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Updated: 15 min 56 sec ago

Fuyao workers and public officials to hold town hall April 30 for fair union election and workplace safety

6 hours 8 min ago

(MORAINE, Ohio) – Workers at the Fuyao Glass plant in Moraine, Ohio, will join with elected officials for a town hall meeting Sunday, April 30, to urge Fuyao Glass to support employees’ rights to a fair union election and a safe workplace.

The public meeting will be held April 30 at UAW Local 696, 1543 Alwildy Ave. in Dayton from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and comes just days after the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health listed Fuyao as among the “Dirty Dozen” most dangerous employers in the United States in a report issued earlier today.

“Workers should never have to choose between good jobs and safe jobs – but that’s what has been happening at Fuyao Glass since the plant first opened,” said Jessica Martinez, co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH). “Workers are frequently around broken glass and sharp edges without the proper protection, and they have been exposed to the risk of amputation. Fuyao Glass has received up to $22 million in public subsidies and the company needs to fulfill its obligation to provide a safe workplace.”

“Sunday’s town hall meeting is good way to tell the community exactly what is happening in our plant,” said Fuyao worker Curt Stewart. “As much as the $2 raise we won is a step in the right direction, it’s not going to silence Fuyao workers from speaking up. Management has not addressed job security, safety and respect as they promised. That’s why Fuyao workers believe we need a contract – to make our company a more safe and profitable place for all. We want Fuyao to be the best auto glass company in the world. But this can only happen if workers and management work together,” said Stewart.

Fuyao worker DeAnn Wilson says it’s important for workers and supporters to come together to show unity. “The town hall will show that regardless of our differences in opinions, races, cultures and nationalities, we can come together in solidarity,” she said. “We can show our community that we all want Fuyao to be a successful company and are willing to do the work to make that happen. We can accomplish all this and still be treated with respect and dignity, have a safe work environment and be treated fairly across the board,” said Wilson.

Montgomery Council Democratic Party Chairperson Mark Owens is among the elected officials and community supporters scheduled to speak at the town hall. “The opportunity for honor and dignity of work that Fuyao originally offered to our area was welcomed by all of us,” he wrote in a March 19 letter to Fuyao. “Unfortunately, as the plant has grown the jobs that Fuyao promised are not the jobs available,” he added. Owens also is the clerk of court for the Dayton Municipal Courts.

Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Gregory A. Brush is also scheduled to speak at the public meeting. “While it is encouraging that your company has begun to take steps to upgrade the physical safety of workers at the plant, I would encourage you and your organization to also work on the security aspect of the employees,” he wrote in a March 21 letter to Fuyao. “As someone who leads an organization with organized union employees, I can say that the overall benefit to the organization is positive.”

In March, Fuyao, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and four workers represented by the UAW reached an agreement that requires the company to make major safety improvements to the plant by May 1. Those improvements include addressing serious issues regarding machine safety – such as workers who enter machines to make repairs without proper safeguards and the lack of equipment that prevents workers from getting caught in machinery. Other health and safety issues identified by OSHA need to be fixed by June 1.

These settlements, however, don’t address all of the safety issues that workers have raised. OSHA also is investigating possible safety violations alleged to have caused serious respiratory problems, cuts from glass shards and exposure to dangerous levels of furnace heat. In February, workers filed charges with OSHA detailing the incidents, including workers using dangerous adhesives without proper breathing protection. The adhesives contain a group of chemicals called isocyanates, which can cause asthma and other serious respiratory problems. One of the Fuyao workers affected, James Martin, will speak at the town hall, “Prior to my job at Fuyao I had healthy lungs,” said Fuyao worker James Martin, who filed a complaint on the issue with OSHA in February. “After I was exposed to isocyanate glues and primers I had lung issues that were diagnosed as a disease that has reduced my lung capacity.” Martin is on medical leave.

Fuyao worker Larry Yates will also speak at the town hall about his allegation that he faced dangerous conditions while working to repair heating elements inside a furnace at Fuyao. “I crawled over and sat on piles of glass shards which became embedded in my legs and behind,” said Yates. “The heat was very bad because the second half of the furnace was left energized (at 650 degrees Fahrenheit).”

