iMail Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Read past iMail Email your opinion Visit Print-Friendly version Sign up for iMail

Download Windows Media Player
Labor issues you care about in streaming video

Video: Executive Pay Questioned
The California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, on Monday, November 15th approved a plan to rein in abusive executive compen-sation practices in corporate America.

Union Members See Increased Benefits
From healthcare to wage increases, union members continue to see a significant advantage in employee benefits.

A Neighborhood Full of Surprises
Follow Tom Buffenbarger as he canvases Laconia, New Hampshire for votes and knocks on AMFA’s door.

Outsourcing New Hampshire Jobs
Tyco and Amphenol - two manufacturing plants that have seen job loss as a result of trade.

A Company Devoted to Its Workers
In the midst of the IAM's "Wheel of Misfortune Tour", IP Buffenbarger dropped in on Suflex to recognize a rare commodity in todays corporate world - a company devoted to its workers.

Airlines Propose Pension Terminations
United Airlines and US Airways are seeking to terminate pension plans covering more than 150,000 active and retired employees.

To view these videos you will need to download the free Windows Media Player 9

Officers & Territories

R. Thomas Buffenbarger
International President

Warren L. Mart

Lee Pearson
GVP Western Territory

Dave Ritchie
GVP Canada

Robert V. Thayer
GVP Headquarters

Robert Roach, Jr.
GVP Transportation

Lynn Tucker
GVP Eastern Territory

Robert Martinez
GVP Southern Territory

James Brown
GVP Midwest Territory

RJ Reynolds Workers Seek IAM Representation

A recent merger, deep cuts in worker benefits and sky high executive pay are just a few of the reasons why hundreds of workers at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Corp. in Winston-Salem, NC want to know more about joining the IAM.

The organizing drive at R.J. Reynolds began shortly after the firm’s former parent company bought Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. in Macon, GA and merged it with R.J. Reynolds. As the former IAM-represented workers from the Macon plant began relocating to the Reynolds facility in Winston Salem, they brought an invaluable asset for any organizing drive: workers who could educate fellow workers about the benefits of union membership and collective bargaining.

“There have been organizing drives here before, but this time it’s different,” said Southern Territory GLR Steve Spain, who is helping coordinate the effort. “Over 500 employees attended our most recent informational meetings and more workers are signing up every day.”

Reynolds’ workers are concerned about increased retirement healthcare costs and other benefit cuts while senior executives draw large salaries, stock and bonuses. “We don’t have a voice now, but with the union coming, maybe we will, said 30-year employee Sam Hicks, in a local news article. A special organizing website at has been set up to keep Reynolds’ workers informed about issues and their rights during the organizing drive.

There are 1,600 workers at the tobacco giant’s two facilities in Winston-Salem.

Judge Regrets Pay Cut Order at US Airways

Calling his Oct. 15 decision to impose steep pay cuts at US Airways “one of the most painful and disagreeable” decisions he’s ever made, Judge Stephen Mitchell nevertheless denied motions for reconsideration of the order that cut union members’ pay by 21 percent and reduced company contributions to employee pension plans.

Judge Mitchell denied motions to impose less severe cuts and called the airline “a ticking fiscal time bomb.” The judge said the cuts were necessary for the airline’s survival.

IAM attorneys argued the judge’s original order is causing substantial and undue hardship upon IAM-represented employees and provides the carrier with permanent relief, rather than the “interim” relief allowed under bankruptcy law. Union attorneys also pointed to an agreement ratified by the Airline Pilots Association that provides for significantly less than a 21 percent wage reduction.

Special committees for District 141 & 142 continue meeting with US Airways in an effort to reach a consensual agreement, while IAM representatives and attorneys prepare for court hearings if an agreement is not reached. “The IAM hopes to achieve an agreement that will make further court action unnecessary, but we must be prepared in the event an agreement is not possible,” said the IAM district presidents in a bulletin to members.

FDA: Public Watchdog or Industry Lapdog?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under President Bush is “virtually incapable of protecting America” and more concerned with preserving drug makers’ profits than protecting the health of consumers, according to experts who testified at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing.

The agency is under intense pressure for its failure to alert the public about serious risks associated with Vioxx, the widely prescribed pain drug recently taken off the market. The FDA is also being criticized for not acting quickly enough to warn the public about links between some anti-depressants and suicidal tendencies in children and teenagers.

“We are faced with what may be the single greatest drug safety catastrophe in the history of this country or the history of the world,” said David Graham, a 20-year veteran in the FDA’s office of safety research, who estimated as many as 55,000 people in the U.S. may have died from heart attacks or strokes experienced as a result of taking Vioxx.

China Sews Up World Textile Industry

On January 1, the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules governing global textile trade quotas will expire and China, with its non-existent labor standards and rock bottom wages is expected to become the world’s dominant textile manufacturer. An appeal from labor organizations and members of Congress to extend the quotas was recently rejected by the Bush administration

The changes are expected to jeopardize as many as 30 million jobs in some of the world's poorest places, the same jobs that left the U.S. in the wake of previous free trade agreements, as the textile industry uproots yet again in search of cheap labor. China pays its textile workers, most of them women, at a rate of $0.68 an hour.

China already supplies 85 percent of the US market with an estimated $79.7 billion worth of textiles. Up to 600,000 of the 700,000 remaining textile jobs in the U.S. will be at risk when the quotas are lifted.

Broken Promises:  Retiree Health Care

Broken Promises:  Retiree Health Care, the latest report issued by the Alliance for Retired Americans Educational Fund, assesses current public and private approaches to retiree health care costs and offers proposals to address the erosion of retiree health care.  The report, written by former AFL-CIO Research Director Rudy Oswald, is available online at or by calling 202/974-8222.


Past iMail | Your Email | | Print Version | iMail Sign-Up

Who cares about us? Check out the online edition of the 2004 IAM Journal.

The winners of the 2004 Newsletter & Website Contest.

IAM2004 See who works for you, how the IAM is structured, and what services the IAM offers. Go to: IAM2004

Cincinnati Skyline The official site for the 36th Grand Lodge Convention held in 2004 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Check the "Highlights" section for covrage of Convention events and photos.

Check out NewsBriefs, a regular online news service for IAM editors, webstewards & communicators. En Francais.

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 The fast-growing site offers forums for Ford customers, technicians and dealers to exchange information.