Table of Contents
"UNITED WE STAND"
President's Report ... pg. 2
Vice President's Report ... pg. 3
Committee Reports ... pg. 3 - 9
In Memoriam ... pg. 10
A Survivor's Story ... pg. 12 - 13
Politically Speaking ... pg. 14 - 16
Guest Columinist Articles ... pg. 17 - 20
Political Endorsements ... 21 - 22
The Shaffer Chronicles ... pg. 23
Labor Daze ... pg. 24
Local 163 President, Ralph Morris Jr.
I would like to begin my report by welcoming all the new members into our Local. We are glad to have you in our 163 family. It is quite uncommon to have all of our plants bringing in significant numbers of new members all at the same time. If we have learned anything from this year, 2020 has been atypical.
It has been a year since our historic 40-day strike at GM ended on October 25, 2019.With so much happening over the course of this year, it definitely feels like it has been much longer than years in the past. I heard someone joke about 2020 being the longest 5 years of their life.
The newly elected officers of Local 163 were installed at our General Membership Meeting that was held in our back-parking lot on August 30th. I would like to congratulate all these newly elected officers and thank all the previous officers for their past service to our Union. It is exciting to have new officers joining our movement; bringing their fresh ideas and new energy to these positions.
Working with our Regional Director Chuck Browning, we were able to provide many of the newly elected Committeepersons to a one-day Grievance Handling Training at our Hall on September 24 & 25th. The Training was offered over 2 days due to the State of Michigan’s Stay at Home order limited meeting groups of 10 or less indoors. UAW Region 1A International Educational Representative Jeff Morris conducted the training for these newly elected representatives. Many of them learned tools that will help them successfully win grievances for our membership.
As I have done in the past, I periodically outline the goals set for our Local. We have reached many of the goals already: paying off the Union Hall, repaving the back and front parking lot, restoring the gift of Bibles for deceased immediate family members, restoring our newsletter and attaining an active membership of 3,000.Setting goals for our Union is important because it helps drive the direction of our Local and allows us to accomplish important objectives that would not be possible if we were aimlessly going about our day to day business and not focused on our Long-Term goals.
I admit, meeting our next goal of achieving an active membership of 4,000 will not be an easy task. To reach this goal, we will have to organize workers outside of our existing facilities. I believe we have the skill sets and the wherewithal to achieve it. At the moment, our Local is actively involved in an organizing campaign at Groupo Antolin in Howell, Michigan. UAW Local 163 Vice President Al Byrd has been assigned as an organizer on this drive to help equip these workers with the tools that they will need to build collective power to overcome the abuses that they endure daily because they do not belong to a Union.
Wages for workers have been stagnant for the past 40 years while compensation for executives has grown exponentially. This didn’t happen by chance. Big corporations have written and rigged the rules for their sole benefit. They have put politicians in their back pockets to suppress our wages and erode our rights to bargain collectively. Electing government leaders that understand that the race to the bottom, which pits worker against worker is bad policy and enacting legislation that combats wage inequality and strengthens our workers’ rights is in our countries best interest.
In closing as we enter the Fall months, the number of COVID cases continue to climb within our state. We are reminded daily of this as we get news reports of the increased number of cases. We must remain vigilant and ensure that all the COVID protocols that have been put in place at our plants are maintained for our safety and continue to be adhered to by the corporations for our well-being. Stay Safe!
Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to humbly thank everyone for their support in my campaign to become your Vice-President of this Local. I could not have had a successful campaign without your support. It has truly been a blessing.
The job of VP has been a continuous learning experience and adjustment. I've been meeting with new members and helping them with their challenges at the different worksites, which has been enjoyable. I am looking forward to meeting more members and continuously making our Local better.
Speaking of meeting new members, our Local is experiencing a continuous influx of new members to our GM, Diesel and Axle units. Malik Ferguson and I had the pleasure of educating and meeting our new members during orientation. It was great working with Malik for our first of many classes. Our new members have really expressed appreciation of the knowledge they have received from the class. We have had some great discussions about our Union and our future. Our New Member Orientation continues to be a great learning experience for all involved.
Our organizing campaign has progressed at Groupo Antolin. This gives me hope that they will be having an election soon. The workers are taking on more responsibilities which is a good sign for the voice they want and need in their workplace. We are hopeful.
As you can see, I have been busy. I am so grateful for the honor to serve our members.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to take this time to introduce myself to the membership. I was recently elected as Chairperson representing Industrial Cleaners, facilities and Truck Repair at Romulus Powertrain. I have 13 years seniority in housekeeping/Industrial cleaning. I started in 2007 at Lansing Grand River and transferred to Romulus Powertrain in 2016.
I’d like to welcome our newly elected committee. First Shift Committeeperson Belinda West, Alternate Committeeperson Sherry Polzin, Second Shift Committeeperson Chris Lebeck and third shift Committeeperson Lakairah Johnson. We look forward to working together and representing our members.
In August, we ratified our contract after being on a contract extension for two and a half years. Shortly after I was honored to be interviewed for Solidarity magazine, where I spoke of our gains in pay and the ability to hold on to health care without added cost to our members.
I look forward to serving the membership and contributing to many years of growth.
Vice President / Education Chairman
UAW Local 163
Greetings to my Union Brothers and Sisters, and a special welcome to our new Members. Let me start off by saying that I hope you and your family are doing well during this pandemic. Let's get to the updates: The company has extended the Union attendance bonus to the end of the year, which is good news. We have also received our 2021 raise, 4 months early! The company is doing some hiring, to try and fill the positions that opened up due to the new programs launching earlier than what was originally expected. The employee referral bonus was increased to $500. New speed bumps were added in the employee parking lot because the UAW safety committee and the company want to keep employees safe while exiting and entering the building. The newly remodeled front break room is open and looks good. As always, your department Union Reps. are here to answer any of your questions and concerns. Thank you!
Greetings Brothers and Sisters:
Romulus Powertrain has been a second home to me, for twenty of the twenty-three years I’ve been employed at General Motors. This facility has been the most desirable worksite in General Motors for as long as I can remember. Over the past few years though, we’ve had a few rough spots that have had a negative impact on the overall quality of life here at Romulus Powertrain.
The membership demanded change and change is what they got, when they elected an all new Shop Committee in this past triennial Local election. With change comes challenges, and we as a Committee are ready to meet those challenges head on! The goal of the Shop Committee is to rebuild the trust in our local leadership, and generate a sense of pride and enthusiasm when saying, "I am a member of UAW Local 163!" As Chairman, it is my priority to put Romulus in a position to secure capacity increase and new product allocation, and to ensure a bright and steady future for all of our members.
In closing, I challenge the membership to do your part to help meet the goal of restoring Romulus. Take care of one another, handle disagreements like adults, or seek assistance from your Committeeperson and myself instead of going to labor.
I know life happens, but we really need to improve our absenteeism, because that is one category taken into consideration when considering product allocation. We have seen the company in this past year cut shifts due to absenteeism, to condense manpower to meet demand. No one thinks the road ahead won’t be bumpy at times, but I know this membership can overcome any and all obstacles that may come our way.
