Greetings Brothers and Sisters, It is a great pleasure to welcome the 500+ employees of the new Lear manufacturing plant to the UAW and Local 659. We are excited to have them join us here at Local 659. Lear will become our 10th unit in this amalgamated Local. A card check was done May 2, 2019 and certification was done May 2, 2019 by Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell. Lear Corporation is a leading global supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems. The facility will build all front and rear seats for Flint Assembly and the center console seats for the Fort Wayne plant in Indiana. Lear's Flint plant is the first major automotive supplier manufacturing facility constructed in Flint in more than 30 years. Once again, welcome to the UAW and Local 659! Five years and counting, that's how long the citizens of Flint, Michigan have been dealing with the "Water Crisis." A press conference was held in front of City of Flint's water plant on Thursday, April 25, 2019 to commemorate five years and counting of being poisoned by "our" water. This was a commemoration, not a celebration, for the residents of Flint who lost their lives due to the poisoning of our water. As of today, the ones who are liable have not been held accountable. We must never forget what "our" government has done to this great City. Did you know... Since the earliest ceremonies in small American towns, following the Civil War, we have gathered on Memorial Day to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, as in those early days of laying wreaths and placing flags. Our national day of remembrance is often felt most deeply among the families and communities who have personally lost friends and loved ones. This national Holiday may also be the unofficial start of the summer season, but all Americans must take a moment to remember the sacrifice of our valiant military service members and their families. Memorial Day is a day of both celebration and grief, accounting for the honor of our heros and reflecting on their tragic loss. Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council presents "Honoring our deceased Veterans" 14th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 1:00 pm. Volunteers are needed for flag placement on May 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm and flag pickup on May 28, 2019 at 5:00 pm. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, As I sit here trying to write my article, I'm looking at snow. The calendar says April 15, 2019, tax day, not snow day. Speaking of tax day, how many have noticed a change in their tax refund this year? Just when you were starting to get comfortable with your annual chore of tax filing, things changed. The 2018 tax reform bill hit the scene. Over the past year, you've heard about updates ranging from tax rates to deductions and your head is spinning. Tax season is officially here. It's time to figure out what all those new tax updates mean for you. Ten tax law changes that will most affect your 2018 personal tax after the Cuts and Jobs Act. It's a whole new ball game!
Lower individual rates.
Much bigger standard deduction, but no more personal and dependant exemptions.
New limits on deduction for state and local taxes.
New limits on home mortgage interest deductions.
Alternative minimum tax made less expensive.
Child tax credit increased.
New $500.00 tax credit for other dependants.
No more breaks for moving expenses.
New limits on itemized deductions for personal casualty losses.
No more miscellaneous itemized deductions.
As you may know, contract negotiations will begin soon. If for any reason we go on strike, we here at the Union Hall would like to start a food pantry for our members. Did you know 78% of UAW members are working paycheck to paycheck? Strike pay is only $250.00 per week, so any time off will affect our members tremendously. A food pantry will be of great help to our members. If we don't go on strike the food can be donated to a charitable organization. If you would like to donate to the pantry, you may drop off non-perishable food items here at the hall. I hope everyone had a blessed Easter! Did you know... The American incarnation of Mother's Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. Holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday's commercialization and spent the later part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother's Day to be held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. So, to all the moms and step-moms, have a Happy Mother's Day! Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, The calendar says spring is around the corner. It's been so cold, I can't see around the corner. Let's hope the calendar is right. I know in a few months I will be talking about how hot it is, but that's for another day. March is Women's History Month. Women's History Month is a month-long celebration of women's contributions to society and history that is observed during the month of March. It has been officially celebrated since March 1987. Over the years, Women's History month has always had a theme that corresponds with every year. For instance, in 1987, it was "Generations of Courage, Compassion, and Conviction." In 1997, it was "A Fine and Long Tradition of Community Leadership." and, in 2016, it was "Working to Form a More Perfect Union; Honoring Women in Public Service and Government." The theme for 2019 is "Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence." This year, we honor women who have led efforts to end war, violence and injustice, and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society. These honorees embraced the fact that the means determine the ends, and so developed nonviolent methods to ensure just and peaceful results. For many generations, women have resolved the conflicts in their homes, schools, and communities. They have rejected violence as counterproductive and stressed the need to restore respect, establish justice, and reduce the cause of conflict as the surest way to peace. From legal defense and public education to direct action and civil disobedience, women have expanded the American tradition of using inclusive, democratic, and active means to reduce violence, achieve peace and promote the common good. From women's rights and racial justice to disarmament and gun control, the drive for nonviolent change has been championed by visionary women. These women consciously built supportive, non-violence alternatives and loving communities, as well as advocating for change. They have given a voice to the unrepresented and hope to victims of violence and those who dream of a peaceful world. UAW Local 659 presents the 14th Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 7, 2019 from 1:00-3:00 pm here at Local 659 Union Hall. We invite you to bring your children and grandchildren to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny, watch movies, and participate in the hunt. We will be serving hot dogs, chips and punch. Have a blessed Easter! Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council Spring Headstone Cleaning to "Honor and Remember" will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Great Lakes National Cemetery, 4200 Belford Rd, Holly, MI 48442. Registration is at 9:30 am and instruction begins at 10:00 am. Please bring a 5 gallon bucket and a soft scrub brush.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, February is a very busy month. The 82nd Anniversary of the Sit-Downers victory celebration was held here at the Local on Monday, February 11, 2019. The keynote speaker was Cindy Estrada, UAW Vice President of Chrysler. There were many other speakers on the program; Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem, Assistant Director Steve Dawes, Local 659 President, Steve Gruener, U.S. Senator Gary Peters, U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, former UAW Vice-President Cal Rapson, former Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks, Region 1-A Director Chuck Browning, Region 1 Director Frank Stuglin, Executive AA Tim Bressler, and Laraine Stone, who led us in "Solidarity Forever." A commemorative lunch of bean soup, bread and apples was served. Thank you to all our speakers and dignitaries for taking the time to share this day with us. Thank you to Local 659 Women's Committee, the Executive Board, Officers and staff of Local 659, and Region 1-D Women's Council for all of your help! February is also Black History month. In the United States, the month of February is observed as Black History Month or National African American month and we use the month to remember the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our Nation's history. The event grew out of "Negro History Week," the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada, and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrate black history. The UAW Local 659 Black History Committee will be presenting its Black History Celebration "Honoring Black Entrepreneurs" to be held Sunday, February 24, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the Van Slyke Union Hall. Come out for the celebration and enjoy an afternoon of fun. March 8, 2019 is International Women's Day. The International Women's Day is a world-wide event that celebrates achievement from the political to the social, while calling for gender equality. It has been observed since the early 1900s and is now recognized each year on March 8th. It is not affiliated with any one group, but brings together government, women's organizations, corporations, and charities. The day is marked around the world with arts, performances, talks, rallies, networking, events, conferences, and Marches. Why do we still celebrate it? Because the original aim to achieve full gender equality for women the world over still has not been realized. A gender pay gap persists across the globe, and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women's education, health, and violence toward women are still worse than that of men. The theme for International Women's Day for 2019 is #Balance for better. The future is exciting. Let's build a gender-balanced world. Everyone has a part to play, all the time, everywhere. From grassroots activism to world-wide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Balance drives a better working world. Let's all help create #BalanceforBetter. Wear purple on International Women's Day. It's the easiest way to show your support.
Did you know?
The first celebration of Black History month took place in February, 1970.
Martin Luther King, Jr. improvised the most iconic part of his "I Have A Dream" speech.
Hatti McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar, wasn't allowed to attend the Gone with the Wind national premiere.
The ban on interracial marriage in the U.S. was overturned because of one couple in 1967, the Lovings (Lovings vs. Virginia)
Mathew Henson was a key member of the first successful expedition to the north pole and made seven separate voyages to the Arctic.
Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I wish you and your family a Happy New Year! The year 2019 will be a busy year for us; starting with GM's heartless announcement to close plants in the United States, also with negotiations this year for UAW members. UAW President Gary Jones and the International Executive Board have mounted legal and contractual objections to GM's announcement. Along those lines, news articles have stated that GM is the largest producer of vehicles in Mexico. At the same time, the new Chevy Blazer is being made there. While the Chevy Blazer is being made in Mexico, please don't purchase one until they are made in the USA by UAW Members. If you're in the market for a new vehicle, check the VIN#. If it starts with a 3, it was assembled in Mexico. "See a 3, let it be!" DID YOU KNOW?
Dr. King's birth name was Michael not Martin. The Civil Rights leader was born Michael King, Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at the Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader. As a result of that trip, King, Sr. changed his own name, as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
King entered college at the age of 15, and was such a gifted student that he skipped grades 9 and 12 before enrolling in Morehouse College in 1944.
He was the youngest person at the time to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. When Martin Luther King, Jr. received a Nobel Peace prize for combating racial inequality through non-violence, he was just 35 years old.
From 1957 to 1968, King traveled over 6 million miles and spoke over 2,500 times.
King is the only non-President to have a National holiday in his name. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that would establish a nationally observed holiday in remembrance of King.
There are approximately 900 streets named after Matin Luther King, Jr. in the United States.
Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr! Upcoming Events February 3, 2019 is the UAW Region 1-D Union Label Union Label Committee's Super Bowl all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast at the Local 659 Union Hall, from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. The cost is $5 per person, kids 10 and under eat for free. February 10, 2019 is the Joint Council and membership meetings. Please attend your meetings. February 11, 2019 is White Shirt Day. The annual White Shirt Day Celebration will be held at Local 659 at 11:00 am. Each year, men and women throughout the UAW wear white collared shirts/blouses, traditionally worn by management, to remember the sacrifices and victories of workers. Thank you for the laying the foundation of the middle class and worker's rights. We have white shirts for sale here at the Union Hall for $40 each. On February 17, 2019, the UAW Local 659 Recreation Committee presents a Detroit Red Wings game; $100 per person includes: ticket, transportation to and from the game, $10 food/beverage credit, a UAW Night t-shirt and refreshments on the bus. Departure time is 4:00 pm sharp from UAW Local 659. (As of this printing they are sold out.) February 21, 2019 is the USA's Inaugural UAW Region 1-D Conservation Dinner, to be held at Local 659. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $75 per person, and includes a dinner gift and a 1-year USA membership. On February 24, 2019, the UAW Local 659 Black History Committee will present their annual Black History Program, "Honoring Black Entrepreneurs" from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Come out and join us. On Sunday, March 3, 2019, the Local 659 Recreation Committee will be hosting their annual 5-person Handicap Bowling Tournament, to be held at Galaxy Lanes on Hill Road in Grand Blanc. Entries must be in by February 22. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I would like to wish the membership and their families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Enjoy this time with friends and family while you can. Thank you to the membership for your continued support. Thank you to the Officers and Staff for all of your help and support. I would also like to thank the Retiree Women's Committee for all they do for the membership and community, with their Thanksgiving food basket and their hat and glove drive. Thank you to the women who did the knitting of the hats and gloves. Thank you to the Local Women's Committee for all of their hard work, such as fundraising for Making Strides for Breast Cancer, All 4 One Coat Drive, basket raffles, shirt sales, Region 1-D Women's Council Back Pack Rally, just to name a few things they have been doing this past year. Next year, there will be some trying times ahead with the recent announcements of plant closings from General Motors. Vice President Terry Dittes responded by saying "the decision violates the commitments made by the Company during the 2015 bargaining as reflected in the 2015 National Agreement between the parties... We expect the company to honor its commitments and we will use all of our resources to enforce our agreements." Let's get ready for the fight to come by being United in Solidarity. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I want to say thank you to all who participated in our democratic process and voted (November 6, 2018) in the mid-term election. Voter turnout was the largest in the state of Michigan since 1962. Nearly 4 million of Michigan's 7.4 million registered voters went to the polls to vote on candidates in a variety of races. Based on records from the Michigan Secretary of State's office, once all the votes are calculated, the turnout rate could reach nearly 60%. The "pink" wave hit Michigan with force, as female candidates swept statewide offices at the top of the ticket. They flipped two U.S. House races, won both seats on the state Supreme Court, and filled a record number of legislative seats. Michigan voters overwhelmingly chose women at the ballot box, electing women for the first time in state history to all three of the top offices; Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General. It's a big deal! What this tells us is that Michigan's voting public is trusting women's leadership. In the areas where they had an actual choice, voters were choosing women. There is a shift happening in how we trust women to lead. While there was a surge among women running for office, not only in Michigan but nationally, what's notable is that most of the new female candidates are Democrats. Congratulations to all, and now "let's fix the damn roads!" General Motors Collective Bargaining Resolutions forms are available at your Work Center and here at the Hall. If you would like to see some changes, submit a resolution. All resolutions must be received by myself or Secretary Donna Howd at the Union Hall no later than November 30, 2018. UAW Local 659 presents Santa's Christmas Party on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at UAW Local 659 Union Hall, 4549 Van Slyke Rd., from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm. Bring the kids out for an afternoon of fun, and have a picture taken with Santa. There will also be crafts, prizes, movies, punch, and snacks. Speaking of Christmas, don't forget to bring your new, unwrapped, American-made toy to the December 9th General Membership meeting, or you can drop it off at the Union Hall. We will also accept monetary donations. Did you know?
The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and was prompted by a good harvest. It included 60 Pilgrims and 90 Indians, but many historians believe only 5 women were present.
The early settlers gave thanks by abstaining from food. It was the Wampanoag Indians that turned Thanksgiving into a feast.
