Brief History of the IAM
A Democratic Union is an organization of workers in related trades and industries who have banded together to increase their pay and improve their working conditions through contracts arrived at by bargaining with their employers and through political and legislative processes. An individual worker in the early days of the Industrial Revolution was helpless because his employer owned the shop and the machinery, made the rules, and set the rates of pay. By making common demands, and by withholding their labor when the employer refused to bargain, workers discovered that collective power was capable of bringing owners to terms. when the employer resorted to courts and legislative bodies to decimate workers power, union’s reached for wider support through the vote and the right to lobby on their own behalf. Unions are essential in a Democratic Society and must remain Democratic Institutions.
North American trade unions have become a powerful force in politics and government, as well as in collective bargaining. it is estimated that there are approximately 11.9% of unionization in the United States, and approximately 31.4% in Canada. The IAM is affiliated with the AFL-CIO in the United States, and with the Canadian Labour Congress in Canada. The AFL-CIO represents more than 16,000,000 union members. The CLC represents more than 3,000,000.
IAM is one of the largest unions in North America. In the IAM, there are approximately 500,000 members spread throughout the 50 United States, 10 Canadian Providences. Puerto Rico, and the Canal Zone are engaged in Collective Bargaining.
IAM members work in diversified areas and industries such as railroads, airlines, hospitals, aircraft, public sector, auto and truck repair, engineering. aerospace, machine tool, business machines, electronics, federal installations, and in hundreds of other occupations.
There are approximately 1300 locals in the IAM, and more than 90 districts, combining two or more locals, each with at least one business representative, There are also 49 state and provincial councils. The average size of IAM local lodges is approximately 101 active members.
The IAM is governed by a written constitution . From the origin of the IAM in 1888, the Constitution has been the basic law governing all of the component parts of the organization. It is subject to revision every four years by democratically elected delegates to the Grand Lodge Convention. Over the years it has been changed by the several hundred amendments, which were approved either by vote in convention of the delegates elected from the Local Lodges or by referendum vote of the membership or by a combination of both. Thus the Constitution, as it now stands , is the product of many decisions made by direct or indirect action of the membership after deliberation within the Lodges and Conventions.
Between Conventions, the IAM is administered by an nine-member Executive Council consisting of the International President, General Secretary-Treasurer, and seven General Vice Presidents, and is assisted in promoting the welfare of its members by a field staff of over 550 experienced representatives, auditors, organizers, and technicians.
The PResdident, General Secretary -Treasurer, and the seven Vice Presidents are elected every four years by referendum vote of the membership. all canidates for these offices, including incumbents, must be able to serve at least two years of their term before reaching the age of sixty -five.