|Young Machinists (l to r) Angela Hemler, Tracey Dolina and Bridget Fitzgerald took part in the 117th Annual Convention of the New York State Council of Machinists in Niagara Falls, NY.|
More than 100 delegates, guests and speakers took part in the 117th Annual Convention of the New York State Council of Machinists in Niagara Falls, NY, where IAM leaders and elected officials called for an aggressive defense in the face of growing attacks on union members’ collective bargaining rights.
“From Wisconsin and Ohio to South Carolina and Arizona, we’re seeing the hand of far-right, anti-union extremists at work,” said International President Tom Buffenbarger. “In concert with corporate allies and conservative pundits, we’re also witnessing an unprecedented attack on the federal agencies charged with protecting and enforcing labor laws and workers’ rights in all 50 states.”
In addition to the assault on teachers and other public sector workers, Buffenbarger cited efforts by House Republicans to suppress the NLRB’s investigation of illegal activity by the Boeing Company, and separate GOP proposals to defund the board entirely.
General Secretary-Treasurer Warren Mart described the current political climate as a consequence of low turnout levels in the 2010 election cycle. “We’re seeing what happens when good people don’t vote: more tax breaks for the wealthy; less regulation for corporations; open warfare on labor unions and opposition to anything that might begin to lift this recession off the backs of middle class Americans.”
The convention agenda also included remarks by Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., NYS Council President Jim Conigliaro, New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-4th) and New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-28th), among others. Delegates also welcomed members of the Young Machinists, who are part of a new IAM effort to reach out and educate younger members about the history and benefits of union membership.
Introduced by Diane Babineaux, Chief of Staff to the International President, Tracey Dolina spoke to the delegates and described the goals of the Young Machinists program, including getting more young members to take on leadership roles in their local and district lodges.