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Categories: News By Union

Wear jeans 4/26 to show support for sexual assault victims

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 09:00

The UAW is recognizing National Denim Day by supporting a fundraising campaign by Enough Sexual Assault in Detroit (Enough SAID) to process rape kits found in a Detroit Police Department storage unit in 2009. Of the 11,000 kits that were discovered, over 1,000 still need to be processed.

For the past 18 years, Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April in honor of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. The campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. In this rape prevention education campaign we ask community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault. This year’s Denim Day is April 26, 2017.

If you believe justice delayed is justice denied, wear jeans on Wednesday, April 26 to support justice for sexual assault victims. 

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Categories: News By Union

What we saw at the March for Science

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 04:15

Photo by Sarah Joseph

On Saturday, Earth Day, tens of thousands of people participated in the March for Science at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and numerous other cities across the U.S.  Among the participants in Washington were hundreds of UAW members who rallied behind the mission of the event and spent the day celebrating science.

Photo by Catherine Braine

The passionate crowd gathered to generate a conversation about the alarming trend toward discrediting facts and scientific consensus, and restricting scientific discovery.

Sarah Joseph, a UAW Local 2110 member from the Department of Genetics at Columbia University, had a very personal reason for participating in the March for Science.  “I march because without science I would not have been born.  I was conceived through IVF (in vitro fertilization), and I march because without science many of my family members would not be alive today.

“I am participating to raise awareness for science and to dispel the misconception that there is such a thing as ‘your’ facts.  Facts are facts.  It is the interpretation of facts that is up for debate,” said Joseph.

The March for Science champions and defends science and scientific integrity, but it is a small step in the process toward encouraging the application of science in policy.  March for Science organizers and participants say the best way to ensure science will influence policy is to encourage people to appreciate and engage with science. That can only happen through education, communication and ties of mutual respect between scientists and their communities — the paths of communication must go both ways. There has too long been a divide between the scientific community, the public and the politicians who represent them.

“I’m marching because I think it’s immoral for politicians to deny the basic fact of climate change when they have the chance to

Photo by Catherine Braine

change that,” said Catherine Braine, a UAW Local 2110 member from the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University.

“I am also a graduate student whose research is funded by NIH (National Institutes of Health), the organization the Trump budget wants to cut by 20 percent,” Braine added.  “It’s important for everyone to be involved because everyone should push for policies that acknowledge objective reality and seek to be responsible guardians of the Earth.”

As debates continue in Washington over funding of science, Saturday’s event sent a very clear message to politicians: Back up your reasons for doubting scientific evidence and, more important, back off science funding!

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Categories: News By Union

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 07:30

Sexual violence is widespread and impacts everyone and every community. Victims often experience guilt, shame, fear, numbness, shock and feelings of isolation and suffer from long-term health risks and behaviors such as PTSD, depression, pregnancy and STDs.

We all have a role to play!

The UAW is committed to ending sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence, including in the workplace. We seek to promote healthy behaviors that create safe and equitable workplace communities.

For information on how you can help prevent sexual violence, visit uaw.org/women

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Categories: News By Union

Harvard Student Workers Win New Union Election

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 04:16

After weeks of hearings and deliberations, the NLRB in a report filed Wednesday affirmed that the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW’s concerns over Harvard’s list of eligible voters was valid and could lead to another election. In the report and recommendations of the NLRB hearing officer the NLRB wrote:

I find that the Employer has not substantially complied with the voter list requirements set forth in Section 102.62(d) of the Board’s Rules and Regulations. Accordingly, I recommend that [HGSU-UAW’s] objection be sustained and that, if a revised tally of ballots does not result in the Petitioner receiving a majority of the valid votes cast, the results of this election be set aside and a new election be directed.”

Should there be a new election, student workers at Harvard University will have a fair opportunity to vote to form a union and collectively bargain over their working conditions.  “We are encouraged by the hearing officer’s decision, as Harvard graduate workers believe that if given a fair election, Harvard graduate workers will choose to join together to collectively bargain,” says Niharika Singh, a Ph.D. student worker in the department of Public Policy. “By joining the UAW, we gain a national voice in advocating on issues we care about, like protections for international student workers and protections from discrimination and harassment.”

Any future election will depend on the outcome of a revised tally of votes from last December. Under the NLRB process, Harvard University has an opportunity to file exceptions to the recommendation to the regional director. The deadline to do so is May 3.

