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Southern Labor Archives: Archives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: Executive Officers

Tom Talbot, International President, 1888-1890

IAM IP Tom Talbot

1849: Born in Chesterfield County, South Carolina

1865: Becomes an apprentice Machinist in Florence, South Carolina at age 16, attempts to
         establish a union in South Carolina, and becomes a member of several large fraternal

1887: Works as a Machinist for the Eastern Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad in Atlanta,

1888: Founds the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers with 18 other
         Machinists, the association that would later become the IAMAW

         - Serves as the Grand Master Machinist for the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical
                                                    Engineers of America until 1890

                                          1889: The first issue of the Machinists Monthly Journal published

James J. Creamer, International President, 1890-1892

James J.Creamer IP

1861: Born in Richmond, Virginia

1878: Becomes an apprentice at age 17 for the Richmond Locomotive Machine Works

         - Serves as secretary for the Richmond Order of the Knights of Labor

         - Organizes Local Lodge 10, Order of Machinists and Mechanical Engineers in Richmond,

         - Delegate at the first convention in Atlanta and chosen as Grand Foreman

         - Moves union headquarters to Richmond after being named Grand Master Machinist, a
           position holds for only two years before stepping down

1890: Canadian Local Lodge 103 chartered in Stratford, Ontario, making the
                                                  National Association of Machinists an international organization (IAM) 

                                                   - Credited with drafting the IAM Constitution

                                                   - Goes on to serve in the Virginia legislature, helping write several early labor laws for the
                                                     state while continuing to edit the Machinists Monthly Journal until 1895

John O'Day, International President, 1892-1893

John O' Day IP        - Leads Machinists into their first contract with a major railroad company, the Santa Fe

        - Approves organization of the first District Lodge on the Union Pacific

1892: Serves as International President until 1893

James O'Connell, International President, 1893-1911

James O'Connell

1858: Born in Minersville, Pennsylvania

1874: Becomes an apprentice Machinist at age 16 in Oil City, Pennsylvania

1886: Delegate to the Knights of Labor Convention in Richmond, Virginia

1890: Leaves the Knights of Labor and forms a local Machinists Union affiliated with the IAM

1891: Delegate to the Grand Lodge Convention, Pittsburgh and elected to the IAM's first General
         Executive Board

1893: Elected Grand Master Machinist

1895: Affiliates the IAM with American Federation of Labor

William Hugh Johnston, International President, 1911-1926

William Hugh Johnston IP

1874: Born in Nova Scotia

1888: Becomes an apprentice at the Rhode Island Locomotive Works and later works as a
         Journeyman throughout New England

1895: Helps organize an IAM Lodge in Pawtucket, Rhode Island then transfers to Lodge 147,
         Rhode Island Locomotive Works, in 1897 where he becomes President and Chairman of
         the Shop Committee

1905: Elected District President for the area covering most of New England

1911: Elected International President

        - Establishes idea of Unions as a positive force for efficient, high-level production

A. O. Wharton, International President, 1926-1939

A. O. Whorton

1873: Born in Kansas

1887: Becomes an apprentice at age 14 for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad

1890: Becomes Journeyman, joins IAM, begins working on the Union Pacific, helps
         organize several lodges, and leads strike against Union Pacific in 1893

1903: Becomes General Chairman of IAM District on the Missouri Pacific Railroad

1926: Serves as International President until 1939

Harvey Brown, International President, 1939-1949

Harvey Brown

        - Becomes an apprentice for Bethlehem Steel

1910: Elected Business Representative by a lodge in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

1911: Delegate and Chairman of the Officer's Report Committee, Grand Lodge Convention

1915: International President Johnston appoints Brown to Grand Lodge staff

1916-1921: Holds other various labor positions 

1921: Elected General Vice President

1934: Wharton brings him to headquarters as Resident General Vice President

1939: Chosen by Executive Council to be Wharton's successor, serving as International
                                                   President until 1949 
                                          1949: Continues to serve after retirement as Labor Advisor to Germany's American High

Al J. Hayes, International President, 1949-1965

Al J. Hayes IP

1900: Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        - Apprentices for Milwaukee Railroad in West Milwaukee shops

