International President Bob Martinez kicked off the 39th IAM Grand Lodge Convention in Chicago with an impassioned keynote address to the more than 1,200 delegates in attendance.
“Are you ready to put the fight back into the Fighting Machinists?” Martinez challenged the delegates early in his address.
With organizing new members an essential task to grow and sustain the IAM, Martinez spoke of the IAM’s new approach to bringing in new members.
“We must be bold enough and confident enough to come up with new organizing strategies,” said Martinez. “Our life blood and our future depend on organizing.”
To better service members at the negotiating table, he announced the program to deliver the union’s negotiations prep training to the field for locals and districts that are unable to travel to the Winpisinger Center.
“One of the best suggestions from members has been to make our negotiations prep training available to more bargaining committees,” said Martinez. “It’s also designed to strengthen the critical link that shop stewards play in the bargaining process. Stewards are truly the backbone of this union.”
In closing, Martinez thanked the member delegates for being a vital part in the IAM’s future.