|History of the IAM
OUR IAM HISTORY
1888: 19 machinists meeting in
locomotive pit at Atlanta, GA, vote to form a trade union. Machinists earn
20 to 25 cents an hour for 10-hour day.
1889: 34 locals represented at the first Machinists convention, held
in Georgia State Senate Chamber, elect Tom Talbot as Grand Master
Machinist. A monthly journal is started.
1890: First Canadian local chartered at Stratford, Ont. Union is
named International Association of Machinists. Headquarters set up in
Richmond, VA. Membership at 4,000.
1891: IAM Local 145 asks $3 for a 10-hour day.
1892: First railroad agreement signed with Atcheson, Topeka & Santa Fe.
1895: IAM joins American Federation of Labor (AFL), moves headquarters
1898: IAM Local 52, Pittsburgh, conducts first successful strike for 9-hour
1899: Time-and-a-half for overtime has become prevalent. Headquarters moved
to Washington, D.C.
1903: Specialists admitted to membership. Drive begins for 8-hour day.
1905: Apprentices admitted to membership. There are 769 locals.
Railroad machinists earn 36 to 43 cents an hour for 9-hour day.
1908: Metal Trades Department established within AFL with IAM
President James O'Connell as president.
1911: Women admitted to membership with equal rights.
1912: Railway Employees Department established in AFL with Machinist A.
O. Wharton as President.
1914: Congress passes Clayton Act limiting use of injunctions in labor
disputes and making picketing legal.
1915: IAM wins 8-hour in many shops and factories. IAM affiliates with
International Metalworkers Federation.
1916: Auto mechanics admitted to membership.
1918: IAM membership reaches 331,000.
1920: Headquarters moved to first Machinists Building, at 9th & Mt.Vernon Pl.,
N.W., Washington, D.C. British Amalgamated Engineering Union cedes its North
American locals to IAM.
1920: Machinists earn 72 to 90 cents an hour for 44-hour week.
1922: 79,000 railroad machinists pin shopmen's strike against second
post-war wage cut. Membership declines to 148,000.
1924: IAM convention endorses Robert M. LaFollette, Sr., for President.
1926: Congress passes Railway Labor Act requiring carriers to bargain
and forbidding discrimination against union members.
1927: IAM urges ratification of Child Labor Amendments to U.S. Constitution;
2,500,000 children under 16 are working at substandard wages.
1928: 250 delegates at 18th IAM convention urge 5-day week to
1929: Depression layoffs cut IAM membership to 70,000.
1932: Congress passes Norris LaGuardia Act banning use of court injunctions
in labor disputes. Wisconsin adopts first unemployment insurance act. Nearly
30% of union members are jobless.
1933: IAM backs National Recovery drive and 40-hour week. FOR picks IAM Vice
President Robert Fechner to head new Civilian Conservative Corps. Membership
sinks to 56,000.
1934: IAM establishes Research Department.
1935: Congress adopts National Labor Relations Act establishing right
to organize and requiring employers to bargain in good faith. IAM opens
drive to organize aircraft Industry.
1936: First industrial union agreement signed with Boeing, Seattle. IAM
convention endorses FDR for President. Membership climbs to 130,000.
1937: Social Security and Railroad Retirement Acts now in operation.
IAM negotiates paid vacations in 26% of its agreements.
1939: IAM signs first union agreement in air transport industry with
1940: Machinists rates average 80 cents an hour. IAM pledges full support to
National Defense program. IAM membership climbs to 188,000.
1941: IAM pledges hail support to win the war including no-strike pledge.
1944: 76,000 IAM members serve in armed forces. Total membership
1945: First agreement with Remington Rand. IAM convention votes to establish
weekly newspaper, education department. Widespread layoffs follow end of
World War II.
1946: 88% of IAM agreements now provide for paid vacations.
1947: Congress enacts anti-union Taft-Hartley Act. Machinists
Non-Partisan Political League founded. IAM Legal Department established.
Machinists average $1.56 an hour.
1948: IAM membership opened to all regardless of race or colour. IAM
convention endorses Harry Truman for President.
