IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen welcomed delegates of the 40th Grand Lodge Convention to the Western Territory with a passionate address that called for growth, change, and strength.
“Our union turned 134 years old on May 5th of this year and we’ve endured because our members made the right changes at the right time,” Allen stated. “I believe we need to do a top to bottom review of our organization and retool ourselves for the 21st century.”
Allen, who is celebrating his 43rd year as a Machinists member, said he “considers this gift of service that the members of this fine union have bestowed upon me a profound honor and I humbly thank all of you for it.”
Allen acknowledged the massive opportunity that lies before the union, an opportunity to change its structure to better serve the membership, lay the foundation for a strong future, and capitalize on people’s positive view of organized labor.
“The word ‘union’ is having a moment. Whether you call it a renaissance or a revival, the labor movement is taking its turn in the spotlight,” said Allen. “Today’s workforce is young, diverse, and passionate. They are ready to fight for justice and fairness. They are the epitome of what it means to be a true trade unionist.”
Allen highlighted historical decisions made at past Grand Lodge Conventions, underscoring how the choices made by the membership at Convention truly determine how the union continues.
He called upon delegates to chart a course for growth, prosperity, and strength for the union. “This gathering of Machinists wields the highest authority in the IAM and is the most important union meeting we have,” said Allen.
Allen stressed the significance of democracy in the union and the responsibility delegates have been trusted with to decide the union’s priorities and future.
“The Grand Lodge Convention represents a pure form of democracy by which the delegates have the final say and will steer this Union’s course for the next two years,” said Allen.
Allen closed by asking the Convention to stand with him against a social and economic climate that is attacking working people.
“In urgent solidarity, we must stand up and conquer aggressors, oppressors and extremists,” said Allen. “People who want nothing more than to exploit our communities and our families.”
“It is a moral imperative that we hold them accountable for the destruction they have left in their wake.”