This year, for Black History Month, the IAM is highlighting some of our current history makers within the organization. All this month, we will be running stories on current Black activists in the IAM, telling their story in the union.
Reggie Dixon initiated into the IAM in 2002 when he started working for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA). He was elected as Local 759 Recording Secretary in 2005 and President in 2008. In 2012, he also became Vice President of District 112, serving in both roles until 2018. His dedication to the union resulted in his appointment to the Southern Territory as a Grand Lodge Special Representative in August of 2021.
“Brother Dixon has proven himself as a leader and dedicated unionist,” said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “Brother Reggie heeded the call from his union when his District was in difficult times. The members of District 112 have benefited from his service and commitment to represent our membership to the best of his ability.”
“I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn, but every day has been truly a blessing, and the love and passion what I do that started in 2005 is still in me today,” said Dixon.
Unfortunately, like other Black union leaders, Dixon faced many obstacles along his path. Working three times harder to gain trust from local lodge members and companies, Dixon encountered members who said they did not want him to represent them because of the color of his skin. He overcame those battles by pressing ahead and winning their grievances.
Wallace recognizes the challenges faced by Dixon.
“Being from the South, Reggie has faced challenges above the normal day to day representation of our members,” said Wallace. “We still have a long way to go in our country and particularly in the South when it comes to racial equality, but I am so proud that Brother Reggie is a part of our Southern Territory staff. He is a great asset to our Organization.”
He also relied on others, such as his mentor, Steve Hernandez, who helped him professionally and personally, as well as Southern Territory Chief of Staff Craig Martin, who talked to him on Christmas Eve after a disgruntled member who hurled racial slurs at him. During the 2020 elections, when racial tensions were high, Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace reached out to check on him.
Brother Dixon says he admires President Obama for his place in history as the first Black president.
“He earned the people’s trust by his actions, and not by the color of his skin,” said Dixon.
He hopes others will see that we all are the same and stop judging each other due to race.
Dixon also serves as a co-chair on the JTA Outreach Program, which performs many community service activities like feeding the homeless and hosting speakers for local public schools. Dixon’s IAM Brothers and Sisters say that he has always had a caring heart and helping hand, and he serves the membership in an exceptional manner.
“Get involved, stay active in local lodge meetings, and become leaders in this union,” said Dixon.
He also urges other Black union members to become leaders, “because we need more minority leaders in this union, especially in the South.”
Dixon’s hope is for Black workers to continue their education and become active in their communities, leaders on their jobs, especially union jobs, and role models for our youth.