Sito Pantoja has served as the IAM General Vice President assigned to the Transportation Department since January 2012. The Transportation Department operates from IAM Headquarters and administers approximately 150 contracts in the railroad and air transport sectors in the United States.
Pantoja initiated into IAM Local 1056 in Jamaica, NY in 1977 as an Air Frame and Powerplant Mechanic at TWA in New York. He served as a Shop Steward for Local 1056 until he transferred to Local 949 in St. Louis in 1988. At Local 949, Pantoja served as a Trustee, Recording Secretary and, in 1991, he was elected as the Chairman of the local’s full-time Grievance Committee. In 1996, Pantoja was assigned by IAM Air Transport District 142 to participate in the TWA Flight 800 accident investigation following the 747’s crash off the coast of Long Island.
Appointed as a Transportation Department Special Representative in 1999 and Grand Lodge Representative shortly thereafter, Pantoja then assumed the role of Transportation Department Administrative Assistant in 2005 where he served until becoming Transportation General Vice President in 2012.
After becoming Transportation General Vice President, now-retired International President Tom Buffenbarger appointed Pantoja as the IAM’s representative to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC). The ARAC provides advice and recommendations to the FAA on rulemaking activity, such as aircraft operations, airman and air agency certification and airworthiness standards.
Also in 2012, Pantoja was elected to serve on the Executive Board of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), headquartered in London. Pantoja has also served as Chairman of the ITF’s Civil Aviation Section Committee since 2010. The ITF is a global federation of transportation unions representing millions of transportation workers around the world.
A graduate of New York City’s Aviation High School, Pantoja also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Labor Studies from the National Labor College.