No turkey was served. Instead, they ate deer, fowl, and fish.
The song "Jingle Bells" may be synonymous with Christmas, but was originally written for Thanksgiving by James Lord Pierpont in 1850 or 1851.
President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national Holiday in 1863, after Sarah Josepha Hale wrote him letters for 17 years campaigning for the cause.
Each year, the President of the U.S. pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for dinner. The tradition began in 1947, with President Truman.
About 45 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest drinking night of the year.
To you and your families, have a Happy Thanksgiving. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, This year is almost over already! As many of you may be aware, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Beyond the pink ribbons, fundraisers, and the pastel sea of color that marks October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month offers a reason to celebrate and to reflect. There are over 31.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, including women still being treated and those who have completed treatment. Survival rates continue to climb, due to better treatment and increased screenings that find cancers when they are most treatable. With women more knowledgeable about the warning signs, the importance of self-exams, treatment options, and second opinions, they are better prepared than ever before to confront a breast cancer diagnosis; something an estimated one in eight women will do in her lifetime. On October 13, 2018, there was a sea of pink in downtown Flint. Hundreds of survivors and supporters united to "Make Strides Against Breast Cancer." The Local 659 Women's Committee will be doing fundraisers throughout the month of October. See a Women's Committee Member in your plant to get in on the fun. The Women's Committee is also taking donations for gently used coats, purses, and personal hygiene products for men, women, and children. They will be accepting donations until October 31, 2018. Donations can be dropped off at UAW Local 659 Union Hall, 4549 Van Slyke Road. (Please ensure all items are cleaned before donating.) These donations are being collected for the "All 4 One" coat drive being held on November 10, 2018. They will be passing out gently used coats and purses with personal hygiene products at the Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church, 115 Welch Blvd., in Flint from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, or as long as supplies last. Election season is here! Voting is our right, and voting matters. Take a stand this November... Vote! There is a lot on the line for UAW members and their families. I vote because I never want to see us take a step backwards. I hope that you vote, also. Electing labor-friendly officials gives us the opportunity to better the lives of every person in every opportunity in our great state. If you are turned away at the polls, your response should be "Give me a provisional ballot with a receipt as required by law." Pass it on. Did you know?
On November 7, 1893, the state of Colorado granted women residents the right to vote.
On October 23, 1915, 25,000 women marched in NYC demanding the right to vote.
On August 26, 1920, the nineteenth amendment was adopted granting women the right to vote. It was nicknamed the "Anthony Amendment" in recognition of the lobbying efforts of suffragette Susan B. Anthony and on November 2nd of that year, more than 8 million women across the United States voted in elections for 1st time.
In 1923, the National Women's Party proposed an amendment to the Constitution that prohibited all discrimination on the basis of sex. The so-called equal Rights Amendment has never been ratified.
In the United States about 60% of the eligible voting population cast their votes during presidential election years and 40% during the mid-term elections. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, It's that time of year again! No, I'm not talking about fall. I'm talking about election season. I know you hear this all the time... "This is the most important election." I know many are getting tired of hearing this, but with the shape we are in, this is very much a true fact. The right to vote is a fundamental freedom. Our election system should be completely fair and accessible. When voters go to the polls in November, they will be electing state officers and legislators, as well as members of congress and a Governor who makes decisions that have consequences on our lives. Electing labor-friendly officials gives us the opportunity to better the lives of every person in every community in our great state. If we're going to ensure a better life for ourselves, we must start now! The state of Michigan no longer has straight-party ticket voting. That means you have to vote for every candidate. No longer can you check one box and vote for one party. Absentee voter ballots are available until October 9, 2018. You can get an absentee ballot at your County Clerk's office and that is where you can return it also. Vote on November 6, 2018. It is your right. In the fall, vote them all. Remember to flip your ballot over and vote the non-partisan on the back of the ballot. The list of UAW-endorsed candidates can be found by visiting: www.UAWEndorsements.org The Local 659 Black History Committee will be having their Polish Sausage Fundraiser on Friday, September 28, 2018 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (Or until gone) at UAW Local 659. Polish Sausages are $5, and Brats are two for $5. UAW Region 1D Veterans Council's 9th annual Charity Chili Cook-Off, Craft Show and Bake Sale will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm, hosted by UAW Local 652 and 724 at 426 Clare St., Lansing, MI. UAW Local 659 Recreation Committee presents Trunk or Treat on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm here at the Hall. This event is for the community, so bring the kids out for some Halloween fun! UAW Local 659 Recreation Committee also presents UAW Night with the Red Wings to be held Sunday, February 17, 2019. Tickets are $100.00 per person, which includes your ticket to the game, transportation to and from the game, $10.00 food/beverage voucher, a t-shirt, and refreshments on the bus. Must sign-up at the UAW Local 659 Dues Office with monies paid by January 17, 2019. There are 110 seats available, and buses depart Local 659 at 5:00 pm. Save the Date - "United We Walk" is on October 13, 2018. This Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk will be downtown Flint at the DDA flat lot. The Women's Committee will be doing fundraisers in your plant, and will also be taking orders for t-shirts. Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council's Fall Headstone Cleaning will be October 6, 2018 at the Great Lakes National Cemetery, 4200 Belford Rd. in Holly, MI. Registration at 9:45 am, instructions at 10:15 am. Bring a 5 gallon bucket and a soft scrub brush. For more information, call Teri Johnson at 810-338-7703. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, My, how time flies. It seems like we were just asking for summer to get here and now it's a wrap. With the end of summer comes Labor Day. Have we forgotten the true meaning of Labor Day? It's not about the end of summer. The original holiday was meant to handle problems of long working hours and no time off.
Did You Know...
Labor Day is a U.S. National Holiday, held the first Monday of September. Unlike most U.S. Holidays, it's a strange celebration without rituals. For most people, it simply marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year.
The holiday founders in the late 1800s envisioned something very different from what the day has become. The founders were looking for two things - a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time.
The first Labor Day occured in 1882 in New York City under the direction of that city's Central Labor Union. In the 1800s, unions covered only a small fraction of workers and were balkanized and relatively weak. The goal of organizations like the Central Labor Union and more modern-day counterparts like the AFL-CIO was to bring many small unions together to achieve a critical mass and power.
The organizers of the first Labor Day were interested in creating an event that brought different types of workers together to meet each other and recognize their common interests. However, they had a large problem. No government or company recognized the first Monday in September as a day off work. The issue was solved temporarily by declaring a one-day strike. All striking workers expected to march in a parade and then eat and drink at a giant picnic afterwards.
Labor Day came about because workers felt they were spending too many hours and days on the job.
In the 1830s, workers were putting in 70-hour weeks on an average. Those long working hours cause many union organizers to focus on winning a shorter, eight-hour work day. They also focused on getting workers more days off.
Join us for the holiday that celebrates labor on Monday, September 3, 2018 at UAW Region 1-D, starting at 10:30 am. There will be a short historical program and a tribute to the 1936-1937 Sitdowners and Women's Brigade members at 11:30 am, along with hot dogs hamburgers, and music by SRG Entertainment. September 23, 2018 is the 16th Annual CCA Old Newsboys "Christmas in September" Golf Scramble. All proceeds go to the Old Newsboys. "Let No Child Be Forgotten." September 8, 2018 is the Director's Leadership Appreciation Golf Outing in Perry, MI. Registration is at 8:30 am, with a shotgun start at 9:00 am. Unit Membership and Joint Council Meetings start back up on September 9, 2018. See you there! The Breast Cancer Kick-Off Breakfast was held Thursday, August 9, 2018. This year's theme was "Younited, What Unites US, Ignites Us." Did You Know...
In 2018, more than 266,000 women are expected to be newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
Nationwide, 40,920 women are expected to die from breast cancer this year.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women (excluding skin cancer) and second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women.
The Women's Committee will be doing fundraisers for this worthy cause and will be forming a team to walk in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to be held October 13, 2018 at the DDA Flat Lot, Downtown Flint, on Saginaw St. Registration is at 8:30 am and the walk will start at 10:30 am. For more information, contact any Women's Committee Member - YOUNITED WE WALK! Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Summer's here! Enjoy the weather while you can. We may have the tendencies to complain about how hot it is, but just remember how cold it was this past winter. It'll be back before you know it. So, take some time and enjoy your summer. The Constitutional Convention was held on June 11-14, 2018 in Detroit, MI. Congratulations to the International UAW Officers and E-Board - President Gary Jones, Secretary Treasurer Ray Curry, Vice Presidents Cindy Estrada, Terry Dittes and Rory Gamble, as well as Trustees and Regional Directors. The UAW International Executive Board is responsible for carrying out the programs and policies approved by the Constitutional Convention delegates and running the day-to-day operations of the International Union. There were many hard decisions that your elected delegates had to debate and decide on. There was much discussion on "one man, one vote," pay raises for the International UAW Officers & Reps. and elections of new officers. I would like to congratulate Mike Grimes on his retirement. Thank you, Mike, for your many years of service to the UAW Membership.
The 2018 International Union National Women's Conference will be held at the UAW Reuther Family Education Center, August 5-10, 2018.
The 2018 International Union National Veterans Conference will be held at the UAW Reuther Family Education Center, August 19-24, 2018.
The UAW Region 1-D Women's Council is proud to announce their 16th Annual Ruben Burks Scholarship Luncheon. The event will be held Saturday, August 18 at Flint Golf Club, 3100 Lakewood Dr, Flint, MI from 12:00-3:00 pm. Tickets are $35 per person. The Women's Council is a unified women's labor group working to promote the importance of education and unions in our communities by supporting the Ruben Burks scholarship. You will help tap into this natural resource by acknowledging and encouraging the difference that education can make a difference in the lives of women. Together, we can make a difference!
The 34th Annual UAW Civil and Human Rights Conference will be held August 27-31, 2018 at the Reuther Family Education Center.
The UAW Michigan State CAP Conference will be held in Lansing, MI, September 10-12, 2018. The theme for this year's conference is "MI CAP: A Voice For All People - Fighting For All Communities."
Did You Know?
One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives.
One in four girls will experience a sexual assault before age 18.
Every 98 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted, and every 8 minutes that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only six out of every one thousand perpetrators will end up in prison.
One in Five women and one in seventy-one men will be raped at some point in their lives.
A majority of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim's home, with 18% of the assaults occurring while the victim is at work.
In eight out of ten cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them. 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police; while only 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to the authorities.
Rape is the most under-reported crime with a large percentage of assaults not being reported to police. This means that a vast majority of perpetrators will not go to jail or prison.
The UAW is committed to ending sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence, including in the work place. We seek to promote healthy behaviors that create safe and equitable workplace communities.
Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, The warm weather has finally arrived. Enjoy it while you can. It took so long to get here and we don't know how long it will last... This is Michigan. How many have heard about the Poor People's Campaign? Fifty years later, Martin Luther King's Poor People's Campaign is back and more needed than ever. At his death, Rev. King was doing more than crafting inspirational phrases. He was laying the ground work for his Poor People's campaign, an intersectional movement dedicated to eliminating poverty in America, the richest nation on earth. After his death, the movement tragically lost most of its momentum. Fifty years later, Rev. Dr. William J Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis have reconstructed his movement, with chapters in 40 states, all of them guided by the same mission - challenging the Country's distorted morality and replacing it with something just. For more information or if you're interested in this campaign, you can sign up, or pledge to join the Poor People's Campaign at www.poorpeoplescampaign.org Over 1,100 UAW Delegates and 2,000 Union Members from across the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico met for the 37th time in UAW History to elect officers, make Constitutional Amendments, and debate policies on June 11-14, 2018 at Cobo Hall in Detroit. The UAW Constitution Convention delegates were each elected by their Local Union to make key decisions on the direction and future leadership of the Union. I will give an update in the next issue. The 39th Annual Sam Duncan Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner will be held Friday, June 22, 2018 at UAW Local 659. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Tickets are $15.00 each. If you are a retiree, they are $10.00 each. PEL Summer and Fall Schools will be held at the UAW Family Education Center at Black Lake. Summer school will be August 12-17, 2018 and Fall School will be September 23-28, 2018. If you are interested in going, see your leadership at your unit. The 18th Annual Chipping for Children golf outing fundraiser will be held August 18, 2018 at the Jewel of Grand Blanc golf course. GM's 2 week shutdown is fast approaching. The Hall will be closed the week of July 2-6, 2018, and will reopen on Monday, July 9, 2018. To all the fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, and all men who step up as fathers and to my Father, Larry McNeil, who retired from Flint Metal Center and was a member in good standing of this great Local; remember to always tell them you love them while you can, because one day they will be gone and it will be too late. Hope you had a Happy and Blessed Father's Day. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Spring has finally arrived and so has the allergy season. It's been bad this year. So, be aware and take the appropriate precautions. To the mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, and all mothers, hope you had a very happy and blessed Mother's Day. Life is short, so cherish the moments you have with your Mother. Tell her you love her every day, because she can't hear you when she's gone. The construction is finally finished and the dust has settled. This was a major project that needed to be done. The sign is almost finished and the Hall is looking good. The roof on the pavilion has been replaced with a metal roof. It should last almost "forever." We hope that you, the members, are proud of your newly renovated Union Hall. The Women's Committee is still taking orders for red shirts. They will continue to take orders until May 31, 2018. Remember, we wear red shirts on Wednesdays to show solidarity throughout the Union. To get your red shirt, please see a Women's Committee member in your respective plant or myself here at the Union Hall. Memorial Day, a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered. Throughout America's history, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have died bravely serving our country. So, let us not forget about the sacrifices our soldiers and their families have made. The UAW's 37th Constitutional Convention will be held June 10-14, 2018. The Delegates have been elected. If you have any concerns, see your delegates. They are your voice and your vote. Did you know? Rev. Addie Wyatt was a labor leader, religious leader, and civil rights and women's rights activist. In 1954, she became the first African American female President of the UPWA Local. In 1968, her union merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workman of North America. She became founding director of its Women's Affairs Department. She later became the Union's first female International Vice President in 1976. That same year, she was honored as Time Magazine's twelve Women of the Year. Addie Wyatt was a proud founding member of the Coalition of Black Trades of Unionists in 1972, and the coalition of Labor Union Women in 1974. She worked tirelessly for better health care and equal pay for working women, as well as passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Spring has sprung, or has it? Looking at the calendar, it's spring. Looking outside, it's fall/winter. We will survive! Come on spring, we're waiting. I hope everyone has a joyous and blessed Easter. I would like to thank the Retiree Chapter for inviting the Officers to their Easter Dinner. It was great seeing everyone again. The Annual Easter Egg Hunt was held on Sunday, March 25, 2018. A good time was had by all. The kids enjoyed their picture with the Easter Bunny, popcorn, movies, candy, and the Easter Egg Hunt. Can't wait until next year! The Flint Water Crisis began in 2014, when the drinking water source for the City of Flint was changed to the Flint River. Due to insufficient water treatment, over 100,000 residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water. After a pair of scientific studies proved lead contamination was present in the water supply, a federal state of emergency was declared in January 2016 and Flint residents were instructed to use only bottled or filtered water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing. As of early 2017, they say the water quality had returned to acceptable levels. However, residents were instructed to continue to use bottled or filtered water until all the lead pipes have been replaced, which is expected to be completed no sooner than 2020. Now, Flint braces as Michigan shuts down free bottled water sites. The state's decision to close the four remaining water stations comes as Governor Rick Snyder said recently that strides have been made to reverse the high levels of lead that were found in the water supply. On April 2, 2018, Michigan approves Nestles request to pump 1.5 million gallons of water per day - for $200.00 per year - on April 6, 2018, without warning, while Michigan stops providing free bottled water for poisoned Flint residents. Flint residents rallied in Michigan's Capital against the end of bottled water program. Many Flint, Michigan residents are angry about the state's decision to end the free water program and took their outrage to Lansing on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Residents marched from the Anderson House office building to the steps of the Capitol. A rally was held in the Capitol's Rotunda, as state lawmakers gathered down the hall. Enough is enough! Congratulations goes out to our President, Steve Gruener, for receiving the "Nick Vuckovich Community Service Award," presented by the United Way of Genesee County for his hard work with the United Way Ramp Program. Steve, you are well deserving of this award, for all that you do for the membership and the community. You make us all proud. Congratulations are also in order for past President Reggie Smith on receiving the "Chester Hughes Memorial Fund Award." Thank you, Reggie, for the hard work you do, and the dedication you have for the community and continue to show for the membership. You are well deserving of this honor. Congratulations to both of our Presidents! Local 659 couldn't be more proud to have two strong Union Leaders -UAW Proud! Our UAW Local 659 Women's Committee is selling red shirts through the month of April. We wear red shirts on Wednesday to show solidarity throughout our Union. To get your red shirt, please see a Women's Committee member in your respective plant or myself here at the Hall. Our UAW Local 659 Veterans Committee is having a Veterans Benefits Class on Saturday, May 12, 2018. The class will cover the commonly sought information on Veterans benefits and services. For more information, please see the flyer in Upcoming Events. DID YOU KNOW? Let's Close the Gap - The Wage Gap Equal Pay Day was April 10, 2018, which represents the approximate date women must work into 2018 to make what the typical man made at the end of 2017. Women across the country are earning less than their male counterparts for doing the same work. What's worse is Michigan's wage gap is actually among the highest in the nation. Nearly 6 in 10 women cite "equal pay" as one of the most important workplace issues they're currently facing. On average, women earn 80 cents for ever 1 dollar a man earns. While equal Pay Day compares all women to all men, the equal pay days for women of color fall much later in the year. Therefore, women of color must work far longer to achieve equity, while losing far more over the course of their lifetime. That's not equitable at all. It's time to put an end to the growing wage gap, especially when nearly half of Michigan's women are either the sole provider or the bread winner of their family. It's clear something needs to change. This is completely unacceptable. (CLUW) Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
March is Women’s History month In 1987, the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) helped lead a campaign to launch Women’s History month, a time designated for recognizing accomplishments made by women throughout history. All over the United States, people celebrate women’s history in March. The entire month is dedicated to honoring women’s historic achievements. Women have contributed too many significant events throughout history and women’s history month strives to bring these contributions into the limelight. Dottie Jones began her career in the labor movement in 1966 becoming a member of Local 630 Chrysler Introl, while serving in the Local, she held a number of elected and appointed positions, including Chief Union Steward. In 1996, Jones was promoted to the position of Administrative Assistant by President Steve Yokich, which was a first for an African American Woman. She also served as Administrative Assistant to President Ron Gettelfinger until her retirement in 2003. Odessa Komer joined Local 228 June 6, 1953, after being hired in at the Ford Sterling Plant. While serving in her local she was elected or appointed to numerous leadership positions. In each instance in her Local's history, Komer was the first woman to serve in those positions. She was elected to the UAW Executive Board as a Vice President in 1974 at the 24th Constitutional Convention. Komer was reelected to that position at every subsequent convention until she retired in 1992. Some of her major contributions were her drive to launch Women’s Councils and Women’s Conferences across the United States. Under her direction, each year, a new group of women attended a major women’s conference of intensive training at the UAW Family Education Center. This support structure has paid off. UAW Women got elected to top Local Union posts in roughly the same proportion as their membership, a rare accomplishment in any organization. –Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame. Olga Madar started her career in the auto industry in 1933, on the Chrysler line. In 1941, she joined the UAW Local 50 while working at Ford Willow Run Bomber plant. Madar was a trailblazer in the struggle for equal rights; fighting to end racial discrimination, and being a champion of women’s rights. In 1947, she led a crusade to end racial discrimination in the men and women’s bowling association. Victory came in 1952, when the white-only membership policy was removed. Madar was named to the UAW International Executive Board in 1966. She was the first woman elected as the union’s Vice President in 1970. In 1974, Madar was the force behind the creation of the Coalition of Labor Women (CLUW), a non-profit organization for trade union women affiliated with AFL-CIO. The CLUW was composed largely of women who felt disempowered in first convention. In 1974, Madar was elected its National President. -UAW Website Millie Jeffrey was a lifetime pioneer for workers, civil and women’s rights becoming a union organizer in 1935 for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. In 1945, she became the first women departmenthead of the United Auto Workers Union. In the 1950’s and 60’s, Jeffrey became more active in the civil rights movement, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and registering voters in Mississippi. She was influential for then-Senator Robert F. Kennedy's campaign, and later managed Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s Michigan State Presidential Campaign in 1968. In the 1970’s, she helped established the National Women’s Political Caucus, fighting for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, Child Care, and Equal Pay Legislation. She was instrumental in advancing the name of Geraldine Ferraro as the Democratic Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1984. – Millie Jeffrey Papers. Elizabeth Bunn became the first women Secretary Treasurer of the UAW in 2002, attaining the highest post held by a women in the UAW's history. As Secretary-Treasurer, Bunn was the UAW’s Chief Financial Officer. She also directed various administrative departments including: Accounting, Auditing, Building Maintenance, Calculation Purchasing and Strike Vote Assistance. Bunn was the first elected to the UAW International Executive Board as Vice President in 1998. During her tenure, Bunn directed the UAW Women’s Department, the Technical Office and Professional (TOP) Department, the UAW Competitive shops/Independents, Parts and Supplies (IPS) Department, and the Consumer Affairs, Conservation, and Recreation Department as Director of the Women’s Department, Bunn’s inventive “Woman- to- Woman” Outreach effort. In Michigan’s 2000 Elections, she was widely credited with involving thousands of women in electoral activities for the first time. Cindy Estrada developed a passion for the labor movement while listening to her grandparents and other family members talk about their experiences working on farms and inside the factories of Detroit. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in education, Estrada began organizing. In 1995, Estrada was assigned to help organize workers at Mexican industries in Southwest Detroit. The organizing campaign resulted in one of the largest UAW Victories for Spanish-speaking manufacturing workers. That win, along with other significant UAW organizing successes led then-UAW President, Stephen P. Yokich to appoint Estrada to the International Organizing Staff in 2000. In 2006, UAW Vice President Terry Thurman appointed her as his top administrative assistant, overseeing the development and implementation of the UAW Organizing strategy. President, Ron Gettelfinger appointed Estrada to serve as National Organizing Director. The long-time union organizer was elected as Vice President in 2010 and is thefirst Latina elected to serve as an International Officer. Upon her re-election in 2014, UAW President Dennis Williams assigned her to lead the General Motors Department making her the first women and first Latina to do so. This is only a few of the many strong women of the UAW. The list can go on and on. The Recreation Committee is proud to present the 10th Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Bring your children and grandchildren out to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny, and participate in the Easter Egg Hunt. We will be serving hot dogs, chips, and punch on Sunday, March 25, 2018 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm here at Local 659. The 31st Annual Bowling Tournament will be held Saturday, April 7, 2018 at Galaxy Lanes on Hill Rd in Grand Blanc. Check in is at noon and bowling starts at 1:30. All participants must be a member, family member, retiree, or affiliates of the UAW Local 659, including Union Hall personnel. The 37th Constitutional Convention will convene on Monday, June 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI. Resolution forms for proposed changes to be submitted to the 2018 Constitutional Convention are available at your work center and here at the Hall. Resolutions must be turned in no later than Friday, March 23, 2018. Until next time…..
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, The White Shirt Day Celebration was held at Local 651 on Friday, February 9, 2018. Each year on White Shirt Day, men and women throughout the UAW wear white collar attire, traditionally donned by management, to remember the savrifices and victories of workers. Today and every day, w say Thank you for laying the foundation of the middle class and workers' rights. The Recreation Committee will be having an Irish Extravaganza to be held March 10, 2018 here at the Hall. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Pre/Post Retirement Classes are continuing for the next six Mondays. Morning classes are from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. Evening classes are from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. All classes are held here at the Hall. February is Black History Month, which honors the contributions of African Americans to U.S. History. Black History Month began as "Negro History Week" which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln (history.com)
DID YOU KNOW?
Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives. She was elected in 1968 and represented the state of New York. She broke ground again four years later, in 1972, when she was the first major party African American candidate and the first female candidate for President of the United States.
Madame C.J. Walker was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and became a self-made millionaire after inventing a line of African American hair care products.
Hattie McDaniel was the first African American performer to win an Academy Award, the film industry's highest honor, for her portrayal of a governess in "Gone with the Wind."
In 1992, Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to go into space aboard the space shuttle Endeavor.
In 1996, Rita Jackson became the first African American woman to be elected Recording Secretary in UAW Local 659's History. She served as Recording Secretary for two consecutive terms (1996-2000).
In 2002, Reginald Smith became the first African American man Recording Secretary at UAW Local 659. He was Recording Secretary for three consecutive terms, serving from 2002-2011. In 2011, Smith became the first elected African American President in UAW Local 659's History. He was President for 2 consecutive terms, serving from 2011-2017 (UAW History)
Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Happy New Year! It is the start of a new year. In January, we will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. While almost everyone knows about Dr. King's civil rights efforts, far fewer are aware of his unwavering support for the labor movement. He once said: "In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as 'right to work.' it is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone... wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote." - Martin Luther King, Jr. It's as if Dr. King was here today. The Black History Committee will be having their Annual Black History Program Sunday, February 18, 2018, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm here at the Hall. The Region 1D UULC Super Bowl all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast will be held Sunday, February 4, 2018 from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon. The cost is $5 per person, children (under 10) eat for free.
DID YOU KNOW?
Though women did receive some grade school education, they were taught basic reading and math skills, along with sewing, cooking and etiquette skills to manage the home, not enter the workforce.
Until the 1800s, college was for men only. Women were not even accepted as college students until 200 years after the first college opened in 1636.
Because women were not allowed in the same classroom as men, women started "academies" and "seminaries" to teach themselves.
It was not until the mid-1800s that public schools allowed females and males to be educated at the same time in the same schools. It took a women's rights conference to bring about this change.
Women who were allowed to teach were heavily discriminated against. They were often paid less than the men and were overlooked for higher-paying jobs.
Until the late 1900s, many states upheld marriage bars; laws that prohibited married women from teaching in public schools.
It wasn't until the adoption of Title IX 1972 that women and girls were required by law to receive equal education - at least in federally funded schools.
As you can see, history hasn't been too kind to women when it comes to education. It makes you appreciate the opportunities women and girls have today to not only go to school but to also choose where they'll go. (freshtakeoncontent.com/women-in-education) Until Next Time....
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, 'Tis the Season! Hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. I would like to say to the Retiree Women's Committee "GREAT JOB" on the Thanksgiving Food Basket GiveAway. I know the 125 families who received this baskets greatly appreciated them. Thank you to the membership for your donations of food/monetary collections to help with this worthy cause. Looking forward to the Christmas season, when the hustle and bustle of the holiday begins; the shopping, family get-togethers, the preparing of Christmas Dinner, and treats until you're exhausted. During this holiday season, remember to take care of yourself. May God bless you all, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. Did you know the following facts that feature groundbreaking achievements (both large and small) by revolutionary women? Have you ever heard of Mary Anderson, Lydia Chapin Taft? If not, read on! We'd be lost without them and the many other women who have shaped our history. As the saying goes, "You go girl!" Enjoy a few fun facts about fascinating females.
