of corporate America and wealthy
taxpayers. Democrats offered the $67 billion plan that would have provided
extended-and improved-unemployment insurance benefits, helped pay for
health insurance premiums and other assistance for laid-off workers.
It was designed to help working families who have lost their jobs in the
current Bush recession and the economic aftermath of the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks. Using a parliamentary procedure that required 60 votes
to overcome, Republican leaders effectively killed the bill even though
its supporters had a 51-47 majority.
Earlier, the GOP-dominated House passed a $100 billion package that
targeted $9 of every $10 to Big Business and the wealthiest taxpayers.
Senate Republicans want a similar bill, as does President Bush.
"The stalemate is unlikely to be resolved until after the Thanksgiving
break. That would be a good time to schedule appointments with your
Senators and Representatives," suggested IP Tom Buffenbarger. "Tell them
how you feel about these issues. Tell them that working families power
this economy. That's where the focus should be."
Aviation Security Legislation Advances
Ideological objections by House Republicans
were swept aside as congressional negotiators agreed on an aviation
security bill requiring the federal government to hire, train and deploy
nearly 30,000 airport baggage screeners within 12 months.
The government takeover of airport security was blocked for weeks by
security company lobbyists and conservative legislators who zealously
opposed the creation of a federal workforce with higher pay, benefits and
the potential for union representation.
The proposed legislation, which is expected to be signed by the President
before the Thanksgiving recess, calls for airlines to pay up to $1 billion
to defray the cost of the new security measures. Included in the bill are
provisions to allow a limited number of airports to conduct pilot programs
testing the use of private contractors, but screening would remain under
Senate and House negotiators agreed on the measure, which gives the
federal government a much stronger presence than the GOP and the White
House wanted. The baggage screeners will not have civil service protection
nor the right to strike, but they can join unions.
Workers Protest Sidetracks 'Fast Track'
The GOP's congressional brain trust
admitted it lacked the House votes to pass a controversial Fast Track
trade measure and delayed further consideration until after the holiday
recess. The decision is a clear signal that the opposition from working
families and their allies effectively stalled the proposal, which would
allow the president to quickly bargain trade pacts while effectively
shutting Congress out of the debate.
Republican House leaders say they will pull out all stops in a desperate
attempt to pass the contentious measure before Congress adjourns, fearing
it will be all-but impossible to pass it during an election year. Hill
sources say the GOP needs to pick up 30 to 40 Democratic votes for
passage, but count barely half that number currently.
"Let's keep their feet to the fire," urged IP Tom Buffenbarger. "There is
nothing for working people in this package." He urged members to call
Congress, toll-free, 800 393-1082, and tell their Representatives
to vote "no" on this unfair trade ploy.
Countdown to Oblivion for Amtrak?
A 6-5 vote by the Amtrak Reform Council
(ARC) to begin a 90-day countdown could be the beginning of the end for
the nation's passenger rail system. The council will now draft a
reorganization proposal and Amtrak is required to develop a liquidation
plan. The Senate will then choose between the two plans, develop its own
plan, or do nothing.
"The narrow-minded views of the ARC may result in a permanent derailing of
Amtrak at a critical time for the nations transportation system," said
General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr. "Since the September 11th
tragedies, people have been increasingly turning to passenger rail. Ending
Amtrak service and eliminating 25,000 jobs is irresponsible."
The ARC was formed to monitor Amtrak and determine if it could meet a
Congressional mandate to break even by next year. The vote was held over
the objections of the labor representative on the council and the
Secretary of Transportation.
Bulk IAM Calendar Forms Available
order forms for the popular IAM Wall Calendar went in the mail from IAM
Headquarters last week. This year's calendar features winning photos
submitted by IAM members for the new IAM Photo contest.
The price stays at $5 per calendar this year, and it drops to $4 per
calendar for locals or districts that order more than 100 calendars in
bulk. As always, $1 from the sale of each calendar goes to Guide Dogs of
America. A copy of the order form is attached. Please use this form for
bulk orders only. The individual calendar order form is in the Fall 2001
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