Machinists Visible and Vocal at LCLAA Convention

Highlighting the IAM presence at the LCLAA 18th Annual Membership Convention in Las Vegas, NV, was a display featuring Spanish language classes and materials offered by the William W. Winpisinger Center in Southern Maryland. (left to right: Transportation GLR Dora Cervantes and Winpisinger Center Instructor Anne Wiberg)

The pledge made by International President Tom Buffenbarger to increase IAM involvement and solidarity with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) was on full display this week at their 18 th National Membership Convention in Las Vegas, NV. Dozens of IAM delegates from LCLAA chapters around the country took an active part in workshops, panel discussions and plenary sessions all aimed at mobilizing the ever-increasing numbers of Latino and Latina union members.

“We’re growing in numbers, but not yet in the influence those numbers represent,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who urged delegates to hold lawmakers accountable for their positions on immigration reform, economic development and other issues that are key to the Latino community. “There are Democrats and Republicans who will not vote to support the Latino community, but continue to expect our support on Election Day. We need to challenge our friends to do better.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez

The increase in anti-immigrant demagoguery by right-wing extremists triggered repeated calls for increased voter registration and involvement by Latinos. “Our goal going into the 2010 midterm elections is voter registration, voter education and an unprecedented Get-Out-The-Vote effort,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez, who serves as Vice President on LCLAA’s National Executive Board. Western Territory GVP Gary Allen also serves on LCLAA’s Executive Board.

Additional issues addressed in this week’s plenary sessions and workshops included comprehensive immigration reform; wage theft; injuries and fatalities on the job; free trade agreements and outsourcing of U.S. jobs; and the impact of the IT revolution on Latino workers.

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