Did you know....?
Windshield wipers were invented by Mary Anderson in 1903
The circular saw was invented by Tabitha Babbitt in 1812
The medical syringe was invented by Letitia Geer in 1899
In 1756, during America's Colonial Period, Lydia Chapin Taft became the first woman to legally vote with the consent of the electorate
Late in 1869, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Women Suffrage Association in order to change the 15th Amendment to include women
57% of college students in the U.S. today are women
In 1900, 19% of women in the U.S. held jobs
By 1998 this number had tripled to 60%
Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, First, I would like to thank you, the membership, for your generous support and donation to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. I would like to congratulate Tammy Byrtus on receiving the "Making a Difference Award" from Region 1-D Women's Council. Tammy is the Recording Secretary for the council and a member of the Ruben Burks Scholarship Committee. She is a very hard worker for the Women's Council, and runs the kitchen for the Annual Back Pack Rally in both Flint and Lansing. Once again, congratulations on a job well done! Don't forget to bring a new, unwrapped, American-made toy to the General Membership meeting on December 10, 2017 at 12:00 noon. You may also drop off toys at the Union Hall until 3:45 p.m. on Friday, December 8, 2017. The Chaplaincy Committee will be having their Annual Christmas Brunch, "Waves of Change," on December 2, 2017, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Local, with a $10 donation to attend. UAW Local 659 presents Santa's Christmas Party on Sunday, December 3, 2017 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Have your picture taken with Santa. There will also be crafts, prizes, movies, punch and snacks. UAW Local 659 Black History Committee will present their Polish sausage fundraiser on Friday, December 15, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Polish sausages are $5, new item: brats are 2 for $5, and peach cobbler for $3. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point. The good news is most women can survive Breast Cancer if it's found and treated early. A mammogram, the screening test for breast cancer, can help find breast cancer early enough to treat. Men get it too! Breast cancer in men is a rare disease. Less than 1% of all breast cancer occurs in men (healthfinder.gov) In 2017, about 2,470 men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease (breastcancer.org) National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage family and friends to get involved. Let's keep the victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate, the earthquakes in Mexico and Peru, the massacre in Las Vegas, and the wildfires in California in our thoughts and prayers. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Labor Day. Summer has skipped away and kids are back to school, so please watch out for them. I would like to thank the membership for your generous donations to the Red Cross for the support of the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Donations are still coming in. We will have a total amount later. Let’s keep them and the victims of Hurricane Irma in our thoughts and prayers. The Region 1-D Women’s Council will be having their 15th Annual Ruben Burks Scholarship Dinner. The event will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Lansing Community College West Campus, 5708 Conerstone, Lansing MI. the dinner will be from 3 pm to 6 pm. tickets price is $30.00 per person. See any member of the Council for tickets or more information. The Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk will be Saturday, October 14, 2017, Downtown Flint at the Flat Lot. Registration begins at 8:30 am and the walk begins at 10 am. Form your own team or join us, the local 659 Walking Warriors. Hope to see you there! Calling all Rosies! Time to roll up your sleeves! The Yankee Air Museum invites you to join the movement on October 14, 2017 to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the most Rosie the Riveters. This will be held at Eastern Michigan University’s Convention Center, 799 N. Hewitt Rd., Ypsilanti, Michigan. There will Be free parking, but carpooling is highly encouraged. Doors open at 9 am. Arrive by 11 am to be counted. All ages are welcome, and you must be in costume to count as a participant. Costumes consist of dark blue work clothes, red socks, dark work shoes, and a red bandana with white polka dots, for more information go to www.yankeeairmuseum/rosie world record.
Until next time…..
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, The days are going by so fast. The kids were just singing "School's Out For Summer," now summer is over and thoughts are on back to school. The Women's Committee collected donations of school supplies (spiral notebooks, index cards, loose leaf paper and folders) for the UAW Region 1-D 7th Annual Community-Wide Back to School Resource Fair that was held here at our Local on August 24, 2017. The Women's Council gave away free backpacks with school supplies, both in Flint and in Lansing. This event had free food, free entertainment, and free resources for those in need. I would like to thank the Membership for their donations, the UAW Local 659 Women's Committee for all of your hard work in hosting this year's Resource Fair, and also "Thank You" to the Officers for allowing us to use the pavilion. The Women's Committee is now taking orders for the 2017 Breast Cancer T-Shirts. There are two colors this year (light pink and charcoal grey). Short sleeve and long sleeve shirts come in sizes small to 4X, and the short sleeve V-neck comes in small to 2X. One time order only. Cut-off date for orders will be September 1, 2017. All sales are final, no exchanges and no refunds. All proceeds to benefit "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer." See a Women's Committee Member to place your order, or you can place your order at the Union Hall. We will be having our standing committee sign-ups in September, with the election to follow at the October Join Council Meeting. Region 1-D will be celebrating Labor Day at UAW Region 1D at 10:30 am. There will be a short program honoring the 1936-1937 Sitdowners and Women's Emergency Brigade members. At 11:30 am, there will be a hot dogs and hamburgers cook-out. Have a safe and happy Labor Day! Until Next Month...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I would like to thank the membership and retirees of this great Local for your support in electing me as your Recording Secretary. To those of you who supported me, thank you very much. For those who did not, I ask that you give me a chance to earn your support. I would also like to thank past President Reggie Smith for swearing in our newly elected leadership. Thank you to my family for all of your support. I promise to serve our membership to the best of my ability. My door will always be open. Congratulations to all of the newly elected leadership. Local 659 Women's Committee is asking for donations for the Region 1-D Women's Council's Back Pack Rally for Genesee County, to be held at Local 659 on Thursday, August 24, 2017. We are asking for paper products such as: notebooks (wide ruled and college ruled), loose leaf paper, index cards (lined and blank), folders, and monetary donations are greatly appreciated as well. The Black History Committee will be holding a Polish Dog Fundraiser on July 21, 2017 from 10 am to 3 pm. Come on out and have lunch with us - polish dogs are $5. The Local will be holding its Annual Family Fun Day on Saturday, August 12, 2017 from 11 am to 5 pm. Some of the activities will be a bounce house, the dunk tank, face painting, water balloons, clowns, a fire truck, police car, and much more. For the main event, we will have the Pure Pro Wrestling starting at 5:00 pm inside the auditorium. Wrestling requires a $5 donation per person. We also need volunteers to help with set up/tear down. If you have any questions, call Event Coordinator Sherry Snyder at 616-291-9576. This event will take place rain or shine. We hope to see you there. Also on our calendar, the Black History Committee will be having an Evening of Smooth Jazz with the Rapheal Set Band on Saturday, August 19, 2017 from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For tickets, please see any of our Black History Committee members in your plant. For questions or more information, call Willie at 810-423-8834 or Kim at 810-964-6575. Summer is here, so please be safe and enjoy your summer.
Former Recording Secretary, Tim Duplanty's previous articles
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Let me begin by congratulating Brother Dave Perina, former Chairman at CCA (retired). Brother Perina was awarded the Walter P. Reuther Award on May 17, 2017 at the Local Union Hall. I had the pleasure of serving this great Local at the time he was Chairman. I can tell you first hand, Dave was as deserving of this award as anyone I know. He always put the Membership first, took the time to listen first, and represented his membership with honor and honesty. The Summer Sports Kayak Package raffle is going great. At last report, there were very few tickets left. So if you have not yet purchased them, please see your plant leadership or Veterans Rep. to see if they have any available. As always, the membership of this great Local supports our Veterans. The Local election cycle is almost behind us, with just a few District Elections left to complete. Having said that, I want to congratulate the winners and those of you who ran and were not successful. I have stated many times that when you put your name out to run for office, you may not get my vote, but you have my respect. It takes courage to ask to be involved in a leadership role and represent your co-workers on issues as important as their job, their benefits, and overall work life. I will have more to say on this in my next and last article as the Local's Recording Secretary. The bottom line is, we elected our Leadership, now we have to support them and also hold them accountable. We must remember that management lays people off - not the Union. Management starts the disciplinary proceeding - not the Union. Management continually tries to add work to your job and cut another brother or sister out of the team - not the Union. What your Union, and more specifically you Committeeperson, does in any of the situations I have just described (and many more) is make sure management follows the agreed upon contractual language; to make it fair and just. No kidding, our Union is as strong as we make it. The very meaning of "Solidarity" is "Unity or agreement of feeling or action," especially among individuals with a common interest, and mutual support within a group. The summer season appears to be upon us, so please, in your activities on the water, in the woods, on the golf course, whatever it is that you do with your families for fun and enjoyment, please do it safely and come back to the worksite full, happy and whole.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Let me begin with Happy Easter to all. My hope is that everyone will get time to spend with family and friends. This is normally one of my favorite times of the year, however, can it please stop raining I have had water coming in to my basement for over a week.
The Local 659 Veterans Committee will be conducting another Raffle. This one will be a Summer Sports Package that includes 2 10' Kayaks with Paddles, 2 Sea Line Dry Bags, 2 sets Car Top straps, 2 Life Vests, 2 Gander Mountain Spinning Rod Combo, 2 Gander Mountain Tackle Bags, and 2 Kayak Angler Kits. Only 500 tickets will be sold at $10.00 each or 3 for $20.00. First come, first serve. They will be available at all units, see you Veterans Rep. from your unit and/or call me for more info 810-232-4130 ext. 212. The winner will be drawn on June 11th, at the end of the Joint Council Meeting. If we do not sell at least $1,600.00 worth of tickets the drawing will revert to a 50/50 raffle. The proceeds from this raffle will go to supporting local Veterans and or Veterans organizations. Thank you in advance for the support this membership gives to help us help them.
By the time this paper is delivered to your homes, the first phase of our general elections will have taken place. My only ask is that if you voted and thank you for participating in our democratic process. However, it is likely that due to the number of people running for some of the positions there will be a runoff on April 27th at the same polling locations and times as the April 20th primary election. So if a runoff is necessary please finish the job and exercise your rights as a member in good standing to choose the leadership of your choice.
In Closing, please keep our veterans and active service members in your thoughts and prayers.
, Greetings Sisters and Brothers, Let me begin by expressing on behalf of my siblings, my father Joe, and myself, our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for all of the cards, phone calls, funeral home visits, and overall outpouring of love and support we received from UAW Brothers and Sisters during the recent passing of my mother, Nancy. It was overwhelming and nothing shy of amazing. Thank you, and God Bless you all. The Local will have the 2nd Annual Family Fun Day on August 12, 2017 with semi-pro wrestling, kids games, bounce house, dunk tank, and many other activities. Not only was it a blast last year, we raised over $3,200 for pediatric cancer research, and donated it to U of M - C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. This year, the monies raised will go to Melanoma Skin Cancer Research. In addition to the Family Fun Day, the Local's annual Easter Egg Hunt at the hall will be April 2nd from 1:00-4 p.m. Bring the kids and/or grandkids out. The Recreation Committee always does a great job and works really hard to provide a safe and fun day for the kids. Watch the Searchlight, Facebook and our Webpage, as well as worksite flyers, for all of our upcoming events. Okay, having written about some good stuff, I feel compelled to provide information about the proposed new health care law. I will not give my opinion other than to say read it, study it, call your congressperson and/or senator, ask questions, then make up your own mind, because it will affect all of us no matter what stage in life you're at. All Americans will be affected by this new law if passed. I am providing an attached link of it for your convenience. You can check it out online by following the link in my article on www.Local659.net, under the "Recording Secretary" tab. www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/americanhealthcareact.pdf Recently, the Veterans Committee at all of our units sold T-Shirts and raised a total of $3,291.89; $1,768.34 of it the committee donated to the Saginaw VA Hospital Voluntary Services Department, and $1,523.55 will be split in half and donated to My Brother's Keeper Veterans Homeless Shelter as well as Carriage Town Ministries. On behalf of the Veterans Committee and myself, thank you for all the support for our fundraisers. You truly make a difference in the lives of the Veterans living in all the communities we live and work in. We are working on a very nice summertime-themed raffle. It should be finalized soon.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers
February is Black History month so with that in mind I am reminded any struggle should be both remembered and learned from. Sometimes we forget that it was not that long ago Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger and Martin Luther King led the movement in the 50's and 60's that ultimately resulted in the passing of the civil rights act that President Lyndon Johnson signed into law on July 2nd 1968. These are only an example of two of more prominent people and events of black history. The fact is Black History is American History. The contributions made by Black Americans to this great Country have no boundaries. They include contributions to ground breaking science, the arts, medical breakthrough's , heroism in battle, invention, entrepreneurship, athletics, religion, citizenship, and last but not least union leadership. I know I failed to mention everything so I will close this paragraph with this, we are all one. Love don't hate, lift up not tear down, appreciate don't alienate.
I would like to congratulate President Smith on his new assignment albeit with a little sadness. President Smith is a friend and a great leader who will be missed here at the hall. However, if I know him he will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of the membership of this great local and the entire UAW membership as his assignment dictates. Our loss so to speak is a plus for the UAW. God Bless You President Smith and Thank You Brother!!!
