‘There Should Never Be Any Doubt About the Power of the IAM’: IAM International Staff Conference Kicks Off in Washington, D.C.

  C/O frank  1 May, 2024 IAMAW CANADA

‘There Should Never Be Any Doubt About the Power of the IAM’: IAM International Staff Conference Kicks Off in Washington, D.C.

The 2024 IAM International Staff Conference took place this past week in Washington, D.C., drawing together approximately 600 IAM staff from across North America. This important event marks a strategic gathering designed to chart the future course for growth and transformation within the IAM, ensuring our union remains at the forefront of advocating for worker’s rights.

IAM International President Brian Bryant captivated the audience with a powerful keynote address.

“I’ve never, ever been more excited about the future of the IAM,” said Bryant. “This union is growing, we are adapting to the future, we are embracing our diversity, and we are fighting and winning for every worker who wants and deserves a better life.”

Bryant underscored the criticality of solidarity in overcoming challenges and achieving substantive goals. He also took the opportunity to share uplifting updates on recent triumphs, reaffirming the organization’s momentum toward overcoming existing and future hurdles.

During the conference, the attendees were reminded that their efforts to support non-unionized workers had led to a significant increase in membership for the IAM. In 2023, the union saw a growth rate of over 5%, welcoming 17,300 new members into its ranks. According to Bloomberg Law, the IAM was ranked second in terms of membership percentage growth in the entire labour movement.

Organizing victories have been achieved across various industries, including healthcare professionals at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, aircraft maintenance engineers at Qantas Airways in Los Angeles, Allegion workers in Connecticut, lab workers at Tempus Artificial Intelligence in Chicago, and warehouse workers at IKEA in Puerto Rico, among others.

“There should never be any doubt about the power of the IAM,” continued Bryant. “Our power is in our numbers, and it shows every time we take on a fight. However, we also know that our strength comes from our diversity – it comes from our willingness to accept all workers into the IAM’s mission.”

The conference’s first day also included keynote remarks by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, a notable figure in the labour movement, who shared his insights on its current state and the way forward.

The conference boasts an enriching agenda filled with diverse speakers and workshops. These sessions span crucial topics intended to equip attendees with insights and strategies pertinent to the evolving landscape of unionism.

The conference’s plenary sessions, which delve into political activism ahead of critical elections in the United States, diversity, and the nuanced legal aspects of union work, are invaluable opportunities for our staff to gain crucial insights and prepare for the future.

The participants are not just attending, they are actively acquiring advanced tactics for membership expansion through effective organizing. From honing effective communication skills to executing impactful community outreach and fostering member engagement, they play a vital role in our union’s growth.

The conference also covered topics ranging from organizing healthcare workers to engaging in emerging industries and how attendees can continue to support the IAM’s favourite charity, Guide Dogs of America | Tender Loving Canines.

As the conference progresses, its atmosphere is charged with a palpable sense of inspiration and motivation. Attendees are poised to return to their territories and jurisdictions, ready to implement the valuable lessons learned and continue the vital work of nurturing a robust and dynamic union.

The first day of the conference also had a diverse list of speakers, including:

  • IAM Western Territory Chief of Staff Bobby Martinez
  • IAM Veterans Services Coordinator Richard Evans
  • Winpisinger Education and Technology Center Director Mary McHugh
  • IAM National Political and Legislative Director Hasan Solomon
  • IAM General Counsel Carla Siegel
  • IAM Canadian Grand Lodge Representative Derek Ferguson
  • IAM Organizing Director Michael Evans
  • IAM Human Rights Director Nicole Fears
  • IAM Healthcare Director Shane Brinton
  • AFL-CIO Strategic Adviser to the President for the Center for Transformational Organizing Cindy Estrada
  • Guide Dogs of America | Tender Loving Canines President and Director Russ Gittlen

Canadians recognised with Organising Awards at IAM 2024 Staff Conference

The final day of the Conference saw Kevin Timms, General Chairperson for District 140 and IAM District 11 in Montreal recognised for their success at bringing in new members to the IAM in Canada. The duo was presented their awards on-stage, along with winners from other territories.

The IAM International President’s Excellence in Organizing Awards are awarded to those who help to grow the strength of the IAM and working families. Awards for 2024 were given for the top District or Local from each respective territory, top individual organizer from each respective territory, top organizing territory and top individual organizer.

David Chartrand, IAM Canadian General Vice-President, said, “It’s great to see our organisers recognised for the incredible work they do each and every day. I’m proud of District 11 and Kevin Timms. I also want to personally thank all of our organisers and staff who help expand our collective power, improve working conditions and contribute to a more fair and just society.”

Photos from IAM International here

Photos from IAM Canada here

Source: www.GoIAM.org Posted in Machinists’ News