Thank you again for allowing me the honor of serving as your Shop Chairman. I look forward to helping Romulus move forward, and I will serve you to the best of my ability.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters of UAW Local 163,
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Peter (Pete) Potts, an Electrician with 20 years of service at GM. Recently, I was elected as District #4 Committeeperson, which includes dayshift Skilled Trades, Crib Attendants, Shipping, Receiving and Quality. I would like to extend my gratitude to the members of District #4 at Romulus Engine for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your Committeeperson. I look forward to serving as your trusted Brother. As we move forward, I am dedicated to doing my very best for all of members of my district. I’m part of the bargaining team here at Romulus Engine and we are doing our due diligence in negotiating the best possible local contract for the membership. I’m also a member of the Veteran’s Committee and I look forward to informing you every step of the way.
I am very passionate about the apprenticeship program. It is through the apprenticeship program that I learned the skills, knowledge, and attitude needed to become a competent Electrician. We have been doing a great job with getting our apprentices the training that is required for them to succeed as journeypersons, as they approach their final stretch of their apprenticeships. I strongly believe that we can do more for them and I’m an advocate for our apprentices to be given every opportunity through on the job training and classroom theory, to be the best at their trade. We have a great group of Electrician Apprentices here at Romulus Engine. Unfortunately, we do not have a program in place yet for our mechanical trades (Toolmakers, Machine Repair, Pipefitters and Millwrights). You can believe that I will be doing everything in my powers to get one here at Romulus Engine. We have a great group of skilled trades workers with a wealth of knowledge, who are ready and willing to train our future skill trade workers. It would be a shame if all that knowledge was not passed on to future skilled trade workers.
Until the next time, thank you for allowing me to serve
District 4 Committeeman
Alternate Alternate Committeeman
Hello to all of my Union Brothers and Sisters. My name is Mitchell Fox, and I am the newly elected Alternate Committee Person for 1st shift, District 1. I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has given me their support. I’m so excited to gain experience and represent the membership to the best of my ability! I’m also very excited to teach others the vital tools they need, and to help guide them in a successful direction throughout their career. I also want to thank everyone who has supported this big change in the shop committee here at Romulus. The new Shop Committee has set a high standard on what the membership deserves from their representatives and local Union. Please feel confident that everyone has the drive and determination to make our Local the best it can be, and in return, change our past perspective on what local representation should look like. We will continue to do our part by giving 100%, and being fully transparent, however we can only do so much, and be in so many places at once. We, as a membership, need to educate and spread knowledge amongst ourselves, in turn, making us stronger as a whole. We must look at the person next to us as a real Brother or Sister, and have their backs! We are all in this together, doing our best to support our families, and fighting different obstacles in life, which can change from day to day. We have to be our Brother's keeper, and look out for one another. We spend more time here at work, than at home, so let’s make it the best it can possibly be! This is my vision for us, and I have no doubt, this will happen!
Retired Chapter Chairperson
Strange times we are in. We are in the midst of a pandemic and elections are right around the corner. No, this isn’t the beginning of a spooky movie but it kinda sounds like it could be, right? If you haven’t already cast your vote, Wednesday November 3rd is our day to make our voices heard.
Region 1A recently held a Women’s Conference that we attended via Zoom. They spoke about the importance of our election and why voting matters.
The Women’s Committee will be selling hoodies for the chilly season. If you’d like some cool local 163 gear, keep an eye out for order forms or contact any of our ladies on the women’s committee to get one.
We’d also like to thank Ryan Martin for his hard work and for helping us raise money for our Women’s Committee fund.
Please enjoy this spooky season and stay safe.
Elections are over, and hopefully Biden and Harris are the winners. We can also hope Senator Peters won, and the other Democratic Candidates for the Senate also won. So Democrats take the Senate while also keeping the House. This will finally give all Americans a true chance for the quality of life we all deserve. However, unless a miracle happens, Americans will be saddled with Monster trumps pick for Supreme Court who can go against True Justice For All Americans.
With the tremendous push by Trump, De Joy, Republican governors and voter intimidation going all out to suppress the vote, how can anyone believe they are upholding the US Constitution? Even with a Biden/Harris win, Trump in the lame duck period signals he will pull as many dirty tricks to stay in office as he can. Americans should never be subjected to such an Outrage.
THE VIRUS-TRUMP February 2020 Corona Virus a hoax.
Trump March 17, 2020 on TV says - he knew about Corona Virus months before it hit
China- Trump March 18, 2020 (one day latter) on TV says no one could see the Corona Virus coming - Two days. Two total different lies. With over 22 thousand plus lies, Trump should be the President of the Liars Club Forever.
In Michigan- Where Governor Whitmer, despite being targeted for kidnapping and death, was doing all she could for the health and safety of Michiganders against the Virus and was succeeding, was terribly restrained by the special interest majority Michigan Supreme Court judge, to limit Governor Whitmer's positive agenda against the virus. We desperately need positive change on our Supreme Court ,for the sake of all Michiganders. We need to elect Bridget Mary McCormack and Elizabeth Welch for true Justice from our Supreme Court. Incidently, the majority of Judges on the Supreme Court are currently anti-Union . Take care. Be well.
Women's Committee Chairperson
ATTENTION!! ATTENTION!! IT’S APPRENTICESHIP TEST TIME = JANUARY 9, 2021
TEST IS OPEN TOALLUAW DETROIT DIESEL ENGINE AND AXLE HOURLY EMPLOYEES
> Oct 12 - Nov 13, 2020= Pick up an RFI (Request For Information) form and information packet in the HR office (where you receive your ID badge and order uniforms). RFI forms must have “Timestamp” from HR
> Nov 20 - Dec 4= Return to the HR office to pick up your Orientation Invitation
> Dec 10, 15, 16=Orientation Dates(you will be assigned one of these dates)
> January 9, 2021 =Apprenticeship Test Date (test date is a Saturday and will be conducted on-site)
> Reminder: Employees that participated in any of the past Apprenticeship Tests (2013, 2015, 2017 and/or 2018) are required to attend a college level class to participate in any future Apprenticeship test opportunities.
Need a quick class? Class listed below would qualify you to retest. (Not directly affiliated with test)
Tuition assistance is available through http://daimler.scholarsapply.org (after 180 days seniority)
Following these steps correctly is considered your first test in the process.
If you are unsure where the HR office is located, or have questions about the process, please reach out to the Apprenticeship Department or your Committeeperson. We have several new hires entering the plant. They receive a lot of new information their first couple of days. Once they get settled in, please remind them of the Apprenticeship test opportunity.
Quick Facts About Apprenticeship Program:
Apprenticeship Test is offered every 18-24 months (one day only, no makeup date)
> Since 2013, we have added 54 DDC Apprentices and 5 Axle MITs (highest number of all DTNA facilities)
> At this time, we have 29 DDC Apprentices and 5 Axle MITs actively working in the programs
> Remaining candidates on selection lists: (5) DDC candidates and (3) Axle candidates
> Apprenticeship testing is offered through an independent third party company (AON Hewitt)
> AON Hewitt proctors the test, participates in all interviews and is responsible for all documentation
> Our Apprenticeship Program is registered and audited by Department of Labor (DOL) (last audit 9-16-20)
Be careful of misinformation!
