Wichita Aero Club Will Host IAM International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger on Thursday, September 27

August 8, 2012 3:00pm

The Wichita Aero Club has announced that R. Thomas Buffenbarger, International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) will be the featured speaker at its Thursday, September 27, 2012 luncheon. The event will be held in the Grand Ballroom at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at Wichita Airport at noon.
“Tom Buffenbarger is an outspoken advocate for the thousands of aerospace workers represented by the IAM, and he’s not afraid to voice his opinion to some of the most powerful people in industry and government. That includes the President of the United States. Mr. Buffenbarger has, on more than one occasion, spoken directly to President Obama about coming to Wichita to see what kind of effect his and members of his administration’s words have had on the aviation industry in the Air Capital. He has joined with Mayor Carl Brewer to invite the President to Wichita and has suggested that he temper his rhetoric regarding business aviation customers and those who fly on corporate aircraft because words have consequences and those consequences in Wichita have included the loss of thousands of jobs during the protracted downturn in the economy,” said Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club president.
Thomas Buffenbarger is the 13th International President of the IAM since its founding in 1888. The son of an IAM member, he assumed his first IAM leadership post in 1970 at the age of 20, when he was elected Shop Steward of his apprenticeship group at General Electric Jet Engines in Evendale, Ohio. In 1977 he was elected Representative of IAM DIstrict 34 in Cincinnati Three years later he was appointed an IAM SPecial Representative for the Great Lakes Territory and, in 1983, became Administrative Assistant to the General Vice President for that territory.
He moved to IAM headquarters in Washington, DC in 1986 to work in its Organizing Department, prior to being appointed Executive Assistant to the International President in 1988, serving both International Presidents William Winpisinger and George Kourpias. From 1991 to 1997 Buffenbarger served as IAM General Vice President at Headquarters, functioning as chief of staff of all operations. As International President, he is also a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council and serves on the IndustrALL’s Executive Committee as Vice President.
“We are very pleased that Mr. Buffenbarger has agreed to speak to the Aero Club. He will offer a perspective that resonates with the IAM membership and will undoubtedly address the challenges and opportunities that will face aerospace workers in a changing industry. He’s a man who demonstrates support for the products made by IAM members, too. He will, in all likelihood, come to Wichita on the union’s Learjet 60,” Franson added.
With an anticipated large crowd for this event, the Wichita Aero Club is accepting reservations for the luncheon now. Attendance is open to the public. Non-WAC members may purchase tickets for $40 each. Members receive a 25% discount. Registration and networking begin at 11:45 AM with lunch commencing promptly at noon. Additional information or reservations for the luncheon can be obtained by visiting the Wichita Aero Club website at or by calling the Club at 316-681-4471 or 316-641-5962.