        - Joins Lodge 234 as a journeyman and "booms" around the railroad for a more well-rounded

1922: Participates in the Great Railroad Strike as a member of Local 1052

         - Serves as Shop Chairman for several shops and later elected District Lodge 7 President

1934: Appointed to Grand Lodge 10 staff by International President Wharton

                                                   - Serves as a member of the Regional War Labor Board in Chicago, Illinois

                                         1944: Becomes member of the Executive Council

                                         1945: International President Brown appoints him as General Vice President

                                         1949: Serves as International President until 1965

P. L. "Roy" Siemiller, International President, 1965-1969

P. L. "Roy" Siemiller

1904: Born near the Platte River in Nebraska

         - Becomes an underaged apprentice after fibbing about his birth date, working for 9 hours a
           day at 11 cents an hour

         - Serves in the Navy after completing his internship and goes to work for the Rock Island
           Rail Road in Herrington, Kansas

1929: Joins Local 823 in Port Arthur, TX; however, job disappears when the stock market crashes
         later that year

         - Organizes several locals, including Local 1093 in Harrison, Arkansas

                                         1937: International President Wharton appoints him as a temporary organizer,
                                                   eventually giving him a permanent appointment to Grand Lodge Staff

                                          1960s: In order to give the Union a new public look, he establishes the “go-go” years of the Union,
                                                    using the term from a new dance style of the times

                                         1965: Serves as International President until 1969

Floyd Emery "Red" Smith, International President, 1969-1977

Floyd Emery "Red" Smith

1912: Born in Kansas

1929: Starts work as a Machinist's helper at 25 cents per hour, his only work as a Machinist

- Loses job when the Depression hit

- Begins working as a bricklayer during the New Deal and becomes President of the Bricklayers' Local in Las Vegas

- Introduced to the Business Representative for IAM Local 845 and later meets several other Nevada IAM affiliates

- Invited to serve as a Business Representative for the California IAM

                                          1952: Appointed to Grand Lodge Staff

                                          - Serves for 11 years as General Vice President for the Great Lakes Territory

                                         1969: Elected International President, serving until 1977

                                         - Helps raise the monthly per capita to $1 to help the suffering Strike Fund

William "Wimpy" Winpisinger, International President, 1977-1989

William "Wimpy" Winpisinger

1924: Born in Cleveland, Ohio

1941: Leaves high school to serve in the U. S. Navy during WWI and learns diesel engine repair

         - IAM pledges support to win the war, including a no-strike pledge

1944: 76,000 IAM members serve in armed forces

Post-WWII: Joins IAM Automotive Lodge 1363 and quickly rises from Shop Steward to Local
                   Lodge President

           - Widespread layoffs follow end of World War II

1948: IAM membership becomes opened to all regardless of race

                                                    - The IAM Convention endorses Harry Truman for U. S. President

                                          1951: Appointed at age 26 to IAM international field staff as one of its youngest members

                                                   - IAM pledges full support of UN action in Korea

                                          1958: Moves to Washington, D. C. to organize truck and car mechanics nationwide at the IAM

                                                    - IAM Convention establishes strike fund approved by the membership in a referendum

                                                    - IAM membership now tops 903,000

                                          1965: Appointed IAM National Automotive Coordinator

                                          1967: Becomes IAM General Vice President

                                                    - Railroad Machinists lead shop crafts against the nation's railroads

                                                    - U.S. Congress enforces a return to work and arbitration

                                          Early 1970s: Meets future IAM President Thomas Buffenberger, saying of him, "I liked him. He
                                                              was kind of a free spirit who said what was on his mind." Both men are 2nd
                                                              generation trade union members

                                                        1977: Elected the IAM's 11th International President

                                          1979: Founds Citizen/Labor Energy Coalition, elected president, and launches first Stop Big Oil
                                                   Day, protesting obscene profits by oil conglomerates while American workers' paychecks
                                                   continue to shrink

                                          1980: Leads "walkout of some 300 delegates and alternates from the Democratic Convention to
                                                   protest the ... nomination of Jimmy Carter for President."

