Our First Stand: Save Health Care Rally” held on Sunday, January 15, in Warren, Michigan.
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The following is a statement from UAW Vice President and GM Department Director Cindy Estrada on today’s announcement of over $1 billion in U.S. investment by General Motors.
“Today’s announcement continues GM investments that have emerged as a result of the 2015 national bargaining agreement. We are pleased that there will be over $1 billion in new investment for current and future UAW GM members. Through hard work and the quality products we build, UAW-GM members, their families and their communities will benefit.
We will continue to work with GM to bring more product to the United States and enhance the job security of our UAW members.”
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(New York) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new “Buy American” initiative announced this week mandates support for American workers and manufacturers that they deserve, said UAW Region 9A Director Julie Kushner. During his 2017 State of the State address Jan. 11, the governor unveiled details of the “Buy American” plan’s sweeping legislative reforms that require state procurements over $100,000 to give preference to American-made goods and products. Described as the strongest mandate of its kind in the nation, it requires state entities to purchase American-made products for government goods and services.
“This announcement from Governor Cuomo shows the kind of leadership we need to create policies that bolster America’s manufacturing economy and the workers employed in the manufacturing sector,” said Kushner. “This is a win not only for New York’s working families, but families across the country, working hard to make ends meet. America’s economy is only as strong as the workers who make the goods and provide the services that drive it. That’s why it’s crucial that government leaders support workers not only in manufacturing but in all sectors, including higher education where graduate research and teaching assistants are providing quality education for our future decision makers,” she said.
After a long campaign with assistance from the UAW, graduate teaching and research assistants at Columbia University voted Dec. 9, 2016, to join the UAW to negotiate fair wages, working conditions and benefits to meet higher education’s growing reliance on their services. The vote followed the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Aug. 23 ruling that graduate teaching and research assistants at private universities have the right to form a union.
The “Buy American” proposal includes an array of reforms, including expanding New York’s state procurement standard to all goods and products with preference given to those substantially produced or made in whole in the U.S. Exceptions would be made if the contract requirements created substantial contract cost increases or jeopardized the health, safety or welfare of New Yorkers.
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Immigrants who have come to our country in search of better opportunities have been the economic backbone of America for well over a century. In the face of a difficult job market for many immigrants, their keys to the American Dream may not be readily available.
Nowhere is this truer than with non-union jobs, which typically offer lower pay, limited benefits, and virtually no job security. In a new country with little knowledge of the labor market, these work conditions make immigrants more vulnerable to worker exploitation, sometimes with heartbreaking results.
However, immigrants in unionized jobs are much closer to reaching the American Dream than their non-union counterparts. This year’s recipients of Union Plus Scholarships have written how union membership has transformed their standard of living — everything from ensuring more dignity in the workplace, safer work conditions, and rules preventing discrimination on the basis of national origin, among others.
Among the winners were numerous students whose family members are immigrants — many of whom triumphed over monumental hardship thanks in part to their union — and are prepared to make a meaningful impact in the world by excelling academically and pursuing degrees in preparation for career fields such as law and medicine.
When the parents of Jasmine Gregory of Walnut Creek, CA, came to America as migrant farmworkers, labor injustices were commonplace.
“My mother felt powerless until the courageous efforts of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers movement brought needed relief,” Jasmine recalled. “After years of struggle, my mother is a state employee today, wholeheartedly supporting her union.”
Indeed, Jasmine’s educational pursuits have taken root, thanks to the stability afforded by her mother’s membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2620, and her father’s membership in the International Federation of Professional & Technical Employees (IFPTE) Local 21. Upon graduating high school this year, she earned two prestigious national academic awards from the College Board — the National Merit Scholar Commendation and the National Hispanic Recognition Program Award, which are given to the top standardized test takers and the top academic performers of Hispanic heritage, respectively. With college in her sights, Jasmine aims to study political science and ultimately earn a law degree.
Her mother, she says, is “never forgetting the labor support she received since her first employment on American soil.”
The Gregory family’s story is a common thread that makes up the historical patchwork of America. Each generation had hope in their sights when they knew that, if they joined a union worked hard, and earned an education, they could foster a brighter future for their successive generations.
After the Great Recession, the educational landscape has faced difficulties of its own, most notably with the skyrocketing costs of a college education. Fortunately, that’s just one of many reasons why Union Plus was established by the AFL-CIO to provide much-needed consumer benefits to union members and retirees. One of the many valuable programs offered by Union Plus is a unique scholarship program which has awarded more than $4 million in educational funding to union members and their families.
Michelle Huang of Brooklyn, N.Y, whose parents emigrated from Guangzhou, China, is studying to become a pharmacist. She looks at how far she’s come along her educational journey and knows that she would have never been able to take the first steps without her father Zhantu’s membership in the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 10.
Relating the story of how her father went on strike and helped pass the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970, Michelle recalls, “My father became empowered to speak up for his rights. I am not sure how I can ever repay APWU.” For the Huang family, union membership pays off; as Michelle received a generous scholarship to make her academic dreams a reality.
