IAM District 15 honored Eastern Territory General Vice President James Conigliaro Sr. last week at the grand re-opening of their Lyndhurst, NJ district office building. The District dedicated the building in Conigliaro’s name and recognized him with a bronze marker in the entryway of the building.
Conigliaro, who is retiring July 1, 2021, after more than 40 years in the IAM, was the Directing Business Representative at District 15 from 2003 until joining the IAM Executive Council in 2015. He accepted the honor with coworkers, friends, and family in attendance.
“Throughout his career, James changed the lives of countless IAM members and the lives of people in his community,” said District 15 Directing Business Representative Norman Shreve. “Those of us fortunate enough to work for Jimmy learned firsthand the importance of doing the best we can for the working class. Along the way, he had the foresight to invest in people and property, which brings us to this building. For that and all he has done for the labor movement, we here at local 447 and district 15 dedicate this building and hall in his name.”
“This honor hits me deep in my heart,” said retiring Eastern Territory General Vice President James Conigliaro Sr. “I am deeply touched by the love and bond I have with my district. I have always felt workers should have a voice, it was an honor at times to be the voice for them. I was blessed to have a job that I loved for 46 years, even on the tough days. I now look forward to spending more time with my beautiful family. I thank my union that I am able to retire with financial security. See you down the road.”
“What a great honor for General Vice President Conigliaro,” said International President Robert Martinez Jr. “For years IAM District 15 and the Conigliaro name have been synonymous, it’s very fitting for his name to be on the building. I wish him many years of well-deserved happiness and relaxation in his retirement, as he will be greatly missed by myself and the IAM.”
“After so many years of dedication to the labor movement, and all the contributions he has raised for Guide dogs of America during his tenure with District 15, this dedication is well-deserved,” said Eastern Territory Chief of Staff Juan Negron.
Conigliaro, the son of a union member and a Brooklyn, NY native, began his career as a maintenance mechanic for United Parcel Service in 1977, but quickly distinguished himself as a union leader. From shop steward to organizer to business agent, Conigliaro rose through the ranks of Local 447 to become Assistant Directing Business Representative of IAM District 15, which represents members employed in automotive, trucking and a variety of other industries in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Boston. In 2003, he was elected District 15 Directing Business Representative.
The Machinists Union applauds United Airlines’ announcement that the carrier plans to hire over 25,000 airline workers and purchase 200 737 MAX airplanes by 2026. The “United Next” plan includes the addition of 270 total airplanes as well as plans to retrofit 100 percent of remaining mainline, narrow-body fleet.
“It wasn’t too long ago that hundreds of thousands of airline workers were facing layoffs and an unclear path,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “I commend United Airlines for investing in a vital industry for our country. As the largest airline union, the IAM will ensure that we fulfill the mission to empower every IAM member to serve the global marketplace with dignity and respect. The IAM is excited to welcome future United Airlines employees into our union. This investment is great news for all IAM members and their families.”
“I am extremely proud of IAM District 141 members for their work throughout this pandemic,” said IAM District 141 President and Directing General Chair Mike Klemm. “This announcement signals that our industry is heading in the right direction, thanks to the work of our members at United Airlines. IAM District 141 members will continue to work hard and be a leader for the rest of the industry.”
“This order is positive news for IAM members in the Puget Sound region and beyond. This order will certainly support our membership locally with good-paying family wage jobs,” said IAM District 751 President and Directing Business Representative Jon Holden. “We are proud to continue to build these aircraft for one of the world’s leading airlines that also employs Machinists Union members across the country. It is a good sign that air travel is picking up and recovery from the pandemic has started.”
“This is a much-needed boost for our Brothers and Sisters in the Puget Sound and the entire aerospace industry,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “The airline and aerospace industries play a huge role in our global economy, and this is especially true in the economy in the western United States. We are very proud of the IAM members in the Puget Sound, the best aerospace workers in the world.”
