YFL Joins Young Machinists in San Antonio


This past weekend, numerous NFFE Young Federal Leaders (YFL) members traveled to San Antonio, TX for the IAM Young Workers and Emerging Leaders Conference. With a record number of young machinists attending the 38th IAM Grand Lodge Convention in 2012, IAM has committed to expanding its investment in the future leaders of the labor movement.

As Machinists, NFFE was provided the opportunity to send members of its YFL program to attend the conference. NFFE-IAM YFL members joined more than 100 Young Machinist brothers and sisters in a multitude of activities, including: building homes with Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio, a panel discussion focused on the outlook of labor for young workers and a series of skill-building workshops aimed at providing Young Machinists the proper tools to build a strong labor movement.

YFL Members: Kalia Vang, Amy Burns, Robin De La Cruz, Pete Randazzo

The conference began early Friday morning, sending YFL members and our Young Machinist brothers and sisters into the community to build homes. As the morning sun glistened over the dew-covered grass, crowds of Young Machinists filled vacant lots, ready to put their union values to work. Under the guidance of Habitat for Humanity staff members, YFL members and Young Machinists worked vigorously through the San Antonio heat to fully frame and prepare siding for six homes. The demanding work gave Machinist brothers and sisters the opportunity to reflect and discuss the importance of giving back to local communities.

Kalia Vang and Amy Burns

After a full-day’s work on Friday, the conference kicked off early Saturday morning with a keynote speech by IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. Following the speech, YFL and NFFE Local 2 member Amy Burns served as a panelist, discussing the outlook of the young worker. The panel focused on educating conference participants about the unique issues young workers in the labor movement face and discussed different strategies to engage young workers. Following the panel, YFL members spent the day engaged in training sessions on strategic communications, community service and coalition building, and collective bargaining. These workshops equipped our young workers with the knowledge and tools to enhance their performance as leaders at their Locals.

The IAM Young Workers and Emerging Leaders Conference commenced and concluded with a simple theme: “Young workers are the future.” IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger emphasized the need to engage young workers in order to sustain the future of labor. Young workers, with new skills in an advanced era of technology and information, have the substantial potential to take the direction of labor to a heightened level. NFFE is dedicated to the empowerment of our young workers through the Young Federal Workers initiative.

Amy Burns Discussing Outlook of Young Workers

If you would like to learn more about YFL and become involved in the young worker movement, please contact YFL National Director Kalia Vang at kvang@nffe.org and 202-216-4420. Visit our Facebook page to see pictures of YFL at the conference: https://www.facebook.com/NFFE.YFL.