During Women’s History Month this year, the IAM is highlighting current trailblazers in the union. Are you an IAM Sister interested in taking a more active role in your union? Reach out to your District leadership about the IAM Leadership Assembly of Dedicated Sisters (LEADS) Program.
Ann Ballesteros began her union career in 1985 as a shop steward. She served in a few other positions before becoming a District 9 Business Representative in 2013. Although she says obstacles she countered along the way aren’t worth mentioning, Ballesteros gives credit to the many mentors who have guided her.
Ballesteros admires and credits Business Representative Ellen Arbogast, District 9’s first woman Business Representative.
“She taught me a lot about how to conduct myself as a strong woman in a leadership role. She was tough and effective,” said Ballesteros.
She also credits Bill Garrett, a former Shop Chairman, who “taught me a lot about contract language and servicing the members.”
Ballesteros admires the new Director of the William W. Winpisinger Center Mary McHugh.
“She is a great teacher and has a passion like no other in the labor movement,” said Ballesteros.
“I have learned so much from so many who have lived through the difficult daily challenges and know what it takes to be a true leader,” said Ballesteros. “Listening to their different styles has helped me develop one of my own.”]
“Business Rep Ann Ballesteros is one of the most honorable and hard working trade unionists in our organization,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “She’s steadfast in her dedication to working families, especially those in Missouri. Her work will continue to push our union forward and her leadership will continue to inspire union women throughout our organization and beyond.”
Ballesteros’ advice to other women in the IAM is to get involved in be a voice in the future of the union.
“No one knows what you need better than you and no one has the passion to get it done any better than you,” said Ballesteros. “Women are fighters. They know what they want. They speak their mind. They respect honesty and vulnerability. They are compassionate and determined. Know their worth. Women are taking on more leadership roles in our country and I would love to see this grow, especially in the Machinists Union. I would love to see the younger generation of women step forward and be the voices of the future.”