Sisters and Brothers:
As we approach the end of 2019, I wish all IAM members and their families the very best of the Holiday Season! On behalf of the IAM Executive Council, and all the Staff and officers across Canada, I bring Seasons Greetings.
At year’s end it is a time to reflect on the challenges we faced and to celebrate the successes we had. We have been busy across Canada doing the work of representing and bargaining for our members, and have been very engaged in building a better future for all of them.
As always, I begin with the Organizing successes we achieved.
The IAM in Canada has been focused on growing our membership for the past several years, and the results are showing the fruits of our Labours. At this year’s staff conference, the Canadian IAM Territory took away the top awards for organizing!
Canada was the territory that organized the most members across the IAM in 2018. We were honored to receive the awards for best organizers in the IAM, which recognized Ralph Martin and Scott Jackson for their work on Spectrum Healthcare. And we also won the organizing award for the best District, which was presented to DBR Kim Valliere. We continue to organize and to do the hard work necessary to grow the Canadian membership of the IAM.
2019 was also a year that saw a Federal Election across Canada.
Our activists in every province worked on campaigns for candidates in their jurisdiction, and we saw significant change in many of those jurisdictions. We won some new ones, and lost some we previously held. With a Liberal minority government now elected in Ottawa, we are all watching carefully to see how this plays out over the coming months and years. Clearly, there is room in a minority government for our progressive allies elected to Parliament to move the yardstick forward for working families, and push forward an agenda that works for workers!
Earlier this year, the IAM released our Grounded Potential report – the IAM Aerospace Strategy for 2019. In this report, we detailed the current status of the Aerospace and Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) industries. And we put forward our recommendations for improving and building this industry.
We have been lobbying our governments, both provincially and federally, to build a viable future for workers in Aerospace, and we will continue to do so. Our Aerospace Strategy report paves the way to a stronger industry across the country. Canadian workers are the highest skilled and most productive in the world, and with some foresight and planning, the IAM intends to keep us there.
We have also commenced work on a research study into Artificial Intelligence, automation, and robotics. This is a topic we see every day through our smart phones and our computers, and it is one of great interest to us as Union advocates. How does the IAM address the increase of computer-driven technologies in our workplaces, and the impact it may have on the jobs of our members? We are looking into this now, and will be working over the coming year to fashion a Labour response to the changing technological agenda of corporations.
September 2020 brings our quadrennial IAM Constitutional Convention, and I know our Local Lodges will be planning to attend and fully participate in this democratic process. This is where we set our agenda for the following four years, and where we debate the important issues that will set the stage for our collective future.
And next October we are planning our first Canadian IAM Women’s Conference, to provide our Sisters across Canada with an opportunity to meet and discuss their workplace issues. This will be a great opportunity for Sisters across all industries and sectors to meet together and address common problems. More information and details on this conference will be forthcoming in 2020, and I hope all Locals will turn their minds to participating in this important event.
It’s been a busy year, and another busy year lies ahead of us. Our representatives across the country have been working hard in bargaining new collective agreements for Canadian IAM members. They have been working every day in the workplaces, representing and fighting for a better work life for all of our members. I thank all our Representatives – the shop stewards and shop committee chairs, the Business Reps and General Chairpersons, and the Local Lodge officers – for the contribution they make to our great organization every day.
And to all our IAM members across Canada, I once again thank you for your support over the past year, and we look forward to working closely with all of you throughout 2020. I wish you the very best of the Holiday Season as you spend time with your families and friends!
In friendship and Solidarity,
General Vice President