The true solidarity of organized labor shined on Tuesday as delegates of the 39th IAM Grand Lodge Convention gave enthusiastic welcomes to four of organized labor’s strongest voices.
AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka’s message focused on the importance of organized labor’s influence in politics, the workplace and the community.
“I can feel the energy in this room. You’re strong. You’re united. You’re ready to organize,” said Trumka. “When workers are strong, when unions are strong, then and only then can America be strong.”
Longtime IAM member and Wisconsin AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt talked about the solidarity labor continues to exhibit in the fight against Republican Scott Walker and his corporate anti-union agenda.
“There are those who seek to stand in our way, who want to silence workers,” said Neuenfeldt. “When we come together, we know how to fight back. We know how to get good contracts to build strong communities for all workers.”
Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff emphasized the similarities of issues facing labor in the U.S. and Canada.
“Like you, we’ve had some tough fights in Canada. We took a case the Supreme Court of our country and we won,” said Yussuff. “Under the charter of rights in Canada, the right to strike is a fundamental right that is protected by the constitution of our country.”
United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams expressed how similar situations exist for both his union and the IAM in the South, with regard to organizing and recognition by employers and the government.
“I think about what the IAM is doing in trying to organize at Boeing and other facilities in the South,” said Williams. “And I look at us as we have organized Volkswagen skilled tradespeople, been to court four times, won four times and yet they keep appealing.”
Click here to watch the complete speeches on the Convention’s video page.