February 11th was the 80th Anniversary of the Great Sit-down Strike it was the first one without a living Sit- downer or Women's Emergency Brigade member present at the celebration, as sadly they have all passed away. This year’s celebration was held at UAW Local 599 on Friday the 10th, and I must tell you, it was a packed house, standing room only. The celebration also serves as a reminder to me that my standard of living, my ability to provide for and take care of my family was in no way given to me by my employer. It was fought for, bled for, and died for by my predecessors. These great men and women sat down to demand dignity, respect, safety, and security first and foremost. Everything we have gained since then has been the result of collective bargaining to which we owe to that first agreement that FORCED the company to recognize the UAW as the sole bargaining agent for its members. We cannot lose sight of the fact that the company did not come to the table because they wanted to. Solidarity Forever!!!
In Closing, as always please keep all of our Veterans and active military in your thoughts and prayers.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Let me begin with a welcome to the new year. I hope everyone had a safe and joyful holiday season. In my view, the best thing about the holidays is spending time with my family. However, if you did not get what you asked for from Santa, then try to be better this year (LOL). This, as is always the case, will be another busy year at our Local. Already we have plenty of activities, meetings, rallies, and fundraisers on the agenda with more to come for sure. Communication is key. We try very hard to get all information out as quickly and accurately as we can via the Website, Facebook and Searchlight, plant flyers, and other means. Please watch for these different communication tools. If all else fails, call the Hall or ask your plant leadership if you are not sure. This year also happens to be the Triennial General Election year for all leadership positions. Please pay close attention, as stated earlier, to postings and election information. Setting up elections is not my area of responsibility, therefore, I will not be commenting on dates, times, or places in this article, so as to not confuse anyone. There are three standing committees that President Smith assigned meas the Officer over - Veterans, By-Laws, and Education. I will share a little information on all. First, the Education Committee will be facilitating the 2017 version of Pre/Post Retirement Classes, beginning Monday January 30, 2017. These classes run for 9 weeks and are extremely informative. The Committee puts a lot of time in preparation and lining up speakers, and I want to thank them again for all their hard work. Please see the schedule in this edition of the Searchlight. Hope to see you there. The Bylaws Committee has been working very hard also, updating the Local's bylaws and making changes as voted on and proposed by the membership, as well as making sure they comply with the Constitution of the International Union. The Veterans Committee has been very busy doing fundraisers to raise money to support multiple Veterans causes. They attend many functions at cemeteries, hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, stand downs, and many other worthy causes supporting Veterans and active military. Much of this is on their own time and dime. I personally thank each and every one of these members who serve on these committees and all the other committees associated with this great Local for the work they do on behalf of the membership. It is a stark reminder that one person is not a Union. It is the many standing arm and arm together, as the UAW wheel projects, doing the work for the betterment of all. For all you bowlers, I hope your season is going well. For all the golfers, it won't be long until we start cussin'. On February 10, 2017, we will be celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the great Sit-Down Strike. We will be honoring the great men who sat down to demand better working conditions and a voice in the workplace. They were so bravely supported by the Women's Brigade. Without their willingness to stand up and fight for the rights of working people, we would not enjoy the great pay and benefits, as well as dignity, we deserve. God bless them and their legacy.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers, Let me start with Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! I am hopeful that every one of you has a chance to spend time with your families. I know I am looking forward to it. Many of our members have lost loved ones this year so this will be the first holiday season they will be going through the holidays without them. As I get older so do my parents I am very fortunate to still have them both with me albeit with some health issues but they are here and I am going to cherish every day and year they are. So God Bless you as you deal with the loss. This year has been very rewarding as far as the charitable giving and help we gave to our communities. Let me start with the Flint water crisis my goodness what a amazing show of community involvement. As the leadership we put out the call for help and you the membership stood tall. You showed up on your own time with your own trucks and hauled countless pallets of water to locations all over the city. Many of you were the volunteers out on the streets loading it into the residents cars curb side. The only word for it is UNBELIEVABLE. Thank You!!! Along with the water issue we had a Family Fun Day here at the Hall that raised $3,200.00 that we donated to the University of Michigan / Mott Children's Hospital for Pediatric Cancer Research. Please see the article in the issue from Sister Sherry Snyder for more details on this great event. The Local 659 Veterans Committee was extremely active this year with shirt sales, gate collections, gun raffles, and on December 11th, we had the Harley/50/50 drawing. What I mean by that is we tried to raffle off a 2017 Harley Davidson Road King, however, we needed to sell a minimum amount of tickets in order to do so. We did not hit that number, but that is fine, we did however raise $5,000.00 for The Folds of Honor the Charity chosen by the committee and authorized by the Joint Council. And I would like to congratulate Brother Jim Todd from the CCA Unit he was the winner of the other $5,000.00 half of the 50/50. In total as I announced at the general membership meeting the membership of this great local has in the past year, year and a half has raised roughly $20,000.00 that was donated to various veteran’s causes. God Bless you all and from the bottom of my heart and on behalf the Local Veterans Committee THANK YOU!!!. It's the holidays and we’re busy, please be careful stay safe and keep our active service members and their families, the families of those that paid the ultimate price for this great country as well as the police and firefighters who put their lives on the line for us every day in your thoughts.
"Family Fun Day Event Raises $3,281" - Sherry Snyder
Brothers’ & Sisters’, On November 29th Tim Duplanty and I were honored to represent Local 659 at Mott’s Children’s Pediatric Research Lab, in delivering the check of $3,281.00 from our Family Fun Day in September. We were given a tour of the grounds and were amazed by the number of labs and everything they do. The facility is full of volunteers from all over the world with the desire to find cures for Children’s cancers. Jason and his staff welcomed us warmly and shared with us that last year alone they had 137 small fund raisers like ours which raised 1.7 million dollars towards finding cure to Children’s cancer and other diseases that ail our little ones. Jason also said that a donation like ours is a 100% donation to whichever lab that receives it. The money to run the different research labs come from grants, private donations, fund raisers, and contributions from around the world. This is proof that every dime counts when fighting for a cure. Thanks again everyone that helped run Family Fun Day and made it a success and to everyone that came to participate that day. The generosity from you made it great and will be looking forward to 2017’s Family Fun Day to be even better.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, First of all, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I would also like to thank the UAW Local 659 Veterans Committee for all they do and the membership for their generous contributions for the men and women who fought and sacrificed for our freedoms that we have today. This month, I wanted to share an article from "Dateline: Lansing, legislation affecting AFL-CIO unions and their families.
Veteran Facilities Could be Privatized Under Proposed Legislative Package. A 4-bill package to create an authority to run the state's veterans care programs has been introduced in the Michigan legislature. Although designed to improve the quality of care of Michigan veterans, the package has a major flaw in that it gives the new authority the ability to privatize state veteran facilities. Two recent Auditor General reports on the quality of management of state veteran facilities highlights the problems with these privatized facilities. A February 2016 audit showed that the currently privatized Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is riddled with problems of neglect and mismanagement. The Auditor General found that management at the home routinely falsified records on staff response to fall alarms in resident rooms. Supervisory staff documented that 96-100% of fall alarms were properly checked out. However, surveillance videos showed that actual responses only took place 33% of the time. The private contractor did not meet required staffing levels 81% of the time and did not fill pharmaceutical prescriptions in a timely manner. This is in marked contrast to the Auditor General report on the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette, a facility staffed primarily by state civil servants. The August, 2016 audit found no material conditions to report and gave the home an overall laudatory review. SB 1097-1100 are currently in the State Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security Committee. Contact information for Senate committtee members is available at www.senate.michigan.gov/committee/veterans.html and at http://house.michigan.gov/MGRPublic/Committeeinfo.aspx?comkey=343 for House Committee Members. Committee members should be encouraced to support amendments to the package that require the use of state classified civil service employees at veteran facilities, consistent with the Michigan Constitution and the rules of the Michigan Civil Service Commission.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers, First, before I get into politics, I would like to thank everyone for the success of our 1st Annual Family Fun Day held on September 17, 2016. From the volunteers to the participants, thank you for a job well done! This November 8th, the Presidential election will be held. We, as a Union, must aggressively participate to get Hillary Clinton and all Democratic Candidates (local, state, and national) elected, along with Michigan Supreme Court Judges Deborah Thomas and Frank Szymanski. We do have members who are leaning to the right. I would like to ask them to realize what the Republican party has done, or are trying to do for the people of Michigan.
STATE: 1) Passed a law to tax senior pensions 2) took away homestead credit 3) raised fees for vehicles, parks, hunting, fishing 4) reduced unemployment weeks from 26 to 20 5) cut taxes for businesses $1 billion 6) trying to take away straight-line party voting (in court) 7) changed the Workers Comp. laws
FEDERAL: 1) trying to change Social Security by privatizing it, SSN disability would be seperated from regular SSN, and a special tax would be created for SSN disability. Then everyone would have to reapply if Congress can pass anything. President Obama threatens to veto it and the Republicans could not override. 2) They produced another government shut down. Over 100,000 government employees were laid off. 3) Dropped America's credit rating by refusing to raise monetary ceiling. 4) Refused to pass infrastructure bill to create jobs (highway, water and electrical grid) 5) Refused to save the auto industry
These are only a few issues I could put down without taking up the whole paper. So, Brothers and Sisters, as you read these issues and are still thinking of going to the right and that these issues don't affect you or anyone in your family, then you must be a wealthy person because this list affects everyone. If it wasn't for President Obama and the Democrats, you wouldn't be enjoying a weekly paycheck. In closing, I would like everyone to remember our soldiers and their families in prayers and please vote.
UNION ALL THE WAY!
Greetings Sisters and Brothers, First, let me start by saying kids are back in school. Yeah!!! So with that being said, please watch out for the kiddies and stop completely for the buses, as you would want everyone to if it were your kids or grandkids. Secondly, I thank all those who attended the first Union meetings following the summer recess. These meetings are a very important part of being a Union Member. These meetings are the conduit for information sharing Shop Committee and Standing Committee reports, as well as just plain fellowship and conversation outside of the worksite between members. The meetings are the one avenue where you have all levels of your representation present at one time. They provide the opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions. Believe me, the membership's involvement makes the biggest impact on the decisions this Local and the unit leadership make on your behalf. So please attend and encourage your co-workers to also. At the time of this writing, we are two days from one of the biggest events this Local has put forward in many years - the Family Fun Day/UWA Semi-Pro Wrestling. We are hopeful that it goes well and we can make it an annual event, and have it grow each and every year. That being said, there will be a full report in next month's Searchlight edition. On a contractual note, the Union Hall is still receiving a high volume of calls regarding the Legal Services Plan. The only thing I can report out is that it is being worked on by the National parties. As soon as it is finalized and available for use, it will be communicated in this paper and via our website and facebook page. Also, the negotiated lump-sum payments will be paid on the pay period ending October 16, 2016. To be eligible, you had to have been a seniority employee on the rolls on September 18, 2016. The 659 Veterans Committee is now selling Raffle Tickets for a 2017 Harley-Davidson Road King (vivid black is the color). The tickets are $20.00 each and are available at all of the worksites the Local represents, as well as at the Union Hall from 9:00 am - 3:45 pm. Monday through Friday. Ask for Donna. We will sell as many tickets as we can until December 11, 2016. The winner will be drawn at 2:00 pm on December 11, 2016. If we do not sell at least $17,250.00 in ticket sales, the raffle will revert to a 50/50 drawing. Taxes, title, and license fees are the responsibility of the winner. All proceeds will be donated to "Folds of Honor." This is a non-profit organization that provides educational scholarships to the children and spouses of those killed or disabled while serving this great nation. The organization's Mission statement says it all, "Honoring Their Sacrifice, Educating Their Legacy." Their website is www.foldsofhonor.org for anyone interested in donating or obtaining information on how to apply for scholarships. As it is every election cycle between now and Election Day, we will be bombarded by television and radio ads as well as mailers asking for our support for a candidate or a ballot proposal. Many of these ads and mailers are misleading and sometimes just outright lies. They get worse the closer to Election Day. It is usually by designed so as to not allow for a response from the opposing candidate or group supporting or not supporting a particular candidate or proposal. I bring this up to say this. Personally, I give all of it a zero on the credibility scale. Now obviously, at least on the Presidential level, very few are actually going to get to meet the candidate for a face-to-face question-and-answer session and I really do not trust the national media. So I research the voting record, speeches, campaign websites, and whatever I can to help locate the truth. The benefit of being a part of the Union is that our National leadership does get that access and after hearing from the membership they go get the answers and information on the issues needed to make a recommendation (not a dictation) as to whom might best fight for the issues facing working families. I understand we are a diverse membership from many different backgrounds and we all have our own opinions and views, and I certainly respect and encourage that. I know as individuals we may prioritize issues in different order, and that is the way it should be. However, we are all working people who want to be able to provide for our families, live and retire with dignity, and make things better for our children and grandchildren. We all want to live in a country that provides a level playing field for all, not just those with money and or powerful connections. I ask you, the membership, to please vote and encourage everyone within your circle of influence to vote. On the Regional level, in races for Offices like State Representatives, County Commissioner, School boards, and the like, it is much easier to get all the information needed. Heck, many times we know the people who are running, but that does not lesson the need to get the information and make an informed choice. These positions are also very important as they have more often a direct immediate impact on our daily lives. I will close this subject with another request. If you know of a service member serving overseas, please let them know they need to be contacting their County Clerk's Office now to start the process of requesting an absentee ballot, as the turn-around time to get the ballot back and be counted can take 30 days or longer. These brave men and women deserve the highest priority and help to ensure the right they put their lives on the line for is afforded to them. God Bless them all. The next Unit and Joint Council meetings will be October 9. Please save the date and plan on attending.
