IAM Women in Leadership: Tania Canniff

During Women’s History Month this year, the IAM is highlighting current trailblazers in the union. Are you an IAM Sister interested in taking a more active role in your union? Reach out to your District leadership about the IAM Leadership Assembly of Dedicated Sisters (LEADS) Program .

Tania Canniff joined IAM Canadian Airways Local 764 in 1988 after being hired in line maintenance at Canadian Airlines in Vancouver, British Columbia. She became a member of the same Local Lodge that her grandfather, Lawrence Pretty, had been a member of, and was a proud moment.

Growing up in a union household with union activists, she knew the importance of the labour movement and the importance of union activism. Not long after becoming a member, Canniff settled into the role of activist and advocate.  

“After becoming a shop steward, I was hooked,” said Canniff.

She was subsequently elected to a variety of positions at the local lodge level, including chief shop steward, negotiations committee, woman’s committee, and local lodge president. All of these roles, in their unique scope, allowed her to assist the membership, serve her union and give back to my community, all of which are her passions.

Canniff’s path of activism and development led to taking on leadership roles at the district level. In 2000, she was elected to Transportation District 140’s executive board and served as the first woman vice president of the board until December 2007, when she was first elected as a general chairperson, servicing members in the western region of Canada employed within the air transport service industry.

It’s a role Canniff continues to enjoy today, and one that she says is an honor to hold, as it allows her help and represent members and make a difference in people’s lives.

Most recently, Canniff was elected on behalf of the Canadian Territory to serve on the IAM Law Committee for the upcoming Grand Lodge Convention. She sees this role as another opportunity to serve the membership, and as another facet of development through the union.

“While I have faced gender and other discriminatory barriers in each of the roles I have held in our union, my continued involvement and development is a result of access to quality training, opportunities to challenge myself in various roles and assignments, and the great fortune of having many mentors and allies that have supported me along the way, or made my journey easier by paving the way,” said Canniff. “I like to think that people cross our paths for a reason, a season or a lifetime, and I am truly blessed by their guidance and friendship.”

“Tania is one of the brightest lights in our union. Her wide experience and knowledge of the IAM, her deep involvement in her local and district, and her participation in women’s issues, human rights and the rights of all workers has propelled her to the leadership position she is in,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President David Chartrand. “The crowning glory is that Tania is passionate and compassionate. This is a winning combination – for here, as well as the IAM. I couldn’t be prouder of what she has accomplished.”

Caniff feels that it is an important moment to celebrate the many contributions that women make to our organization. It is also time to acknowledge that despite the progress that has been made, gender inequality persists in our society and barriers remains within our union.

The pandemic starkly revealed the ways in which women still get left behind. Women were disproportionately impacted economically and carried much of the responsibility for parenting, when school and daycare services were disrupted. And far too many women experienced gender-based violence in our communities, and in our workplaces.

“We need to work together to eliminate gender-based barriers, discrimination, and violence for all members,” said Canniff. “Any form of discrimination and division weakens our solidarity.”

“Throughout my years of service, I have been a constant and vocal advocate of mentorship and am excited that I have been asked to take part in the LEADS Program as a mentor and an ally through shared experiences,” said Canniff. “The LEADS Program was developed by members for members, and will make our union stronger and more inclusive, creating a path for Sisters in our union to become successful leaders and activists. LEADS is an opportunity to open doors to so many female activists that often get overlooked, whose involvement can help our organization thrive, grow and become stronger. This is a groundbreaking moment for our union, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”


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Evans Appointed IAM Veterans Services Coordinator

IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. is pleased to announce the appointment of IAM District 4 member Richard Evans as the Machinists Union’s Veterans Services Coordinator.

“Our veterans put their lives on the line for our freedoms and the IAM honors that by doing all we can to help these brave men and women when they transition into their civilian working lives,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “That’s why taking care of the veterans that call the IAM home will always be a priority. With Rich at the helm, we can make sure our union brothers and sisters who served our nation will receive all the benefits they rightfully deserve to continue their service work in the next phase of their careers.”