1949: Railroad machinists win 40 hour week. Membership down to 501,000.
1950: IAM joins International Transport Workers Federation. Machinists
now average $1.82 an hour.
1951: IAM pledges full support of UN action in Korea.
1952: Employees on 85% of airlines now protected by IAM agreements. 92%
of IAM contracts provide for paid holidays.
1953: IAM has contracts fixing wages and working conditions with
13,500 employers. IAM Atomic Energy Conference organized.
1955: AFL and Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) merge, Machinist Al
Hayes elected Vice President and chairman of Ethical Practices Committee.
70% of IAM contracts now have health and welfare provisions. Machinists
average $2.33 an hour.
1956: 2,000th active local chartered. New ten story Machinists Building
dedicated at 1300 Connecticut Ave., Washington, DC.
1958: IAM convention establishes a strike fund which was approved by
the membership in a referendum vote. IAM membership now tops 903,000.
1959: Congress enacts anti-union Landrum-Griffin Act.
1959: On April 26, The International Association of Machinists granted a
Charter to Canel Lodge 700, Middletown, Connecticut.
1960: IAM convention endorses JFK for President after personal visits
from both Kennedy and Richard Nixon. IAM convention establishes
college scholarship program. IAM establishes Labor Management Pension Fund.
1962: IAM Electronics Conference established. JFK issues Executive
Order giving Federal employees a limited right to collective bargaining.
Machinists now average $3.10 an hour.
1964: IAM convention endorses LBJ for President, after a personal
appearance. Delegates vote to change name to International Association
of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Membership at 800,000.
1966: IAM members strike five major airlines and finally break through
unfair 3.2% limit on wage increases. First dental care plan negotiated
with Aero jet General.
1967: Railroad machinists lead shopcrafts against nation's railroads.
Congress forces return to work and arbitration.
1968: IAM membership tops 1,000,000. Machinists average $3.44 an hour.
1969: IAM member, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, the first space mechanic walks on the
1970: Congress votes first Federal Occupational Safety and Health law.
IAM is one of 19 unions in first successful coordinated bargaining effort
1971: IAM wins biggest back pay award in history, more than $54,500,00
for 1,000 members locked out illegally by National Airlines. IAM
establishes Job Safety & Health Department.
1972: IAM membership drops to 902,000 as a result of recession and
layoffs in defense industries. IAM President Floyd Smith quits U.S. Pay
Board to protest unfair economic policies. IAM convention endorses Sen.
George McGovern for President.
1973: IAM and UAW hold first joint Legislative Conference with 1,000
delegates in attendance. Machinists average $4.71 an hour. Membership rises
1974: Watergate scandal cast its shadow over labor unions along with
the rest of the country. When President Nixon resigned, IAM wired
President Gerald Ford, "You can count on our support and cooperation in your
efforts to bring America back to the principles upon which it was founded."
1976: IAM convention endorses Jimmy Carter for U.S. President.,
Delegates vote to set up Civil Rights and Organizing departments and
expand community services program.
1977: William W. Winpisinger sworn in as the lAM's 11th president.
1979: Citizen/Labor Energy Coalition launches first Stop Big Oil day to
protest obscene profits by oil conglomerates while American workers'
paychecks continue to shrink.
1980: IAM media project begins. Thousands of IAM members and their families
monitor prime time TV to determine media's portrayal of working people and
1981: Older Workers and Retired Members Department is established at
1982: Reaganomics grips nation. Individual and corporate bankruptcies reach
epidemic proportions. IAM membership begins drop to 820,211.
1983: IAM introduces 'Rebuilding America' act to Congress as alternative to Reaganomics and to rebuild nation’s industrial base.
1984: IAM convention in Seattle WA, endorses Walter Mondale for
U.S. President. Delegates vote funding for Placid Harbor Education Center
to improve the level of understanding of workers in an ever changing world.
1987: IAM Executive Council establishes new Organizing Department, the first
ever to be headed by a Vice President. First IAM Communications Conference
convened in Kansas City, MO.
