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National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Dora Cervantes


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National Hispanic Heritage Month Profiles: Dora Cervantes
Dora Cervantes IAM

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, the AFL-CIO will be profiling labor leaders and activists to spotlight the diverse contributions Hispanics and Latinos have contributed to our movement. Today's profile covers Dora Cervantes.

In nearly 30 years in the labor movement, Cervantes has participated in nearly every aspect of the fight for the rights of working people, and she has a distinguished career that is still going stronger than ever. Cervantes joined the labor movement in 1989, when she became a reservations agent for Southwest Airlines in Houston. Before long, she was an active member of Machinists (IAM) Local 2198, serving as an organizer, shop steward, recording secretary and then vice president.

After a decade of dedicated service, she was chosen to serve as an apprentice organizer for Air Transport District 142 and then became a general chairperson for the district the following year. Tom Buffenbarger, then-IAM international president, later appointed her to serve on IAM's 2002 Blue Ribbon Commission. In the following years, she served as a special representative in the Transportation Department of the IAM Grand Lodge and then Grand Lodge representative.

In 2012, Cervantes was chosen to serve as assistant secretary to then-IAM General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach Jr. The next year, she became the first Hispanic woman to serve as a general vice president for IAM. In 2015, she became IAM's 12th general secretary-treasurer, the first woman to direct the union's finances. She continues in this capacity today.

She also serves as a national board member for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, is an active member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, is a member of United Against Human Trafficking and is a trustee for the National IAM Benefit Trust Fund and the IAM National 401(k) Plan.

Cervantes holds a bachelor of arts degree in labor studies from the National Labor College and helps teach the Spanish leadership series for the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center and the IAM-Aviation High School Partnership Program.

Cervantes spoke to IAM's ViewPoints program in 2015:

This post originally appeared on the AFL-CIO blog in 2018.

Kenneth Quinnell Fri, 09/25/2020 - 13:38

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I love it when i see women taking the top seats in some most influential sectors of the sporting industry. This will be a tough call for Dora Cervantes. But lets hope she will be voice that we have been waiting for at the IAM. Money is such a sensitive issue in any association. Plus the precedence that has been set by her 11 predecessors that came before here means she really has to deliver. I hope her experience at the labour movement will help her in her current trustee job to the IAM's Benefit Trust fund.

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She is a level headed woman. The finances are safe with her. @bomb you are right. The predecessors have set the bar high for her. Plus with the unplanned events that came up after the pandemic hit, will push her to think outside the box. But her past record speaks for her, she has handled bigger tasks before this. 

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On 9/28/2020 at 12:29 AM, Agile said:

She is a level headed woman. The finances are safe with her. @bomb you are right. The predecessors have set the bar high for her. Plus with the unplanned events that came up after the pandemic hit, will push her to think outside the box. But her past record speaks for her, she has handled bigger tasks before this. 

True, am quite optimistic that she will revolutionize the sector. Women are known to be very transparent and strict when it comes to management of money and other resources. She has been a performer in her earlier jobs, that raises my confidence in her. 

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