“I applaud this announcement after such a difficult year for the aerospace industry,” said IAM Aerospace General Vice President Mark Blondin. “Our members build the best products globally, and this investment is a signal that we are headed in the right direction. We hope that this type of investment will have a ripple effect in supply chains throughout our nation.”
The “United Next” plan is expected to create 25,000 well-paying, union jobs at United, significantly lower carbon emissions per seat and contribute an estimated $50 billion annually towards the U.S. economy by 2026. Combined with the airline’s current order book, United expects to add more than 500 new aircraft including about one new plane every three days in 2023 alone.
From January through October 1979, the United Farm Workers (UFW), led by civil rights icon Cezar Chavez, were locked in a life or death labor dispute after thousands of its union members demanded better pay from corporate lettuce growers in California.
The saga included long grueling marches, extensive hunger strikes and took a violent turn in February of that year when 28-year-old UFW member Rufino Contreras was gunned down and murdered near the Mexico border by armed company foremen.
“Go in peace, my love,” Rufino’s wife said at the time. “I will take care of your children.”
Sympathetic IAM members stood in solidarity with the UFW and supported the strikers by fundraising and offering donations, an endeavor covered in the June edition of The Machinist Newspaper.
By summer, Machinists had donated food at least twice, including 50,000 pounds of eatables and supplies. At the urging of then IAM General Vice President Justin Ostro, who personally met with Chavez, Machinists from at least 20 Locals and Districts continued to step up by offering $5,000 in financial aid.
Generous IAM Lodges included Districts 50, 93, 115, 190, 508, 720 and 727; and Locals 597, 720-B, 720-J, 727-D, 727-F, 727-M, 1111, 1173, 1414, 1518, 1546 and 903.
International President Robert Martinez Jr. has appointed Edison Fraser to serve as Transportation Coordinator, effective immediately. Fraser previously served as a Grand Lodge Representative for the IAM Transportation Department.
“This opportunity gives me a bigger opportunity to work with the entire membership of the Transportation Department, as opposed to my recent role as a Grand Lodge Representative, where I was assigned certain locals,” said Fraser. “So, it gives me the opportunity to work with everyone in Transportation and other departments.”
“Transportation is lucky to have Edison Fraser with his experience, education, talent and tenure,” said Richard Johnsen, Chief of Staff to the International President. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to this position and we couldn’t be happier to have him on board.”
“Edison’s work ethic and passion make him the ideal person to assist Chief of Staff Johnsen in growing and strengthening the Transportation Department,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “He has been instrumental in organizing and servicing our members for many years, and his vast experience will bring a wealth of knowledge to this vital role in our union.”
Fraser has worked on several successful organizing campaigns for District Lodges 141 and 142 since 2005. He initiated into Baltimore IAM Local 846 as a Southwest Airlines Customer Service Agent in 2002 and held several local lodge positions, including Shop Steward and President.
“As the Transportation Coordinator, I will be there to work with each and every member, our local lodges, and our districts. Together we will make our Transportation Department and our union stronger,” Fraser said.
Fraser graduated from the National Labor College in 2014 with an associate degree, went on to earn a bachelor’s degree a year later and in 2018 was one of the first two IAM members to earn a master’s degree through a partnership with SUNY Empire State College.
Fraser is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and currently resides in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2021 — Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the 600,000-member International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), released the following statement endorsing the College Athlete Right to Organize Act (S. 1929/H.R. 3895):
“The Machinists Union firmly endorses the College Athlete Right to Organize Act. The simple fact is that college athletes, some of the most exploited individuals in the country, deserve the right to form their own unions and engage in collective bargaining. Student athletes generate far more revenue for universities and the NCAA than they receive back in the form of scholarship and housing. It is past time for these institutions to share their profits with the student-athletes who are earning it for them through the collective bargaining process afforded to them through union representation.”
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in the manufacturing, aerospace, defense, airline, railroad, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, health care, and other industries.