The IAM Local 1746 Women’s Committee celebrated August 10, 2022 – Maria Santiago Lillis Advocacy Day – A Commitment to Serve (ACTS) to honor Santiago Lillis’ tireless fight for workers’ rights, human rights and social justice by participating in the East Hartford Public School (EHPS) Backpack Rally to help fill and distribute over 1,000 backpacks to children and families in need.

The event was well attended and exceeded its goal by distributing 2,000 backpacks to more than 559 families in need. The committee “womaned” a table at the event, distributing IAM supplies as well as IAM literature about organizing and the benefits of being in a union. They were able to talk to thousands of attendees at this huge event.

The highlight of the event for children is leaving the rally with a new backpack, stocked with school supplies, so they’re ready for the upcoming school year. More than 1,000 of the backpacks distributed contained IAM supplies.

“The Local 1746 Women’s Committee has many people to thank,” said Local 1746 Women’s Committee Chair Therese Hervieux. “Chuck Herod from the Eastern Territory and Mary McHugh from the Winpisinger Center for their generous donations of over 1,000 each IAM pencils, pens, highlighters, folders, stickers and rulers. Also, a huge thank you to the members of our local for the generous $1,000 donation. We used the donation to fully fill 72 backpacks, along with supplies donated to the school system by shop floor members.”

“Our thanks go out to Howie Huestis, Julie Spielman, Ryan Tyrol, Mark Hervieux, Mark Gambe, Tatianna Diaz and Sue Toegal,” said Local 1746 Women’s Committee Taylor Salman. “A very special thank you to IAM Women’s and Human Rights Director Julie Frietchen and IAM Eastern Territory Special Representative Lorie Wilson. Without their help and assistance, this project wouldn’t have been possible.”

While many businesses and volunteers made this event a success, it was clear that the IAM made a huge impact on its outcome.

“We were very pleased and amazed at all the interest in our information at the table,” said Salman. “The Women’s Committee is forging a continuous relationship with the EHPS for future events such as STEM Day and Career Days. We are honored to have been able to have such a successful day and truly felt the spirit of Maria guiding our efforts.”

“Tremendous effort by all involved,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “I’m extremely proud of this committee and the work they did to make the outcome such a success. My thanks go out to all involved.”

“This community service project is a perfect example of A Commitment to Serve,” said IAM Women’s and Human Rights Director Julie Frietchen. “I’m extremely proud of this committee and their efforts to provide the very basic needs for kids going back to school.”

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