- In Solidarity
As everyone knows, the U.S. has the most comprehensive system of assistance for Veterans of any country in the world. Dating back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of the Plymouth colony were at war with the Pequot Indians, a law was passed that stated disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony. As time went on, the V.A. health system has grown to include 152 hospitals, 800 community-based outpatient clinics, 126 nursing home care units and 35 domiciliaries (care for homeless Veterans). If you are a Veteran, widow of a veteran or know a veteran who needs assistance please do not hesitate to call the numbers in this article. Also Local 659 has Deputy Director John Nelson from the Genesee County Department of Veterans Services coming in on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Remember to thank our veterans, soldiers and their families for their sacrifices and their devotion to duty.
Let me start with happy belated 4th of July. I hope it was a safe and fun family time for all. This marks about half way through summer and, well, to say the least it has been a hot and dry one so far. Hopefully the rest of the summer will go as well and many more fun times to be had. Speaking of fun at the end of the summer, September 17th the Local will be hosting a Family Fun Day from 11 am to 7 pm featuring kids' games, a bounce house, balloon toss, clowns, and much more. We will have semi-pro wrestling inside the Union Hall Auditorium from 3 pm til 7 pm at $5.00 per person. Space is limited, so it will be first come first serve. We will have the Sheriff's Child Safety Unit here to provide finger-printing and other child safety tips. All of the activities (except the wrestling) are free to members, their children and grand children, as well as our affiliates children and grand children. The more the merrier, so put t on your calendar and come out to enjoy the fun. This Fun Day is the brain child of Sister Sherry Snyder from the Flint Metal Center Unit. She is working hard on it and I am totally enjoying assisting her with it. See the flyers at all the worksites and if you have any questions, you can call Sherry or myself at the Hall. If you want to have a vendor booth, they are going fast and space is limited. So contact one of us as far in advance as possible. September is Child Cancer Awareness Month. We have sent out event sponsor information to all of our partners in hopes of raising money while we are having a fun day. Any proceeds generated from the event will be donated to Mott Children's Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Center. If any member or individuals wishes to make a donation, you may make checks payable to UAW Local 659 (flag the check to indicate it is for the charity), then mail or hand-deliver to 4549 Van Slyke Road, Flint, MI 48507. Well, I am sure I don't need to tell you its election season. as I do every election year, I want to remind you that the UAW Leadership does not tell you who to vote for. We simply interview any candidate - Republican, Democratic, or other - who asks for our endorsement. We do not recruit candidates. We look at their voting record, if they have held office. If they have not held office, we ask for their positions on the issues we care about as organized labor. Based on the information gathered during the process, we make a recommendation, I repeat a recommendation, as to who would support our issues, the issues of working families - equal pay, trade, health insurance, Social Security, and paying a living wage that you can support a family on. You will find a list of endorsed candidates in this edition of the Searchlight. If you have any questions about any of the candidates, please feel free to call me at (810) 232-4130, ext. 212. The most important thing is to vote and to encourage your friends and family to vote. Without that, we allow a small minority of the population to put people in office who will make decisions for all of us. Whatever your views are, I think we can agree it is always better to get the opinion of as many people as we can and, quite frankly, a vote is an opinion. A person who is truly trying to get the facts about anything won't just ask one person, they will ask many. I look at it like this, we google a product or company/companies that produces that product to see views or comments. Sometimes that adds up to hundreds of views or ratings. So why not do the same for elections the information is out there? The great thing is you can do an instant fact check. If a candidate says something in public or puts it on his or her website, you can check it. We have to do this because in my view the corporate media can not be trusted. There are no more Walter Cronkites. He was widely known and respected as the voice of truthful and factual reporting. For many of us trying to get to our worksites, the orange barrels have taken over and it looks like they are going to be there for a while. So please be careful and give yourself extra time to get to work and plan on it taking extra time to get home from work. The main thing is to show patience and remember the other people are in the same traffic snarl as you are, so their day stinks, too. LOL As always, in closing, please remember those who are serving and have served this great nation in the military. They truly are the reason we are free today. God Bless...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, This important information was forwarded to me by our International Union through AFGE Local 2092, AFL-CIO, to be shared with the membership. As the officer over the Local Veterans Committee, it brings me great joy to know anytime we ask for help with Veterans issues, this Local membership rises to the challenge. There was some good to come from the crisis at the VA Hospitals, Veterans can now go to approved private providers if they can't get the care they need in a reasonable time or have to travel too far from their home to get to a VA facility. Much more needs to be done for sure. But total privatization serves only one purpose in my opinion, PROFITS for a large hospital conglomerates that have a history of profits before care. Please visit http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/ for more information concerning Veterans Choice Program. Also, call your Representatives in Congress and tell them to approve the fund for the VA. These people have no qualms about giving themselves pay raises and lifetime health care with no regard to the cost of it, so they have no business worrying about the cost of taking care of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect this nation. The VA needs improvement for sure, approve the funds and do it.
VA Health Care - Not For Sale Dear Member, I am writing this to alert you about a critical issue you may already have some awareness. This issue which involves a committee called the Commission on Care is scheduled to make a recommendation to Congress no later than June 30, 2016 regarding the future of the Veterans Hospitals. The Commission is tasked in reviewing how health care is to be delivered to veterans over the next 20 years. Its appointees are largely high-ranking medical executives of the private sector who are primarily associated with the Koch brothers. The commission consists of 15 appointees and 7 of them have leaked a recommendation known as the "Strawman Report" to close all VA Hospitals over a period of 20 years. Major veteran organizations were excluded from participation. VA Hospital closings would begin immediately after the adoption of their recommendations and start with underutilized and older hospitals. The VA as we know it would not exist and would only be used to pay private hospitals for the service the veterans use. It should be noted that the major veteran organizations nationwide strongly oppose this recommendation. Sixty-four percent of all veterans surveyed prefer the VA hospitals to the private sector. Privatization is an initiative that has been purposed for many years, but rejected by the veterans themselves. However, due to the scandals that have rocked the VA, it has become politically expedient to move while there is so much negative press. Politicians on both sides of the isle are saying the VA Hospitals are "broken and cannot be fixed." Secretary Robert McDonald disagrees and has asked Congress to give the VA opportunity to correct practices that lead to the criticisms. We take exception that the Commission's recommendations have been stacked against the VA, but we cannot afford to sit idly by while being attacked on all fronts (our due process rights jeopardized, major VA realignments pending and a real threat to close all VA hospitals). The commission on Care has a website that is gathering comments on the VA Hospitals. We can start there by letting the Commission know that VA Medical Care is the best worldwide. Take a minute to comment on their website at http://commissioncare.sites.usa.gov/contact.us2 ask your coworkers to comment also. We must defeat these recommendations. The future of the VA depends on it. You are will also urged to contact your congressional representatives. Our armed forces risk life and limb to "support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies" and in exchange they will be taken care of when they return. Our veterans served our country with honor. In return, some members of a controversial congressional Commission want to replace the comprehensive health care they earned with a coupon. We know our Veterans deserve better. That's why AFGE's President Cox is speaking out against the Commission on Care's controversial "Strawman Proposal" to sell veterans' health care to private, for-profit corporations. This commission is not only threatening the care our nation has promised, it's also vying to privatize the vital work that you do in caring for America's veterans. We can't sit idly by and wait for the Commission on Care to sell out veterans to the lowest bidder. We need your help, both VA employees and Veterans, before it's too late. Together we can ensure our veterans receive the best VA care our country has to offer. -AFL-CIO In closing, I hope all the fathers out there had a Happy Father's Day and I would like to wish everyone a safe and Happy 4th of July Holiday. I thank all of you for the attention I know you will give to this issue.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
We have been receiving a lot of questions here at the hall and in the plants as well regarding the new legal services plan and when it will start. I recently called Detroit and asked. Basically it is still tied up in in the legal process and getting all the paperwork signed off on by the government. They are working on it and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. I want to thank Brother Dave Perina, retiring as Bargaining Chairman, for his many years of service to the membership at the CCA Unit. Dave you earned it and I hope retirement brings you all that you hoped it would. Along with Brother Dave we have had many production members retire from all the GM Units as a result of the SAP negotiated into the National Agreement. Many of these members I knew very well and spent years working with them. I congratulate all of you and hope and pray you all have a long and happy retirement. Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there I hope your day was filled with love and family time. I am so grateful for my mother who to me is the shining example of motherhood. Because I know you will receive this paper, I Love You MOM. All of you know the election season is in full swing, as I have written many times in the past, we must take these elections seriously, even when we think it won’t make a difference. In my voting lifetime, I have never seen the likes of what is going on in this cycle. To me it is a complete circus on the republican side, they started with 19 candidates and now Donald Trump is going to be their nominee. Through countless republican debates, it seems to me the only thing that came out of them is that they want to control women, deport people, and spend an even more astronomic amount of money going to war and buying weapons. I mean, really, what else did we learn? They keep saying on the republican side we need to turn this Country around….. Mmmm, I think President Obama has already done that. Despite their hatred for him and there steadfast resolve to block everything he proposes. This country is not where it should be but it is light years ahead of where it was when he took office. We need to remember that when we go into the voting booth. This current congress is going to go down as the least productive least favorable congress in history. On the Democratic side it just seems to me the debates were professional and substantive, the issues were debated and differences between the two candidates were brought to the forefront and discussed. As I say, whenever I talk about politics, by all means make your own decisions, vote for who you want to vote for. Please gather all the facts and research the history of the candidate if they have held office before, they have a record, if they have not; they all have a website with their platforms and proposals there for all to see. As always never forget the brave men and women who serve today and have served this great country in uniform. God Bless them all.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Happy Spring!!! (LOL) With any luck maybe we are through this and over the hump. I know I had a good week with my kids and granddaughter being off on spring break, but I am glad it was only a week (LOL!) I am writing this the evening after the April Unit and Joint Council Meetings, so I would like to congratulate Brother Lloyd Davis from the Flint Metal Center. He was the lucky winner of the 659 Veterans Committee's third Gun Raffle. These raffles have been a huge successs. We have raised over $5,000. This money has been donated to both Genesee and Shiawassee County Veterans Organizations. The Veterans Committee will meet and determine where they would like these most recent funds to be donated. Thank you to the ticket buyers and the ticket sellers for helping support the great men and women who serve now or have served this great nation. The support of this membership is second to none. While we will continue these smaller raffles, we are looking into a more large-scale raffle of some sort, where we can sell a higher number of tickets. On Friday, April 1, 2016 through Sunday, April 3rd, I attended the Region 1D Standing Committee Conference on behalf of the Veterans Council. Our committee had 45 Delegates in attendance from all across the state. The theme of this conference was "Unity and Service." We had several speakers talk to us on a wide range of topics, including PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Veterans Services, Veterans Health Care, Veterans Rights, and how to get these various services. We spend the majority of time hearing from Honorable Judges William Baillargeon and Dave Jordan, from Lansing District Courts, talking about Veterans Court. These Veterans Courts are set up in almost all of Michigan's Counties to assist Veterans who have found themselves in trouble with the law. These courts are set up to give Veterans an opportunity to complete a year-long program prescribed by the Judge. If they complete all the steps and based on the crime, their records will be cleared or reduced. However, certain crimes, like sexual assault, murder and other more serious crimes, are not eligible for the program. The driving force behind helping these Veterans be successful is a mentor. The Court trains and maintains a list of volunteers, other veterans, who are willing to counsel and be there on a weekly or monthly basis as determined by the Judge to stand with and assist the Veteran. The court matches each Veteran with the best possible mentor. They try to match Army with Army, Marine with Marine, Navy with Navy, Air Force with Air Force, Coast Guard with Coast Guard, because if you were ever in the military you know we relate best with our fellow service brothers and sisters. There is a need for mentors. If you are a Veteran and would like to look into volunteering to be a mentor, please contact me. We can get you in touch with the Mentor Coordinator for the area you would like to serve. All of the speakers were very informative and detailed, way too much into put in this format however. If you or one of your family members have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me or speak with the veterans representative in your work site. Together, we can make sure you get the information you need. At the last Flint Engine Unit Meeting. it was announced by International Staff that Local 599 active members were being Paragraph 96 moved to the Local 659 Bargaining Unit. Obviously, these kind of changes make for some uneasiness and stress for everyone involved. Let me just say this for now as there is not a whole lot of detail to divulge at this time. Change does not have to be a bad thing. I was very proud of the Flint Engine Unit Members who attended this meeting. As was the case during the National Contract Ratification process, the members listened, asked questions, and showed respect to the process. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the new members who I know came from a very strong proud and historical Local. I am looking forward to the next chapter and have every confidence that this will only make the Flint Engine Unit stronger. As always, in closing, never forget the Men and Women in uniform today and those who have served. God Bless.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Let me start with Happy Easter to you and your family. I am hopeful you will be able to enjoy this time with the people important to you and they are all happy and healthy. I would also like to extend my heartfelt prayers and best wishes to the family of Mr. Richard Wiecorek. He was the last remaining Sit-Down Striker who passed away last week at the age of 99. We were so fortunate to have had him present here at the Local on this past White Shirt Day. He was a true patriot and the ultimate meaning of Solidarity. Without him and the rest of the great men who sat down, as well as the women who supported them, we would not have the lifestyle and the benefits that we enjoy today. God bless! At the time of this writing, the Michigan Primary election has taken place for both the Democrats and Republicans. Whatever party you chose to vote for, thank you for voting. The record turnout in both primaries gives me hope that the citizens of this state and in particular the union members in this state realize how important this election and all elections are to the everyday working person. As stated many times in print, online and over the airwaves, money in politics is a huge problem and getting worse. We working people are the 98%, however, with Citizens United ruling and Super PACs, corporations and wealthy individuals can sit behind a checkbook and buy whatever and whoever they want. WE CAN NOT! ALL WE HAVE IS OUR VOTE! We must use the only tool we have. I would like for the people to remember who gave us tax breaks for the wealthy, claiming it would trickle down. Well, it didn't. I would like for people to remember who gave us unfunded, never-ending wars. I would like for people to remember this congress has put forth nothing in regards to helping the working families, the poor, or the elderly. In fact, everything you hear is we must cut all the programs which do just that. At the same time, they are supporting more disastrous trade deals like TPP. We must fight these policies and prevent people from getting elected or re-elected who support them. Quite frankly, I personally don't care if they are a Democrat or Republican. If they wish to only represent the 1%, or worse yet, do nothing at all, then they must be shown the door. Please stay informed and engaged on the facts of this election, not the rhetoric spewing out of the candidates and their surrogates. In many ways, politicians get away with pandering to the particular sector of the electorate they happen to be speaking to. In my opinion, this is because actual journalism is gone. News programs are much like reality TV shows. They are ratings driven to sell ads and get attention. Journalists do not push for answers. In truth, they accept spin and non-answers. The cool thing about today is we have the internet. We can research the facts, voting records, and statements on issues. Also, if a candidate currently serves in congress, at the state or federal level, there will no doubt be floor speeches given. The facts can be found We must support those who support us. More to come. I would like to thank the membership for supporting all of the events and fundraisers our Veterans Committee has been doing. The membership of this great Local has donated over $12,000 in the last 12 months to very worthy Veterans' causes. Along with that, as a Local Union leader, it warms my heart when the call goes out for volunteers to help carry water for the Flint water crises. We have 40 or 50 members line up at the food bank on their own time and with their own fuel and trucks. It is simply amazing the generosity and the willingness our members have to give back to those in need. God Bless! Congratulations to all of you who chose to retire under the UAW negotiated Special Attrition Package. May your retirement years be filled with love, laughter, happiness, travels, and enough money to do it all (lol). Enjoy, you earned it.