As a U.S. Navy veteran with nearly two decades in naval aviation as a sailor and a contractor, Evans is dedicated to a lifetime of service. He knew he wanted to help veterans, especially in his union family. After his own experience with Veteran Affairs (VA), he realized he could make a difference by assisting veterans filing for VA benefits which can often be a confusing and cumbersome process. On his own, he obtained legal accreditation which allows him to prepare, present and prosecute VA claims, and he began voluntarily helping his union brothers and sisters in 2019.

Today, Evans will use his skills and expertise to reach all Machinists Union veterans, helping them to understand and apply for benefits they earned from serving this country. That includes benefits for compensation, education, Veterans Readiness and Employment, home loans, life insurance, pension, health care and burial benefits.

“I am truly humbled and grateful for the opportunity to create something that has never been done in organized labor. With the support and resources of the IAM, I am ready to reach out and help the underserved veteran community nationwide,” said Evans.

The IAM is home to one of the largest veteran populations in the labor movement and has always made taking care of our service men and women a pillar of its work. The appointment of Evans and the creation of this benefits service continues that mission and guarantees our veterans are taken care of at home. For more information, go to iam4.me/VeteranServices.

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Machinists Union Reaches Industry-Leading Tentative Agreement for 7,000 Members at Southwest Airlines

Approximately 7,000 IAM-represented workers at Southwest Airlines will be voting on a contract that delivers industry-leading job protections and pay scales for members at the carrier. The IAM represents Customer Service Employees, including Customer Representatives, Customer Service Agents and Source of Support Representatives, at Southwest Airlines.

The four-year tentative agreement also provides better mandatory overtime rules and creates a better quality of life for IAM members. The IAM negotiating committee unanimously recommends a “yes” vote.

“Our members should be proud to have stood strong for a contract they deserve,” said Richard Johnsen, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President. “Thanks to this negotiating committee and the solidarity of our membership, we were able to secure a much stronger tentative agreement that will benefit our members at Southwest Airlines, their families and communities.”

Read highlights of the agreement here.

“I want to thank every member who has stood strong and made their voices heard through surveys during this process,” said IAM District 142 President and Directing General Chair John M. Coveny Jr. “We have listened to the needs of our membership and are extremely proud of this tentative agreement with Southwest Airlines.”

In the coming days, the full version of the tentative agreement will be provided to members.

“We are very grateful to the membership, negotiating committee, District 142 leadership, Airline Coordinator Tom Regan, Grand Lodge Representative Jeff Tobius and National Mediation Board Mediator Gerry McGuckin,” said IAM Transportation Coordinator Edison Fraser. “We also want to thank Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan and his team for being partners toward securing a strong tentative agreement.”

The IAM will also hold informational meetings for contact explanation as soon as all ratification vote locations and dates are confirmed.

“It has been an honor to work with this negotiating team,” said IAM Airline Coordinator Tom Regan. “Every IAM member at Southwest Airlines should be proud of the work done on their behalf to secure this industry-leading tentative agreement.”

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Registration for the 2022 IAM Legislative Conference is Now Open

Take up the fight in our nation’s capital for policies that benefit working people. Join hundreds of your fellow IAM members at the 2022 IAM Legislative Conference from June 20 to 22, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Washington, 400 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001.

You must complete reservations by Friday, May 13, 2022, to guarantee the IAM hotel room rate.

Get the official call letter, registration information, and hotel booking details here .

As part of the conference schedule, attendees will lobby members of Congress and remind them who they were elected to represent. In addition, machinists will hit Capitol Hill and talk about the issues that affect IAM members most, including the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, Buy American, transportation, trade, defense funding, retirement security, healthcare costs and more.

During general sessions, delegates will also hear from allies in Congress and attend a congressional reception hosted by the IAM.

Make a difference by participating in this important conference.

Register today .

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