The Dawn of the Machinists Union

The Dawn of the Machinists Union

The Dawn of the Machinists Union

The Dawn of the Machinists Union

IAM141.org

In the smoky workshops of late 19th century America, a revolution was brewing. The Industrial Age, with its booming factories and powerful railroads, had brought both progress and hardship. While innovation flourished, so did worker exploitation. It was against this backdrop that a small group of machinists in Atlanta, Georgia, took a stand for themselves and their fellows, sparking the birth of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), a labor union that would leave an indelible mark on American history.

The year was 1888. Thomas W. Talbot, a skilled railroad machinist, witnessed firsthand the plight of his colleagues. Wages were slashed, working conditions were grueling, and job security was nonexistent. Having previously belonged to the Knights of Labor, a broader labor organization, Talbot believed a more focused approach was needed. He envisioned a union specifically for machinists, one that could effectively address their unique challenges.

On May 5th, 1888, with the resolve of those facing an uphill battle, Talbot and 18 other machinists gathered in a locomotive pit, a symbolic location for their clandestine meeting. This makeshift conference room became the birthplace of the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers, the precursor to the IAMAW.

The fledgling union’s goals were clear: resist wage cuts, secure better working conditions, and establish a safety net for members through unemployment, illness, and accident benefits. It also aimed to elevate the status of machinists, recognizing their skilled craft and demanding fair compensation.

However, the path wouldn’t be easy. The late 19th century was a period of fierce anti-union sentiment. Powerful industrialists saw unions as a threat to their control and wielded their influence to suppress them. Early strikes were often met with violence and strikebreakers. The fledgling union faced constant challenges in securing recognition and bargaining rights from employers.

Despite the obstacles, the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers persevered. They adopted a motto – “Organization, Cooperation, Education” – reflecting their commitment to building a strong worker base, fostering solidarity, and promoting skills development. This combination of activism and education proved to be a winning formula.

Within a year, the organization held its first convention in Atlanta, Georgia, changing its name to the National Association of Machinists (NAM). The convention established a formal structure, including elected officers and local chapters, laying the groundwork for a national organization.

By the 1890s, the NAM was expanding its reach beyond railroads, attracting machinists from various industries, including manufacturing and shipbuilding. This growth necessitated a name change again, and in 1891, the organization became the International Association of Machinists (IAM).

The IAM’s early victories, including securing the first ever union contract with a major railroad in 1892, proved its effectiveness. This success inspired other skilled workers to organize, contributing to the broader labor movement.

The story of the Machinists Union’s founding is a testament to the power of collective action. It’s a reminder that the fight for fair wages, safe working conditions, and worker dignity is a continuous struggle. From those humble beginnings in a locomotive pit, the IAMAW has grown into a powerful organization representing hundreds of thousands of workers across North American industries. As the organization continues to evolve and address new challenges, the spirit of those 19 machinists who dared to fight for a better future remains a cornerstone of the IAMAW’s legacy.

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The Dawn of the Machinists Union

14 May 2024

In the smoky workshops of late 19th century America, a revolution was brewing. The Industrial Age, with its booming factories and powerful railroads, had brought both progress and hardship. While innovation flourished, so did worker exploitation. It was against this backdrop that a small group of machinists in Atlanta, Georgia, took a stand for themselves and their fellows, sparking the birth of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), a labor union that would leave an indelible mark on American history.

The year was 1888. Thomas W. Talbot, a skilled railroad machinist, witnessed firsthand the plight of his colleagues. Wages were slashed, working conditions were grueling, and job security was nonexistent. Having previously belonged to the Knights of Labor, a broader labor organization, Talbot believed a more focused approach was needed. He envisioned a union specifically for machinists, one that could effectively address their unique challenges.

On May 5th, 1888, with the resolve of those facing an uphill battle, Talbot and 18 other machinists gathered in a locomotive pit, a symbolic location for their clandestine meeting. This makeshift conference room became the birthplace of the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers, the precursor to the IAMAW.

