Changes in Leadership and Court Litigation

Warren Fairley, International President

August 16, 2023

Re: Changes in Leadership and Court Litigation

Dear Lodge Leaders, Members, Affiliates, Partners and Friends of the Boilermakers:

By now you are aware that over the past months the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers has confronted an internal matter regarding the inappropriate expenditure of union funds by the International President and the International Executive Council’s (IEC) efforts to impose disciplinary measures against him.

International Vice President John Fultz filed Article 17 charges against Newton Jones in April alleging serious misuse of IBB funds. This created internal disputes with Mr. Jones, who did everything he could to prevent the internal processes from proceeding. Eventually, the IEC heard the charges against Mr. Jones on May 30 and issued a decision on June 2, finding serious financial abuse and removing him from office.  

Mr. Jones utilized IBB resources in an effort to stop this process in federal court in Kansas City. The federal judge held three hearings on this matter. During the first hearing he issued orders against Mr. Jones, including prohibiting him from using the IBB credit card.

Yesterday, August 15, Judge Eric F. Melgren issued his summary judgment decision from the bench in favor of the International Vice Presidents who sought to uphold the IEC’s decision relating to Article 17 charges against Newton Jones. Judge Melgren found that the IEC’s original action was proper and conducted in accordance with our union’s Constitution. He will be issuing a written decision shortly which we will forward to you.

In the meantime, seeing the handwriting on the wall, Mr. Jones suddenly retired on July 31, attempting to appoint his successor. Under the Constitution, he did not have that authority and the federal judge agreed. 

The IEC then unanimously elected me to be the President.

This means that Newton Jones is removed from the office of International President and from membership in our Brotherhood. It also means that our organization can move forward. There will be further actions, including an audit to determine what Mr. Jones owes and continued efforts to collect those amounts from him. This will likely be a long process, but we are dedicated to recovering funds from him and anyone else who misused our funds. We are dedicated to correcting any abuses.

This is a new day for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. I was honored to be asked by the IEC to consider ending my brief retirement to serve as International President. While there have been many twists and turns in this process, during the most recent vote, all five International Vice Presidents were unanimous in their decision to elect me to this position. 

My sense of duty is to the members of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, to the local lodges we serve, our colleagues, our partners and the labor movement; and it is what compelled me to accept this act of service. I consider it a tremendous honor and privilege—and with these come willing sacrifice, responsibility and the burden to do whatever I can to “right the ship.”

Starting today, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers is going to be guided by a simple question in everything we do. That question is this: 

“Is what I’m about to do going to make the working life of a rank-and-file Boilermaker better?” 

If the answer to that question is yes, then we are going to pursue that with everything within us. If the answer is no, then we are not going to spend one Boilermaker dime on that endeavor. The IEC and I understand that every penny the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers spends was first entrusted to our union by a rank-and-file Boilermaker. We will only be successful if every member of this organization is given an opportunity to be successful. 

In moving forward, you are going to see some changes in the way we conduct our business—changes that increase our union’s accountability and discipline. Among those changes, our IEC will work with me and with their constitutional authority as a governing body, creating much-needed checks and balances at the International leadership level.

Our goal is to work together on the decisions that impact our union and its future. We are confident that through this new collaborative model, the decisions we come to will be well thought-out, strategic, free from personal gain and rooted in whatever is ultimately in the best interest of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.

We are already at work developing and strengthening policies, creating realistic budgets and deploying new logistical processes to ensure we make wise choices with the hard-earned funds Boilermakers entrust to our union and to keep us sharply focused on initiatives that will most benefit members and local lodges.

We are also evaluating current programs, and we will need to make some difficult decisions. But understand this: We will make decisions together that have been carefully considered and with our union’s future as the first and foremost measure.

One thing I can assure you is that we will organize and redirect our efforts to organize. 

This has not been an easy time for our union, but we are on a better and right path. 

I want to thank the IEC for their courage and tenacity to address a matter they knew would be difficult. While there was no guarantee of the outcome, they willingly and courageously put their careers on the line to ensure that the right thing was done on behalf of every member of this union. I want to thank the staff at headquarters and in the field, who worked hard to stay focused and serve the union’s members and local lodges to the best of their abilities under incredibly stressful circumstances. And I want to thank you for your patience and understanding.

I look forward to working with the IEC and with you all, and I look forward to a brighter, stronger future for the Boilermakers union.

In solidarity,

Warren Fairley
International President


cc:   International Executive Council
       W. Creeden, IST