IAM Kentucky/Tennessee Joint State Council of Machinists Focuses on Growth

The Kentucky/Tennessee Joint State Council of Machinists recently met in Lexington, Ky., to strategize and equip members with the knowledge and tools to fight anti-union legislation, grow the joint council, and advocate for policies that benefit IAM members in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Paul Kendall, IAM Assistant to the General Secretary-Treasurer (GST), provided an update on the 2024 Grand Lodge Convention while emphasizing the GST’s office role in safeguarding our organization’s resources to ensure members have the necessary support to grow the IAM and advocate for fair wages, safe working conditions, and job security.

IAM National Legislative and Political Assistant Director Loren Almeroth highlighted the Biden Administration’s substantial investments in infrastructure and manufacturing. He underscored the importance of enforcing Buy American requirements for large corporations and praised the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the American Rescue Plan, which collectively aims to save millions of jobs and foster an economy benefiting IAM members and their families.

“Rebuilding efforts are underway in Kentucky. This meeting serves as a vital platform to inform members in Tennessee and Kentucky about detrimental legislation,” said Kentucky State Council of Machinists President and IAM District 1888 Business Representative and Organizer Ryan McCarthy. “I look forward to building off this event before our next joint meeting in the spring.

“We aim for delegates to recognize the diversity within IAM and our unified purpose,” said Tennessee State Council of Machinists Vice President and IAM District 1888 Assistant Directing Business Representative Bill Benson. “The training sessions were fruitful, and we hope delegates will relay the insights gained to their locals and districts. Under the leadership of Tennessee State Council of Machinists President and IAM District 1888 President and Directing Business Representative Ernie Epps, our objective is to organize lobby days for the upcoming legislative session in Tennessee.”

Kentucky AFL-CIO President Dustin Reinstedler and Political Director Liles Taylor attended the joint meeting. They emphasized the importance of proactive engagement in legislative processes to protect and advance the interests of IAM members. 

IAM Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Julian “Juice” Bruner brought greetings on behalf of IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Craig Martin and Chief of Staff Reggie Dixon.  Bruner showcased the new efforts to serve members in the territory.

“One of our missions in the Southern Territory will be to increase the servicing of our members,” said Bruner. “We want to reconnect with members through additional training and assistance with organizing, steward training, and negotiations.” 

Other speakers included:

  • DeLane Adams, IAM Assistant Communications Director
  • Galen Bullock, Vice President, Employee Benefit Systems
  • Richard Evans, IAM Veteran Services Coordinator
  • Joe Gruber, Assistant Director at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center
  • Fred Ross, IAM National Pension Fund
  • Ko Vang, IAM Grand Lodge Auditor
  • Tim Wright, IAM Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative

The Kentucky/Tennessee Joint State Council of Machinists plans to build on the energy from this meeting and continue its efforts to strengthen the Machinists Union in both states. 

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