IAM leaders and members, activists, and allies from across the United States recently gathered in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement’s (LCLAA) 24th National Membership Convention, where participants engaged in conversations around issues impacting Latino workers and their critical role for the present and future of the labor movement.
The convention, held from August 1-6, 2023, featured plenaries and workshops on organizing, immigration, women in building trades, and social justice advocacy, among other timely topics.
This year’s convention, themed “Together Towards Tomorrow: Trabajadores Para un Futuro Justo,” was a resounding success and honored IAM Chief of Staff Monica Lee Silbas with the Maria Portalatin Women’s Leadership Award for her exceptional advocacy, mentorship and unwavering dedication to the labor movement.
“I am absolutely thrilled and deeply grateful,” said Silbas. “To have the chance to represent and uplift our hardworking IAM members across the nation is a true honor. I feel humbled to receive this recognition, and I’m excited to continue making a positive difference in their lives.”
“Monica passionately advocates for the protection of the rights of IAM members and workers worldwide,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The IAM is pleased to commend Monica for her dedication to promoting worker’s advancement. Her efforts are truly commendable and greatly appreciated.”
Convention delegates were able to hear speeches from LCLAA leadership, and labor allies such as AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, A. Philip Randolph Institute President Clayola Brown, and others.
The IAM members enthusiastically joined in community service activities to enhance and beautify the installations of “Women in Need PR,” an organization that supports women who have suffered from domestic violence.
“We are proud to have been part of this meaningful initiative,” said IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes. “The IAM places a high value on supporting those in need and we are excited to partner with LCLAA and other unions to drive meaningful and beneficial change. Our joint effort undoubtedly made and will continue to make an impact!”
During the convention, Juan Negron, IAM Special Assistant to the International President, urged for solidarity with workers at Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico as the company fails to prioritize establishing a collective bargaining agreement to improve workers’ lives.
LCLAA welcomed new leadership to its executive board, including President Evelyn DeJesus (AFT), Executive Vice President Xochitl Cobarruvias (USW), and Secretary-Treasurer Sergio Rascon (LiUNA), who will carry out the organization’s mission.
IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr., IAM General Secretary Dora Cervantes, IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen, and Chief of Staff Monica Lee Silbas were re-elected to serve on LCLAA’s Executive Board.
For more information and to join LCLAA, visit lclaa.org.