Union membership, she says, “…holds such significance and importance in my family.”
Steven Manicastri of Willimantic, CT is a political science doctoral student whose dissertation focuses on a rank-and-file Italian trade union formed in the late 1980s. Born and raised in Italy, his working-class family immigrated to the United States in 2000. With newly-afforded opportunities thanks to his union, opportunity and hard work, Steven ultimately graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history, political science, and Italian. “I recognize the importance of theory as a political philosopher, but I am cognizant of the essential need to practice one’s politics on a quotidian basis,” Steven said.
“I can think of no better way to do this [and live by one’s politics] than by being an active union member, or being instrumental in the creation of a labor union in a future place of employment,” he added.
To this end, while in school, he became very active in the labor union movement. In addition to helping to pass his school’s lowest tuition increase in a decade by protesting at the 2011 United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) Walk Into Action, he currently serves as vice president of his graduate school’s Graduate Employee Union (GEU) Region 9A and serves as vice president for UAW Local 6950. Steven hopes to use his Union Plus Scholarship to help fund his dream of becoming a university instructor and introducing a new generation to the importance of the labor movement.
If you are a union member or your parents, spouse or children are members — and pursuing the American Dream through education — you are eligible to apply for a Union Plus Scholarship, which are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Recipients are selected based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor.
Visit UnionPlus.org/Scholarship for details and to apply online.
In addition to the scholarship program, Union Plus provides a wide range of money-saving programs and services for union members and families, including discounts on qualified wireless plans from AT&T, the only nationwide unionized wireless carrier, savings on travel and recreation, and more. Visit UnionPlus.org for details.
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DETROIT — Chevrolet Bolt EV is the 2017 North American Car of the Year.
The Bolt EV’s recognition marks the fourth time in four years that Chevrolet has received the North American Car of the Year or Truck of the Year award, following the Corvette Stingray and Silverado’s wins in 2014 and the Colorado’s award in 2015.
The Chevy Bolt EV is built by members of UAW Local 5960 at General Motors Orion Assembly, a complete vehicle assembly plant located 30 miles North of Detroit, Michigan. Since beginning production in 1983, UAW members at Orion have built 15 different models totaling more than 5.1 million vehicles for General Motors. UAW Local 5960 members at Orion Assembly have set an industry record of continuous operation without a lost work day (10 million man hours, July 2008).
Founded in 1994, the NACTOY group is comprised of 60 professional automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who work for magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites. NACTOY jurors evaluated dozens of new vehicles that went on sale this year before selecting the Bolt EV as the 2017 Car of the Year.
Offering an EPA-estimated 238 miles of range on a full charge at a starting price of $37,495 before federal tax incentives of up to $7,500 depending upon your tax situation, the Bolt EV adds the title of North America Car of the Year to a growing list of independent accolades. Motor Trend® named the Bolt EV the 2017 Car of the Year and it earned a place on the 2017 Car and Driver 10Best Cars list. Green Car Journal also heralded the Bolt EV as the Green Car of the Year and Green Car reports named it the Best New Car to Buy.
Standard Bolt EV features include electronic precision shift, Regen on Demand™ steering wheel paddle and a 10.2-inch-diagonal color touchscreen. The top-trim Premier model adds leather-appointed seats, front and rear heated seats, surround vision camera, rear camera mirror and more.
The Bolt EV rolled into California and Oregon markets last month, with additional markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, including New York, Massachusetts and Virginia, seeing their first deliveries this winter. The Bolt EV will be available at certified dealerships across the U.S. in mid-2017.
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(New York) – UAW Region 9 Director Terry Dittes says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new proposal to mandate state entities to buy American-made products is the right move for American workers and will greatly benefit the nation’s economy. During today’s 2017 State of the State address, Gov. Cuomo announced widespread legislative reforms under his “Buy American” plan requiring New York state procurements over $100,000 to give preference to American-made goods and products. The governor said this is the nation’s strongest mandate for the purchase of American-made products by state entities.
“This policy impacts the pocketbooks of not only working families in New York but families throughout the country,” said Director Dittes. “American workers are the backbone of this country. When they thrive, the country thrives. By focusing on buying products made by Americans working for American-based companies, particularly manufacturing companies,” said Dittes, “Gov. Cuomo’s reforms will strengthen our economy, boost the earning and buying power of hard-working American families and expand the number of good-paying manufacturing jobs in this country. The UAW applauds the governor’s leadership in supporting American workers and saluting the high-quality products they produce,” he said.
The “Buy American” proposal includes an array of reforms, including expanding the current state procurement standard to all goods and products, and clarifying that preference should be given to goods and products substantially produced or made in whole in the U.S. It defines American-made as goods and products where the end manufacturing processes are done in the U.S. and more than 60 percent of the components are made in the U.S. Exceptions would be granted if the requirements could not be met during a public emergency, if the health, safety or welfare of the public could not be protected or if following the requirements would significantly increase the cost of the contract.
Image by Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York (Governor Cuomo’s Major Agenda Proposal) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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