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Southern Labor Archives: Archives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: William W. "Wimpy" Winpisinger

William "Wimpy" Winpisinger


11th International President of the
International Association of
Machinists and Aerospace Workers

1924  WWW is born in Cleveland, Ohio 
1924   The IAM convention endorses Robert M. LaFollette, Sr., for President 
1941 World War II - WWW leaves high school to serve in the U.S. Navey and learns diesel engine repair while enlisted in the armed services.  
1941 IAM pledges support to win the war, including a no-strike pledge.
1944 76,000 IAM members serve in armed forces, and total membership is now at 776,000.
Post -WW II WWW joins IAM Automotive Lodge 1363 and quickly rises from shop steward to local lodge president.
Widespread layoffs follow end of World War II. In 1948, IAM membership is opened to all regardless of race or color. The IAM convention endorses Harry Truman for U. S. President.

1951 WWW is appointed at age 26 to IAM international field staff as one of its youngest members.
1951 IAM pledges full support of UN action in Korea.
1958 WWW moves to Washington, D. C., IAM headquarters, to organize truck and car mechanics nationwide.
1958 IAM convention establishes a strike fund which was approved by the membership in a referendum vote. IAM membership now tops 903,000.
1965 "Wimpy" appointed IAM National Automotive Coordinator.
1967 "Wimpy" is the IAM General Vice President.
1967 Railroad machinists lead shop crafts against the nation's railroads. The U. S. Congress forces return to work and arbitration
WWW meets future IAM President Thomas Buffenberger and says 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 "Wimpy" is elected the IAM's 11th International President.
1979 The Citizen/Labor Energy Coalition ("Wimpy" as founder and president) launches first "Stop Big Oil" day to protest "obscene" profits by oil conglomerates while American workers' paychecks continue to shrink.
1980 Winpisinger leads "walkout of some 300 delegates and alternates from the Democratic Convention to protest the ... nomination of Jimmy Carter for President. "
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 unions.
1980 Winpisinger writes Trade Union View of U. S. Manpower Policy.

1981 "Wimpy" directs IAM lawsuit filing "against the OPEC oil cartel, charging them with artificially fixing the price of petroleum.
1983 WWW co-authors (with Jane Slaughter) Concessions & How to Beat Them.
1983 IAM introduces "Rebuilding America" act to Congress as alternative to Reaganomics and to rebuild nation's industrial base. 
1989 President and Brother Winpisinger 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 December 11, William W. Winpisinger dies of cancer the day following his 73rd birthday.
1998 The 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."
Dorothy Fennell has completed the first phase of the William Winpisigner Oral History Project. Eventually the tapes and transcripts will be made available at the Southern Labor Archives. For more information about this project, please contact the Archivist for the Southern Labor Archives.

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives
Southern Labor Archives
Archives of the IAM

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