Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers


Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.

Name of Union: International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)

Mission: Committed to achieving a real voice in the workplace for professional and technical workers through organizing, thereby increasing union density among professionals and building our collective strength. Using the legislative process, we strive to raise the standards by which professional and technical employees live and work by joining together in solidarity.

Current Leadership of Union: Paul Shearon serves as international president of IFPTE. After a distinguished career with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA/IFPTE Local 2001), he was elected to serve as the international’s secretary-treasurer, a position he held from 2006–2015. In 2018, he was unanimously elected as international president.

IFPTE’s executive council is composed of the international president, secretary-treasurer and 14 vice presidents elected by the members to represent their respective areas. Gerald Newsome is IFPTE’s executive vice president and Atlantic area vice president. IFPTE’s other vice presidents are Mazen Alsabe (Northeastern), Ronda Cockrell (SPEEA), Joel Funfar (SPEEA), Laurence Griffin (Western), Gay Henson (Eastern Federal), Misty Hughes-Newman (Canadian), John Mader (Western), Sean McBride (Atlantic), Ryan Rule (SPEEA), Lee Stone (Western Federal), Scott Travers (Canadian), Gustavo Vallejo (Western) and Tina Zellmer (Midwestern).

Current Number of Members: 80,000

Members Work As: Engineers, scientists, technicians, healthcare professionals, auditors, drafters/designers, judges, lawyers, researchers, toll collectors and more.

Industries Represented: Federal, public and private sectors in the United States, and public, private and nonprofit sectors in Canada.

History: The story of IFPTE officially began on July 1, 1918, when the American Federation of Labor granted a charter to the International Federation of Draftsmen’s Unions (IFDU). The union was formed from 10 federal unions representing engineers, draftsmen and technicians, and was the first labor organization dedicated to the welfare of technical engineering employees.

At its second convention in 1919, IFDU extended its jurisdiction to include other crafts and changed its name to the International Federation of Technical Engineers, Architects and Draftsmen’s Unions (IFTEA&DU). The union continued to grow for almost two decades as municipal, county and state government employees sought affiliation.

In 1950, delegates to the 28th convention voted to change the union’s name to the American Federation of Technical Engineers (AFTE). 

After almost a half-century of exclusively representing professionals in the U.S., the union became international in 1953 with the affiliation of locals in Ontario. Today, IFPTE has four local unions and over 10,000 members throughout Canada.

In 1972, delegates to the 40th convention voted to change the union’s name to the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE).

IFPTE celebrated its 100th anniversary last year in Atlantic City, N.J. It is one of the fastest-growing labor organizations in North America.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: IFPTE is currently organizing aerospace employees at Boeing in Southern California, planners at Southern California Edison, legal professionals in Ontario, health care professionals and is working to increase national focus on nonprofits.

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