Ask the right questions of the right people. We want you to be successful!
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Doug Szydlowski or Dan Palm:
Office: 1-313-592-7229, Cell: 1-313-492-1515
DDC Apprenticeship Chairman
Let me start out by saying I hope everyone is doing as well as they can, during this very chaotic and unrestful time in our lives, in the midst of this pandemic. This fall we are in the process of choosing leaders to lead us for the next four years. Hopefully leading to a brighter future, in regards to this pandemic and the uncertainties of our society. May God help our leaders to see a path to a brighter future for all of the people of this land. Unity is the key. So I can’t express this enough, please make time to go and vote! Express your opinion in a very constructive manner on November 3rd. I do believe that your vote matters and will help with the process of healing this land that we all call home, The United States of America. Weather you’re RED or BLUE, it’s key that we come together, because together we are strong and divided we all fall. During this pandemic, the country has seen a drastic increase in depression, drug overdoses, and suicide, all on top of the large amountsof people who contracted the COVID- 19 virus. I feel I have to say, please don’t think this is some kind of hoax and not a real problem in our society, just because it hasn’t touched your family yet. We have all been forced to deal with these life changing events one way or another. Some of us have had it dropped right on our own door step, while others have only heard of the worst of what is happening. I happen to have two daughters that have to deal with these life changing events first hand, because they are both nurses at hospitals that are located on different sides of the country. Some of the story’s they have shared with me have been very enlightening, while others have been quite disheartening. I feel this pandemic, along with the unrest this country is experiencing, is playing big role in the stress that we are all experiencing. Please know that there are avenues that you can reach out to for assistance in dealing with this added stress in your lives, so you don’t feel overwhelmed in thinking you have to navigate this turmoil alone. Remember we have professional’s that can help, like Doctors, Counselors, Therapists and treatment centers to help us all with coping with the stress and confusion in this uncertain time. As your Employee Assistance Rep. I’m here to help if the need arises. I can help you find any professional help you may need. Remember folks you don’t have to go it alone. In closing, please keep wearing your mask’s, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands as much as possible. If you or someone you know is not feeling their “NORM”, please advise them to seek professional help. We must all work together and help one another to be successful in beating this pandemic, because together we are strong, divided we fall! Also, I would like to take this opportunity to share with Detroit Diesel members that we offer a Recovery Meeting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9am-10am in conference room P12, in the M-1 building. It’s located on the main aisle just west of the engine and axle display. Also, for those that can’t make it to the meeting room, or are working form home, or on other shift’s, we have a Zoom meeting at the same time. The zoom meeting is titled “ DDC Last Resort” ID# 878-4396-2336 Passcode: 063791. If you think you have a substance abuse problem, you are more then welcome to join us for some recovery and fellowship.
I want to thank the UAW Local 163 members for re-electing me to the position of Recording Secretary. It is an honor and a privilege to once again represent all of you. I am excited to see what the next 3 years has to offer.
I want to express my gratitude to he Election Committee who stepped up and made this election possible and safe during a very challenging and difficult time.
You have my deepest thanks and appreciation.
UAW Local 163
In these uncertain times, we must remember we are held in God's strong hands.
God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], A very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains be shaken and slip into the heart of the seas, Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains tremble at its roaring. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her [His city], she will not be moved; God will help her when the morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold [our refuge, our high tower]. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord , Who has brought desolations and wonders on the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold [our refuge, our high tower]. Selah.
Psalms 46:1-11 AMP
The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.”
Exodus 14:14 AMP
God be gracious and kind-hearted to us and bless us, And make His face shine [with favor] on us— Selah. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation and deliverance among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, For You will judge the people fairly And guide the nations on earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. The earth has yielded its harvest [as evidence of His approval]; God, our God, blesses us. God blesses us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder].
Psalms 67:1-7 AMP
You, LORD , are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won't be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd's rod makes me feel safe. You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honour me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live for ever in your house, LORD .
Psalms 23:1-6 CEVUK
Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’
Isaiah 41:10 AMP
* Fill the earth with Your glory, Father- glorify Your name Lord God- that eyes may see. Amen.
GM-Powertrain Retiree Amos W. Boyd 6-3-20
GM-Powertrain Retiree Terrance McGrath 7-12-20
GM-Powertrain Retiree Paul R. Newton, father of DDC employee Paul Newton 7-17-20
DDC Retiree Jerry Ferguson 7-24-20
DDC Retiree Joseph Wolford 7-30-20
DDC Retiree Thomas Werner 8-2-20
DDC Retiree James Mackey 8-7-20
DDC Retiree Robert Weiss 8-8-20
DDC Retiree Frank Singerton 8-12-20
DDC Retiree Joe Ross 8-15-20
DDC Retiree John Clark 8-17-20
GM-Powertrain Retiree Thomas Maczkowski 8-18-20
DDC Retiree Richard Kassel 8-21-20
Mrs. Nancy Coop, wife of DDC Retiree James Coop 9-2-20
DDC Retiree James Gough 9-3-20
DDC Retiree Earl Trezil 9-3-20
DDC Retiree David Waddington 9-4-20
DDC Retiree Gordon Bailey 9-4-20
Mrs. Sharonann Dimambro, wife of DDC Retiree Bruno Dimambro 9/11/20
DDC Retiree Harold Elmore 9-14-20
DDC Retiree John Eizonas 9-16-20
Mr. Charles Lindow, father of DDC Committeman Bob Lindow, father-in-law of DDC employee Darlene Lindow 9-22-20
DDC Retiree Kenneth Baumann 9-24-20
DDC Retiree Lilton Felton 9-28-20
DDC Employee Eric Cotton 9-29-20
DDC Retiree Frank Padovich 10-1-20
Detroit Axle Employee Louis Cronyn, son of DDC employee Laura Cronyn; brother of Detroit Axle employee Malcolm Cronyn 10-4-20
DDC Retiree Harley Hinton, father of DDC employee Jeffory Hinton 10-15-20
DDC Retiree James Williams, father of DDC employee Kevin Williams; brother of DDC employee Larry Williams 10-17-20
GM-Powertrain Retiree Keith Richards 10-17-20
Miller Cohen & Associates
Diseases of ordinary life are not covered under the Workers’ Disability Compensation Act save for very limited circumstances. Covid-19 would fall into the category of diseases of ordinary life. The Governor on Thursday, October 22, 2020 signed bipartisan House Bills 6030-6032 providing legal protection to employers who follow government rules passed for protecting workers from Covid-19 exposure. Therefore, if your employer does not follow the rules set forth for protecting employees in the workplace, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim despite the fact Covid-19 is a disease of ordinary life. In addition, these bills protect workers from going to work when they have been exposed to a Covid-19 positive individual, and need to quarantine or are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms themselves. The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), issued emergency rules effective October 14, 2020, outlining what employers need to do to keep employees safe. They include but are not limited to the following:
Promote frequent & thorough handwashing, including by providing workers, customers, & worksite visitors a place to wash hands;
Provide antiseptic hand sanitizer or alcohol-based hand towelettes containing 60% alcohol when soap & water are unavailable;
Require workers who are sick to not report to work or work in an isolated location;
Prohibit workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools & equipment when possible;
Create policy prohibit in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be performed remotely;
The employer shall conduct a daily entry self-screening protocol;
Keep everyone on the worksite at least 6ft from one another and reduce congestion;
Use ground markings, signs and physical barriers in an appropriate manner, to ensure social distancing and reduce congestions;
Provide non-medical grade face coverings to their employees;
Require face coverings when employees cannot consistently maintain 6ft of separation from others; etc.