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Together We Win: UAW Helps Unemployed Win Relief Against Michigan

Sun, 04/23/2017 - 04:15

State Made False Fraud Allegations Against Workers

The power of a state agency against one person can be daunting. But when you are a union member who has experienced attorneys fighting for justice on your behalf, the power equation changes.

That’s exactly what happened in early February when attorneys representing Michigan workers, including numerous UAW members, reached an agreement with the State of Michigan to end a lawsuit that charged state Unemployment Insurance (UI) officials with making false fraud accusations against those receiving benefits.

The settlement includes a commitment by the state to make sweeping changes in its practices to ensure that workers are provided a fair process that will prevent such sweeping false fraud accusations. This is a classic example of why belonging to a union pays off. Without a union’s resources to help fight this case, these workers could have been left without the power to fight.

“We are proud to be a party to this lawsuit because the State of Michigan made false accusations against workers, which hurt them financially at a time when they could least afford it,” UAW President Dennis Williams said. “The accusations also attacked the character and reputations of these workers, including many of our members.”

The UAW brought the lawsuit along with the Sugar Law Center and several individuals who were falsely accused of fraud. The state had charged workers with falsely claiming eligibility for benefits, but has since acknowledged its automated review of UI cases was faulty. In fact, its $47 million Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS), had a 93 percent error rate in over 20,000 cases that have already been reviewed. Following settlement of the lawsuit, another 30,000 cases with fraud findings made between October 2013, when MiDAS was first implemented, and August 2015, will be reviewed by humans, likely with similarly high error rates.

The state stopped auto adjudicating of UI cases in August 2015, after the UAW filed its lawsuit. But the damage was done for many workers, who saw millions of dollars taken from their tax returns and wages garnished without due process by a system that state officials now admit was faulty. The state in most cases imposed a penalty of 400 percent of the alleged fraud, routinely leading to erroneous bills of over $30,000 for unemployed workers.

Under the agreement, collection activities such as wage garnishments and seizure of tax returns will cease for those who have received fraud determinations while MiDAS was used until each case is individually reviewed by the state. The state also agreed to put more safeguards and procedures in place to prevent false fraud findings. More than 30,000 people are expected to have the fraud findings reversed and refunded any money taken to pay for those incorrect fraud determinations. According to the Detroit Free Press, the state has already refunded at least $5.4 million. The state also has committed to keeping workers informed about the progress of its review. The Settlement Agreement includes specific notice requirements to the UAW so that the UAW can ensure that UI claimants’ due process rights are protected.

“We will stand and fight for our members and continue to monitor this case so every UAW member who was unjustly accused and had their money improperly taken is made whole,” Williams said.

UAW App Brings Important Information to Your Phone Here’s how to get the UAW app: If you have an iPhone or Android device, simply type in “UAW” on the App Store or Google Play Store to find the UAW’s mobile app. Or, text “APP” to 99795 for a link to download. Just reply with what type of device you have for the appropriate link. Or, you can download the App here for either device: Android or Apple IOS

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Categories: News By Union

Legislative Update: Court Reinstates Lifetime Health Care Benefits for Honeywell Retirees in Greenville, Ohio

Sat, 04/22/2017 - 04:15

The power and advantage of collective bargaining often outlasts a union member’s active employment. This was demonstrated again by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio when it agreed with the UAW that the lifetime health care benefits the union negotiated for Honeywell workers in Greenville, Ohio, in 2003 are just that: lifetime.

UAW Local 2413 retirees who retired from Honeywell prior to June 1, 2012, and their spouses are entitled to lifetime benefits the company agreed to in collective bargaining in 2003.

That means that instead of those benefits being terminated, as the company had planned to do at the end of February, the court issued a permanent injunction against the company doing so.

“Plaintiffs have proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Honeywell agreed to provide lifetime healthcare benefits to its retirees at the Greenville, Ohio, plant. Honeywell’s plan to terminate those benefits as of Feb. 28, 2017, therefore breaches the terms of the relevant collective bargaining agreements,” the ruling states.

The victory for the retirees was a hard-fought one, said Ken Lortz, director of Region 2B, which includes Ohio.

“This judgement speaks to the strength of collective bargaining agreements and why the benefits union members negotiate protect them in cases where a company decides to change its mind after bargaining in good faith,” Lortz said. “Imagine how devastating it is for someone to retire with an understanding that they have lifetime health care benefits and then be notified that the company is threatening to take it away.”

