Five Takeaways From #IAMRight15

IAM members from varying generations and backgrounds took part in a panel explaining what drove them to become activists. From left: Retiree Mike Edwards, Local 2339O Recording Secretary Monica Pasillas, Local 2323 Vice President Dan Janssen, Retiree Carline Lang-Smith, and Grand Lodge Auditor Porfirio “Josh” Diaz. 

We came to change the world. We did.

More than 450 IAM activists – hailing from all corners of the U.S. and Canada and representing a diverse array of industries, viewpoints and demographic groups – came together in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the 2015 IAM Women’s, Young Workers and Human Rights Conference, dubbed #IAMRight15 on social media.

Click here to watch conference videos.

Click here to view the conference photo gallery.

Click here to learn about the #IAMRight15 app, which live streamed video during the week.

Here’s five takeaways from an inspiring gathering of some of the IAM’s best and brightest leaders:

  1. Your rights affect my rights.
  2. We don’t live in a vacuum. If someone is being mistreated at your workplace – or across the globe – because of their gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, it affects all of us. Check out and join worker constituency groups like the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Pride at Work, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Council FIRE, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

  3. We’re more diverse than ever. That’s a good thing.
  4. Times are changing – and the IAM is changing with it. Conferences like this, which touched on issues from transgender rights to mass incarceration to immigration reform, simply didn’t happen in the labor movement as recently as 10 years ago. We must continue to expand our movement if the IAM wants to thrive for another 127 years.

  5. This is an international movement. We need to think globally.
  6. Multi-national corporations spread their nets far and wide to exploit and divide the world’s workers. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is living proof. It’s up to us to unite together for a global economic system that works for all of us, not just the richest and most powerful 1 percent.

  7. The IAM has young workers ready to lead.
  8. Young workers took center stage, literally, at #IAMRight15. From a young worker leading the charge for a $15 minimum wage at Toronto’s Pearson Airport to young organizers helping to run some of the IAM’s largest and most important campaigns, the future is now for the next generation of IAM activists.

  9. We can change the world. Really.
  10. We already have. Our mere presence represents a new wave of activism ready to fight for a more fair and just world. Let’s continue making history.