The COVID-19 Workplace Requirements for All Employers can be found https://www.michigan.gov/documents/leo/leo_miosha_c19_workplace_guidelines_employer_690397_7.pdf. If you develop Covid-19 as a result of workplace exposure, you should file a workers’ compensation claim.
"The fight of her life - A Survivor's Story"
Sister Torri Crank (pictured with Breast Cancer Awareness shirt)
As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual October campaign means different things to different people. For some, it’s about advocacy, and a push to educate the masses about this type of cancer. For some, it’s about celebrating strength and survival. I believe we all know someone who has been affected in some way or another.
The year 2020 has been a powerful reminder that we are all in this together. It has reminded us that not only our choices, but our actions have the power to protect the most vulnerable among us. This is also true of Breast Cancer. By advocating, educating, and showing support, we can inspire hope in all women that our lives are important, and that we can overcome. With that being said, I’d like to share a story with you about a real life inspiration. There is a saying that goes, "your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude." Well, for this young lady, truer words have never been spoken! She is a hard working Romulus employee, and her name is Ms. Torri Crank.
Torri was originally diagnosed on July 21, 2017. Since that day, she has undergone radiation treatments, chemo-therapy, and many other procedures. On October 13, 2020, she completed her 14th surgery! With all of this going on with Torri, she still finds the strength to care for her mother, and work to support her family. Here is what Torri has to say about her journey:
“ I am a breast cancer survivor! I survived chemo, radiation, and many surgeries. I survived the stares when my hair fell out. I survived the removal of my breasts. I survived the weight gain and the weight loss. I’m thankful for God giving me favor! I’m thankful that my fears never manifested! I’m thankful that I’m a miracle in the making! I’m thankful for all the Angels that have shown me so much love. All my friends and family, the support has been amazing! I appreciate every kind gesture, every phone call, every text, every meal prepared, and especially all the prayers! Thank you to my GM Romulus Family, and UAW Local 163. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. Thank you for letting me smell the roses on this side of heaven!!!”
With everything Torri has been through, she has kept a positive attitude about it all. How many of us would be able to say the same, having experienced all that this young lady has had to endure? What an inspiration she has been to her fellow Romulus employees, myself included. Always positive. Always smiling. I hope that her story will inspire you as well. Giving up and quitting was never an option for Torri. She is a fighter. She is a cancer survivor. A True Warrior.
So let us all continue to fight the good fight in all that we do. Remember family, you can’t live a positive life, with a negative mind. I encourage us all, women and men alike, to be vigilant about our health and protecting ourselves. Early screening and early detection can save lives. Advocate. Educate. Support the fighters. Admire the survivors. Honor the taken. Never Give Up Hope!
Here are just a few sobering statistics about Breast Cancer:
> In the US, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
> The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are being female and aging. About 95% of all breast cancers in the US occur in women 40 and older.
> Women who get regularly screened for breast cancer have a 47% lower risk of dying from
the disease compared to those who don’t.
> Breast cancer deaths have been declining since 1990 thanks to early detection, better
screening, increased awareness, and new treatment options.
> Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed
with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
> Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the US and
the first leading cause of cancer death among women globally.
> Although rare, men get breast cancer too. An estimated 2,620 men will be diagnosed with
breast cancer this year, and approximately 520 will die.
> In the US today, there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors — the largest group of all cancer survivors
Pictured above: Romulus Brothers and Sisters showing support and Solidarity.
Trump and the Coronavirus: “Move along, nothing to see here…”
During a massive, nationwide Coronavirus spike in cases, where the country reported over 60,000 new, daily cases in late October, for the first time since the initial case was reported in the U.S., President Trump held a large, super-spreader rally, right here in Lansing, MI. At that largely mask-less, and non-socially distant rally, Trump complained that “Covid, Covid, Covid…” was the only thing the media was reporting on, and that he was ready to move on to other issues. It is hard to discern in what Bizarro-World reality would the official White House communications website list, among the 1st term “accomplishments” of the Trump Administration, that they had “defeated the Covid-19 virus”, but there it is, in big, bold letters! This whiny take on the current crisis was openly mocked by former President Barack Obama, at a Biden/Harris campaign event in Florida, on the same day as the Trump rally in Michigan, where he suggested that Trump was “jealous of Covid’s media coverage.”
Since disbanding the White House Pandemic Response team in May of 2018, the Trump Administration has continually botched the nation’s response to this unprecedented crisis, and have gone to great, and often ridiculous lengths, to justify their lack of concern for the well-being of all Americans. From not replacing the lead Center for Disease Control (CDC) epidemiologist in China, when she resigned in July of 2019, through several instances where Trump suggested that the virus would “disappear one day, like a miracle”, or that the virus could be defeated by injecting household disinfectants or ultraviolet light into the body, the Administration’s lack of concern for creating or implementing a national strategy to combat this insidious virus is appalling, to say the very least.
Through the cacophony of voices, on all sides of the political spectrum, calling for the implementation of the Defense Production Act, a seemingly automatic step to fight this massive crisis fell on deaf ears in Trump’s White House. The DPA has often been implemented during times of war, to expedite the supply of materials and service, crafted by the working men and women of U.S. industrial manufacturing, to help maintain our national defense. It isn’t difficult to see how simple it would have been to retrofit the many manufacturing facilities that have been underutilized in the shrinking Trump economy, to make all of the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) necessary to protect not only our front-line medical professionals facing the brunt of this awful virus, but the rest of the American public. Instead, President “Nero” fiddled, while “Rome” burned! Doctors and Nurses, in overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms nationwide, were forced to don garbage bags, and gin up plastic faceshields to protect themselves, while trying to save lives. Because many of them have gone virtually unprotected, over 1,700 front-line medical professional have lost their lives in 2020 (Reed, T. (2020, September 28. More than 1,700 U.S. Healthcare Workers have Died from COVID-19, Nurses’ Unions says. https.//www.fiercehealthcare.com). Many American manufacturers, faced with unprecedented shut downs due to the fear of exposure amongst their employees, chose to create opportunities for suddenly unemployed workers, by making ventilators, masks, gowns, gloves and all other manners of PPE, to help stem the overwhelming need. (see the fabulous article by Sister Tracy Smith of UAW Local 898 in this issue, about Ford’s “Apollo Project”.)