The ruling also considered that the cost caps provisions applied prospectively to future retirees only and only took effect after the contract expired. The fact that the parties negotiated a retirement incentive that offered retiree benefits to eligible employees as an enticement to retire further demonstrated that the intent was to establish vested lifetime benefits.

UAW V-CAP: Investing in our future

The UAW cannot use union dues to directly support federal candidates and, in an ever-increasing number of states, any candidate for public office. Our only means of monetary support for many labor-friendly candidates is voluntary political contributions from UAW members to UAW V-CAP (our union’s political action fund).

Members can contribute to V-CAP in multiple ways. Many of our contracts have “check off” which allows for direct contribution to V-CAP through payroll deduction. Members and retirees can also give to V-CAP directly with a check. Either way, a modest contribution of $10 a month comes to about 33 cents a day and allows our union to support candidates who support our values. Send to:

UAW National CAP Department
8000 E. Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48214

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Statement from UAW Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem on Central Michigan University’s Announced Layoffs

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 09:33

“For every Central Michigan University worker who loses their job to cheap outsourcing there is a family and a community that suffers. This is not the way Michigan can and should be – ignoring the dignity of the work of so many in the trenches. Instead of making hard decisions about controlling spending and administrative salaries, CMU has opted to outsource the jobs of the office professionals who make the university run so smoothly behind the scenes. It’s easy to avoid tough decisions on the backs of hard-working families. CMU should reconsider this rash decision.”

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Categories: News By Union

Tomorrow, we march! RSVP for the March for Science

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 07:30

Tomorrow we march for our cities. We march for our families. We march for our future. We march for our leaders. We march for our planet. Tomorrow, we #MarchforScience!

Have you RSVP’d yet?

The March for Science is a celebration of science.  It’s not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world.

Nevertheless, the march has generated a great deal of conversation around whether or not scientists should involve themselves in politics. In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, we might ask instead: can we afford not to speak out in its defense?

There is no Planet B. Join the #MarchForScience. 

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Categories: News By Union

Union Front: Burn Camp Provides a Great Experience

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 04:15

Alonzo More, 14, Isaiah Struck, 10, and Jaques Williams, 15, say there is a lot for campers to do at Black Lake, but just about everyone loves the opportunity to swim.

It’s All About Fun for Special Kids at Black Lake

You could be excused if you mistakenly thought a catastrophe had hit the UAW Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center in northern Michigan on one Friday night in late February.

The firetruck parade is a time-honored tradition of the Burn Camp as the participants look forward to their ride around the education center.

After all, all manner of emergency equipment was gathered on the Black Lake property, from fire engines and other firefighting equipment to ambulances and police vehicles. There was a police dog and handler on the grounds and the sounds of static-filled chatter from two-way radios seemed to indicate something bad was happening. Emergency workers were leading children from the guest rooms to waiting vehicles as red and blue lights danced off the buildings at the center and in the snow.

However, the children were smiling. And laughing. And goofing around and doing what kids do. And those smiles are what keeps the Great Lakes Burn Camp for Burn-Injured Children going. The burn camp is a twice-annual event for Michigan burn survivors who get to spend four days among their peers who face the same challenges. Some of these come in the form of impolite stares at their injuries from strangers; others are the many reconstructive surgeries many of the burn survivors undergo. In some cases, they are the only student who is a burn survivor in their entire school system.

“It’s actually therapy for the kids,” said Mike Longenecker, camp director and a retired Jackson, Michigan, firefighter. “It’s huge for their social well-being and their self-esteem.”

But Longenecker is quick to point out that the camp isn’t about injuries or the tragedies that caused them – it’s about fun. This is the fourth year the winter camp has been held at Black Lake.

“They love it here,” Longenecker said as the 40 campers enjoyed a spaghetti dinner in the Black Lake dining hall. “This place is special to them.”

The previously mentioned Fire Truck Parade kicks off the start of the camp and the children participate in arts and crafts, swim in the pool, enjoy hayrides, hovercraft rides, winter sports such as snow machines and dog sleds (weather permitting), billiards, ping-pong, board games, basketball, volleyball and other activities. The camp is chaperoned and monitored by emergency personnel and nurses.

