Skip to content
 Install the Union Deals
 iPhone App!

UNION HALLS

SPONSORSHIP

 

UAW

Syndicate content UAW
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
Updated: 55 min 24 sec ago

Statement from UAW President Dennis Williams on Non-Partisan CBO Study on 22 Million Americans Losing Health Coverage

3 hours 1 min ago

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office confirmed what has been rumored and feared about the Senate Republican health care bill written behind closed doors in Congress. The Republican’s bill is heartless and deadly. According to the Congress’ own nonpartisan CBO experts, the mean-spirited bill would force 22 million Americans to lose health care coverage completely while tens of millions will be forced to pay a lot more money for much less coverage.  Premiums will rise by an additional 20 percent next year because of this bill.

The cost of health care coverage for older workers with fixed incomes could rise by as much as $10,000 per year. Crafted in closed meetings, the bill slashes Medicaid funding and would alter Medicaid programs as we know them. Medicaid covers most long-term care for seniors and basic medical care for over 30 million children. 680,000 veterans rely on Medicaid as their sole provider of health care. In fact, the bill taxes our health care benefits and steals from the Medicare Trust Fund — all to pay for tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires, and insurance and pharmaceutical companies. This health care bill increases costs for everyone, including the over 150 million Americans who have health care coverage from their employers. By eroding or eliminating financial protections, such as lifetime caps, 27 million workers and their dependents with insurance will be at risk of bankruptcy or worse. It is no small wonder why majority Senate Republicans have been going through such pains to hide the bill from the public and are now trying to bring it to the floor quickly for a vote.

Make no mistake, this is an attack on all working people’s freedom and economic security. I strongly urge President Trump and Senate Republicans to reject this horrible bill crafted behind closed doors and instead work with the American people and across party aisles to expand affordable, quality health care for all Americans.

The post Statement from UAW President Dennis Williams on Non-Partisan CBO Study on 22 Million Americans Losing Health Coverage appeared first on UAW.

Categories: News By Union

Ammo: Social Security Needs Fixing, but is Far From Insolvent

4 hours 25 min ago
.su-spoiler-style-default .su-spoiler-title { padding-left: 27px; padding-right: 0; font-size: 22px; color: #0030ff;} What is Ammo?

Ammo — More than Words — Facts!

Your Tool to Discuss the Issues with Co-Workers, Family, Friends

Back in the day, before electronic communication changed the world, UAW members normally found out about issues that affect working people by word of mouth in their plants and reading the newspaper.

To help them, they also had a little pamphlet the International distributed to local unions called Ammo, which was circulated on the plant or workshop floor by union activists. Ammo’s purpose was to offer facts on issues critical to working people in a nonpartisan way. Ammo generally examined issues like retirement security, health care, trade, jobs, taxes, labor rights and others to help members determine which elected officials and candidates had their back — and which ones did not.

More importantly, Ammo was a learning tool designed to educate members about the finer points of policy in an easily digestible format. It was in part designed to combat the mountains of misinformation put out by conservative groups that seek to destroy the labor movement and put the interests of the wealthy above those of the average American worker.

Ammo went away for a time, but is now coming back. True to the technological revolution, it won’t be in print form. Rather, it will soon come to you via electronic means.

Here are just a few of the topics in front of Congress that we’ll be discussing in the coming months: health care, retirement security, trade, jobs, taxes, labor/workers.

You’ve heard it from right-wing conservatives in Congress who ultimately want to dismantle Social Security, the federal retirement income program that 171 million Americans pay into all through their working lives. Their argument goes like this:

“Social Security is in real trouble. Unless we drastically cut benefits and raise the retirement age, the program will be insolvent by (pick a year).”

But is Social Security in that much distress? The experts at the Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA) and the American Association of Retired People (AARP), and industry experts say it just ain’t so.