Of all of the “Snidely Whiplash” moments in the Trump presidency, perhaps the most outrageous was brought to light by one of America’s foremost political correspondents, Bob Woodward, in his book entitled “Rage”. Apparently, amidst the “I don’t take responsibility at all” press conferences, and the “virus is very much under control in the U.S., the stock market is looking very good to me” tweets, Trump was telling Mr. Woodward, in a series of interviews, that he KNEW, as early as December of 2019, that the virus was “deadly stuff”, and maybe 5 times more virulent that the average flu. However, just a couple of weeks after speaking with Woodward, Trump appeared on a FOX News Town Hall. He compared the COVID-19 Virus to a “bad flu season”, and suggested that we should stop building cars, so we wouldn’t lose any more people to automobile accidents. Further in his Woodward interviews, Trump suggested that he openly lied to the American public about the severity of this coming crisis, because he didn’t want to “cause a panic”. It is painfully obvious to the nearly 230,000 families that will have an empty seat at their Thanksgiving table, that the woeful response of the Trump Administration has caused tremendous loss of life. Trump has continually mocked others for using PPE, yet the virus has even attacked him, his family, and many in his Administration, while he continues to stand, mask-less and unrepentant, at super-spreaders events around the country, in the run-up to the General Election on November 3rd. Please remember how little this President is concerned about your well-being, and the well-being of your family, when you pull the curtain on your voting booth next week.
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell addresses the crowd at UAW Region 1A during the Biden Bus Rally
(Pictured left to right): Carl Moore, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and Ray Herrick
(Pictured left to right): Carl Moore, President Ralph Morris Jr. and Darryl Stephens
(Photos by: Ryan Martin and Carl Moore)
Bus Rally at
(Pictured left): Region 1A Director Chuck Browning, addresses the crowd at the Biden Bus Rally at UAW Region 1A
(Pictured Right): Lieutenant Governor Garlan Gilchrist, II campaigning for Joe at the Biden Bus Rally at UAW Region 1A
(Bottom photos provided by:
UAW Region 1A)
What's good in your livelyhood?
During election cycles, a piece of advice that is often given to undecided voters is “vote for your best interest”, but how can voters be sure they are voting for their best interest when candidates all too often fail at fulfilling their campaign promises?
For Union Members, the first step would be redefining what’s in “your” best interest by removing the “y” and focusing on “our” best interest. After all, as Union Members, our livelihoods are intertwined in the common struggle of employment.
Currently, the biggest issues Members of Local 163 face involve the future of manufacturing in America. There are many challenges coming that Union members need to be equipped to overcome. This is why understanding what’s in our best interest is so important.
The biggest challenge Local 163 will face is the electrified future of the Auto and Trucking Industries. The reduced amount of components needed for an electric vehicle has the potential to displace workers or eliminate the need to replace workers as they retire. While it may seem like voting for a candidate who has gone back on climate agreements and fuel standards might sway vehicle manufacturers into sticking with fossil fuels to power their vehicles, the Auto and Trucking industries in America, as well as the rest of the world, continue to invest heavily in electric and other renewable technology. When the oil industries lobbying and campaign contributions aren’t enough to sway corporations to stick with fossil fuels, it may be time to accept the changes we face and figure out how to deal with them accordingly.
Another challenge we face is increased automation and 3D printing. Automation takes jobs away from Union Members by having machinery perform tasks that could be performed by Union Members. 3D printing reduces the amount of components needed to make parts and will continue to simplify assembly processes as the technology continually improves. While these technologies actually play a roll in the underwhelming amount of manufacturing jobs that have returned to America, because their cost savings have become comparable to the savings offshoring jobs provide when factored in with shipping costs, they will still cause a disruption that affects Union Members.
So with the challenges we face, what is the best way to secure our best interest? We have to learn how to adapt and support candidates who back policies and reforms that will help us along the way. We have to elect candidates who advocate for labor, candidates who support bills like the PRO act, candidates who will appoint labor friendly judges and cabinet members, but most importantly, we have to make sure we advocate for us when we make our decisions at the polls. While it might appear that our livelihoods are tied to individual corporations, the bleeding of jobs in manufacturing over the last 40 years, mixed with the uncertainty of the future, has shown us that our livelihoods might actually be dependent on our ability to land a good paying job, if the one we’re at now were to go away.
In the long run, it’s imperative that we work to uplift the wages and working conditions of every American by strengthening our labor rights. For every one of our members who speak against workers in other industries fighting to improve their wages and benefits, there’s too many in other industries who blame our wages for their inability to afford a new car. People have the choice to either show empathy or apathy toward their fellow workers plight. Both choices have the ability to set what labor in America is worth. If your situation at work changes, are you sure you’ll get what you deserve?
The Apollo Project
As I think back over the past 6 months, I have a flood of emotions about the craziness we have all experienced. Watching the news, I sit here on this cold fall morning drinking my coffee, and discover that the President of the United States has now been hospitalized with Covid 19. With understanding that this virus has no boundaries or limits, I am thinking about my personal experience and I want to share it with you.
In Mid- March the auto industry shut down. The UAW fought for the safety of our members and we were SHUT DOWN. Unbelievable? Yes! Unprecedented? Yes! Big 3 manufacturing had never experienced anything like this. We went home with so much uncertainty to what was going to happen to our lives.
After 3 weeks of being home, a news story about Ford Motor Company came on. The story revealed that one of the plants was going to build Ventilators. They did not say where, but I knew. I knew in my heart and soul it was going to be at my plant and I was right.
The following week a robocall went out to all employees of the Rawsonville Plant with a request for volunteers to come and help build ventilators. So many things were uncertain at that time, the Covid numbers were still rising; there was a Stay Home, Stay Safe Order from the Governor in place; and there was still the question whether manufacturing at my plant was going to restart anytime soon. Only a hundred employees or so volunteered at this point, but I was not one of these individuals. The next robocall request would go out to other Ford employees in our zone. Even though the plant had expanded its request, I still wasn’t ready to take on this challenge with so many unknowns.
The fact is, my sister Jennifer was on the front line. She was a charge nurse at one of the local hospitals which eventually had to be converted to a Covid only hospital due to the rising numbers of the virus. She is one of the heroes making personal sacrifices for those who were sick, and knowing that there was still a job that had to be done. Like any good mother, she protected her family, even if that meant sacrificing her time with her family to keep them safe. Her teenage boys were sent to stay with our parents because she was exposed daily to this virus and needed her boys to be safe. When we spoke, she told me in the 22 years as a nurse, she had never cried and now she had cried every single day. Jennifer had never seen anything like what she was seeing. So much death. I knew I needed to take this virus seriously and I wasn’t the only one. My dad’s plea in our family group text also had me hesitating: “Tracy & Gordie, (my brother, another Ford employee) I am worried to death everyday about one of my children. I cannot be worried about all three of my children, please do not volunteer, my heart can’t take it”. So…we didn’t.