The fledgling union’s goals were clear: resist wage cuts, secure better working conditions, and establish a safety net for members through unemployment, illness, and accident benefits. It also aimed to elevate the status of machinists, recognizing their skilled craft and demanding fair compensation.

However, the path wouldn’t be easy. The late 19th century was a period of fierce anti-union sentiment. Powerful industrialists saw unions as a threat to their control and wielded their influence to suppress them. Early strikes were often met with violence and strikebreakers. The fledgling union faced constant challenges in securing recognition and bargaining rights from employers.

Despite the obstacles, the Order of United Machinists and Mechanical Engineers persevered. They adopted a motto – “Organization, Cooperation, Education” – reflecting their commitment to building a strong worker base, fostering solidarity, and promoting skills development. This combination of activism and education proved to be a winning formula.

Within a year, the organization held its first convention in Atlanta, Georgia, changing its name to the National Association of Machinists (NAM). The convention established a formal structure, including elected officers and local chapters, laying the groundwork for a national organization.

By the 1890s, the NAM was expanding its reach beyond railroads, attracting machinists from various industries, including manufacturing and shipbuilding. This growth necessitated a name change again, and in 1891, the organization became the International Association of Machinists (IAM).

The IAM’s early victories, including securing the first ever union contract with a major railroad in 1892, proved its effectiveness. This success inspired other skilled workers to organize, contributing to the broader labor movement.

The story of the Machinists Union’s founding is a testament to the power of collective action. It’s a reminder that the fight for fair wages, safe working conditions, and worker dignity is a continuous struggle. From those humble beginnings in a locomotive pit, the IAMAW has grown into a powerful organization representing hundreds of thousands of workers across North American industries. As the organization continues to evolve and address new challenges, the spirit of those 19 machinists who dared to fight for a better future remains a cornerstone of the IAMAW’s legacy.

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$8,000 in Scholarships are Now Available!

$8,000 in Scholarships are Now Available!

$8,000 in Scholarships are Now Available!

$8,000 in Scholarships are Now Available!

IAM141.org

District Lodge 141 is excited to announce the commencement of its 2024 Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Essay Contest!

The essay competition is designed to encourage a better understanding and appreciation of the role of unions in America and foster a sense of community among our members and their families. By reflecting on the history and principles of unions, participants have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of this important institution and its impact on society. Through their personal experiences and reflections, they can inspire others to recognize the value of collective action and the power of working together towards a common goal. 

This year’s theme asks participants to contemplate “Reviving the American Dream: What Can I Do to Help My Generation Overcome Despair and Build a Better Future?” This competition is open to the children, spouses, and dependent grandchildren of members with one year or more of good standing in District Lodge 141 of the Machinists Union as of June 1, 2023. This includes graduating high school seniors and those who are currently enrolled full-time in college or trade school. The Grand Prize winner will receive a $2,000 award, and six additional winners will each receive a check for $1,000. 

Participants are asked to email their entries to dan@bleicomm.com by midnight on July 15, 2024.

CLICK HERE for the official rules and entry form.

 

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6 February 2024

District Lodge 141 is excited to announce the commencement of its 2024 Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Essay Contest!

The essay competition is designed to encourage a better understanding and appreciation of the role of unions in America and foster a sense of community among our members and their families. By reflecting on the history and principles of unions, participants have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of this important institution and its impact on society. Through their personal experiences and reflections, they can inspire others to recognize the value of collective action and the power of working together towards a common goal. 

This year’s theme asks participants to contemplate “Reviving the American Dream: What Can I Do to Help My Generation Overcome Despair and Build a Better Future?” This competition is open to the children, spouses, and dependent grandchildren of members with one year or more of good standing in District Lodge 141 of the Machinists Union as of June 1, 2023. This includes graduating high school seniors and those who are currently enrolled full-time in college or trade school. The Grand Prize winner will receive a $2,000 award, and six additional winners will each receive a check for $1,000. 

Participants are asked to email their entries to dan@bleicomm.com by midnight on July 15, 2024.

CLICK HERE for the official rules and entry form.