Organizations working for retirees understand the challenges facing Social Security. As it stands, if Congress does nothing, Social Security will be solvent until at least 2037. Modest changes, such as raising the cap on wages subject to the Social Security tax — capped at $127,200 for 2017 — would stabilize the fund for decades after 2037.

However, proposals offered by the right wing would make the program less stable, not more. Cutting benefits and raising retirement age is the wrong answer as it would force many seniors into poverty, unable to pay for food and other necessities. Turning Social Security into risky private investment accounts such as 401(k)s that will be at the mercy of market swings and Wall Street bankers won’t provide older Americans with the kind of retirement security they need when they hit their golden years. Consider what happened to private individual investment accounts during the Great Recession: Millions of Americans still haven’t recovered what they lost. Most Americans do not have enough saved up for retirement, and almost one third have nothing saved at all. It’s a good thing Social Security provides the foundation for their retirement income.

During the 2016 presidential election, candidate Donald Trump repeatedly promised to veto any legislation that cuts Social Security. Unfortunately, the people President Trump picked to run the Department of Health and Human Services (former Congressman Tom Price) and the Office of Management and Budget (former Congressman Mick Mulvaney), don’t feel that way.

“Both nominees have made statements about the need to ‘reform’ Medicare and Social Security, including supporting or proposing privatization and raising the retirement age,” Richard Fiesta, executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans told Congress during their confirmation hearings in March. “These are in direct conflict with President Trump’s repeated promises not to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”

We need to oppose any efforts to reduce and/or eliminate Social Security. Reform of Social Security starts with a reaffirmation to the core values of the program: to provide a means of support for retirement-age Americans and the disabled who need it.

We need President Trump to keep his promise to America’s senior citizens and the disabled.

Facts About Social Security

Nearly 171 million workers contribute to Social Security through payroll taxes.

Nearly 61 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits:
  • 44.2 million receive retirement benefits
  • 6.0 million receive survivors’ benefits
  • 10.6 million receive disability benefits
Average 2017 Monthly Social Security Benefit:
  • A retired worker: $1,360
  • A retired couple: $2,260
  • Disabled worker: $1,171
  • Disabled worker with spouse and child: $1,996
  • Widow or widower: $1,300
  • Young widow or widower with two children: $2,695
  • Maximum Monthly Social Security Benefit: $2,687 (for worker retir-ing at Full Retirement Age).
  • Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2017: 0.3%
2017 Social Security & Medicare Contribution Amounts

Social Security: 6.2% for both workers and employers. This contribution is paid on earnings up to $127,200.

2017 Social Security Eligibility

Full Retirement Age: 66 (Slowly rises to 67 beginning in 2017. The retirement age will be fixed at age 67 for those reaching age 62 after 2022.

Early Retirement Age: 62 (Taking early retirement can reduce Social Security benefits up to 30 percent.)

Sources: Alliance for Retired Americans and the American Association of Retired Persons

Feature image, “saving and retirement” at top by 401(K) 2012, via Creative Commons Share-a-Like 2.0

The post Ammo: Social Security Needs Fixing, but is Far From Insolvent appeared first on UAW.

Categories: News By Union

PRO Member: A Call to Action

8 hours 1 min ago

Jessie Jesson, fourth from the left, and her brothers and sisters at Local 686 remember the dark days of the auto crisis and wondered whether they would still have jobs. The crisis made Jesson aware of the need for union involvement and making connections with fellow members.

UAW Member Finds Purpose in Her Plant’s Darkest Hour

When the auto crisis struck and General Motors was heading toward bankruptcy in the latter part of the 2000s, it sent waves of uncertainty through all the plants. Jessie Jesson had been working at the GM Lockport, New York, plant as a member of Local 686 since 2000. Her grandmother had been a 30-year member of her same local who always told her to have faith in her union, but even Jesson wasn’t immune to the thoughts of “what if.”

Her plant makes HVAC, radiators, condensers and other parts for GM vehicles. The plant has been around since 1910, but has gone from GM to Delphi and today it is part of GM Components. But in 2007, it looked touch and go.