On February 11, 2016 our Union Hall held the annual UAW White Shirt Day Celebration, honoring our original Sit-Downers and in recognition of the UAW as the bargaining unit for the workers. This was a battle for our members for dignity and fair wages for a fair day's work, without the abuse and threats of being fired at the foreman's whim. Included in every contract improvements for our members. Then we reached the 1980s, when under a Republican president, rules were changed so companies could relocate outside the United States. This supposably was done to help bolster the economies of third world countries. General Motors alone closed plants here in the U.S. and opened approximately 28 plants in Mexico and other South American Countries. But instead of bringing up the quality of their lives, the people of these countries were exploited as the companies saw their profits grow and American jobs were shrinking. Trade talks were all started under a Republican President. In the 1990s, NAFTA came in under President Clinton, with rules that would not hinder transportation, supported by unions and non-unions over-the-road drivers. Then, in 2001, when George W. Bush came into office, the rules were changed so drivers could travel from Mexico into the United States without any inspections on their vehicles, along with other changes that would eliminate more American jobs. In addition to these changes, deregulation rules were made regarding Wall Street and our banking industry. This lead to the biggest economic disaster since the Wall Street collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression, which continued until through the 1930s. GM was in bankruptcy and pensions, health plans, and jobs were in jeopardy. In 2008, a Democrat was elected, along with a Democratic congress. A combination that could save the American Auto Industry. Republicans couldn't handle this, so they started spreading lies and hatred. Two years later, the Republicans regain control of congress on both the state and federal levels. In short order, the Republicans shut down the government, creating job and economic losses, as well as causing the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. Overall, the congress and president were at a stalemate and continued to be at odds. On the state level, a Republican governor and congress are continuing their battle to set Michigan back on jobs and health care issues. They are trying to eliminate the unity of worker's voices where they can not be heard as loud. For all these reasons, we need to go to the polls in force for Michigan's Primary Election on March 8th. We need to support the candidates who support labor!
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Happy New Year! I know I wrote some of this in last month's article, but it is worth saying again. 2015 was a very busy and challenging year on many fronts. We had Local and National contract negotiations, and had many of our units working max overtime, which makes it difficult to find family time and/or just relax. It can be very stressful. The Membership, me included, likes stability and security when it comes to our jobs and providing for our families. The last four months of 2015 seemed to take forever. So again, I would like to say how proud I am to be a part of this Local and a Union Member overall. The dignity and professionalism demonstrated by the leadership and the membership during the contract negotiations and ratification process was second to none. We again showed our true colors on the charity front by giving thousands of dollars to United Way, Old Newsboys, March of Dimes, Children's Miracle Network, Toys for Tots, Food Banks, and last but not least, my favorite, our Veterans (and I'm sure I didn't mention a few). UAW members are the most giving people I have ever come in contact with. Thank You!!! Now for the new year, my goal is to provide as much information regarding politics and the issues still facing us as citizens and Union Members. I am writing this the morning after watching President Obama's final State of the Union Address. One of the most interesting statements he made, and there were many, was his challenge to the American people to do their duty as citizens and vote. Very simply put. We can blame politicians and government for the state of our country and our politics all we want, but to me that's a cop out. They get away with what they do or don't do because of us. It's simple, in a lot of races as many as 70% of the people don't vote. Look at it this way, if 30% of the poeple elect the people to represent us and you're in the 70% who stayed home, you forfeited your right to vote. Or you can look at it this way, we don't let our doctors make a medical decision for us without a consultation, investigating our options, and being involved in the process. So why would we let men and women, who in most cases, we don't know and have never met, be elected to positions in which they can take our money, our rights, decide who we marry, how we treat our own bodies, and many other issues without participating? In my opinion, because of our inactions in the political process, the politicians are not being held accountable. We own that! We must vote! The information I provide will be factual, not made up to support one side or the other. Neither the UAW or I are trying to tell you who to vote for or how to vote on issues, but we do look at voting records and investigate ballot issues, trade issues, court rulings, and provide information as to how it affects working men, women, and collective bargaining, so when you enter the voting booth you can utilize this information in any way you deem fit. I will end this article on this note. If you don't think being involved is important, and believe nothing they do affects you, look at Flint, Michigan's water issue. A person who was unelected and put in place by a governor who did not win the city nor the county it resides in, made a decision, (and this is fact) that has poisoned the citizens, and more importantly the children who cannot vote at all, of that city. In my view, this was a criminal act. In closing, as always, never forget the brave men and women who have served and are currently serving this great nation. God Bless!
Greetings, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All, Well, we are at the end of another year. It certainly was an eventful and busy one. We had successes and setbacks, but nothing that we could not overcome. The reality is, without setbacks you can't have progress. Having said that, I will concentrate on the successes. Our membership and leadership stood together and listened to one another respectfully and professionally during the contract ratification process, and the results are what the overall membership supported with their vote. No, we did not achieve everything we wanted and we never do. That is why it's called bargaining. I know this much, without the Union, we have no voice and no seat at the table. I am one who has worked in a non-union job and I found out the bad news after it was done and was never given a choice. Well yes, I was, take it or quit. We all have our opinions. I for one, am thankful there was a process in place for our Trades Brothers and Sisters to have the opportunity to express their concerns with the portions of the agreement that affected them, and that it did result in changes to the tentative agreement. An injury to one is an injury to all. I want to thank the 659 membership for your generosity on Veterans Day. We had a Local-wide gate collection which netted just over $5,200. These funds were presented to the Genesee County Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday, December 14th. Their Director, Jeanne Thick, has informed me they will utilize these funds for the Soldiers Emergency Relief Fund. This fund helps Veterans who may need a major home repair, assist with medical bills, and things of that nature. As always, UAW members give back to those in need, and support the communities we live and work in. I am so honored to represent you and have the opportunity to speak on your behalf at presentations such as this. We also participate in collecting donations for the Old Newsboys, United Way, Children's Miracle Network, March of Dimes, Toys for Tots, and I am sure I missed a few. The amount of money is in the tens of thousands of dollars. Thank You!!!! Sadly, we lost several members and retirees this year. I want to say God Bless Them and their families. Loss is hard, but it is also a reminder to be thankful for every day and for everyone you come in contact with throughout each day. We are human, but, try not to criticize, because you never know what challenges that person may be facing that day. Please be safe and enjoy this festive time of year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Greetings Sisters and Brothers Let me start with Happy Thanksgiving. This time of the year is the beginning of the Holiday Season where we celebrate family friends and reflect on the blessings and hardships we have encountered over the year that has passed. I hope all those that read these words have the opportunity to spend as much time as you wish with the people you hold dear. I am thankful for the blessing of great parents who on November 19th will celebrate 60 years of marriage. I may be a little biased but they are a shining example of perseverance, love, devotion, and with some exceptions (ME) lol they have raised 7 children through hard times and good times Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.
At the time of this writing there are still discussions going on regarding the Tentative National Agreement. Everyone is aware that the Production members passed the agreement and the Skilled Trades did not. There were four meetings held with the Skilled Trades members here at the Union Hall to hear their reasons for rejecting the T.A. Let me first say I could not be more proud of the respectful manner our members presented themselves and their objections. This is what the Union is all about everyone has a voice, all will, and should be heard. Having heard the reasons from our Skilled Sisters and Brothers I am grateful our Constitution provides them this avenue and I am confident the issues can be resolved in a manner that we can remain United in Solidarity and continue our fight for justice equality and respect from our employer for the work we all do. That can only be accomplished by respecting one another while going through this process. Solidarity Forever. I will close with this. On November 11th we honored the Great Americans who have served or are currently serving this Country. This Local has a long history of helping and supporting Our UAW Veterans, as well as all Veterans. Well we did it again I asked for and received support from the leadership at all the Units to conduct a gate collection on Veterans Day. I am extremely proud of the membership for your generosity and willingness to give back. We collected almost $6,000.00 in just that one day. Thank You!!! This money will be donated to the Genesee County Department of Veterans Affairs. I have spoken to their Director and they will put these funds into the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Fund which provides assistance to needy Veterans in the County for things like major home repairs, utility bills, medical bills etc. One last thing, please bring a Toy (American Made), there is a list on the Web Page and in the Searchlight, to the General membership Meeting on December 13th at 1 PM for the Toys for Tots Drive. If you can't attend the meeting you can drop it off at the Union Hall. Until next Month God Bless.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
I bring you fall greetings!!! This happens to be my favorite time of the year with the colors, the crisp air, and the final garden harvest. There is nothing better than eating the things you grow. The kids and grandkids are back in school and for the most part things tend to slow down a bit. In the business we are in, when the new car and truck models come out, changes get made in the worksites to accommodate building these new models. With changes in the plant layout and equipment, there can be safety issues. Please take the extra time to learn and ask questions. We want everyone to go home to their families in the same condition they arrived to work in. The Hall is receiving plenty of phone calls regarding the negotiations and what I can say for sure is that the updates that are being put out there by President Williams and Vice President Cindy Estrada are the same ones we get here as Local Leadership. By all means, ask questions and stay focused and engaged with the process. It was well demonstrated by the Chrysler membership that they were, and it was displayed with their vote. You are the final say. That is what is great about this Union and this country. However, we as Union Members and citizens can only demonstrate this through Solidarity and involvement in the process. WE MUST EDUCATE, DEMONSTRATE and PARTICIPATE. Vote. In closing, I want to thank everyone for buying tickets and supporting our Veterans Commitee's Crossbow Raffle. CONGRATS to the winner - a Retiree from CCA, Brother Leo Laurin. This raffle raised $2,165 that will be used to help a local Veteran's cause not yet determined. Short and sweet this month. Good luck to all the hunters. Be safe and get the big one.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers I want to begin by thanking the organizers, sponsors, participants, and volunteers who gave their time, money, and talents to the recent Folds of Honor Golf Scramble put on in partnership by UAW Locals 659 and 599 along with the management team at the Flint Engine Plant. This event and many others like it demonstrate what the great people of the UAW and GM Local Management working together can do to help those in need and support the communities we work and live in.
This particular event was near and dear to my heart as the proceeds were going to help the children of the Brave men and Women who paid the ULTIMATE SACRAFICE in defense of this Nation and are responsible for keeping us free and safe.
The fact is that less than 1% of the Citizens of this great country ever serve in the Military. We owe them and their families, especially the survivors of those killed in action, the very best love and support we can give. It is for them that I was honored to accept a check on behalf of the Folds of Honor Organization in the amount of $20,157.00 from Local 659 President, Reggie Smith, Local 659, Flint Engine Shop Chairman, Junior Hargis, Local 599 President, Dan Reyes, Local 599 Shop Chairman, Dave Aikin, and Flint Engine Operations Plant Manager, Teri Burdin.
When the planning began for this event the goal was set to raise $20,000.00 and many said it could not be done. Well it was. Thank you to the membership for supporting events like these. Often we are portrayed in unflattering ways by people outside of our organization. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Again, Thank you to everyone involved. As of this writing the membership of the Chrysler (FCA) are going through the process of voting on their new 4 year tentative agreement. I don't have to tell you that there is plenty of chatter in the media and on the social networks surrounding this proposed agreement.
