In a year of unexpected challenges, the 34th Consolidated Convention adapted to meet despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Delegates convened online July 21, 2021, via a virtual convention platform, broadcast from Quince Imaging studios in Sterling, Virginia, to conduct the business of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.
At the event’s conclusion near 12:15 a.m. Eastern, International President Newton B. Jones thanked Delegates for their patience and understanding navigating a new and different convention experience on behalf of their local lodges and the union.
“I want to thank you all for staying with us in this unusual convention and performing in an exemplary fashion throughout the event,” he said. “Everyone worked in the best interest of our union and the members we serve. All our committees did their jobs to the very best of their abilities and with all the heart and care you would expect of them.”
To adapt to the online platform, the event focused on essential business, with just a handful of keynote speakers. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and TSSA General Secretary Manual Cortes addressed delegates and guests via virtual link, and Robbie Hunter, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California made remarks from the studio.
“60 million people would join a union today if given the chance,” said President Trumka, as he emphasized the importance of the pending PRO Act that would benefit union organizing and support union activity. “But America’s outdated labor laws are robbing workers of the union difference: good wages, great benefits and secure retirement. And they’re even older than the ships a mighty generation of Boilermakers built to beat Nazis and fascists in World War II.”
“It’s about our voice,” he went on to say. “When union membership is larger, our voice grows louder. Think about the debates this country is having about infrastructure and energy. Without Boilermakers, America can’t build the modern marvels to compete against the world, and we certainly won’t defeat climate change without the Boilermakers at the table.”
Delegates elected by local lodges and those serving by virtue of their office voted to elect a slate of incumbent International officers, known as the Proven Leadership Team, to serve a five-year term at the helm.
“Brothers and sisters, this is your Proven Leadership Team,” said Jerry Flaherty, BM-ST of Local 203 (Holyrood, Newfoundland) in nominating the slate. “They have proven time and again that they work for us and our union’s best interests. They are the right people to have our leadership table today, and they are the right people to have at our leadership table over the next five years.”
Following are the full election results:
International President: Newton B. Jones, uncontested.
International Secretary-Treasurer: William T. Creeden, uncontested.
International Vice President-Great Lakes: Lawrence McManamon, uncontested.
International Vice President-Western States: J. Tom Baca, uncontested.
International Vice President-Southeast: Warren Fairley, uncontested.
International Vice President-Northeast: John Fultz, uncontested.
International Vice President-Canada: Arnie Stadnick, 31,818 votes; Kyle Petronski, Local 128, 5,135 votes.
IST Bill Creeden cast the vote to reelect officers in uncontested races, and the Proven Leadership Team was sworn in by James Pressley, retired International Vice President-ISO.
“For 18 years, I’ve been more than proud to lead a cohesive group of International Officers known as the Proven Leadership Team,” said International President Newton B. Jones. “We have worked together for you, our members, with one purpose: to help you build and maintain a better, more comfortable life for you and your families—and to preserve the ability of this union to carry on that purpose for the decades to come.”
Delegates also approved reports from committees, as prescribed in the International Brotherhood’s Constitution. In particular, they discussed and debated proposed resolutions and amendments to articles in the constitution and ultimately adopted all recommendations as outlined in the reports of the Committee on Constitution and Law and Committee on Resolutions.
Convention Chairman Warren Fairley, International Vice President of the Southeast Area guided delegates through the process of “speaking from the floor” through Zoom connections. All votes were conducted through full roll-call via a Zoom interface with the online convention platform.
A detailed description of the reports of the Committee on Constitution and Law and the Committee on Resolutions will be forthcoming.
International President Newton B. Jones
Convention Chairman Warren Fairley
Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO: "Without Boilermakers, America can’t build the modern marvels to compete against the world, and we certainly won’t defeat climate change without the Boilermakers at the table."
Committee on Constitution and Law
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association: “I am proud of the connection that our two unions have, and we remain committed to cooperation…I bring you a warm message of solidarity from the members of our union. We know that when we stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers across the globe, we can achieve far more than we can achieve when we try to fight alone.”
A delegate speaks from the floor.
Robbie Hunter, President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California: “One group that’s always there for me is the Boilermakers…when I worked at the shipyards and when I saw a Boilermaker, I saw a brother.”