“That’s when we had our pay cut,” she remembered. “We didn’t know if our plant would survive. It was a wakeup call for a lot of us.”

Up until then, Jesson was content. “I made a good wage. I knew that being UAW had everything to do with it, but to be honest, I was kind of naïve about how our union worked.”

At one point when the fate of Lockport looked uncertain, Jesson and her co-workers were offered a chance to transfer to another GM facility in the area. “That was the toughest decision of my life because I loved our local, I loved our plant and I loved what we had. I remember sitting there talking with some others — maybe about nine of us. And we decided that if we were going to stay, then we were going to do everything we could to make our union strong.”

And Jesson and her friends made good on their pledge. Before long, they were joining standing committees and attending trainings and meetings. Through the process, Jesson learned almost as much about herself as her union. “I didn’t understand the power of talking to others, about helping them make connections between why we need to be active and the power we have at the table. But when I started doing it, I saw light bulbs going on for some and then they, too, would get active. I didn’t know I had that in me, but I now know we all have the ability to do this, to lead.”

“Our shop chairman, Mike Branch, is one of the main reasons why we’re still here and strong. Our plant now has over a thousand members and a thriving network of standing committees,” said Jesson. “I’m especially proud of what we’ve done with our Buy American committee. Mary Ward-Schiffert is our chair and our Buy American Day is an annual late summer event where we raise thousands. We also sponsor area high school robotics teams who now wear American-made jerseys in competition.”

Today Jesson is a busy UAW member. She works in communications and is the UAW representative for United Way and March for Babies. Her grandmother’s guidance to keep the faith and make her union strong still echoes in her mind. “I still remember her words, but I am especially lucky because her advice became meaningful after what I experienced. My hope is that I can pay it forward to the next generation of UAW activists.”

The post PRO Member: A Call to Action appeared first on UAW.

Categories: News By Union

The Senate GOP Health Care Bill is a Threat to UAW Members and Our Families

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 11:14

After the July 4th recess, the Senate is set to vote on a health care bill which strips insurance from 22 million Americans, guts protections for those with preexisting conditions, and brings back lifetime caps on care.

Put simply, this bill is a threat to UAW members, UAW retirees, and UAW families. Please take action today — call your Senator at 1-313-528-6780.

This bill is terrible for millions of Americans, is opposed by many Democrats and Republicans alike, but it is particularly bad for UAW members in a few ways. The bill: Cuts Medicaid by over $800 billion which could hurt many UAW families who have loved one’s getting long-term care;1

  • Brings back lifetime limits on care for millions including many UAW members – meaning someone with cancer might be cut off during treatment;2
  • It guts preexisting condition protections which means some UAW families will have trouble getting coverage or will get worse coverage;3
  • Could cause premiums to skyrocket for UAW members with employer-based coverage which could affect future negotiations – Medicaid cuts will cause hospitals to have massive uncompensated care costs which will be passed on to all of us with employer-based coverage;4
  • Reduces Medicare’s solvency by 4 years by getting rid of taxes on millionaires and billionaires stock market income.5

Put simply, this bill is a disaster for UAW members and our families.

Tell your senators to stand with UAW members and our families and say “No” to this devastating bill.

 GET THE FACTS:

1. G.O.P. Health Plan Is Really a Rollback of Medicaid, The New York Times, https://goo.gl/WuR7pf, 6/21/2017

2. How the Senate’s Health-Care Bill Would Cause Financial Ruin, The Atlantic, https://goo.gl/u7mV2r, 6/23/17

3. Promises Trump made about health care that repeal plans haven’t kept, USA Today, https://goo.gl/txJ6no, 06/24/17

4. Hidden costs will hurt everyone, Modern Healthcare, https://goo.gl/RtoVc8, 3/18/17

5. GOP Repeal Bill Depletes Medicare Trust Fund Faster, Talking Points Memo, https://goo.gl/t661vU, 3/10/17

 

The post The Senate GOP Health Care Bill is a Threat to UAW Members and Our Families appeared first on UAW.