During this time, our Local 898 Skilled Trades at Rawsonville were busy. If you ever worked in manufacturing, then you know what it takes to bring in a new line or department to be built and then to get it up and running. Usually it takes about a year from start to finish, but not here at Rawsonville. 47 days--yes 47 days is the time it took for our skilled trades to put in this Ventilator area. They took an old storage area and worked a miracle! The conversion to a medical grade work area was unbelievable. Walls and floors were painted, a new ceiling was added, and medical grade air systems were brought in and installed. The trades worked around the clock to build the lines & the test stations, eventually adding a whole new room because more space was needed. Each job on the line was high tech and computerized with iPads, so no mistakes could be made. All of this in 47 days. From the day they started, until the first Ventilator was built off the line……47 days. I am so proud of the skilled trades team at Rawsonville and what they were able to accomplish! I have never seen anything like this in my 26 years with Ford.
The first week of May, I was still at home and I receive a call from Matt Copeland, our Employee Resource Coordinator. He proceeds to ask me if I am bored yet? I answered honestly “No I am not; I am ready to retire!” Not realizing he had me on speaker phone, I hear laughter in the background from our Plant Chairman Frank Murray and few others. They were calling me to become a part of the Apollo Project. I knew my time to contribute had come. I was going to be utilized to teach new hire orientation to a group of 25 employees coming in to make a difference in this fight against Covid. By obtaining my UAW Fellowship in 2006, teaching our membership is what I have been trained to do and I knew my knowledge would help to make the Apollo Project a success. So, May 11th, I returned to work and began my involvement with the Apollo Project.
Walking in the first day, anxiousness set in. Had I made the right decision? Like many others, I had not left my house in over a month. When I got to the plant, Frank Murray, our Plant Chairman gave me a tour of the new area and what I saw amazed me. I was in awe and had never seen anything like the area in my life. My heart was filled with so many emotions and I had to excuse myself to take a moment and pull myself back together. The sheer magnitude of what my beloved plant had accomplished was unbelievable. I shed some tears before I went to the classroom, because I had personally lost several friends to the virus and I know that Local 898 and the Rawsonville Plant was stepping up to make their contribution to help people for the greater good. I was filled with anxiety before walking into the plant, and then seeing the work of our trades and what they were able to accomplish, was all so overwhelming to me.
By the end of the week of training, my life would be forever changed. Our hiring numbers went up, and the trainers were asked if we would commit to training 300 people. Our Ventilator production was in high demand and we needed to continue to get those new hires through orientation. We went from hiring 25 people to now 300! Our commitment to the success of the project was unanimous, even if it meant that we would have to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to get our employees trained. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy because we had to change everything about training due to the virus. Social Distancing provided challenges with maintaining the 6 ft apart rule and then there was the question of how to do this with limited space in the training center. Many ideas were talked about. Do we rent a space like a conference center? Computerized training? The result after having many long discussions was that we would have 60 people in the plant and 60 people at our local Union hall training 3 days a week, 10 hours a day. This seemed to be our best option considering the size and scope of the undertaking. Matt Copeland & Dan Health would do half of the training at the local and myself, Jason Hawkins and Ron Vanzo would do the other half of the training in the plant. Midway through, the sixty new hires would switch locations. This meant every day and a half; we would get a new group of people. We all felt that this was the plan we needed and knew “We got this!!” It would be 2 weeks to get the 300 people we needed.
By the end of the second week of training the Rawsonville Plant knew that they would still need more than the 325 new workers to build Ventilators as the rest of the Ford plants were beginning to come on- line and assembly began to ramp up. We had many Ford workers from other locations at Rawsonville. These people would be going back to their plants, so we had to prepare to replace them as well. I must acknowledge all of the people that came to Rawsonville from other Ford locations. You are all amazing and are honorary members of Local 898, and you are part of the Rawsonville family. I thank you.
As the weeks continued, our training plan was hard at work. The new employees came through every three days rotating between the two locations while making sure they we were taking all the appropriate measures to keep everyone safe from the virus.
Over the next few weeks, Matt & Dan went on the road. They headed to TDM in Plymouth Michigan to train 200 people at a time. Ford Motor Company stepped up for our country and hired people to build face shields. These employees had been so successful, that the required production was built, and these individuals were now needed in other capacities- namely the Apollo Project at Rawsonville. This was a trained pool of workers that we needed to keep the Ventilator production running as other Ford workers returned to their facilities.
At this point, I had been training new employees for almost six weeks and we believed we had enough people to run the production, but boy were we wrong. Ford upped the number of new employees needed to 900!! So, as a team we recommitted to this project and we were all in it for the long hall.
For the next 6 weeks we trained- 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. We used the format of 60 at the local and 60 at the plant with the groups switching locations at lunch on their second day. Every 3 days we had the pleasure of meeting 120 new people while remaining safe by cleaning and sanitizing the room several times a day, wearing masks, and making sure individuals always stayed 6 ft. apart.
Each new group was broken down into smaller groups and when they were in the plant, we gave them tours of the ventilator area. I think it was my favorite part of all the training. Walking through that door into the ventilator area was so inspirational, the new hires faces were in absolute awe, just as mine was the first day several weeks before. Many of the new hires were not hesitant in shedding tears on these tours and several said to me “I am going to be saving lives”. On the tours is when they realized how important they were and how much we needed their help, not just Rawsonville, not just Ford Motor Company, but the country needed them.
The Apollo Project was a partnership between Ford Motor Company and GE Medical. These Ventilators were being built in Florida at the Airon Corporation and they were building two a day on a good day. Once we were up and running, we were building a thousand a day. Our Ventilators are pneumatic and are small, about the size of a lunchbox.
Remember this is at the height of the pandemic. Our workers, while knowing they were committed to helping for the greater good, still had feelings of unease and apprehensiveness. Employees worked through illness, severe anxiety and we even had one young lady that went into labor. Our Brothers and Sisters experienced the loss of loved ones, and we all bonded through what we were going through together on the job, but also as individuals.
Local 898 and the Rawsonville Plant gained much notoriety with our Apollo Project and with that brought a lot of visitors. Stories from many news outlets from across the country featured the Rawsonville Plant and its workers, our own frontline heroes. Bill Ford Jr came to our plant twice to thank the worker’s for their sacrifices. The Blue Angels honored our plant and did a fly by and we even had a visit from the President of the United States.
After the six weeks of continuous training, we were told that we would get a Sunday off and the training was going to slow down. So, we went to one class a week of 60 people for the next four weeks. We kept the training sessions to three days, ten hours and there were three shifts running throughout the Summer. We did have a certain degree of employee turnover, so we continued to hire up until two weeks before the Apollo Project was finished.
The last day of the Apollo Project was August 27. We fulfilled our contract with FEMA, and we had built and shipped out approximately 51,000 ventilators. That last day August was bittersweet. The other trainers and myself went and thanked each single new person for helping pull together to complete this project. We could not have done it without them. My emotions got the best of me that day. I had met some very beautiful people and gained a few new children, so saying goodbye to them was hard. After they had left on the last day, I had a full circle moment. So many memories were made during this summer. I thought back to my first day back of work in May, and how much I have changed, how much the world had changed and I am thankful for the experience. Every single person that volunteered to help, all our Rawsonville employees, Ford employees from other locations and every single new employee. I am grateful to know each and every one of them. Each of them is an American Hero.
