So, who works to protect your contract?
The Shop Steward is a co-worker appointed by your elected union officers and trained to be the front line representative for you. IAM Stewards are trained to iron out problems between members and managers and, if necessary, settle issues more formally through the grievance procedure.
The Union Business Representative, an IAM member elected by you who works full-time on union business, backs up the Steward and makes sure your employer lives up to the union contract. They also help negotiate contracts and unionize new members.
The Local Lodge (or Local) is the basic building block of the IAM. Here members meet to share ideas, vote on issues and elect officers for all levels of the union, right up to the International President. Officers of the Local Lodge keep members informed on the shop floor. Their committees involve members in everything from lobbying the state legislature and Congress to community service work.
The District Lodge (or District) includes several Locals across a large geographical area and allows more services to be delivered more efficiently to more members. District officers are elected by you in a secret-ballot vote, either directly by the membership or by district delegates who, in turn, are elected by you, the membership.
The International Union represents the entire membership throughout North America, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. International officers, including the International President and General Secretary-Treasurer, are nominated by IAM members in open meetings, and then elected by a secret-ballot vote of the entire IAM membership.