Yesterday, May 2, President Harry Lombardo retired from his position as International President of the Transport Workers Union. Because his decision ultimately has an effect on the entire membership, an update is in order. First, and most importantly, the TWU is in good hands. Executive Vice President John Samuelsen was immediately sworn in as the new International President. John is a strong leader and a multiple term President of TWU Local 100 in New York City, which has 42,000 active members. John is an experienced negotiator and will be a strong advocate in our current contract negotiations with American Airlines. Secondly, and just as important, John is familiar with the responsibilities of the office that he now holds. John has been an integral part of the team that brought stability to the TWU since taking office at our last International Convention. John is joined at the top of the organization with International Secretary Treasurer Alex Garcia, an experienced Union Officer and past President of TWU Local 568 in Miami. Alex has intimate knowledge of the American Airlines system and with our ongoing contract negotiations. The remaining International Officers and staff remain in place, this insuring a smooth transition.
Harry Lombardo brought the TWU through the first two years of the TWU/IAM Association. At this time, the IAM holds the Chairman position of the TWU/IAM Association and the TWU holds the Vice Chairman position. That will change this coming July; the Association documents provide for the reversal of the Chairman and Co-Chairman roles every two years. International President Samuelsen will assume the role of Association Chairman, and, along with the International staff, is fully prepared to move us through our current contract negotiations. As Harry Lombardo transitions into a much deserved retirement, he leaves behind the TWU and the TWU/IAM Association with fully capable and energetic leaders headed by President Samuelsen.
The rumor mill is in full force with the announcement of Harry Lombardo’s retirement. I can, with certainty, report that Harry Lombardo is not taking a position with American Airlines Management. Harry, who started out cleaning buses in Philadelphia as a TWU member in 1972, just celebrated 45 years in his career. Harry was never a part of the airline industry, and TWU’s representation at American Airlines, while substantial, is only a part of TWU’s total active membership. While this rumor makes for salacious conversation on the shop floor, it has no basis in fact.
Finally, I would like to discuss our communications with the Local 512 membership. There are many information “experts” out there that make postings on social media. Far too many times, it becomes a race to be the first one to post this information. TWU Local 512 will disseminate only factual and verifiable information. When it comes to communications about our contract negotiations, we will only pass along information that has been approved by the TWU/IAM Association. We cannot and will not provide commentary or share opinions. We will not repost unverified information or commentary that is not approved by the TWU/IAM Association. That’s how rumors start and grow. We take our representational responsibility seriously and will act accordingly. Our web site, the TWU and Local 512 smart phone apps, Local 512 Facebook pages, weekly update e-mails, bulletin board postings, and the Membership Meetings will continue to be your best source for information. And you can always contact the officers. Unlike the Facebook and social media “experts,” we may not be the first to post things, but the information you receive from us is, and will continue to be, good, solid information.