labor issues you care about  . . . in streaming video
Job Loss Persists
Economic reports out over the last few weeks have been surprisingly strong, but the lack of job creation still has many economists worried.

Help Protect Overtime
A nationwide campaign to protect overtime pay is underway this week. IAM members are urged to join the fight to protect 8 million working families and thier right to receive overtime pay.

Boeing Transition
IAM Internatinal President Tom Buffenbarger said that the resignation of Boeing CEO, Phil Condit, represents a significant change in the Machinists Union's long relationship with the Boeing Company.

Medicare Bill Outrage
The Machinist Union and the Alliance for Retired Americans expressed outrage this week in response to the Medicare bill passed this week in Congress.

Economic Outlook
Christian Weller, a Senior Economist from the Center for American Progress,  discusses the economic outlook.


International President 
R. Thomas Buffenbarger 

Secretary-Treasurer Warren L. Mart

GVP Western  Territory
Lee Pearson 

GVP Canada
Dave Ritchie 

GVP Headquarters
Robert V. Thayer

GVP Transportation
Robert Roach, Jr.

GVP Eastern
Lynn Tucker 

GVP Southern Territory
Robert Martinez

GVP Midwest Territory
James Brown



Tuesday, December 9,  2003

GOP Scuttles Jobless Benefits Plan
Republican leaders cited a “booming economy” as the primary reason for killing a plan to extend federal jobless benefits through the holiday season. Democrats denounced the move, saying that 80,000 jobless Americans face a bleak Christmas as a result of the GOP action.

“For too many families, unemployment benefits are about survival,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, the House minority leader. “They are never about luxury. It is about whether kids go to bed hungry, not about whether Christmas dinner is catered.”

Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott, whose home state of Washington has one of the highest jobless rates in the country, weighed in with an even more scathing indictment. “This recovery is a mile wide and an inch deep—two out of every three people will not find a job.”

Even the Labor Department reported that long-term unemployment has reached a 20-year high, with 21 percent of the unemployed remaining jobless for six months or longer.

UTC Workers Ratify New Contract
IAM members at UTC Fuel Cells in South Windsor, CT braved a winter snowstorm and miles of unplowed roads to vote by a 6 to 1 margin for a new 3-year contract with the aerospace firm. Ninety five percent of the represented workers attended the ratification meeting and approved the new accord by a tally of 127 to 21.

The contract includes wage increases of 3% this year, 3% in 2004 and 2.5% in 2005, while retaining a semi-annual Cost of Living Adjustment. The UTC workers, who are members of IAM Local Lodge 1746, will also receive a $500 bonus next week.

Under the new contract, pensions will go up $2.00 per month per year of service, effective January 1, 2004. IAM negotiators also won enhanced retirement options for UTC workers facing layoff and gained new contract language allowing IAM members to move with their work if it is relocated in Connecticut. Management, however, insisted on shifting more health care costs onto employees, raising premiums and stripping health insurance assistance for future retirees.

“These negotiations show once again why we need a national solution to the issue of health care,” said Jim Parent, IAM chief negotiator for the UTC workers. “Even well-off employers like UTC say they can't afford to pay escalating costs. Their answer -- to dump costs onto their employees -- is no solution. We need national health care, and we need someone in the White House who will work to help make that happen, instead of ignoring the problem."

Bush Signs ‘Sham’ Medicare Bill
President Bush signed a so-called Medicare “reform” measure that drew surprisingly little support from the people it was allegedly designed to benefit—the nation’s senior citizens.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll found that a plurality of seniors over age 65 oppose the ballyhooed plan by a 47% to 26% tally. Those in the 55 to 64 age group opposed it by a 46% to 32% score.

On a related note, more than 3,000 AARP members, angry at that organization for supporting the bogus Medicare plan, tore up their membership cards and joined the Alliance for Retired Americans, according to an Alliance spokesman Ed Coyle. “We welcome with open arms any older American who shares our goals and wishes to help us convince Congress to get back to work and pass a real bill,” he said. 

Workers Rights Are Human Rights
On Dec. 10, tens of thousands of workers, community activists, religious leaders and elected officials will add their voices and their weight behind a single message: Workers’ rights are human rights.

Dec. 10 commemorates the anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The declaration guarantees the right of people in every nation to come together into unions and bargain collectively.

More than 40 million Americans say they would form a union today if given the chance. But when they attempt to form a union, they are routinely harassed, intimidated, coerced—and even fired. When employers and the government suppress the freedom to form unions, wages lag, race and gender pay gaps widen, civic and political participation is undermined. Millions of U.S. workers want collective bargaining but are denied that fundamental right.

In rallies, marches, public hearings, candlelight vigils and other events, workers will tell their own stories about why they want a union and what happens to them when they try to form one. Dec. 10 will mark the beginning of a campaign to educate the public about employer abuses and mobilize union members and allies to change weak labor laws.

For more information about the assault on workers’ freedom to form a union and to find out about Dec. 10 events in your area, visit www.afl-cio.org.

Phil Gruber Named Midwest Territory AA
Phil Gruber, a 31-year IAM member and long-time District 9 Business Representative, will continue his union service on Jan. 1, 2004 as Administrative Assistant to Midwest Territory GVP Jim Brown.

Gruber, an experienced tool and die maker, holds a number of additional positions including President of the Missouri State Council of Machinists, Secretary-Treasurer of the Midwest States Conference of Machinists, Secretary-Treasurer of the National Tool & Die Conference and Chairman of the District 9 Joint Apprenticeship Committee. He is also a member of the National Planning Committee, the Law Committee, the Board of Directors for Guide Dogs of America and the Board of Directors for United Way of St. Louis.

After launching his career at Ehrhardt Tool and Machine in the1970’s, Gruber served as Steward and later Chief Shop Steward. From there, Gruber was elected Treasurer and President of Local Lodge 688.

In 1987, Gruber joined the staff of District 9 in St. Louis where he served as a Business Representative and Assistant Directing Business Representative before becoming District 9 Directing Business Representative.

IAM Posts Wins in Texas, New Mexico and Florida
Vertex Aerospace employees in Texas and New Mexico voted to join the IAM in separate elections. Fourteen workers in El Paso, Texas who maintain surveillance aircraft for the U.S. Customs were concerned about low wages and poor health care coverage. “They’ve seen the great contracts we’ve negotiated for other Vertex units in Tucson, AZ and Corpus Christi, TX,” said IAM Organizer Don Barker. “They are excited about their future with the IAM.”

News about better wages and benefits won by IAM-represented workers at other Vertex locations spurred another win among Vertex employees at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico. Employees there voted by a 2-to-1 margin to join the IAM.

“Thanks go to our newest members for voting IAM and everyone who worked on this campaign,” said Western Territory GVP Lee Pearson. “DBR John Lamar and GLRs Mike Wardle and Ray Rivera did a tremendous job.”

In an additional Southern Territory organizing win, maintenance workers and supply clerks at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida voted unanimously for IAM representation. “They found that the IAM was successful with other units at Tyndall, and wanted to be part of it,” said Southern Territory Organizer Ray Moffatt. The new members will join Local Lodge 449, part of District Lodge 75.

“I want to welcome our newest members into the Machinists family,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez. “The strong contracts we negotiate for our members draw even more workers eager for the good wages, benefits and protection only a Machinists Union contract can provide. Congratulations to the Organizers for the wins.”

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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.

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.