1988: IAM celebrates 100th anniversary in Atlanta, GA, on May 5.
1989: George J. Kourpias sworn in as the IAM's 12th president.
1992: IAM moves to new state-of-the-art headquarters building in
Upper Marlboro, MD, to keep pace with technological changes and serve
members' needs well into 21st Century; IAM convenes 33rd convention at
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
1994: International Woodworkers of America ratify merger agreement.
More than 20,000 members join IAM family. Some 8,000 USAir fleet
service workers say "IAM yes." Machinist newspaper bids fond farewell,
reborn as IAM Journal magazine.
1995: IAM, Auto and Steelworker unions debate plans for unification by year
2000. Unity plan sparks solidarity. Plan would create largest, most diverse
union in North America, with more than 2,000,000 active members, 1, 400, 000
retirees. Sixty-nine day strike brings major victory in new contract at
Boeing. Members air their views during first round of Town Hall meetings.
1996: ‘Fighting Machinists' spearhead political battle for worker rights.
Union efforts provide winning edge in Clinton-Gore presidential victory.
Meeting in Chicago, IAM Convention delegates build bridge to 21st
century. Delegates establish IAM Women's Department.
1997: On July 1, Robert Thomas Buffenbarger, 46, takes office as 13th
International president in 109-year IAM history, moves quickly to
reshape Union to reflect growing diversity, interests, concerns of IAM
members. Former IAM President Winpisinger dies Dec. 11.
1998: New Blue Ribbon Commission empanelled to provide membership forum
to voice opinions. Placid Harbor facility renamed Winpisinger Education
and Technology Center to honor visionary union leader, who brought
the facility into being.
General Vice President William Scheri retires, Robert Roach, Jr. takes over
the Transportation Department. IAM Shares mutual fund created; llows
members to put money to work in a fund that invests in IAM-represented
companies. The National Federation of Federal Employees affiliates with the
IAM. Unification effort with the Steelworkers and UAW ends because of major
philosophical differences; the three unions vow to work together, however.
The IAM endorses Al Gore for
The AFL-CIO launches its New Alliance
campaign, Grand Lodge Convention delegates respond with mandate that all IAM
local and district lodges affiliate with their state AFL-CIO labor councils.The
IAM meets in San Francisco for the 35th Grand Lodge Convention.
The delegates establish Communicator and Educator positions.
revamped with relaunch of website, online streaming of video, and
repositioning of the IAM Journal as an advocacy magazine. IAM
Executive Council relected. Wliima W. Winpisinger Education & Technology
Center increases capacity by 50%. IAM Dedicates memorial to fallen members.
IAM members perish in September 11 attack. The IAM volunteers to help in war
against terrorism and to help America rebuild.
2002: The IAM establishes the Automotive Department and sets in place dozens
of organizing blitzes. LL 2710's Gary Blanke wins the IAM's first
photography contest. Members speak out at the 2002 Blue Ribbon Commission
town hall meetings. Everyday Heroes, an IAM documentary, which tells
the story of the workers who risked their lives in the aftermath of the 9/11
attacks, goes on sale. The proceeds go to treat rescue and recovery workers
at Ground Zero. The Transportation Department ignites a nationwide Day of
Action to urge passengers back onto trains and airplanes. IAM members join
with other U.S. union members for the biggest midterm election turnout ever.
About the IAM Logo
The design for the Machinists logo was submitted by Frank French, of
Machinists Lodge 12 in Houston Texas, who was a delegate to the first
Machinist’s Union Grand Lodge Convention held in Atlanta, Georgia in May
1889. It was chosen over several others submitted. The figures on the design
are a flywheel, a friction joint caliper and machinist square. The initials
of the organization are inserted between the spokes of the flywheel. The
symbolism of the flywheel is significant because it generates a lot of power
once I gets started. The historical connection with the trade is clear since
most shops in those days were powered by stationary steam engines with large
flywheels. The contemporary symbolism of the open calipers is “openness” —
an invitation to all to join. The square signifies that we are square and
© 2003, LL1922 International
Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers.
All Rights Reserved.