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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.


Thursday,  December 19, 2002

A Season of Light, A Season of Hope
This is the season of lights. In almost every faith and spreading to virtually every corner of this globe, the darkness is shattered by the twinkle of candles or light bulbs. And those lights warm our hearts and renew our hopes.

As we pause in our labors to celebrate and rejoice in this holiday season, let us reflect on the challenges we face and our history of meeting them forcefully. And, in this season of lights, let us re-dedicate ourselves to join in solidarity with all the peoples of our world and in so doing, bring Peace on Earth and let Freedom ring.

Clearly we face challenges from the global economy at a time when our political leaders are consumed with petty policies that reward the rich and ignore working families. We see them promising bold leadership, but proposing trite policies from a discredited past—policies that caused soaring budget deficits, rising unemployment and domestic despair.

We see a callous disregard for jobless workers teetering on the brink of financial ruin, and the shabby spectacle of an ambitious Senator so blind to the hurtful, hateful misguided mistakes of history that his political fate hangs by a thread.

And yet, even with the cascading darkness, there is hope. Our undying commitment to bring soci
al justice and economic dignity to all is a light that shines brightly this year, every year.

Grand Lodge Closed For Holiday Week
The IAM's headquarters  in Upper Marlboro, Maryland will be closed for the holidays beginning December 23, 2002. The building will reopen Thursday, January 2, 2003.

A ‘Not So Sweet Deal’ From Sugar Firm
A Texas sugar refinery boasts of its 150-year history as a Sugarland employer, but its relationship with its workers took a sour turn recently. More than 300 IAM-represented workers at the Imperial Sugar Co. facility faced a bitter choice when the firm demanded huge concessions and withheld severance pay from laid-off workers.

“Unless we give in to their demands, they promise they will close the plant,” reported Todd Rogers, District 37 directing representative. “How can they do this a week before Christmas? Have they no shame? This is blackmail pure and simple.”

Imperial Sugar earlier said they were closing the refinery and laying off more than 200 of the IAM members at the facility. The packaging and distribution functions would remain. “That’s about 105 jobs,” Rogers said. “Working people need to know what’s happening here. This will hurt other businesses in our area and the people living here. A corporation should not be able to blackmail an entire community.”

Congressional Grinch Haunts Jobless
Hundreds of thousands of jobless workers lose their unemployment benefits Dec. 28 because the Republican House leaders, aided by President George Bush’s silence on the issue, sent members home last month without extending the emergency unemployment measure. Their failure to act means that more than 800,000 jobless workers will stop getting weekly benefits just a few days after Christmas.

Shortly after Congress left town, Bush belatedly said Congress should extend the benefits.

In addition, another 95,000 jobless workers will lose state unemployment benefits each week and be left without jobs or temporary federal assistance, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan think tank. By the end of March, more than 2 million jobless workers who would have received temporary benefits under a Senate bill the House refused to debate will be without aid.

AFL-CIO Offers New Look
The AFL-CIO redesigned its website, www.aflcio.org, using a new system for content management. This enabled the federation to implement more interactive features and get news to readers more quickly. The website has a new look and a revised site architecture with added tools—an improved search engine, a site index called “quick find,” website reader guides and more—designed to help users find their way through more than 6,500 site pages.

Also, every page is integrated with the AFL-CIO’s e-mail activist network. Through the network, tens of thousands of people all over the country and around the globe take online action with an offline impact

A True Tale of Crocodile Tears
Here’s one for the books. Seems the nation’s 14 largest pharmaceutical firms are crying the blues because their profits have tumbled. Apparently, they’re spending too much on marketing. They’re just not getting the bang from the buck they’ve grown accustomed to. Company statistics show they’re generating a mere $17 in sales for each dollar spent on marketing in 2001.

That’s down from $22.50 for each dollar spent in 1998, according to Datamonitor, a market analysis company. Their study also finds that these drug firms increased their promotional spending an average 32.4 percent from 1998 to 2001. In 2001, that amounted to $9 billion spent peddling their pharmaceuticals to primary care physicians and consumers.

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.

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.