Categories: News By Union

Union Front: Yes, There’s an App for That

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 04:15

08It’s Never Been Easier to Find Union-Made Products

We all live on our smartphones these days to check the weather, post to social media, send texts, play games and even order from our favorite restaurants. It is also a way we connect with family, friends, co-workers and now with our union.

That was one of the communications goals set for the union in 2014 when members elected Dennis Williams as UAW president. On day one, Williams emphasized clear communication with members about the union’s priorities. Today the UAW embraces many vehicles to inform members and collect member feedback. The UAW App is one of them.

“Communication with our members is key to a strong union,” said Williams. “The UAW has to constantly evolve to meet the needs of members, especially in our fast-paced information world. That means sending information and hearing back from them with high-speed capability of cell phones and other digital tools available. Today’s UAW members are on smartphones, apps and social media so that’s where you’ll find us.”

In 2016 development of the UAW mobile app was in high gear. It was tested, tweaked and finalized before launch, and we continue to solicit feedback from members to make sure we are bringing you the best app service the UAW can provide.

Whether you’re an iPhone or an Android user, getting the app is easy. Just text “APP” to 99795.* You’ll be prompted to indicate what kind of phone you are using, then a download link will be sent automatically to your phone. Just follow the link to install the app!

Once installed, get the latest news from a variety of sources that go directly to the app. Or dig into the national events section that features a list of events union members are organizing and attending. Access UAW social media platforms or get information from the UAW Constitution or Big Three contracts. You also can set up notifications to receive the latest UAW news.

You can also use your phone to have lists of union-made products sent right to your smartphone in real time. Soon, we plan to have the UAW’s handy vehicle list a text away. The program will allow you to input the make, model year and vehicle identification number into an automated text program that can look up the car you’re considering buying and verify whether it’s a UAW/Unifor-made vehicle. To be notified when the service is ready, just text “CARS” to 99795.*

Thanks to our friends at Union Plus, there’s also a great way to find union-made products of all varieties using text messaging. You can text 22555 with a key word and you’ll receive an immediate response with the info you need. Shopping for candy and want to make sure your purchase is union made? Text “CANDY” to 22555 and you’ll instantly receive a list of union-made candy delivered right to your phone. Follow the same steps to get union-made lists for products such as “BEER”, “PETS” for union-made  pet food and “STUDENT” for lists of education related information and deadlines students will want to be aware of. They will even send you the UAW vehicle guide if you text “CARS” to 22555. You also can text “UNION” to 22555 to get text alerts and updates about your Union Plus benefits*.

Union Plus is a nonprofit organization founded in 1986 to provide benefits for union members, with a focus on U.S.-based union workers and the products they make. It also provides services such as financial assistance during a strike. Union Plus, found at unionplus.org, has negotiated with big name brands to get you deals and discounts on the products you buy on a regular basis and that are included on union-made lists texted to you. All the info you need to make a smart purchase of products made by union members is a tap, click or text away with the UAW App and texting program and the Union Plus texting program. Stay connected, save money and stay union strong when you stay informed. Happy shopping!

*Reply STOP to quit. Message and data rates may apply.

Download the UAW App for iPhone.

 

Download the UAW App for Android

 

Want to help spread the word? Share this graphic on social media or download a flier to hand out at your worksite!

 

Joan Silvi

The post Union Front: Yes, There’s an App for That appeared first on UAW.

Categories: News By Union

Ammo: Tax Policy – The Middle Class Carries an Unfair Burden

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 04:15
.su-spoiler-style-default .su-spoiler-title { padding-left: 27px; padding-right: 0; font-size: 22px; color: #0030ff;} What is Ammo?

Ammo — More than Words — Facts!