                                                  - IAM media project begins, thousands of IAM members and their families monitoring prime-
                                                    time TV to determine media's portrayal of working people and unions

                                                   - Writes Trade Union View of U. S. Manpower Policy

                                         1981: Directs IAM lawsuit, filing "against the OPEC oil cartel, charging them with artificially fixing
                                                  the price of petroleum" 

                                         1983: Co-authors with Jane Slaughter, Concessions & How to Beat Them

                                                  - IAM introduces Rebuilding America Act to Congress as an alternative to Reaganomics
                                                    and a way to rebuild nation's industrial base

                                         1989: Retires and George J. Kourpias is sworn in as the IAM's 12th president; "Wimpy" advises
                                                  him, "... you've got the opportunity to be the greatest president this union has ever had. You
                                                  can overshadow everyone who's come before you."

                                                       1997: Dies of cancer on December 11th, only one day after his 73rd birthday

                                                       1998: Placid Harbor Facility is renamed the Winpisinger Education and Technology Center to
                                                   honor the IAM's "visionary union leader, who brought the facility into being"

George Kourpias, International President, 1989-1997

George Kourpias

1932: Born in Sioux City, Iowa on June 10

1952: Joins Lodge 1637 in Sioux City at Zenith Corporation and becomes an active member of
         local Central Labor Council and the Iowa State AFL-CIO

1956: Elected District 162 President

1964: Appointed Grand Lodge Representative

1983: Elected General Vice President of IAM Headquarters

1989: Elected International President

1993: Appointed by President Clinton to serve as member of the Overseas Private Investment
                                                  Corporation (OPIC)

                                         1998: President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, formerly the National Council of Senior
                                                   Citizens (NCSC)

R. Thomas Buffenbarger, International President, 1997-

R. Thomas Buffenbarger

1950: Born in Ohio

         - Graduates from Ohio State University

1970: Elected Shop Steward of IAM Local 912 in Evandale, Ohio

1977: Elected Business Representative of District 34 in Cincinnati

1980: Becomes IAM Special Representative

1983: Appointed Administrative Assistant of the Great Lakes Territory

1986: Called to Washington, D.C. to join the Organizing Department

1988: Appointed Executive Assistant to International President Winpisinger

                                          1991: Becomes General Vice President of Headquarters, acting as Chief of Staff of all
                                                   Headquarter operations

                                          1997: Elected International President

William L. Dawley, General Secretary Treasurer, 1888-1895

William L. Dawley

- One of the original nineteen founders of the IAM

- First Grand Secretary

1895: Returns to Atlanta to work as Foreman for Seaboard Railway after serving as
         Grand Secretary Treasurer

George Preston, General Secretary Treasurer, 1895-1916

George Preston

1868: Born in England and raised in Nottingham

1886: Immigrates to America and joins the Knights of Labor

1890: Transfers to the IAM

1895: Elected General Secretary Treasurer of the IAM

1916: Suspended as GST and voted out in a special election

E.C. Davison, General Secretary Treasurer, 1917-1944

E. C. Davison

1878: Born in Virginia

         - Completes apprenticeship, joins the IAM, then enlists as a cavalry man in the
           Spanish-American War

         - Elected Business Representative of Local Lodge 10 in Richmond, Virginia

1913: Appointed General Organizer by International President Johnston

1917: Elected General Secretary Treasurer, serving until 1944

Eric Peterson, General Secretary Treasurer, 1944-1959

Eric Peterson

1894: Born in Sweden

1904: Family immigrates to Rawlins, Wyoming

         - Begins work as a call boy on the Union Pacific, waking the crew men up and later
           becoming an apprentice Machinist

1911: Joins in the strike against the Harriman Lines as an apprentice

1913: Becomes a member of the IAM in Deer Lodge, Montana

1928: Serves on the Resolutions Committee at the Grand Lodge Convention

        - Appointed to a special organizing assignment on the Pennsylvania Railroad, then 
                                                    appointed to Grand Lodge staff in the Great Lakes Territory several months later