 

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Meet the Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Winners of 2023

Meet the Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Winners of 2023

Meet the Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Winners of 2023

IAM141.org

The District Lodge 141 Scholarship Committee, in partnership with Bleiweiss Communications Inc., is proud to announce the 2023 Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Competition winners. 

The Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship is held each year to celebrate and reward academic excellence and community commitment among children, spouses, and dependent grandchildren of Local Lodge members.

“The essays were of high quality, which we take as evidence that these young scholars take their education seriously,” shared Daniel Brin, the independent Scholarship Committee chairperson. “It is inspiring to see the dedication these students and our members demonstrate toward their academic pursuits.”

Connor Dalgaard, a Coraopolis, Pennsylvania resident and a student at Vassar College, bagged this year’s top award of $2,000. Maura Dalgaard, his mother and a Passenger Service Employee at United Airlines, is a member of Local Lodge 1044.

Six exceptional students were also recognized with awards of $1,000 each.

Kembrie Blackmon of Clearfield, Utah 

Layly Kalfaian of Washington Township, New Jersey 

Collin Krasnai of Exton, Pennsylvania

Therese Layacan of Auburn, Washington

Jacques Speyrer of Kissimmee, Florida

Linamercela Yanes of Houston, Texas

All the winners demonstrated a clear understanding of this year’s essay subject: “Public approval of labor unions among the U.S. public is at its highest level since 1965, according to a new Gallup poll. Are U.S. labor unions making a comeback? Yes or no? Why?” 

Their compelling essays, ranging between 700 to 1,000 words, stood out in a pool of submissions from high school seniors and full-time college or trade school enrollees.

Winners will receive their awards at a Local Lodge ceremony and their achievements will be acknowledged by the Machinists Union District 141.

“We encourage every student who didn’t get the award this time to participate in next year’s competition. Your perseverance and efforts deserve commendation,” said Brin. 

For winners, the next step involves emailing confirmation of enrollment at an accredited institution for the Fall 2023 term to dan@bleicomm.com.

Read the official announcement HERE+

Read the Winning Essay by Connor Dalgaard HERE +

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Meet the Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Winners of 2023

August 1, 2023

The District Lodge 141 Scholarship Committee, in partnership with Bleiweiss Communications Inc., is proud to announce the 2023 Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Competition winners. 

The Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship is held each year to celebrate and reward academic excellence and community commitment among children, spouses, and dependent grandchildren of Local Lodge members.

“The essays were of high quality, which we take as evidence that these young scholars take their education seriously,” shared Daniel Brin, the independent Scholarship Committee chairperson. “It is inspiring to see the dedication these students and our members demonstrate toward their academic pursuits.”

Connor Dalgaard, a Coraopolis, Pennsylvania resident and a student at Vassar College, bagged this year’s top award of $2,000. Maura Dalgaard, his mother and a Passenger Service Employee at United Airlines, is a member of Local Lodge 1044.

Six exceptional students were also recognized with awards of $1,000 each.

Kembrie Blackmon of Clearfield, Utah 

Layly Kalfaian of Washington Township, New Jersey 

Collin Krasnai of Exton, Pennsylvania

Therese Layacan of Auburn, Washington

Jacques Speyrer of Kissimmee, Florida

Linamercela Yanes of Houston, Texas

All the winners demonstrated a clear understanding of this year’s essay subject: “Public approval of labor unions among the U.S. public is at its highest level since 1965, according to a new Gallup poll. Are U.S. labor unions making a comeback? Yes or no? Why?” 

Their compelling essays, ranging between 700 to 1,000 words, stood out in a pool of submissions from high school seniors and full-time college or trade school enrollees.

Winners will receive their awards at a Local Lodge ceremony and their achievements will be acknowledged by the Machinists Union District 141.

“We encourage every student who didn’t get the award this time to participate in next year’s competition. Your perseverance and efforts deserve commendation,” said Brin. 

For winners, the next step involves emailing confirmation of enrollment at an accredited institution for the Fall 2023 term to dan@bleicomm.com.

Read the official announcement HERE+
Read the Winning Essay by Connor Dalgaard HERE +

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Hurry, There’s Still Time! Thousands of Dollars in Scholarship Money is Available!

