The IAM Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

September 15th through October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month.

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American society and culture, and also honors five of our Central American neighbors who celebrate their independence in September. Included in those contributions celebrated is the work of Latinos who have influenced our labor movement and our culture: César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, Paul Montemayor, and Jack Otero, to only name a few. They have broken the barriers that attempted to hold Latinos back. Their efforts started to carve a space for Latinos in labor and to cultivate a nationwide grassroots movement.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover the 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

September 15 is significant in its own right, because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

It is with immense pleasure that we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and reaffirm our dedication to maintaining a workforce that is both diverse and equitable. Our Executive Council takes pride in highlighting the vital contributions made by the Latino community by being one of the most diverse councils in the labor movement.

IAM International President of IAM Robert Martinez Jr. made history by becoming the first Hispanic elected to the IAM Executive Council. He also became the first Latino in the labor community to head a major North American international union. IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes has set a precedent by being the first Hispanic to serve as the General Secretary-Treasurer in the history of the union.

The IAM established the Spanish Leadership Program at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center to mentor and develop the next generation of Latino leaders in the union. The program equips IAM members with the necessary skills and tools to effectively advocate for workers’ rights and represent them in their fight for fair treatment in the workplace.

The IAM partners with constituency groups like the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), which works to educate, organize and mobilize Latinos in the labor movement and has expanded its influence to organize Latinos in an effort to impact workers’ rights and their influence in the political process.

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