Tracy Smith UAW Local 898 - Ford Rawsonville
Photo of Ventilators constructed at Ford Rawsonville plant. UAW Local 898 (Photo provided by: Tracy Smith)
Photo of banner inside Ford Rawsonville plant. (Photo provided By: Tracy Smith UAW 898)
Photo of Ventilator Instructors at Ford Rawsonville plant. (Photo provided by: Tracy Smith UAW Local 898)
Photo of the Blue Angels conducting a flyover of the Ford Rawsonville plant. (Photo provided by: Tracy Smith UAW Local 898)
By: Chrissy Mangrum
It’s in our human nature to shy away from things we don’t know or understand. Whether out of fear, knowledge, lack of empathy or plain good old-fashioned ignorance. Here’s what I do know. This morning when I woke up and went about my day I never spent a moment thinking about being a woman. I didn’t, for even a second, hesitate when going into a public restroom. It never crossed my mind if the clerk at the register was going to address me as "sir" or "ma’am". I’ve never had to spend time talking to a therapist, asking permission, basically, to just be who I am!
What if every day you woke up and looked in the mirror and felt like your body was betraying you? What if you felt like you were holding this precious secret, and you didn’t know who you could trust with it? What if you had to live the life that everyone thought you should?
Every time she drove by on her fork truck, I noticed the same thing. No one seemed to talk to her, but it always seemed to spark a conversation about her. I decided, right then and there, to introduce myself. I walked up to her forklift, and as I spoke the sheer look of “oh, what fresh hell is this?” made me decide right then and there to tell her story if she would let me. Luckily, she did.
At the tender age of 9, Karissa already knew who she wanted to be. Fear of being rejected, or disowned, left her to keep her secret to herself until she was 22 years old. To protect herself, she became very closed off, stayed to herself and cocooned herself into her own bubble of depression and questions that no one could answer. Karissa states at the time she knew of no community programs to help her with her journey. Karissa slowly started telling some friends, and eventually some family members, that she wanted to start the process to become a woman. Unfortunately, it cost her a few of both. Thankfully, the friends and family that did accept her decision helped her with that loss. This was the worst part of the process for her.
I asked Karissa what was the best part of her change, in her own words: "Probably the best times have been different milestones in this transition. When I was finally able to start hormone therapy and when my name was legally changed. Another big one was when people actually started to talk to me as a female. Being recognized for who you were meant to be, when you have lived a lie most of your life, is such a great feeling!"
There are a few things she would like to people know: If this is something you really want in your life, her advice to you is to really research it; Find yourself a sturdy support network of friends and family to help you through the hard parts; Don’t be afraid to go to a therapist; It’s going to get rough at times, and you will have periods of time that will be worse before they get better. However, it will get better; And, sometimes you will feel like you are the only person in the whole world that is going through this. That was the biggest reason Karissa agreed to tell her story. When I first approached her, her answer was a flat out “no way.” I gave her some space and time and she agreed that her story should be told. She had hopes that maybe it would help someone else out. Help coming in the form of: "Maybe someone struggling knows they are not alone". Help coming in the form of: "Maybe someone who doesn’t understand why having a little more understanding means you are not alone". Your EAP representatives are an excellent resource. They can guide you to specified therapists. You may need help to understand. You might find yourself struggling on how to support your loved one or friend and new changes in their life. EAP is there for that too. Another place to turn is your local United Way. It’s as simple as calling 2-1-1. They can guide you to local programs that are LGBTQ+ orientated and other safe spaces. There is a Facebook page, as well for UAW members, find it by searching: UAW LGBT & Allies. You can also do your Brothers and Sisters a great service by just simply doing what I have done. Let it be known that you are an ally. You are a safe space.
Our differences make us beautiful. Be kind to one another.
Chrissy Mangrum UAW Local 2209
Fort Wayne Assembly
Sister Karissa from UAW Local 2209 (Photo provided by: Chrissy Mangrum)
(Pictured above): Senator Gary Peters posing for a picture with GM Warren Tech Center Members during the GM Strike of 2019
GARY PETERS FOR THE U.S. SENATE
In November of 2014, the State of Michigan elected Senator Gary Peters to replace one of the Lions of the Senate, the venerable Senator Carl Levin. After terms on the Rochester City Council; two terms in the Michigan State Senate; and, 3 terms, representing 2 different House districts, in the U.S. House of Representative, Senator Peters brought a wealth of public service experience, including 15 years in the U.S. Naval Reserves (with a tour in Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch), to bear on what has become, easily, the most contentious time in the American body politic in general, and the U.S. Senate, specifically.
During Sen. Peters’ time in the U.S. House, he sat on the House Financial Services committee in 2009, during the bankruptcy filings of General Motors and Chrysler Corporations.As a major factor in preventing the Republicans from “letting Detroit go bankrupt”, Peters was lauded by committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank as, “the single most effective force, in fighting against forces that would see these companies go under.”
Since becoming a U.S. Senator, Peters has authored more legislation, and passed more legislation, than any other sitting Senator, since 2018, such as the Spending Cuts and Deficit Reduction plan, a bipartisan effort to curb overspending by the Federal Government in all aspects of energy production, and, in response to the Occupy Wall Street movement, co-sponsored legislation to stop the type of speculation that was a major factor in the bankruptcies of both GM and Chrysler. Along with sponsoring a bill to prevent Chinese corporations from purchasing U.S. companies, and the lead Senator on the Background Check Expansion Act, which would require background checks for all sales or transfers of firearms, Sen. Gary Peters have proven to be one of the most productive, and bipartisan of all U.S. Senators. These are qualities much in demand to Michigan’s electorate, as they attempt to put the chaos of the Trump Administration in their rearview mirror. We, the editors of The Union Times, are proud to endorse Senator Gary Peters for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
(Left) Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on manufacturing and buying American-made products at UAW Region 1 headquarters in Warren, Mich. 9/9/20 (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT
Strong Unions built the great American middle class, and President Trump and his administration have spent their entire term advancing anti-Labor legislation that undercuts the Labor Movement, and collective bargaining. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., the Vice-President of the United States under President Barack Obama, and the long-time Senator from Delaware, is the candidate of the Democratic Party, and has long-been one of Labor’s champions during his decades of public service. Vice-President Biden was appointed by President Obama to lead the task force commissioned to ensure that General Motors and Chrysler did not go into bankruptcy, which would have devastated the auto industry, and turned the state of Michigan into a wasteland of empty factories, and unemployed Union members. While the Senate still required a 60-vote majority to pass this type of legislation, and Republican members were adamantly opposed to bailing out the Auto industry, VP Biden worked his bipartisan mojo, honed by his many years in the Senate, to cajole the bill across the finish line, to reach President Obama’s desk for his signature. The passage of this bailout package allowed beleaguered Auto’s to ride out the recession, and keep making American cars. The faith shown the working class of Michigan by VP Biden and the Obama Administration was greatly rewarded, as the Big 3 began a decade-long boom, allowing them to increase production, increasing hiring new workers, and repay the government for the bailout in record time. It is easy to see that Joe Biden helped save the Auto Industry in Michigan, and helped preserve hundreds of thousands of working-class jobs, both in the automotive industry, and all of the peripheral business surrounding them.