Hurry, There’s Still Time! Thousands of Dollars in Scholarship Money is Available!

Hurry, There’s Still Time! Thousands of Dollars in Scholarship Money is Available!

IAM141.org

Calling all members of Machinists Union District 141! If you’ve ever considered continuing your education or know someone who is, now is the time to take advantage of the unique opportunity before you – the 2023 Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Essay Competition. This is no ordinary competition; there’s an abundance of unclaimed scholarship money waiting for worthy candidates. Thousands of dollars are up for grabs and could go home with you or a family member!

Currently, more scholarships are available than entries, which means your odds of securing one are higher than ever. The deadline to submit entries is fast approaching: midnight, July 15, 2023. So, we strongly urge you to put pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keyboard, and get your entries in!

The scholarship is open to children, spouses, and dependent grandchildren of members who’ve been in good standing for a year or more (as of June 1, 2022) in District Lodge 141. These members should be graduating high school seniors or enrolled full-time in a college or trade school. Our members enrolled in college or trade school, taking at least six units per semester, are also eligible to enter the competition. Only one award per family is allowed. And, if you’ve already won a scholarship, you’ll have to sit this it out. 

The 2023 essay competition asks you to delve into the subject, “Public approval of labor unions among the U.S. public is at its highest level since 1965, according to a new Gallup poll. Are U.S. labor unions making a comeback? Yes or no? Why?” Your essay must be between 700 to 1,000 words and submitted as a Microsoft Word document to dan@bleicomm.com. Please include a recent photograph of yourself, place the title and your name at the top of the document, and include a bibliography of sources for your essay material. To ensure that the work submitted is entirely yours – authenticity matters!

The awards are too big to miss. One overall winner will be awarded $2,000, and six placement winners will each receive $1,000. The winners will be announced around August 1, 2023, after careful and impartial judgment by an outside Scholarship Committee chaired by Daniel Brin.

The winning contestants will be honored at a local lodge ceremony and published by Machinists Union District 141. 

This is a tremendous opportunity to let your voice be heard, gain recognition, and secure funding for your education. So why wait? 

Take up your metaphorical pen and begin crafting your thoughts. We look forward to reading your entries! Don’t let this opportunity and the unclaimed scholarship money go to waste. Hurry, the competition ends soon!

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Hurry, There’s Still Time! Thousands of Dollars in Scholarship Money is Available!

July 2, 2023

Calling all members of Machinists Union District 141! If you’ve ever considered continuing your education or know someone who is, now is the time to take advantage of the unique opportunity before you – the 2023 Adolph Stutz Memorial Scholarship Essay Competition. This is no ordinary competition; there’s an abundance of unclaimed scholarship money waiting for worthy candidates. Thousands of dollars are up for grabs and could go home with you or a family member!

Currently, more scholarships are available than entries, which means your odds of securing one are higher than ever. The deadline to submit entries is fast approaching: midnight, July 15, 2023. So, we strongly urge you to put pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keyboard, and get your entries in!

The scholarship is open to children, spouses, and dependent grandchildren of members who’ve been in good standing for a year or more (as of June 1, 2022) in District Lodge 141. These members should be graduating high school seniors or enrolled full-time in a college or trade school. Our members enrolled in college or trade school, taking at least six units per semester, are also eligible to enter the competition. Only one award per family is allowed. And, if you’ve already won a scholarship, you’ll have to sit this it out. 

The 2023 essay competition asks you to delve into the subject, “Public approval of labor unions among the U.S. public is at its highest level since 1965, according to a new Gallup poll. Are U.S. labor unions making a comeback? Yes or no? Why?” Your essay must be between 700 to 1,000 words and submitted as a Microsoft Word document to dan@bleicomm.com. Please include a recent photograph of yourself, place the title and your name at the top of the document, and include a bibliography of sources for your essay material. To ensure that the work submitted is entirely yours – authenticity matters!

The awards are too big to miss. One overall winner will be awarded $2,000, and six placement winners will each receive $1,000. The winners will be announced around August 1, 2023, after careful and impartial judgment by an outside Scholarship Committee chaired by Daniel Brin.