Isaiah Struck, 10, of Bay City, Michigan, Alonzo More, 14, and Jaques Williams, 15, both of Detroit, all agreed that the Olympic-sized swimming pool is a top attraction. But more than being able to swim in the winter, the camp is about hanging out with friends and not be self-conscious about their appearance.

Amber and Ian Burkhart met at the camp and fell in love. Now married, they return to help out as counselors.

“The best thing about the burn camp is you don’t get made fun of,” Struck said before participating in a snowball fight as he and others waited to board the hayrides. “Here, everybody is alike.”

Longenecker said that as the campers turn 18, many of them come back as staff, like Ian and Amber Burkhart, who attended their first burn camps in 1997 and 1998, respectively. They met at camp, fell in love, got married and now return as counselors.

“They get to know that they are not alone,” Amber Burkhart said. “There are others going through the same thing.”

Ian Burkhart said the kids love coming to Black Lake because their previous camp location was exceptionally crowded.

“The place is awesome,” he added. “The kids love it.”

The camp is free and open to burn survivors from ages 6 to 17 (18 if still in school). This year the camp made an exception for a 5-year-old local Onaway, Michigan, boy.

“Our thing is, if a child needs to come to camp, we’ll make it happen,” Longenecker said. “What we do is special.”

The UAW National Ford Department agrees and holds a golf outing fundraiser for the camp during its staff meeting up at Black Lake. Last year, it raised $7,300 for the children.

Hayrides were just one of many activities for the campers. Camp officials
appreciate how special the staff at Black Lake makes the campers feel.

“We’re honored to be among the many organizations that help fund this very worthwhile event,” said UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, who directs the union’s National Ford Department. “We know how much the kids enjoy Black Lake and we enjoy seeing them up here making great use of our facility.”

The staff at Black Lake has also been a pleasure for camp organizers to work with, Longenecker said.

“The UAW has been amazing,” he added. “The center has just rallied for us.”

Looking to help the campers? Donations can be mailed to:

The Great Lakes Burn Camp
P.O. Box 6189
Jackson, MI 49204

For additional information, visit, greatlakesburncamp.org

STORY AND PHOTOS BY VINCE PISCOPO

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Categories: News By Union

Spotlight on Committees: The UAW Women’s Committees

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 04:15

Their Work Makes for a Better Workplace and a Better Life at Home

It’s proven to be the best way to close the wage gap between men and women. Organized labor contracts show no pay difference between pay and benefits negotiated for men and women in collective bargaining. Perhaps that is why for the past two decades, women have steadily increased their percentage of union membership in the U.S. In 1994 women were 39.7 percent of union members. In 2004 that increased to 42.6 percent and in 2014 women were 45.5 percent of all union members. It’s a smart move for women because they know it pays to be union. Women know as primary caregivers they’ll have better health care coverage for themselves and their children. They know they’ll get negotiated time off for illness and emergencies for their children. And when women join the UAW, they’ll benefit from standing committees, including the Women’s Committee. Women’s Committee work is crucial to both women and men at locals and to their surrounding communities.

One example of an active UAW Women’s Committee is at Local 602 at General Motor’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan, where workers build the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.

Committee members are riding the wave of energy from the Women’s March Jan. 21 where more than 2 million women around the world joined together in a record-breaking show of unity to advocate for women’s issues. Most of Local 602’s Women’s Committee was at the huge demonstration that day in Washington.

UAW Vice President and Women’s Department Director Cindy Estrada says all local union women’s committees play an important role. “Women’s Committees like Local 602’s are at the forefront of educating women and men on the role of, and the issues, women face in the workplace. They provide education and leadership training so women can have a meaningful seat at the table in their local union and their community,” said Estrada.

UAW President Dennis Williams says Local 602’s Women’s Committee work is a great example of what the UAW values: educating members about important issues like equal pay for men and women doing the same work and being active in local communities. “Women are an important part of the workforce at the UAW. They face challenges the UAW can make a difference about, such as helping with the demands of working full time and parenting by negotiating child care policies and flex schedules, and making sure we get the best health care possible for mothers and children when we sit at the negotiating table and collectively bargain,” said Williams.

