IAM Dedicates New Buffenbarger Library at Winpisinger Center

IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger admires the interactive kiosk of photos and videos at the opening of the new Buffenbarger Library at the IAM’s Winpisinger Education Center. The library will be a resource for members to learn about how the IAM came through one of the most turbulent periods in IAM history under the leadership of one of the IAM’s longest-serving presidents.

IAM members attending the William W. Winpisinger Center in Southern Maryland will have a valuable new resource, the R. Thomas Buffenbarger Library, to learn about how the IAM persevered through one of the most turbulent periods in labor history.

The new library will cover the period from Buffenbarger’s installation as International President in 1997 to the present. It will be an important historical resource of books, photos, artifacts and an interactive kiosk with photos of and videos of IAM events and Buffenbarger’s major speeches.

Click here to watch “Library Chronicles Buffenbarger Labor Legacy” on the Machinists News Network.

At the opening ceremony, IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr. presented a personally-inscribed book by Hillary Clinton that will be part of the Buffenbarger Library collection. Books from former President Bill Clinton and former IAM International President George Kourpias were also presented.

“Tom Buffenbarger has led us through some of the most difficult times this union has ever faced. He has been a visionary, a leader, a guide and a friend,” said IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr., who was instrumental in inaugurating the library project. “IAM members and future union leaders who follow in his footsteps will now have a place to learn about what Tom Buffenbarger has done for this great union.”

Since 1997, the IAM and its members have had to navigate the 9/11 attacks, the turmoil of airline bankruptcies and mergers, and the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Today, the IAM is a more diverse organization with strong partnerships with the National Federation of Federal Employees and the Transportation Communications Union. And, the Machinists Union is financially strong and well-prepared for future generations.

The opening ceremony, which was part of the annual IAM family picnic, included members of the Buffenbarger family, former IAM International President George Kourpias, Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn Tucker, Jr., Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip Gruber and General Vice President Dora Cervantes.

To mark the opening, GST Roach presented President Buffenbarger with personally-inscribed books from former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kourpias. “These will be just the first of many books that will be donated to the library from people in our union, in the public and in the private sectors,” said Roach.

The library took months to build and remained a secret until its grand opening. “It’s really quite an honor and I’m really humbled by it. This is great,” said Buffenbarger as he entered the library for the first time. “There’s a lot of history in this room and a lot of work went into this. They did a great job keeping this one from me.”

Click here to view a photo gallery of the Buffenbarger Library dedication.

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