Trump’s NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) 3-man board of old, white Republicans (they refuse to fill the two Democratic Party seats on the board), have made abhorrent ruling after abhorrent ruling since 2017, like allowing companies to search your car, locker or toolbox for Union organizing materials, during an organizing drive, and discipline, or even discharge, workers for discussing or disseminating pro-Union material while in the plant. Vice-President Biden, on the other hand, has come out solidly in favor of the Protecting the Rights to Organize Act (PRO Act), and intends to make it one of his signature plans, early in his administration. The PRO Act was passed by the House of Representative in early 2019, but the Republican majority in the Senate has refused to bring it to the floor for a vote in that body. The PRO Act would weaken, or outright dismiss Right-to-Work laws in many states, where they’ve been enacted unconstitutionally, and allow over 100,000 workers the collective bargaining rights they have long-been denied.
To enumerate the colossal devastation on our economy, our environment, and our ability to make an honest wage foisted upon the working class of America by Donald Trump and his sycophants would take much more room that can be allotted for this newsletter, to say nothing about the utter destruction brought about by their inaction during the Covid-19 crisis.
For his career-long service to the Labor Movement, and his promise to reverse many of the Trump Administration direct attacks on the Working Men and Women of America, in all the aforementioned areas, and so many others, the editors of The Union Times heartedly endorse Joe Biden, and his phenomenal choice of Vice-Presidential candidates, Senator Kamala Harris of California, to be the 46th President, and Vice-President of the United States of America.
"But while I'll be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American President" I'll work hard for those who didn't support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me. That's the job of a President, to represent all of us, not just our base or our party." - Joe Biden
*While based on actual events, this is the concluding episode in the 4-part fictional account of the life and times of Brother Leo D. Shaffer, one of the founding members of UAW Northwest Local 163.
The Shaffer Chronicles
September 30th, 1965…”For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow…”After dodging a motley crew of newly-minted Detroit Diesel employees walking into the plant for the first time, I made my way up to the UAW Shop Committee office, where the fellas were throwing me a little retirement party. I’ve decided to pull the plug on my working career, after 32 years at GM, and a bunch more at little jobs shops in Pennsylvania and Detroit, before landing at Detroit Diesel. I’m 60, and 40 years as a laborer, machinist, assembler, committeeman, organizer, Union President, Education Chairman, and a million other jobs to make my life, and the lives of my Brothers and Sisters a little more tolerable, it seemed like a good, round number to go out on! UAW Local 163 President Bob Kurtis and our UAW Shop Chairman, Bob Giles at Detroit Diesel, presented me with a very nice plaque to honor my years of service to the UAW (which will look very nice hanging in my den!). I’ve always been fond of the saying, “When one door closes, another opens”, and I expect to be busier than ever in retirement…busy drowning worms, making bogeys, and enjoying the grandkids. I wonder if anyone is buying me living a life of leisure?!
September 1970…I’ve been retired for just over 5 years, and I’m busier than I’ve ever been! Since pulling the plug on my Detroit Diesel career in 1965, I have started the UAW Local 163 Retiree’s Chapter, of which I am currently the President; the Chairman of the Housing Committee of the Detroit Retired Worker’s Council; a delegate to the Community Health Organization, and the Education chairman, and Medicare representative at UAW Local 163. I have also spent a considerable amount of time working with the Meyers-Seven Mile-Schaefer Community Council in my old neighborhood, raising money, and collecting food and clothing for Detroiters, since the civil unrest in 1967. I list these positions and accomplishments not to be self-aggrandizing, but simply to explain that I am too busy to enjoy what I really retired to do, fishing in all of the great fishing holes in Michigan, and golfing at all of our fantastic golf courses! I arrived home from several meetings (and squeezing in 9 holes at Glenhurst) to find a special delivery letter, with a Washington, DC return address. I was intrigued by a letter from Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota, but had no idea what it may contain. After a quick chat with my better half, and pouring a short drink, I plopped down in my comfy chair to find that Sen. Mondale would like me to appear before his Subcommittee on Pensions and Medicare, in his Labor and Public Welfare Committee, in a couple of weeks!
September 30th, 1970…”I call this meeting of the Subcommittee on Pensions and Medicare to order.” I can’t believe I’m sitting in the well of the U.S. Senate, about to testify about making it easier for American workers to retire early! Who would have thought a son of a Western Pennsylvania coal miner would be testifying in front of the Senate?! I have been extraordinarily busy in the years since I retired, and the thing that keeps me up nights is how most of my co-workers must continue to work long into their 60’s and even 70’s, because they cannot afford to support themselves, and their families, on their pension and Social Security benefits. One can easily see that this will cause a huge problem for young folks, trying to get a good job, with great benefits. The generation of people born after World War II will start to flood the job market, especially after this awful conflict in Vietnam ends, and if it is impossible for the older workers to retire, how will these folks support their family?
October 1st, 1970…”Hand me that dish towel, Honey?” Just when I was getting too full of myself, it’s back to the day-to-day life of a busy retiree. Not too busy to do the dinner dishes! I certainly hope the Senators took my message to heart, and figure out a way to enhance the pension benefits for working folks, either from their company, or from better Social Security benefits, and make them available at a younger age. After over 40 years as a working stiff tells me, every morning, that manufacturing work is for the young! I made that my life’s work, advocating for my Brothers and Sisters, and I could use a little help from some younger retirees, because the slice in my drive isn’t going to fix itself!
Tamia L Buckley
Work/Family EAP Representative
GM Romulus GPS
I wanted to take this opportunity to formally introduce myself as your new Work/Family EAP Representative. I have been a proud UAW member for the last 20 years, at facilities all over Michigan and finally found a place to call home when I settled at Romulus GPS. In addition to being a General Motors employee, I have worked hard to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services and am currently working on my Master’s in Social Work. The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a specific set of core values: service, social justice, dignity and worth of a person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. As your EAP representative, I will use that foundation to provide confidential, quality services to anyone in need.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a worksite-based initiative to assist members and their family develop healthier lifestyles as well as enhance the effectiveness of the workforce. The ultimate goals of this program are to identify personal problems, prevent said concerns from having an adverse effect on one’s job performance, and provide access to treatment and continued care for those already affected. Work/Family has a plethora of resources available to the membership to assist with financial hardships, physical and mental health, marriage and/or family therapy, eldercare, childcare, alcohol and/or substance abuse, legal concerns, and so much more. If any of these issues arise, or you’re just seeking emotional support, please do not hesitate to contact me, Tamia Buckley at (734) 595-5360. Reach out EARLY and reach out OFTEN!! Prevention is KEY!!!
I look forward to using my talents and passion for helping others to serve this membership!!!
Be Well & Take Care,
By: Andrew Lewis
"“UAW members ultimately want a voice. And Joe Biden is committed to giving UAW members that voice at the table.”