Continue to main article below >>>

uaw.org/women: A One-Stop Shop for Activism, Education

Many women today juggle a full-time job in the workplace and another full-time job when they get home, leaving little time for education and advocacy about issues important to them. Social media can help fill that gap by bringing women together and the UAW has joined that effort by providing a new online resource for UAW women. The website uaw.org/women is loaded with information and ways for UAW women to get involved and stay connected. It couldn’t have launched at a better time with widespread concern about threats to women’s equality and rights.

“This website will be invaluable to UAW women,” said UAW Vice President and Women’s Department Director Cindy Estrada. “Having one place to go for education and activism tools will help the UAW stay connected with the resurgent women’s movement and inspire more women to get involved. So much is at stake for women now. We have to show our strength through activism and education and this tool will help us do that.”

The website is loaded with links and resources, including guidance on how UAW women can run for political office. There’s also an events link about the UAW Women’s Conference at Black Lake later this year.

UAW National Women’s Advisory Council Chair Margie Chambers of Region 2B says UAW women need a central, online presence. “There’s been a demographic change in our union with more women and young members. Women bring different priorities to the workplace, and the website provides a central place for reliable and credible information that empowers women,” said Chambers.

Council Co-Chair Stacey Hinson of Region 8 says the site will make it easier for Region 8 sisters to unify. It’s hard to do since they live throughout 13 states. “We can come together on this site across geographic boundaries from the small UAW local representing bus drivers in Delaware to the Big 3 local in Kentucky. Now we can easily share in one place news, issues and tools that all women can use,” said Hinson.

Joan Silvi

Continued from the top:

Local 602’s committee is active inside and out of the plant. In March, it will celebrate International Women’s Day with a speaker program and a pink hat/bandana day in the plant. Later this year they’re holding a women’s expo and school supply fundraiser to raise money for cancer research and help local kids, they’ll sell T-shirts to raise money for autism awareness and they’ll volunteer at a local church festival. The last three years they’ve raised over $28,000 for cancer research.

Bobbie Ledesma is the woman who keeps it all going as chair of Local 602’s Women’s Committee. The 43-year-old breast cancer survivor, mother and GM Lansing Delta Township forklift driver and tugger says most committee members have children, do a lot of committee work on their own time and make it a family unit. Kids and family are always at their meetings and events.

“Our job is to educate members about women’s issues and support our local community. Men need to know that our issues are their issues because they have wives, daughters and mothers. With today’s political climate it’s important to educate members on a lot of issues, like the fact that politicians want to make medical decisions for women.

“Our committee went to the Women’s March Jan. 21 in Washington, D.C., and words can’t describe how powerful it was. Those in power in Congress might set us back 40 years to a point where we don’t count in the public realm. There’s an atmosphere of ugliness and hate. We have to fight that,” she said. “I’m blessed to be a union woman who makes a good wage. A lot of people don’t have that.”

Lansing Delta Township Assembly third-shift production worker, mother and grandmother Anita Dawson works closely with the committee as chair of Region 1D’s Women’s Advisory Council and member of the National Women’s Advisory Council. She says the committee is focused on giving back to the local community and the Women’s March gave them fresh energy. “So much is at stake for women. We make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men and that’s just white women. African-American women make about 63 cents on the dollar and Latinas only make about 54 cents on the dollar. People need to understand that what we fought for we could lose,” said Dawson.

The education starts in the plant.

“We are privileged as UAW women,” said Dawson. She says the committee uses that privilege to educate co-workers and the community about problems women deal with such as sexual abuse and harassment, unequal pay in nonunion jobs, the high risk of ovarian cancer and many other health problems and challenges women bear the brunt of. “So many people say I’m glad you said you’re talking about this issue because I’m suffering with the same problem.”

“We know women don’t have equality. The UAW has a Women’s Department so they know that inequality exists. That gives us the traction to do what we need to do,” said Dawson.

The committee has a supportive local president. Local 602 President Bill Reed says women are about 25 percent of the local’s roughly 3,000 members. “We’re proud to see women stepping up with good leadership skills on the committee who are ready to lead and set an example for other women to say if she can do it, I can do it, too. I call them my Rosie the Riveters. It’s amazing the amount of time they put into their work, each with their own personal story and their own passion that they bring to the table. I’m proud of that. They represent a whole host of needs and experiences and serve our members and the local community so well,” said Reed.

Joan Silvi

Joan Silvi

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Categories: News By Union