Your Tool to Discuss the Issues with Co-Workers, Family, Friends

Back in the day, before electronic communication changed the world, UAW members normally found out about issues that affect working people by word of mouth in their plants and reading the newspaper.

To help them, they also had a little pamphlet the International distributed to local unions called Ammo, which was circulated on the plant or workshop floor by union activists. Ammo’s purpose was to offer facts on issues critical to working people in a nonpartisan way. Ammo generally examined issues like retirement security, health care, trade, jobs, taxes, labor rights and others to help members determine which elected officials and candidates had their back — and which ones did not.

More importantly, Ammo was a learning tool designed to educate members about the finer points of policy in an easily digestible format. It was in part designed to combat the mountains of misinformation put out by conservative groups that seek to destroy the labor movement and put the interests of the wealthy above those of the average American worker.

Ammo went away for a time, but is now coming back. True to the technological revolution, it won’t be in print form. Rather, it will soon come to you via electronic means.

Here are just a few of the topics in front of Congress that we’ll be discussing in the coming months: health care, retirement security, trade, jobs, taxes, labor/workers.

“Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

The benefit of taxes are many: from highways and schools to biomedical research, protection of private property national defense and national parks. Unfortunately, right now the middle class is carrying a heavy burden while corporations and the wealthy are using their power in Washington and elsewhere to keep their taxes low — if they pay any at all.

Wealthy families stand to do well under GOP tax proposals, including a proposal to do away with or drastically reduce the estate tax — the tax on assets transferred from a deceased individual to their heirs. There is a lot of misinformation on the estate tax. Here are the facts: The estate tax doesn’t kick in until about $5.5 million in assets for an individual, or $11 million for a couple. A married couple that leaves $10.9 million to their children would not pay a single penny. Clearly, only a small percentage of wealthy families would be hit by this tax, but wealthy special interests have always looked to do away with it, to the disadvantage of the rest of the country which will foot the bill for the missing revenue in the form of higher sales taxes, property taxes, fees, and other state and local taxes.

Keep in mind, people who rely on investments rather than a paycheck already pay taxes at a much lower rate. Under the administration’s current tax proposal, the top 1 percent would receive annual tax cuts averaging at least $250,000 per household. But the 400 highest income taxpayers — those with incomes more than $300 million a year — would get tax breaks of at least $15 million a year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The total tax break for these families would be a whopping $6 billion-plus a year.

It’s hard to make an argument those families need that tax cut. For some perspective, consider that the lifetime average earnings for a person with a bachelor’s degree is $2.8 million, according to the CBPP.

Remember, when the rich pay less in taxes more of the burden is put on you in the form or higher taxes at the local and state level and cuts in worker safety, health care, and education programs.

According to the tax fairness advocacy group Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), the 35 percent tax corporations are supposed to pay is largely a myth. A study it released in March found that:

  • 258 Fortune 500 companies that were consistently profitable over an eight-year period paid a 21.2 percent average effective tax rate.
  • 100 companies enjoyed at least one year in which their federal income tax was zero or less.
  • 24 companies paid no taxes in four out of eight years
  • 18 companies (including General Electric, International Paper, Priceline.com and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. paid no federal income tax over the eight-year period.)

Because of their outsized political power, corporations can zero out their taxes or pay substantially less than the statutory corporate tax rate thanks to numerous loopholes in the tax code that they lobbied for.

Hard-pressed middle-class families could sure use some tax fairness. Unfortunately, our GOP-led Congress is lining up behind rewarding the wealthy and corporations with tax breaks. It’s hard to see how that benefits the entire nation.

The post Ammo: Tax Policy – The Middle Class Carries an Unfair Burden appeared first on UAW.

Categories: News By Union

UAW Chaplains Highlight 30th Anniversary with Community Outreach that Makes a Difference

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 04:15

One Voice

It was clear that the 20 choir students waiting for their visitors to arrive at the front entrance of Inland Lakes School in northern Michigan had no idea what to expect. It was the same for the six students from Detroit’s Martin Luther King Jr. High School who were arriving for a visit on June 6.

