Buffenbarger On-Hand as Iowa Machinists Elect New Leadership

IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger swears-in the newest members of the Iowa State Council of Machinists officers and executive board members during a stop in Des Moines.

The Iowa State Council of Machinists received an unexpected visitor during their spring business and election meeting on February 14, 2015, in Des Moines.

IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger, while traveling from Seattle to Washington, DC, dropped in for a quick visit.

While there, he was asked to take part in the Council’s installation ceremony.

“Since we have the No. 1 card-carrying Machinist member in the room…” said Iowa State Council President and IAM District 6 Directing Business Representative John Herrig.

Happy to oblige, Buffenbarger led the installation of six new Iowa State Council of Machinists officers and executive board members.

“It’s no wonder he’s here on Valentines’ Day,” said Herrig. “He loves what he does. He loves the Machinists Union. He loves the working class.”

Buffenbarger thanked the Council for their continued service to Iowa’s working families, and warned of a number of tough battles still ahead with right-to-work laws popping up across the country and the attacks on retiree pensions.

He highlighted the IAM’s recent CSX Railroad deal, which helped keep IAM Local 104 jobs in Huntington, WV, in-house and ensure 20 more years of work with a no furlough clause, as a possible model for finding innovative ways to re-purpose farm manufacturing jobs in Iowa.

Watch “Thinking Outside the Locomotive.”

“The Big Four – that’s CSX, Norfolk-Southern, BNSF and Union Pacific – all want the same deal because they see it’s working,” said Buffenbarger. “It’s being replicated already in Cincinnati and Chicago.”

Iowa State Sen. Tony Bisignano (D) was also on hand for the ceremony. He spoke about his job at the state capitol, where there’s currently a Republican majority.

“We are stopping a lot more ugly than we’re going to pass good,” said Sen. Bisignano.

The Iowa State Council of Machinists celebrated 75 years of service in 2014.

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