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Corporate America is lined up and ready to reap the return on the investment they made in this year's election. Straight Talk from IP Tom Buffenbarger

UAL Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Buffenbarger on Rising Unemployment
More Manufacturing Jobs

A Fresh Approach to Human Rights
IAM Leads on Health Care
Another HPWO and Harley Success Story

Gore Attacks Bush On Economy


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,  December 10, 2002


Bankruptcy Restructuring Underway at UAL
Following the Dec. 9 bankruptcy announcement by United Airlines, a court hearing was held where U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Eugene R. Wedoff authorized continued payment of wages and salaries for United Airlines employees. The judge also approved disbursement of funds to maintain health benefit programs for employees and family members.

The nation’s second largest carrier entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with $1.5 billion in financing to maintain normal operations during the initial phase of the court supervised restructuring.

“The announcement that United Airlines filed for bankruptcy is indeed a disappointment for United’s employees and their families, but it is not a reason for alarm” said District 141 and 141-M presidents Randy Canale and Scotty Ford. “The IAM has resources and experience in this area and we are primed to play an active role in United’s recovery.”

Both district presidents stressed the need to avoid finger pointing. “Despite the difficulties that brought us to this point, we must now come together and focus our efforts on the survival of the carrier,” said Canale and Ford. “Our careers and the welfare of our co-workers, friends and families depend on our very best effort in this regard.”

In related airline news, US Airways held a meeting with IAM representatives where it confirmed published news reports that the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) is calling for an additional $200 million in annual labor savings. RSA is providing US Airways with $500 million in Debtor in Possession (DIP) financing to aid in its bankruptcy recovery efforts.

Additional meetings between US Airways and labor groups will continue throughout the week. Mechanic and Related representatives from District 141-M are scheduled to meet with the carrier on Wednesday and District 141’s Fleet Service representatives will be in discussions with the carrier on Thursday. Additional information is available on the district websites at www.iam141.org and www.iam141m.org.

Kennedy To Fight for Universal Health Care
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA, says he will push for universal health care, a prescription drug plan and increased Medicare reimbursements for providers when the 108th Congress convenes in January. Kennedy said that quality, affordable health insurance for every American is “a matter of simple justice.”

He outlined a plan which requires employers with five or more workers to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents. Under that plan, employers would pay 75 percent of the cost of coverage and employees would pay 25 percent. Earlier, former VP Al Gore endorsed a single-payer health care system. Clearly Democrats see health care as major priority in the new Congress. And it will surely rank high on the issues list in 2004 jockeying for the White House.

More than 41 million Americans lack health insurance. More than 1.4 million lost coverage in the past year, and 16 percent of all Americans in families headed by a worker lack health coverage.

Jobless Numbers Hit Eight-Year High
The nation’s unemployment rate jumped to an eight-year high of 6 percent in November and the nation lost another 40,000 jobs last month.  In a touch of bitter irony, the Republican-led House of Representatives adjourned for the year without taking any steps to assist the hundreds of thousands of jobless Americans whose unemployment benefits will run out on Dec. 28.

“The solution President Bush offers to end the recession is more of the same old snake oil—more tax cuts for the wealthy, more handouts for corporate America,” scoffed IP Tom Buffenbarger. “Working families face real problems in this latest Bush-sparked recession. We need real solutions.”

Sen. Lott Apologizes for Racist Remarks
Senate leader Trent Lott, R-MS, backed away from his declaration that the U.S. would have been better off if race-baiting segregationist Strom Thurmond had won the White House in 1948.

Lott called those remarks “a poor choice of words.”  He apologized to “anyone who was offended by my statement.” Lott made that “statement” at a celebration honoring retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-SC. on his 100th birthday. Lott reminded guests that Mississippi voters backed Thurmond who ran on the Dixiecrat ticket in 1948.

The Dixiecrat Party’s platform declared “We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race.”

Despite Mississippi’s fervent support, Thurmond lost that race to Harry S. Truman.

Arbitrator Raps Ederer Crane Miscue
When Ederer Crane, a Seattle-based shop, laid-off longtime IAM member Don Miller out of seniority order, the Machinists immediately filed a grievance. The IAM fought the company’s contract interpretation all along the way and that grievance ended up in a hearing before a neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator rejected the company’s contract interpretation and issued a ruling which resulted in job reinstatement and $12,500 in back pay and benefits award for Miller.

Machinist Maintenance at Magic Mountain
The 113 workers who build, repair and maintain the rides and booths at the Six Flags Magic Mountain Amusement park in Valencia, California, voted to join the IAM and will now choose a committee and begin preparations for securing their first collective bargaining agreement. The new IAM member’s cited disrespect from management, low pay and lack of job security as reasons for seeking IAM representation.

This is the day IAM editors and web stewards have been waiting for; The Winners of the 2002 Newsletter & Website Contest and a report for the judges, too.

Financial markets will not generate adequate
retirement income for average household; a briefing paper from the Economic Policy Institute.

The Fall edition of the IAM Journal focuses on the
November 5 election. 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.