However, in 10 minutes, their uncertainty was transformed into genuine excitement about an opportunity to make new friendships that might last a lifetime.

The teens said hello, told their ages and practiced singing a few tunes in the school band room. Then they exchanged Snapchat information and laughed, realizing they had some things in common. Before long they were all disappointed that the time for their first meeting just was not long enough.

The students had been invited to meet first and later eat dinner and perform during an evening program celebrating the 30th Annual International UAW Chaplaincy Conference. This year’s theme: We’re Stronger Together, One Voice.

“This is an extraordinary experience to have both sets of students come together like this and to have it facilitated by these wonderful chaplains,” said Kaye Smith-Clay, King High community school coordinator.

For UAW chaplains, the encounter meant a vision set in place for the UAW Chaplaincy program had now come to fruition.

“We have a long and beautiful relationship with band and choir members at Inland Lakes, and this year we wanted to do something different,” said Herb Taylor, chaplain committee chair and a member of UAW Local 31 in Kansas City, Kansas.

“We wanted these students to have a chance to meet other students from a different part of the state. It was a chance for them to talk about things they have in common and the things that are different, and maybe create some friendships along the way,” said Taylor.

The chaplaincy program is nondenominational. Where some worksites have EAP (Employee Assistance Program) representatives, chaplains work in conjunction with them to assist members. From divorce to bankruptcy, depression to substance abuse, chaplains are a key part of helping our UAW family through hard times. The chaplains also help others in need and have faithfully reached out to the young people in the Inland Lakes music program.

In 2011, the chaplains heard that the young musicians needed band uniforms and raised $2,500 for the new outfits. Chaplains later raised about $1,500 for electronic equipment for the band room and, after the youngsters saw some T-shirts at the 2016 conference and said they liked them, the chaplains ordered 120 new T-shirts for the students. When the students returned to school in September, those new T-shirts were waiting for them. This year, the chaplains are donating $5,000 to the school.

“The relationships that have been created between the chaplains and the students from Inland, and now from King High in Detroit, are great examples of why community outreach is so important to UAW members,” said UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, who directs the union’s chaplaincy program. “Our union is not solely about contracts and negotiations. It is also about communities in need and about reaching out to young people. What happens at Black Lake each year with the chaplains and the young people is a strong example of how UAW members make a difference.”

At the end of the night, the students joined to lead a standing-room-only crowd in the center’s auditorium in singing “Solidarity Forever.” Afterwards, the chaplains treated the students to ice cream, seeing how much they cherished this time for fellowship with each other and the UAW chaplains.

“That is a beautiful thing,” said Taylor. “This makes it all worthwhile. Their faces and their smiles tell us all we need to know.”

Sandra Davis

The post UAW Chaplains Highlight 30th Anniversary with Community Outreach that Makes a Difference appeared first on UAW.

Categories: News By Union

Standing Committee: Conservation and Recreation

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 04:15
Any member can pitch an idea to the Local 2209 Conservation and Recreation Committee, but they should be prepared to see their idea through.

Respecting our Planet and Having a Little Fun Along the Way

On a Saturday in June, members of Local 2209 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, will mount their own bikes, rent a surrey bike, or maybe even rent a seat on The Pedal Pub, which is a specially built contraption where riders can responsibly imbibe while providing the pedaling necessary for movement while a non-drinking rider steers.

The Pedal Poker Run is a fun event for the local and open to the public. Proceeds benefit the Fort Wayne Trails so it perfectly blends the responsibilities of the local’s Conservation and Recreation Committee. Local 2209 represents about 4,000 members, most of whom work at the General Motors Fort Wayne Assembly plant in northeastern Indiana.

“Anytime you bring members together outside those four walls, it builds solidarity,” said Local 2209 President Brian Hartman.