The winning contestants will be honored at a local lodge ceremony and published by Machinists Union District 141. 

This is a tremendous opportunity to let your voice be heard, gain recognition, and secure funding for your education. So why wait? 

Take up your metaphorical pen and begin crafting your thoughts. We look forward to reading your entries! Don’t let this opportunity and the unclaimed scholarship money go to waste. Hurry, the competition ends soon!

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Scholarship Contest is Now Underway!

Scholarship Contest is Now Underway!

The Scholarship Contest is Underway!

IAM141.org

Calling all high school seniors and college and trade school students! Prepare to prove your worth in the arena of the written word by taking part in the 2023 essay competition. This year’s theme is “The rise of public approval of labor unions in the United States.”

In a mere 700 to 1000 words, you can champion the cause of the working class and earn a wealth of funds for your future education. Prizes will be awarded to six exceptional participants, starting at $1,000. The ultimate victor will receive a grand prize of $2,000.

The Essay Competition launched on March 1, 2023, and ends at midnight on July 15, 2023. Winners will be announced on or around August. 1, 2023. Judging will be done by an impartial Scholarship Committee that is not a member of District Lodge 141. Essays must be submitted via email.

Furthermore, the winners of the essay competition will be honored by District 141 of the Machinists and Aerospace Union, where they will be recognized for their exceptional writing skills and commitment to social justice. Additionally, the top entries will be included in our District Journal, which records key events within our District for future generations to see.

So sharpen your quills and unleash your creativity! Submit your entries by the deadline of midnight, July 15, 2023, and join the ranks of the finest writers in District 141. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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June Helping Hands – Sleep and Wellness

June Helping Hands – Sleep and Wellness

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Thousands of Dollars in Scholarship Money Will Be Awarded

February 27, 2023

Calling all high school seniors and college and trade school students! Prepare to prove your worth in the arena of the written word by taking part in the 2023 essay competition. This year’s theme is “The rise of public approval of labor unions in the United States.”

In a mere 700 to 1000 words, you can champion the cause of the working class and earn a wealth of funds for your future education. Prizes will be awarded to six exceptional participants, starting at $1,000. The ultimate victor will receive a grand prize of $2,000.

The Essay Competition shall commence on March 1, 2023, and end at midnight on July 15, 2023. Winners will be announced on or around August. 1, 2023. Judging will be done by an impartial Scholarship Committee that is not a member of District Lodge 141.

Furthermore, the winners of the essay competition will be honored by District 141 of the Machinists and Aerospace Union, where they will be recognized for their exceptional writing skills and commitment to social justice. Additionally, the top entries will be included in our District Journal, which records key events within our District for future generations to see.

So sharpen your quills and unleash your creativity! Submit your entries by the deadline of midnight, July 15, 2023, and join the ranks of the finest writers in District 141. May the odds be ever in your favor!

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IAM Mourns Loss of Retired Winpisinger Center Director Chris Wagoner

IAM Mourns Loss of Retired Winpisinger Center Director Chris Wagoner

Winpisinger Center Director and Educator, Chris Wagoner.

IAM Mourns Loss of Retired Winpisinger Center Director Chris Wagoner

Machinists District 141
15 November 2022

The IAM is mourning the passing of Chris Wagoner, who recently retired as Director of the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center. Wagoner, 60, with his family by his side, passed away after a brief illness on Sunday, November 20, 2022.

Over his 33-year IAM career, Wagoner dedicated his life to training and educating union activists at the Winpisinger Center, a campus in Hollywood, MD that many call the IAM’s “crown jewel.”

After hiring on as an education representative at the Winpisinger Center in 1989, Wagoner became the center’s assistant director in 2005. He served as director since 2007. Wagoner retired from the IAM in July 2022.

“The entire IAM is simply heartbroken at the loss of such an iconic, caring and influential figure in our union,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Chris has been a great friend and confidant to myself and so many others through more than three decades of challenges and triumphs in the IAM. Our memories of Chris’s unyielding love for our union and our membership will forever live on for so many whom he touched throughout the years. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Jill, daughter Mollie, daughter-in-law Qifei Zeng, and everyone who loved and cherished what Chris brought to our lives on and off the job.”

