Canada’s First Local Celebrates 133 years

It was on June 27, 1890 that Canadian Machinists formed Local Lodge 103 in Stratford, Ontario, 168 kilometres west of Toronto. Like their fellow members in Atlanta, Georgia just two years before, it was railway workers, employed by the Grand Trunk Railway that brought our union to Canada. With that charter it became known as the International Association of Machinists or IAM.

Canadian General Vice-President David Chartrand observed, “We started with the railroads.” But it provided us the groundwork to grow and become one of the most diverse unions in North America, and now it’s time to celebrate our successes while laying the groundwork for the future.

“In 1890 our IAM local 103 was started by railway workers seeking a better life,” said Rick Moriarity, President of Local 103. “Today we represent a variety of workers encompassing all walks of life: from auto parts manufacturers to long-term care homes; from volunteer firefighters to shelter workers. We are very proud of our history and plan on being around for another 133 years.”

Eric Johnston, Directing Business Representative of District 78 said, “The local has a strong tradition of representing workers in a wide variety of sectors. Over the many years, the local executive has been unwavering in their support for members of the local with their work-related struggles.”

The IAM represents more than 40,000 Canadian workers in air transport and a wide range of manufacturing including aircraft, auto parts, buses, aerospace, electronics, light and heavy machinery, tools and appliances. We are the largest airport security screeners union in Canada. The IAM also represents a growing number of workers in the health care and hospitality sectors as well as office, technical and other white-collar workers.

“We’ve come a long way – and we’re going a lot further,” concluded David Chartrand. “Happy Birthday to the IAM in Canada and Happy Birthday to IAM Local Lodge 103!”


Photo: Original charter of Local 103