IAM Salutes Retiring Chief of Staff Monica Lee Silbas for Outstanding Career

Monica Lee Silbas, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President, will retire from the union, effective Jan. 1, 2024. Silbas will also step down from her role as the IAM’s Director of Trade and Globalization.

Her retirement marks the end of an illustrious career dedicated to advancing the rights of working people and advocating for the labor movement.

Silbas, who most recently served as IAM Assistant Political and Legislative Director before her current role as Chief of Staff to the International President, began her journey with the IAM as a Customer Service Agent at Northwest Airlines in Los Angeles, where she initiated into IAM Local 2785. Over the years, Silbas has established herself as an organizer and labor activist within the IAM, the broader labor movement, and throughout Maryland. 

Silbas is renowned as a fierce advocate for working people and has been one of the leading voices for labor on Capitol Hill and served as the Co-Chair of the Women of Labor organization. She also helped establish the Latino Labor Lobbyists group.  

Before her role in the IAM Political and Legislative Department, Silbas had served as the IAM Transportation Department’s Education Representative since 1999. Her extensive experience representing airline and railroad workers included active involvement and wins in numerous air transport organizing campaigns.

Fluent in Spanish, Silbas was among the founding members of the IAM’s Spanish Leadership Working Group. She was pivotal in developing course materials for the Spanish Leadership Program and other classes conducted entirely in Spanish at the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center. She also serves on the executive board of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and this year was honored with the Maria Portalatin Women’s Leadership Award.

“I am deeply honored to have had the privilege of serving our great Union and our amazing members throughout my career,” said Silbas. “Working alongside dedicated individuals who share a commitment to advancing the rights of working people has been the most rewarding experience in my life. As I retire, I carry the collective strength and resilience of the Fighting Machinists. I am confident that our union will continue to thrive in the capable hands of its members and leaders. My heartfelt gratitude goes to everyone who has been a part of this incredible journey. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of the IAM and the broader labor movement.”

As the Director of Trade and Globalization, Silbas was a current member of the Executive Committee of IndustriALL Global Union, representing over 50 million workers in 140 countries.  She also assisted the Air Transport Territory with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the Woodworkers Department with the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI).

“Monica’s broad experience at many levels of our union brought a unique and powerful perspective as my Chief of Staff,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Every IAM member benefitted from Monica’s expertise, knowledge, and passion for our great union. Her retirement is a significant milestone for the IAM and the labor movement, marking the conclusion of a remarkable career filled with dedication. Monica’s legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations of labor activists.”


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