Wagoner was a constant figure at the Winpisinger Center, where thousands of members, officers, and staff every year participated in leadership, organizing, negotiations, and other programs that built power and knowledge in the IAM. Wagoner would make a point to visit with every class he could, sharing, among many things, that the Winpisinger Center, and the labor movement, must be an inclusive, diverse and welcoming environment, free of any bias or discrimination for all.

“Wimpy’s vision created the Winpisinger Center, but no single person gave it more life and purpose than Chris Wagoner,” said Winpisinger Center Director Mary McHugh. “His contribution to our union is simply immeasurable.”

Wagoner oversaw a massive expansion in programming at the Winpisinger Center, including negotiations preparation, remote learning, and Spanish-language classes. He led the Center through the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting quickly to remote learning and fighting tirelessly to rehire Winpisinger Center staff and reopen the facility with necessary precautions.

Prior to coming to the Winpisinger Center, Wagoner worked as an aide for the Committee on Labor and Industry in the Kentucky General Assembly. He also worked in the Labor Education Program and the Illinois Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program at the University of Illinois. Wagoner received his bachelor of science degree in political science from the University of Louisville and his master of arts degree in industrial relations from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

In lieu of flowers, the Wagoner family asks that donations go to the IAM’s favorite charity, Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines, in memory of Chris Wagoner.

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IAM Mourns Loss of Retired Winpisinger Center Director Chris Wagoner

15 November 2022

Chris Wagoner, the longtime Director of the Winpisinger Education and Technology Center, has passed away. 

The IAM is mourning the passing of Chris Wagoner, who recently retired as Director of the IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center. Wagoner, 60, with his family by his side, passed away after a brief illness on Sunday, November 20, 2022.

Over his 33-year IAM career, Wagoner dedicated his life to training and educating union activists at the Winpisinger Center, a campus in Hollywood, MD that many call the IAM’s “crown jewel.”

After hiring on as an education representative at the Winpisinger Center in 1989, Wagoner became the center’s assistant director in 2005. He served as director since 2007. Wagoner retired from the IAM in July 2022.

“The entire IAM is simply heartbroken at the loss of such an iconic, caring and influential figure in our union,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Chris has been a great friend and confidant to myself and so many others through more than three decades of challenges and triumphs in the IAM. Our memories of Chris’s unyielding love for our union and our membership will forever live on for so many whom he touched throughout the years. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Jill, daughter Mollie, daughter-in-law Qifei Zeng, and everyone who loved and cherished what Chris brought to our lives on and off the job.”

Wagoner was a constant figure at the Winpisinger Center, where thousands of members, officers and staff every year participated in leadership, organizing, negotiations and other programs that built power and knowledge in the IAM. Wagoner would make a point to visit with every class he could, sharing, among many things, that the Winpisinger Center, and the labor movement, must be an inclusive, diverse and welcoming environment, free of any bias or discrimination for all.

“Wimpy’s vision created the Winpisinger Center, but no single person gave it more life and purpose than Chris Wagoner,” said Winpisinger Center Director Mary McHugh. “His contribution to our union is simply immeasurable.”

Wagoner oversaw a massive expansion in programming at the Winpisinger Center, including negotiations preparation, remote learning, and Spanish-language classes. He led the Center through the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting quickly to remote learning and fighting tirelessly to rehire Winpisinger Center staff and reopen the facility with necessary precautions.

Prior to coming to the Winpisinger Center, Wagoner worked as an aide for the Committee on Labor and Industry in the Kentucky General Assembly. He also worked in the Labor Education Program and the Illinois Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program at the University of Illinois. Wagoner received his bachelor of science degree in political science from the University of Louisville and his master of arts degree in industrial relations from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

In lieu of flowers, the Wagoner family asks that donations go to the IAM’s favorite charity, Guide Dogs of America/Tender Loving Canines, in memory of Chris Wagoner.

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