Sisters and Brothers,
On May 5, 1888, our great union was founded when 19 railroad machinists secretly met in Atlanta to protect their rights from an abusive employer. During that meeting in a dirty railroad pit, those individuals could not have conceived what the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers would become.
Tom Talbot and his coworkers set in motion a cause that has steadily grown in reach. Within two years of its formation, the Machinists Union became truly international when the first Canadian and Mexican local lodges were chartered. We were one of the first industrial labor organizations to admit women and minorities into its ranks.
Today we celebrate the IAM’s past accomplishments and look forward to the future we will all share. Many of the historical struggles our predecessors faced remain with us today. Our unity and resolve to defend the rights of working families have never been stronger.
Workplace justice and fairness are noble ideals worth fighting for. Demanding that multinational corporations and our government recognize that is our ongoing task, and I am confident we are up to the challenge.