Lama joined the Italian Socialist Party and participated in the Partisan Resistance, initially in the 8th Garibaldi "Romagna" Brigade, to become the Chief of Staff of the 29th GAP Brigade "Gastone Sozzi.” In October 1944 he led the delegation of the Forlì partisan command, who took contact with the allied command to define the tactics for the liberation of the Romagna city. After the war, he left the Italian Communist Party in 1946 and became one of his leaders until he joined the Central Committee in 1956. Two years later he was elected for the first time in the 3rd legislature and confirmed in IV and V. He resigned from the parliamentary term on 2 July 1969, in the name of the incompatibility between the Parliamentarian and the Trade Unionist activity.
Distinguished in the union, responsible for the Forlì Work House, his role as defender of workers' rights contributed to his climb to CGIL, of which he became national secretary in 1970. Working in collaboration with socialist Piero Boni, Lama was the advocate of the union with CISL and UIL, though this strategy was not always crowned by success. On February 17, 1977, the University of Rome was strongly challenged by young adherents to extra-parliamentary positions. This episode went to history as the “Lama’s hunt” and was quoted by Fabrizio De André as the song “Wolf’s tail." The trade unionist would return to Wisdom, in the same places where he was bitterly challenged, about three years later. He was among the speakers of the event, organized in memory of the late disappeared Vittorio Bachelet, in which he strongly condemned red terrorism by the participants.
In January 1978, at an assembly in Rome, Rome proposed workers a policy of sacrifices aimed at restoring the Italian economy by reviewing the union's position on the wage as an independent variable. This choice was defined as the Eur line. Contrary to the direct involvement of PCI and PSI within CGIL, there was a violent confrontation with Gianni Agnelli in 1980 after FIAT expelled, integrating 23,000 employees. At the end of his secretary-ship in 1986, CGIL could be said to be strengthened in terms of political influence as it became the main reference point for most of the employees, especially the private sector; the number of members increased, especially in the three-year period 1975 - 1977.
Lama also led the union to play an increasingly active and important role in national political, economic and social debates. In 1987, Senator was elected as independent in the PCI lists and re-elected in 1992 but at the end of the term he preferred not to recruit for age and health reasons. In 1988 he was elected mayor of Amelia, a town in the province of Terni, where he had long owned a country house. It was reconfirmed in the 1994 elections, the first that included the direct election of the mayor, and remained in office until his death in 1996. He is buried at the Cimitero del Verano in Rome.