                                         1937: Appointed General Vice President of the Northeast territory

                                         1940: Brought to Grand Lodge by International President Brown as Resident General Vice

                                         1944: Serves as General Secretary Treasurer until 1959

Elmer E. Walker, General Secretary Treasurer, 1959-1965

Elmer E. Walker

1934: Elected as one of District 9's Business Representatives

1936: Representative at the Grand Lodge Convention in Milwaukee, serving on the Resolutions

1942: Appointed to Grand Lodge staff

1945: Elected General Vice President, assigned to the Great Lakes Territory

1949: Transferred by International President Hayes to Grand Lodge, serving as resident General
         Vice President

         - Begins using electronic record-keeping to keep track of the IAM’s financial records

                                          1959: Elected General Secretary Treasurer, serving until 1965

Matt Demore, General Secretary Treasurer, 1965-1969

Matt Demore

1903: Born in Cleveland, Ohio

          - Works as a maintenance Machinist during the Depression, employed by a company that
            would later became part of General Electric

1935: Joins Local 439

1936: Becomes President of Local 439

1938: Becomes Directing Business Representative of District 54

1961: Elected to the Executive Council as head of the Northeast Territory

          - Member of the Law Committee at five consecutive Grand Lodge Conventions

                                                   - Elected President of the Ohio State Council of Machinists

                                                                     - Utilizes the Grand Lodge's UNIVAC III computer for membership records, mailing lists,
                                                      strike benefits, and bargaining agreement information storage

                                          1965: Elected General Secretary Treasurer, serving until 1969

Eugene D. Glover, General Secretary Treasurer, 1969-1987

Eugene D. Glover

1922: Born in Jonesboro, Arkansas

1941: Apprentices with Universal Match Company and joins Tool and Die Lodge 688

1942: Serves in the U.S. Air Force during WWII

Post-WWII: Returns to Universal

1949: Receives Journeyman papers

         - Joins McDonnell Douglas and IAM Local 837 after being laid off from Universal

1956: Becomes Business Representative for the McDonnell District

1965: General Vice President of the Midwest Territory for four years

                                                       1969: Elected General Secretary Treasurer, serving until 1987

Tom Ducy, General Secretary Treasurer, 1987-1993

Tom Ducy

        - Born in Fall City, Nebraska into a trade union household

        - Serves in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean Conflict

1950: Joins the IAM as a truck mechanic in Denver, Colorado, assuming various local leadership positions

1956: Elected as a full-time IAM Representative

         - Serves as a delegate to the Denver Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and is elected Vice
           President of the Colorado AFL-CIO

1961: Joins IAM staff in Chicago, Illinois, presenting cases to the National Labor Relations Board

                                          1987: Elected General Secretary Treasurer, serving until 1993

Donald E. Wharton, General Secretary Treasurer, 1993-2002

Donald E. Wharton

1955: Joins the IAM, Local 1405 (later Local 1151)

1962: Elected Grand Lodge Representative of District Lodge 59

1966: Elected President of the Ohio State Council of Machinists

1968: Appointed to the IAM's international field staff

1972: Appointed Administrative Assistant to the Great Lakes Territory General Vice President

1981: Relocates to International Headquarters in Washington, D.C. to help run the Organizing

1983: Named Executive Assistant to International President Winpisinger

                                          1988: Appointed General Vice President

                                          1993: Elected General Secretary Treasurer, serving until 2002

Warren Mart, General Secretary Treasurer, 2003 -

Warren Mart

1966: Joins Local 1900 in Evansville, Indiana, serving as Shop Steward and President

1980: Elected Directing Business Representative of Lodge 153, also serving on the Mayor's Labor
         Advisory Board, the United Way of Southwest Indiana Board, and the Evansville Leadership

1987: Appointed Special Representative of the IAMAW

1988: Elected Vice President of Indiana State AFL-CIO, Vice President of South Indiana Central
         Labor Council, and Secretary-Treasurer and President of Indiana State Council of

1989: Appointed Grand Lodge Representative

                                         1997: Appointed General Vice President in Eastern Territory

                                         2003: Elected General Secretary Treasurer

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