“If you had any doubt about what this union is about, I hope you go home knowing that the IAM is here for you. The IAM is here for your family, and the IAM is here for your community,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. in his closing remarks to the 40th IAM Grand Lodge Convention.
Martinez thanked the staff and members for all of their hard work in making the Convention possible. He recapped all that was achieved at the Convention and all that the Machinists Union does in communities, on Capitol Hill, and for the membership every day.
“Yes, we negotiate contracts that allow our members to live the lives they deserve. Yes, we fight for legislation that benefits our members. Yes, we bring justice on the job and service to the community all across the continent,” said Martinez. “We do all of these things and more and we do it better than any other union in North America!”
The delegation gave Martinez a standing ovation for his leadership through Convention and each and every day as the bold and respected leader of the Fighting Machinists.
“The theme of our Convention has been I-A-M Standing Strong,” said Martinez. “We STOOD STRONG through the pandemic. We STOOD STRONG through attacks on our union. We STOOD STRONG because of all of you. And we STOOD STRONG this week to make historic changes to our union. This is what union democracy looks like, Brothers and Sisters.”
Martinez expressed his deep pride and gratitude to the membership for their solidarity and participation in voting on resolutions and amendments that will guide the union through the next two years. He brought down the gavel once more to close the largest meeting the union holds every 4 years.
“Are we ready to STAND STRONG today, tomorrow, and forever?!” said Martinez. “I declare this 40th Quadrennial Grand Lodge Convention adjourned!”
On Friday 7, 2022, IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. and IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo presented the 4th International President’s Excellence in Organizing Awards honoring organizers and territories who have demonstrated a superb commitment to growing the strength of the IAM.
“The Brothers and Sisters who are about to be recognized have made all of that happen,” said President Martinez Jr. “They deserve our thanks and recognition for bringing justice on the job to our newest members.”
The awards ceremony was the second presentation conducted in person since it began in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today’s award recipients deserve even more recognition for their steadfast commitment to growing our Union under these unforeseen challenges and circumstances of the pandemic from 2020 through 2021,” said IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo.
Accolades for this year’s ceremony were given to the top Organizing District or Local from each respective territory, the top individual organizer from each respective territory, the top organizing territory, and the top individual organizer.
2021 IAM Top Territory Organizing Distinction
Eastern Territory and Canadian Territory
2021 IAM Organizer of the Year
Grand Lodge Representative Bridget Fitzgerald
2021 Special Organizing Recognition Awards
Chief of Staff to the IP – Monica Lee Silbas
Associate General Counsel – Laura Ewan
2021 Top District/Local Organizing Distinctions
Top District: District Lodge 54
Individual: Jay Wadleigh, District Lodge 4 DBR
Top District: District Lodge 160
Individual: Melissa Demyan, District Lodge 160 Organizer
Top District: District Lodge 9
Individual: Bob Beloit, District Lodge 9 Organizer
Top District: District Lodge 776
Individual: Joe Greaser, Grand Lodge Representative
Top District: District Lodge 140
Individual: Al Cyr, District Lodge 250 Organizer
Top District: District Lodge 141
Individual: Carmelo Benedicto, Local Lodge 914 Organizer
Individual: Jason Woodward, Grand Lodge Representative
The IAM National Political and Legislative Department is committed to fighting for civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s, and voting rights. During the closing day of the 40th Grand Lodge Convention, IAM National Legislative and Political Director Hasan Solomon provided remarks on the current legislative and political landscape.
Hasan is recognized as one of the top trade union lobbyists in Washington, DC, for advocating for IAM members’ priorities around the right to organize, collective bargaining, and other workplace freedoms.
“It’s our top priority to make sure that every machinist in this room has a seat at the table,” said Solomon. “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu. We are going to fight to stay there!”
Solomon fights to make sure the IAM is taking a seat and a say on the table around issues faced by working people and their unions. He discussed a few pieces of legislation that have been won thanks to the IAM’s advocacy such as the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, and other critical initiatives.
“Your legislative team gets paid to get the job done,” said Solomon. “In this last legislative Congress, that’s exactly what we did for our Machinists union members – We got the job done.”
During his speech, Solomon urged IAM Delegates to become politically engaged and participate in the election process as their future and well-being are at stake.
“You cannot afford not to be involved in politics,” said Solomon. “The only game in the most capitalist country in the world is the economy and legislative policies are the rules of the game, and those rules are written by the people you elect to Congress.”
The IAM will continue to work with the current Administration and Congress to further the worker-friendly agenda.
“We are not the friendly machinists, we are the Fighting Machinists,” said Solomon. “We don’t feel pressure, we apply pressure.”
Vinny Ceraso has helped IAM members and their families struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, financial trouble, and tragedy in the workplace by leading the IAM’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a program available to all dues-paying members and their eligible family members.
Ceraso has been in the addiction prevention field for nearly 25 years and is certified employee assistance and substance abuse professional with numerous credentials in crisis and critical incidents.
“The causes of addiction are mental health issues,” said Ceraso. “We treat it like it’s a disease, and then we’re more successful at helping the person maintain sobriety, and that’s what we really want to do. The mental health aspect is what I try to focus on.”
IAM’s EAP and addiction helpline has saved lives and helped many IAM members through hard times.
“We’ve had tremendous success. The rate of relapse is so high in this country, it’s about 70% in the first year,” said Ceraso. “If you call the addiction services hotline and go through treatment, our relapse rate right now stands at about 7%.”
The IAM encourages members to call our hotline and seek help from EAP if they need help.
Reach the confidential IAMAW EAP/MAP Helpline by calling 301-335-0735 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Call the 24/7 information and support hotline for substance abuse and alcohol addiction at 888-250-4426.
Social Media Roundup for Day 6 of the 40th IAM Grand Lodge Convention.