IAM General Vice President Philip J. Gruber (right) swears in the newest staff to the IAM Midwest Territory:
Communications Representative LaToya Egwuekwe-Smith (left) and Educator Kevin Murch (center).
IAM International President Bob Martinez announced the appointment of two new staff members to the IAM Midwest Territory. Former IAM District 5 Directing Business Representative Kevin Murch has been appointed Midwest Territory Education Representative. Former IAM Communications Specialist LaToya Egwuekwe-Smith has been named Midwest Territory Communications Representative.
Both appointments were effective January 1, 2016.
“On behalf of the IAM, I would like to welcome both Kevin and LaToya to the Midwest Territory staff,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “Their experience, talent and skills will be great assets to the territory and our members.”
Murch initiated into IAM Local Lodge 2525 in 1994, where he worked at the Case New Holland (CNH) 4 WD Products Plant in Fargo, ND. A second-generation union member, he served in many different capacities from Shop Chairperson, Bargaining Committee member, Recording Secretary, Sentinel-Conductor, Communicator, delegate to the 2004 Grand Lodge Convention in Cincinnati, OH and delegate to both District 5 and the Joint Dakota Council of Machinists. In 1996, Murch was appointed union steward and became Local 2525 Vice President in 1997.
Murch served as Vice President of District 5, President of the Joint Dakota Council of Machinists, and a member of the MNPL Planning Committee. In 2005, he was appointed to the position of District 5 Organizing Coordinator and was successful in organizing groups under the Service Contract Act and within the private sector. Murch also served as the District 5 Arbitration Advocate from November 2013 until his election to District 5 Directing Business Representative on July 1, 2015.
Murch is the founder and former co-host of The Solidarity Effect, a radio show based in Fargo, ND that focuses on working class and labor issues.
Egwuekwe-Smith initiated into the IAM in 2008 as a Communications Representative at IAM Headquarters. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she has nearly 15 years experience in communications and journalism.
Prior to joining the labor movement, Egwuekwe-Smith worked as a political television news reporter/anchor for The Florida Channel in Tallahassee, FL, and as a television news producer for WEWS-TV in Cleveland, OH.
She is the creator of “The Decline: The Geography of a Recession” – an animated map that shows the progression of U.S. unemployment from January 2007 to February 2011. Her work has been featured on CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, The Huffington Post, BoingBoing and hundreds of blogs, local newspapers and television outlets around the world.
Egwuekwe-Smith is the founder of Hire Ground, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on helping the long-term unemployed get back to work. She serves as a board member for the Union of Unemployed (UCubed), a nonprofit organization born under the helm of the IAM. She is a former Vice President of the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) Executive Council. Egwuekwe-Smith was also a 2014 Fellow of the Washington, DC chapter of a growing group of next generation progressive leaders known as the New Leaders Council.
Egwuekwe-Smith is a graduate of the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications in Hampton, Virginia, with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism. She has a Master of Arts in Interactive Journalism from American University in Washington, DC.