Having a local where a few people do the work and are seen by fellow union members as “the union” doesn’t build solidarity. If you have a local with thousands of members, but only a handful are involved, how does that build the power needed to win strong contracts and protect gains made in previous agreements?

The local produces a variety of events throughout the year to keep members engaged, build solidarity and just for some good old fun.

Obviously, it doesn’t. It translates into a weak local union.

“When you get the same 10 people, they get burned out,” Hartman said.

The local understands that to be strong it has to have many members who participate. From the highly popular annual Christmas Party, the Easter Egg Hunt, its wild game dinner to raise funds for hunter safety and the Halloween Monster Dash 5k to clearing and mowing trails at the Acres Land Trust and many other events, it’s filling its constitutionally mandated requirement to have an active Conservation and Recreation Committee. It plays a critical role in building solidarity through its many events, but also helps members get to know each other — and the hard work that goes into running their local union. It’s an eye-opener for members just starting to get involved in their union.

“People don’t know how to get involved,” said Amy Houston, the local’s recording secretary and a member of the committee. “They can sometimes feel like it’s a club down here, and it’s not.”

To prevent that feeling, the committee makes sure members who have an idea for an event are the ones charged with putting it together. Adam Clark, the committee chairman, said the goal of the committee is to facilitate, not dictate. The committee wants to make sure the event has enough interest, will be beneficial to the membership in some way, is a responsible use of members’ dues, and fits into the plant production schedule, which is important because people cannot attend if they’re working. But the people who came up with the idea have to own it.

“We never turn anybody down. We’re always up for new ideas,” Clark said. “We will help them remove any roadblocks. That’s how I see it. We don’t want to put on anything half-assed.”

Houston added: “We have a lot of members who will take it and run with it.”

The local works with the company to ensure that its events do not conflict with production schedules. It also participates in joint
projects with the company, such as Fort Wayne’s Three Rivers Festival.

One potential roadblock is the plant production schedule. Hartman deals with this by meeting with management in January to determine how many times the plant is likely to schedule production on a Saturday and which ones. The local, however, makes it clear to the company it needs time for members to attend events.

“We try to make sure we’re not stepping on each other’s toes,” he said. “It doesn’t always happen that way.”

And it works together with the company on certain projects, such as building birdhouses on plant property. They co-sponsor the city’s Three Rivers Festival, a nine-day event in July that includes a race down the St. Mary’s River in specially made rafts. The local and GM made a raft to look like a full-size Chevrolet Silverado, which is made at the plant. The raft won Best Holiday Theme, and members loved it, cheering them on from the river banks.

“They were on the bridges screaming at us,” Houston recalled. “There’s a lot more pride than you know about.”

The committee is justifiably proud of its work. It brings members into the workings of the local union and lets them know they have a part to play. The local faces challenges because 45 percent of its members do not live in the county and many are not originally from Fort Wayne and commute long distances on their days off just to see their families. The membership is getting younger and many don’t have the generations of union membership in their family for reference. Hartman said the local has a union education class so they can understand the local’s role inside and outside the plant.

But the most important thing they can do for members is to ask for help. They operate on the theory that everyone has something to contribute.

“Everyone is willing to help if you ask. You just have to ask,” Houston said.

For instance, launch team member Derek Miller lends his considerable graphic design talents to produce many of the event publicity fliers. Ryan Bultemeier, team leader on the door line, joined the committee recently and started the Monster Mash 5k run, and helps with just about everything else. Body shop electrician apprentice Ben Johnson’s jobs are more specialized:

“He asks me, ‘What’s the crappy job you can’t get anyone else to do?’”

And then, like many other Local 2209 members, he takes the ball and runs with it.

“All it takes is that one person to start it off,” Hartman said.

Vince Piscopo

The post Standing Committee: Conservation and Recreation appeared first on UAW.

Categories: News By Union