Southern States Conference Focuses on Growth

09 24 2013 southern
More than 150 delegates from 14 southern states and Puerto Rico took part in the third Southern States Conference of Machinists in Myrtle Beach, SC.

The third Southern States Conference of Machinists convened in Myrtle Beach, SC with newly-appointed Southern Territory GVP Mark Blondin acknowledging those who led the way.

“We all know their names,” said Blondin. “Roe Spencer, Ed House, George Hooper and Bob Martinez, who stepped in after the untimely death of George Hooper and led this territory for 10 years. All of us stand on the shoulders of giants. We will move this territory forward on the great foundation they built for us.”

More than 150 delegates from 14 southern states and Puerto Rico took part in the conference, which focused on political action and the unique challenges of organizing in the South. Delegates and guests also paid tribute to retiring Aerospace Coordinator John Crowdis at a special dinner.

The conference gave a big sendoff to Bob Martinez, who is now IAM Headquarters Vice President.

“This conference was the brainchild of Brother Martinez, and we owe him a great debt for his leadership during a decade of big challenges,” said Southern States Conference President Rickey Wallace. “The IAM has a great tradition of strong leaders in the South, from Tom Talbot all the way to Bob Martinez and Mark Blondin. This is where the IAM was born and this is where we will continue to thrive.” 

Conference attendees contributed $1,640 of disaster relief for IAM members affected by the flooding in Colorado, and raised $2,100 for Guide Dogs of America. Delegates also elected Daleville, AL Local Lodge 2003 Secretary-Treasurer Sandy Shinn as the Conference Secretary-Treasurer, replacing the retiring Judy Pierce of District Lodge 70 in Wichita, KS.