IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger announced that Chief of Staff to the International President Diane Babineaux and Assistant Secretary Dora Cervantes will be added to the Executive Council team. If nominated and elected, they will become the first women in IAM history to serve on the IAM Executive Council.
“The skills and experience of Sisters Babineaux and Cervantes will be invaluable to the Council and will provide real benefits to the membership in the years to come,” said Buffenbarger, who made the announcement at the William W. Winpisinger Charity Banquet in Las Vegas, NV. “As we continue to modernize our union, our leadership must reflect the members we currently represent and the members we expect to represent in the future.”
Babineaux will fill the General Vice President (GVP) vacancy that will occur when current Headquarters GVP Richard Michalski retires effective June 30, 2013. Cervantes will fill a dormant GVP position that was created when the Great Lakes Territory was dissolved and the GVP position was not filled.
The announcement was greeted by an enthusiastic ovation from more than 1,000 IAM members, representatives and guests in attendance at the annual charity event to benefit Guide Dogs of America.
Currently serving as Chief of Staff to the International President, Diane Babineaux began her career with the IAM in the Legislative and Political Action Department. In 1996, while working in the IAM Research Department, Babineaux was appointed Special Assistant to the International President. In 2000, she was chosen to serve as President Buffenbarger’s Executive Assistant, the position since renamed Chief of Staff to the IP.
In addition to her role as Chief of Staff, Babineaux manages and directs the Human Rights Department, Women’s Department and the Young Machinists Program, while working closely with IndustriALL and other international trade union secretariats with which the IAM is affiliated.
“I look forward to this new opportunity to serve the IAM and its members,” said Babineaux. “I believe the relationships we have developed in the civil rights, human rights and labor rights communities will pay significant organizing dividends in the years ahead. I hope to continue my work in each of these areas.”
Dora Cervantes currently serves as the Assistant Secretary to General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr. Before joining the GST Department, Cervantes held manypositions in the Transportation sector of the IAM. She initiated into Local 2198 in Houston, TX in 1989 as a Reservations Agent for Southwest Airlines.
In addition to serving as an Organizer, Shop Steward, Recording Secretary and Vice President of her Local, Cervantes was also an Apprentice Organizer for District 142 before becoming a District General Chairperson in 2000. She was appointed to the Grand Lodge staff in the Transportation Department as a Special Representative in 2005, and later promoted to a Grand Lodge Representative.
“Working as a Union Rep in the fast-moving airline industry, I learned early on about the value of having members who were informed, enthusiastic and willing to stand up for their rights,” said Cervantes. “That spirit exists in every sector of our union and gives us a singular advantage in organizing, bargaining and servicing. I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity. I hope that I can add to the strength of this amazing team of IAM leaders and will be able to carry forward the important work of this great union.