May 12, 2014
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) have elected the top leadership of their union. International President Tom Buffenbarger kept the position he's held since 1997 by a margin of two-to-one. The preliminary results were announced Friday May 9th following a tabulation of ballots from IAM Local Lodges across the U.S. and Canada.
The vote count was performed at IAM Headquarters in Upper Marlboro, Maryland under the supervision of the Department of Labor. About 23,500 members voted for Buffenbarger, and about 11,200 voted for IAM Reform candidate, Jay Cronk.
"IAM members made their collective voice heard and elected a diverse leadership team with the experience and capabilities to lead one of the greatest unions in North America," said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. "Our members have spoken and we thank them for their support. They overwhelmingly rejected an effort to move this union backwards and we now turn our full attention to moving the IAM forward."
The election results were as follows: R. Thomas Buffenbarger was elected International President and Robert Roach, Jr. General Secretary-Treasurer. IAM members elected eight incumbent General Vice Presidents including Lynn
D. Tucker, Jr., Robert Martinez, Jr., Philip J. Gruber, Gary R. Allen, Sito Pantoja, Mark Blondin, Diane Babineaux and Dora Cervantes. The preliminary results are subject to final certification by the Department of Labor.
Anger over a narrowly passed contract extension offer from Boeing by machinists in the Pacific Northwest fueled the effort to oust Buffenbarger and the union's other leaders. There hadn't been a contested election for top posts in the union in over 50 years. The Boeing dispute prompted two people from the Northwest to run as reform candidates for general vice president: Jason Redrup, a business representative at IAM District 751, and Patrick Maloney, a Boeing machinist in Portland. The union's last contested election was in 1961.
IAM with almost 600,000 members is one of the largest industrial unions in North America.