A team of seven candidates has cleared the first hurdle in a challenge to the national leadership of 577,000 member International Association of Machinists (IAM). The slate is led by Connecticut railroad mechanic and former union rep Jay Cronk, and it includes Pat Maloney, a Local Lodge 63 member at Boeing’s Gresham aircraft parts plant.
On Jan. 25, roughly 800 local lodges around the United States held nominating meetings. Cronk’s slate received nominations in about 95 of them. In 14 local lodges, candidates on Cronk’s slate were the only ones nominated, and thus were automatically endorsed by those locals. The other 80-plus local lodges will choose who to endorse in meetings that are scheduled to be held Feb. 8.
In the Portland area, Maloney’s Local Lodge 63 was the only local to nominate the Cronk slate; the slate of incumbent Thomas Buffenbarger was also nominated in Local 63, so it will hold the Feb. 8 special meeting to decide which to endorse.
Any candidates winning the endorsement of at least 25 local lodges on Feb. 8 will appear on the national ballot, which will be voted on by members at the first regularly scheduled meeting of each local lodge in April.
The entire process is being overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor, which found last year that IAM election rules ran afoul of a federal law, and called for a re-run election.
Besides Cronk, who’s running for IAM international president, the slate includes Dale Cancienne for general secretary treasurer and five candidates for general vice president, including Maloney. Because election rules require that locals nominate for all eight general vice president positions, the Cronk slate also added three incumbent vice presidents to its list: Mark Blondin, Gary Allen, and Lynn Tucker. That means that regardless of whoever prevails in April, those three will continue on as vice presidents. Allen is currently assigned to IAM’s western region, while Blondin, who for years was assigned to the aerospace division, has been reassigned to IAM’s southern region.