A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Planning for the 41st Grand Lodge Convention

This article was featured in the IAM Summer 2024 Journal and written by IAM Communications Representative John Carr.

There’s a buzz around the IAM Eastern Territory, as they are preparing to host the Union’s big event this fall. The 41st IAM Grand Lodge Convention will be held in New York City on September 1 to 6, 2024. The convention theme is Honoring Our Past, Building Our Future. 

The convention rotates among the IAM’s five separate territories, with this convention being hosted by the Eastern Territory. Because of the pandemic, instead of the usual four years between conventions, organizers had only two years to plan for the event.

“The 41st Grand Lodge Convention promises to be a once in a lifetime New York City experience for Delegates and their families,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. 


Delegates to Grand Lodge Conventions are elected by their peers at the local lodge level. At the 40th Grand Lodge Convention in 2022, hosted by the Western Territory, delegates voted to:

  • Increased IAM Strike Fund benefits
  • Created the IAM Organizing Fund to build an army of organizers to further the union’s growth
  • Recommended Local Lodges establish new committees that advocate for women, human rights and veterans
  • Grew the IAM’s Disaster Relief Fund
  • Addressed and provided solutions to electronic meetings and voting, among other important proposals. 
  • Launched the IAM Committee on the Future to hear from members across North America and develop plans to grow, reach young people, and bring up the next generation of IAM leaders and activists.
  • Recommended every state and provincial council implement a code of conduct to ensure proper treatment and equal respect.

Delegates set the agenda and policies that built on past convention actions keeping the IAM a union that serves its members efficiently and works for everybody. Delegates chart the course and lay the foundation for our union for the next four years, but it’s more than that.

The convention offers an opportunity to make changes within the union or introduce new policies or guidelines in a democratic way, with the membership voting on the changes. It also brings members from all sectors of our union together to hear new ideas and participate in discussions. This allows new insights into what can be changed or improved within the union. It’s also an excellent way to generate new ideas for a local or district.


From iconic landmarks such as Lady Liberty standing tall in her majestic splendor to world-class museums housing timeless masterpieces waiting to be discovered, New York City delivers bigger-than-life experiences coupled with unparalleled diversity that will leave one forever changed by its magnetic charm. 

The event hotel is the New York Hilton Midtown on the Avenue of the Americas, just opposite the Museum of Modern Art. The hotel is a five-block walk to Central Park and a two-block walk to Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. The hotel also has bodegas, food trucks, and other amenities close by and just a short walk away. From the bright lights of Broadway to the most recognizable skyline in the world, Manhattan is an American icon. It’s considered one of the world’s foremost commercial, financial, and cultural centers. Within walking distance of the convention will be renowned attractions such as Broadway, Central Park, Top of the Rock, Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Times Square.



Convention planning requires significant efforts to pull together a valuable, worthwhile experience for a broad audience of IAM members. The behind-the-scenes operations are just as crucial as the visible aspects, and planning is critical for a successful convention.

A Host Committee made up of Grand Lodge staff from every territory, as well as Local and District Lodge members from the Eastern Territory, whose sole job is to promote the convention. Promoting the convention also involves constant fundraising to offset the convention’s costs.

The Host Committee has also visited the hotel site, doing walk-throughs and planning for a successful convention. The Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM), which represents about 5,000 members in New York City, is also on the Host Committee.

When delegates arrive in New York City, the Host Committee will have visited and mapped out places to dine, shop, and other points of interest. No matter how you travel to the convention, there will be members of the host committee there to greet you and direct you if you need assistance. They will be at the airports, train stations and at the hotel. 

Delegates download the convention app and see all the highlights prior to the convention.

“It’s an honor to be on the Host Committee,” said IAM District 15 Directing Business Representative Norman Shreeve, a Host Committee member. “Especially since it’s in our city. This is the heart of where District 15 is, and we’re delighted to show off our city and to have the delegates here to see all the city has to offer.” 

The Host Committee is also responsible for putting together the welcome and farewell receptions, being held at amazing venues that will ensure a once in a lifetime New York City experience. Spoiler – it involves an aircraft carrier and an island.


Left to right: Assistant Super-visor Tina Johnson-Holloway, Computer Printing Technician Joseph Ford, Supervisor John Rogue, Supervisor Wendy Cramer, Computer Printing Technician Donald Johnson, and Mailroom/Stockroom Clerk Marcus Webb. Not Pictured: Computer Printing Technician John Kourpias and Administra-tive Assistant Bookkeeper Katie Hawkins.

For a diverse and engaged IAM audience, high-quality content, and speakers, the key to a successful event or conference is to ensure that all aspects of the event are tailored to the specific needs and interests of our members and that all elements of the event are executed with care and attention to detail.

Every department at IAM Headquarters, under the direction of International President Brian Bryant, General Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes, Resident General Vice President Jody Bennett, Assistant Secretary to the General Secretary-Treasurer Paul Kendall, and IAM Chief of Staff to the International President Vinny Addeo, is involved at some point in the planning, and production of the convention to make sure that happens.

The Duplicating Department is producing printed material at a substantial cost savings for the convention. Richley Delahay, Facility Manager for the IAM’s Winpsinger Center and staff also provide important support in making for a successful convention. 

“There are so many people involved who put the convention together,” said Sullivan. “From the Eastern Territory staff, Chief of Staff Chuck Herod, Convention Coordinator and Grand Lodge Representative Andrew Hounshell, Secretaries Marilynn Tellechea, and Brandi Gainer, as well as staff David DiMaria, Lorie Wilson, George Edwards, Neil Douglas, Tiwaan Bradley, Brent Coleman, Cori Horowitz, and to all who are involved working hard to make this convention a successful one.”

By the time the convention is convened in New York, its execution would not be possible without the involvement and massive work behind the scenes by the IAM Eastern Territory, led by General Vice President David Sullivan, the Grand Lodge Convention Host Committee, IAM staff, and members.



Share and Follow: