November 7, 2002
Election Outcome: Bad News for Workers
“Our top priority remains keeping high-wage and middle-class jobs,” Buffenbarger said. “This union will continue to fight to keep jobs and stop the hemorrhaging of work overseas,” he added. “We will continue to rally against trade policies that work to de-industrialize our nations. The fight for jobs in manufacturing across North America is a battle that must be waged and won.”
With Republicans gaining control of both the White House and Congress, the Bush administration plans speedy action on extending his massive tax cuts for the wealthy, rolling back regulations on Big Business and privatizing Social Security.
Buffenbarger Receives NPA Award
Accepting the NPA’s 2002 Gold Medal award on behalf of 730,000 active and retired IAM members, Buffenbarger focused on the need for a national jobs policy and the millions of industrial jobs lost during the past two years. “Think of the human cost,” said Buffenbarger. “Whole communities have been devastated. Unless we call a halt to the demolition of our industrial economy, more of the same is surely on the way.
“It is a complex problem,” said Buffenbarger. “To address it successfully will require us to come together across the conventional dividing lines in our society and work to ensure the general welfare.”
Past recipients of the NPA Gold Medal Award are a diverse group including: Frank Carlucci, Linda Chavez Thomson; Paul O’Neill, Stephen Yokich, George P. Schultz and Gen. George C. Marshall.
Wall Street Watchdog Resigns Under Cloud
The SEC faces a massive clean-up effort after the spectacular bankruptcies and fraudulent practices at one high-flying Wall Street darling after another. Pitt blundered from one crisis to another, and in the process, finally exasperated his White House sponsor. That led to his resignation, a resignation that all-but disappeared in the election night hoopla.
Pitt’s pitiful performance irked even Wall Streeters anxious to put an end to the seamy disclosures that tarnished one corporate icon after another.
Aloha Airlines Receives Loan Guarantee
Aloha Airlines received conditional approval for a $40.5 million loan guarantee as part of a total $45 million loan package.
“We are pleased the ATSB recognizes Aloha Airlines’ need for assistance,” said IAM General Vice President Robert Roach, Jr., “but any changes to collective bargaining agreements should come as a result of an agreement between a company and its employees, not as a government mandate.”
Negotiations between the Machinists Union and Aloha Airlines are scheduled to begin this week on agreements that become amendable on January 1, 2003. The IAM represents 1,700 Aloha Airlines employees in the Mechanic & Related and Clerical classifications.
Rail Negotiations Stalled
Negotiations between Machinists, Sheet Metal Workers and the National Rail Labor Coalition (NLRC) continued last week in Washington, D.C. with the assistance of a federal mediator. No progress was reported in resolving open issues for the more than 8,000 IAM members employed at Class I Freight Rail Carriers.
Separately, the Transportation Communications Union (TCU) and the NLRC scheduled an arbitration in late January to settle outstanding health & welfare and wage issues in their negotiations. The outcome of that arbitration could impact the IAM’s discussions with the NLRC, and as a result, negotiations will not reconvene until February 26-27, 2003 in Washington, D.C.