Halifax, NS – The Maritime Council of Machinists biennial conference capped a week of site visits throughout the Maritimes for Canadian GVP Stan Pickthall.
Accompanied by Chief of Staff Gord Falconer, Airline Coordinator Carlos DaCosta, Grand Lodge Representative Rick Arsenault and Transportation District 140 General Chairperson Ken Russell, Pickthall travelled the breadth of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Members at auto dealerships in Bathurst and Miramichi, New Brunswick, airport workers from Air Canada, Swissport and Menzies at airports in Moncton, Sydney and Halifax, railway workers at the Sydney Coal Railway on Cape Breton and members at Canada’s only coast to coast manufacturer of fire hydrants in St John, all had a chance to meet and talk with their GVP.
The Biennial conference, traditionally held in Moncton, moved to Halifax for the first time. The theme of the two-day conference was Membership engagement, highlighted by a presentation on that topic by the William Winpisinger Education Centre Director Chris Wagoner. Stan Pickthall focused his remarks on Organizing and Political Action.
“It is our responsibility to hand forward a stronger IAM than the one we inherited,” said Pickthall. He told delegates the IAM will target the growing aerospace sector in the Maritimes and he encouraged them to become organizers. “Talk to your friends and your neighbours about what a great union this is. The only way we can grow is if you promote the IAM face-to-face. We are the largest Union in aerospace across Canada and we are the best Union to represent workers in this sector. We have an opportunity here but we need your help.”
Pickthall also spoke about the campaign to oppose airport privatization. The federal government is considering selling off major airports across the country, including Halifax, to raise money for infrastructure projects. “We are spearheading a campaign to oppose airport privatization,” he said. “Our petition has over 4,000 signatures of members, airport workers and travelers; we are looking to get 10,000 signatures we can deliver to the federal government.”