International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) General Secretary Stephen Cotton praised the IAM and its brave members for making sure to keep the economy moving and setting an example to the rest of the world.

“The machinists and their locals kept the world moving,” said Cotton. “You kept the world vaccinated, you provided personal protection equipment, you changed the assembly lines to make sure the United States and the rest of the world could respond to an unprecedented pandemic.”

Cotton acknowledged IAM’s efforts to build solidarity across the labor movement across borders during the ongoing health crisis and beyond.

“I’ve never seen such a sense of cooperation between the North American unions,” said Cotton. “Coming out of the pandemic, they are cooperating not just in North America but in the world, in a way we never have seen before and we are immensely proud of that relationship.”

Cotton talked about the importance of innovation in the transportation industry and how the IAM through their work and organizing efforts is encouraging the rest of the world to keep moving forward to improve labor conditions for working men and women.

“We know this union is building its strength,” said Cotton. “We know organizing and campaigning are top of your agenda. We have a unique moment in time post the pandemic to reaffirm our sense of identity, the democratic pillar that is unionized labor.”

Cotton also reinstated the importance of some of the topics that were addressed by IAM leadership and other transportation unions in a visit to the Pope in Vatican City this past August.

“Issues at stake were to recognize working men and women,” said Cotton. “They have to be fairly and justly treated to make sure we have a fair and appropriate society not just for workers of today but for our children of tomorrow.”