Historic Changes Mark IAM Installation Ceremony


Retired International President George Kourpias, center, administers the oath of office to the new IAM Executive Council and Officers. Front row, standing, from left, General Vice Presidents Diane Babineaux, Sito Pantoja, Philip Gruber, and Lynn Tucker, Jr., General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger, General Vice Presidents Dave Ritchie, Robert Martinez, Jr., Gary Allen, Mark Blondin, and Dora Cervantes. Back row, standing, from left, Delegate to the Canadian Labour Congress Tania Canniff, Delegates to the AFL-CIO Shelley Kessler, Rickey Wallace and James Conigliaro and Law Committee members Philip Zannella, Jr., James Beno, Stanley Pickthall, Ellen Arbogast and Jeff Doerr.

The July 1 Installation Ceremony is the formal start of new four-year terms for the recently-elected IAM Executive Council, which includes the International President, General Secretary-Treasurer and nine General Vice Presidents. The ceremony, held at IAM Headquarters, also included the swearing-in of five members of the IAM Law Committee, three delegates to the AFL-CIO and one delegate to the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

In its 125-year history, the IAM has never been led by a more diverse leadership body, or one more representative of the membership in IAM locals and districts throughout North America. The current council includes men and women of African-American, Hispanic, Anglo and American-Indian heritage, with equally diverse occupational backgrounds.

While the demographics of current Council accurately reflect the growth of the IAM far beyond its original railroad roots, it also displays a commitment to inclusion and opportunity for current and prospective members at every level of the organization.

Among the changes for the current council is the addition of the first two women to serve as General Vice Presidents in the IAM’s highest elective body. Diane Babineaux and Dora Cervantes will begin their first four-year terms with decades of combined experience that ranges from human rights and community service to finance and contract negotiation.

Individual executive council members will also see changes in assignments and responsibilities, with GVP Bob Martinez, Jr. moving to IAM Headquarters to fill the vacancy created by the recent retirement of former Vice President Rich Michalski. Also, newly-elected GVP Mark Blondin will take the helm as General Vice President of the 100,000-member IAM Southern Territory. Additional announcements regarding leadership assignments and responsibilities will be made in the near future.

“The IAM is fortunate to have dedicated people with the talent and experience needed to carry on our hallowed and historic traditions,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Despite the extraordinary challenges facing our union, I have faith that the people elected to serve on the Executive Council, the Law Committee and as delegates to the AFL-CIO and CLC, are more than equal to the task.”

Retired IAM International President George Kourpias administered the oath of office to the new Executive Council, which includes IAM International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger, General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr. and General Vice Presidents Dave Ritchie, Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., Robert Martinez, Jr., Philip J. Gruber, Gary R. Allen, Sito Pantoja, Mark A. Blondin, Diane Babineaux and Dora Cervantes.

Also sworn in were Law Committee members Philip Zannella, Jr., James Beno, Stanley Pickthall, Ellen Arbogast and Jeffrey Doerr; and Delegates to the AFL-CIO Shelley Kessler, James Conigliaro and Rickey Wallace. Tania Canniff will serve as the Delegate to the Canadian Labour Congress.