The North Carolina State Council of Machinists met in Pine Knolls Shores, NC for training and meetings about the union’s political and legislative engagement and priorities.
“What we do in the state council is go to screening sessions for candidates running for local, state, and federal offices,” said North Carolina State Council President Teddy McNeal.
IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. addressed the Council, updating delegates about the Grand Lodge Convention, promoting listening sessions for the Committee on the Future, and pushing for engaging the membership in legislative issues that affect the union.
“We’ve got to make the case on the shop floor why we have to be politically involved,” said Martinez. “Let’s pass the PRO Act and end Right-to-Work-For-Less in all 50 states, just like we did in Michigan. We can do the same thing here in North Carolina if we mobilize in 2024.”
IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace spoke to the council about issues specific to the Southern Territory, like organizing in Right-to-Work states and North Carolina state-specific policy.
“North Carolina had a major Senate race last year, and North Carolina will play a major role in the coming presidential election,” said Wallace. “This council does the hard work of mobilizing Southern membership around issues that impact our members and ensures that Machinists members’ voices are heard by North Carolina legislators, especially when it’s policy that will affect workers and their families.”
Southern Territory Grand Lodge Representative Joe Greaser gave a presentation about in-plant organizing. Many Southern states, including North Carolina, have so-called “right-to-work” laws in place so locals have to constantly be organizing in the places where the IAM already represents members.
“The get-out-the-vote work our union does makes a difference, it really does,“ said Greaser. “Letting people know what candidates have their back and reminding them about important elections makes a difference.”
Assistant Legislative and Political Director Loren Almeroth spoke to the council about the importance of union members engaging in politics and current legislative issues that will affect working families.
“Loren emphasized the importance of members understanding and participating in politics,” said McNeal. “Politics impacts laws that affect workers’ rights, working conditions, wages, time-off and more.”
“International President Martinez delivered an inspiring message to delegates,” said McNeal. “He reviewed what happened at the Grand Lodge Convention and how those changes would impact what we do, and he encouraged us to attend Committee on the Future listening sessions.”