What I find to be the best part of our Union is that we, the membership, get to make the final decision. The member’s vote is the member’s voice. Be strong vote and support whatever decision is made because you made it. Majority rules! Not voting is not a yes vote nor a no vote it is simply a non-vote, uncounted either way. My thoughts and prayers are with the Brothers and Sisters in the rank and file as well as the Leaders they elected to negotiate on their behalf. UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL. I want to remind everyone that our Monthly Unit and Joint Council Meetings have restarted following the summer break, so please attend your meetings and participate. Your questions, ideas, and yes complaints are welcome. In fact this is the reason we have them. SEE YOU THERE.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers
Well Summer is winding down my how time flies when you’re having fun it won’t be long now and we will be shoveling snow oops' did I say that. Along with the end of summer comes back to school for the kids and grandkids. I would like to ask that when you’re shopping for school clothes and supplies that you make every effort to Buy Union Buy American and Buy Michigan whenever and wherever possible. This helps everyone involved as people who work in an industry that fluctuates as far as sales and profits we always appreciate when the public buys the goods that we produce so we should do the same. Also watch for the buses and always stop for the flashers the child getting off the bus could be yours.
As I wrote last month, the National and all of the Local's Units that have expiring contracts have kicked off negotiations. We should all stand behind the people we have put in place to secure a fair and just agreement for ourselves and our families. United We Stand Divided We Fall. Any questions or concerns should be directed to your Committeeperson or in person at the next Unit meeting, those meetings resume in September. An answer from anyone else is just a rumor that perpetuates division and speculation.
Earlier this Month Myself, Financial Secretary Duane Ballard, and Leon Chase the Chair of the Local's Veterans Committee presented a check to the Shiawassee County Department of Veterans Affairs for $1,280.00. This money was raised from the Veterans Committee Gun Raffle they have earmarked the money to go towards the purchase of a second transport van to get Veterans to and from appointments. Please see the article and picture on the Local 659 web and Facebook pages.
These types of things that we do as an organization for the most part go unnoticed by the public and we need to do a better job of patting ourselves on the back. Thank you to the Veterans Committee for their efforts to sell the tickets and to the membership for supporting and purchasing them. There will be future raffles so those that did not win you will get another opportunity.
Black Lake Fall School first session will be August 16th through the 21st and there will be another in September this is a great opportunity for the members attending to learn more about what our Union is all about while sitting in a beautiful Northern Michigan Setting. I have never heard a bad report from any member who has attended. What a visionary leader Walter Reuther was to foresee the need for a Family Education Center such as this the classes the food the recreation are second to none. To those that are going have a great time and bring the knowledge back and share it with your co-workers.
In Closing, as always God Bless the Brave men and women who have served or are serving this great nation.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Happy Summer!!! Most of you are aware that the National Contract negotiations have officially begun along with many of our Local Units. This is the time when we start to hear all kinds of rumors about what we may or may not get. Sometimes these things get so out of control that it creates stress and animosity in our daily work life and in some cases we take it home. When it involves our livelihood and how we provide for our families, that is understandable. The thing I like to keep in mind for myself personally is that as a UAW member I feel very fortunate that we have a proven process in place for obtaining a fair and equitable agreement for the entire membership, including those who paved the way for us... our great retirees. This process starts with the rank and file through the resolutions process. Our leadership hears from us and then they formulate demands and strategies to win those demands at the bargaining table. Obviously, they may not always get everything we ask for; however, I am confident they do their best. We all know many factors, both inside and outside of the industry, play a role in whatever the final outcome is. We all remember 2008 and 2009. I for one was very concerned if I was even going to have a job, let alone what my rate of pay or benefits were going to be. I feel now, just as I did then, that my leadership would do whatever it takes to protect me personally, my union and Brothers and Sisters through that dark time. I feel now they will obtain the best agreement possible when the light is so much brighter. Together, we can achieve many things, so let's demonstrate to management that we are united in Solidarity. It's Our Time! The 2016 silly season has officially begun. By that I mean the run up to the Presidential Election. I won't go into many details here. All I can say is "WOW," the numbers are way out there. The statements from some of these candidates are unbelievable. I wonder if some of them replay a speech and wonder to themselves, "Did I say that?" but then they repeat it again. I have said many times, no candidate is perfect, but we have to try and find the one who best represents the vast majority of people and demonstrates the ability to work with everyone for the greater good of all. Enjoy the rest of the summer, be safe and I hope to see you at the next Union Meeting in September. God bless you and especially our veterans and active service members.
People across the America celebrate Flag Day on June 14 each year to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the flag’s adoption. On the same day, the United States Army celebrates its birthday.
Though not a federal holiday, Flag Day is full of tradition. The holiday was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, and in 1949 Congress declared June 14 a national holiday.
By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation
My Fellow Countrymen:
Many circumstances have recently conspired to turn our thoughts to a critical examination of the conditions of our national life, of the influences which have seemed to threaten to divide us in interest and sympathy, of forces within and forces without that seemed likely to draw us away from the happy traditions of united purpose and action of which we have been so proud, It has therefore seemed to me fitting that I should call your attention to the approach of the anniversary of the day upon which the flag of the United States was adopted by the Congress as the emblem of the Union, and to suggest to you that it should this year and in the years to come be given special significance as a day of renewal and reminder, a day upon which we should direct our minds with a special desire of renewal to thoughts of the ideals and principles of which we have sought to make our great Government the embodiment.
I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as FLAG DAY with special patriotic exercises, at which means shall be taken to give significant expression to our thoughtful love of America, our comprehension of the great mission of liberty and justice to which we have devoted ourselves as a people, our pride in the history and our enthusiasm for the political programme of the nation, our determination to make it greater and purer with each generation, and our resolution to demonstrate to all the world its, vital union in sentiment and purpose, accepting only those as true compatriots who feel as we do the compulsion of this supreme allegiance. Let us on that day rededicate ourselves to the nation, "one and inseparable" from which every thought that is not worthy of our fathers' first vows in independence, liberty, and right shall be excluded and in which we shall standwith united hearts, for an America which no man can corrupt, no influence draw away from its ideals, no force divide against itself,-a nation signally distinguished among all the nations of mankind for its clear, individual conception alike of its duties and its privileges, its obligations and its rights.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and sixteen, and of the independence of the United States of America the one hundred and fortieth.
For more than 200 years, the American flag has been a source of pride and inspiration for millions. It’s been the symbol of our nation’s strength and unity.
The following Memorial Day history and more can be found at www.usmemorialday.org Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo, NY was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear - Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor out dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5, May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. "The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land," he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn't the anniversary of any particular battle. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. The first state to official recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890, it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90-363). This helped ensure a 3-day weekend for Federal Holidays, though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate War dead.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers Well we have finally had some nice days, I enjoy the nice weather but it does hit you in the face that it’s time to tune up the lawnmower, break out the rake, and get to work on the yard. Oh well I love the 4 seasons we get here in the great state of Michigan. Spring break is over for those of us that have kids in school, so it’s back to reality for them and I lose the peace and quiet I have enjoyed while they either slept all day or stayed with friends. From my Family to yours I hope you all have a safe and fun filled summer Although I was an Alternate Delegate to the Special Convention on bargaining that recently took place in Detroit. The Officers and Executive Board recommended to the Joint Council and it was approved to only send the actual Delegates as a cost savings measure. I followed the postings put out by the International and President Smith gave a report out at the April Joint Council meeting. It appears the resolutions submitted by the membership were heard loud and clear. We want a raise, we want the elimination of Tier's, we want the Retiree's taken care of, and we want our healthcare preserved and improved among many other things. Based on the Speech I heard from President Williams and what Reggie stated they will do the level best to achieve a fair and equitable agreement for all sectors of this great Union. We need to be an informed and active membership United behind our Democratically Elected Leaders to let all the Employers we negotiate with know that we have the resolve to bargain in good faith and get what we deserve our fair share. At the April meeting the Joint Council approved the Local Veterans Committee to conduct a Gun Raffle (Benelli Super Black Eagle II 12 Gage Shot Gun) Retail Value is $1,749.99. Proceeds will benefit the Shiawassee County Veterans Department. We will only sell 150 tickets at $20.00 each on a first come first serve basis. The winning ticket will be drawn on May 22nd at the Hall. Good Luck and get your tickets fast they won't last long. As well as having this gun raffle, the Local Recreation Committee is Sponsoring a Tiger Game Bus Trip to the Game on August 23rd. They are playing the Texas Rangers. Tickets are $50.00 each, they include; 1 game ticket and a bus ride to the game from the Union Hall and back. Lol We only have 200 tickets available on a first come first serve basis members may purchase them at the Local Due's Office during normal business hours. LET’S GO TIGER'S!!! Reminder that all Units that have expiring Local Agreements are now accepting Local Contract Demands if there is an issue or demand that you would like to see addressed put it on paper and submit it any demands or ideas not reduced to writing whatever merit they may or may not have go unheard. We only have this right because we are unionized workforce. My thoughts and Prayers go out to all who have suffered the loss of a loved one or Co-Worker and we have had many recently. God Bless. In Closing as always never ever forget the sacrifice of those that are serving or who have served this great nation and their families.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Well I hope by the time you receive this you have unthawed. I love the 4 seasons we get here in Michigan, but this winter thing she has sure been a feisty one this year.
Recently I was invited and attended the diversity Lunch at Flint Engine South, what a great hour or so of good food and fellowship. It is well known we spend as much, or in some cases more time with the people we work with than we do with our own families. We must be mindful that both on our hourly and management side, we all come from different backgrounds, we are not all the same color, not all of the same education level, some are married, some are single, some have kids, some have grandkids, some are religious, and some are not. When we truly try to be genuine and respectful of others and make the effort to get to know them or just plain listen when they speak, it goes a long way toward being able to go to work and make a living to support the family and enjoy the day while working. An old wise man told me “if you come home from work mad it only goes downhill from there”. Meaning if you take it home with you, then the stress or unhappiness is magnified in your home life and that's never good. I said all that to say: be tolerant, be respectful, use cordial language, talk to one another, work out any differences that may arise during the work day, and then leave it at the gate when you ring out. To add a little humor to it, almost everyone likes Cats or Dogs, they don't all look alike, or even act alike, but they are all Cats or Dogs and we love them anyway. The same message applies to us humans, more love and tolerance, no hate. God Bless.
On Wednesday March 4th, Leon Chase- Flint Metal Centers member and Chairman of the Local 659 Veteran's Committee, Denver Marrs- 1st Shift Team Op, Phil Tatus- 1st Shift Team Op, and I attended a meeting of the Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Board and presented them with a check for $400.00. This was the money raised by raffling off the Old Flags that were displayed in the Stamping Grounds inside the Plant. Not attending the check presentation, but helping with the raffle and serving the coffee and donuts was John Heard- 2nd shift Team Op., Robert Bindschatel- 2nd shift Team Op., Teresa Brenneman- 3rd shift Team Op. and Mike Bandy- 3rd shift Team Op. This was done over all 3 shifts on Veteran's Day last November. They also served coffee and donuts purchased by the Plant to our Veterans. The Cemetery will use the money to purchase American Flags for the Cemetery's Avenue of Flags. If you have not been to the Cemetery it is a beautiful display. The address for the Cemetery is 4200 Belford Road, Holly MI 48442. The Brothers and Sisters of GMCCA led by Veterans Committee member Andy MacDowell, raised $1,462.00 via a gate collection on the same day, they donated that money to the VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids MI. Thank You to that facility hourly and management for honoring the men and women that are on active duty now or have served this great nation. The recently elected Local Veterans Committee is meeting regularly now and I am looking for them to do great things over the next couple of years at all of this great locals worksites and I ask that you support their efforts.
I have been trying to take a break from politics. However, this subject will directly affect working people in a negative way as much or more than NAFTA did. There is an effort in Congress and by President Obama to give him the authority to have what's called Fast Track Authority; this removes Congress from doing the job they were elected to do, and for that matter being accountable for it. We know from history this is not good for America and definitely not American workers. Can you say GIANT SUCKING SOUND 2.0. The UAW gets accused of always supporting Democrats, to some degree that is true, they usually are on the right side when it comes to working families. However we do not follow blindly, we hold them accountable to the degree that we can. The way we do that is try to help educate and inform the membership on the issues. Walter Ruether, I am sure we can agree was one of the greatest leaders of his time, in my view all time. He knew we as an institution, the UAW, had to be involved in the political process and that is why you find it as a requirement of holding a leadership position in our great union. As I stated in the previous sentence, education on the issues is the key not dictation. Although we support him on almost everything else, President Obama is wrong for wanting Fast Track, and we strongly oppose Congress giving it to him. It is another attempt by Corporate America and Wall Street to undermine and purchase what they want from our Government. You can call 1/888/926/0045 tell them no on Fast Track. You can also go to www.nofasttrack.com and research it yourself. Let’s have a safe Spring and Summer.
In closing, as always let’s honor the men and women who keep this Country Safe by Voting every time we have the opportunity.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
As of this writing the Pre/Post Retirement Classes have started. We did have to cancel the first week due to the snow storm. On the subject of canceling, the Local did all that we could to try to get the word out; we used our Web and Facebook page, I contacted TV and Radio Stations as well as posting in the Plants. All of this was done on Sunday. That being said I know there were at least 6 members who did not get the message. I apologize for that and I will sit down with the Education Committee and together we will put a more specific plan in place for situations; like bad weather or building issues such as heat loss and the like, so as no one will make a unnecessary trip especially in bad weather. Safety will be our overriding concern. The material that was to be covered and the speakers scheduled for that week will be made up during the course of the classes. These classes have been very highly rated by the members that have taken them. The Education Committee does a fantastic job getting great speakers and providing the material in a professionally organized format. Hope to see you there. I also had a great meeting with the newly Elected Veterans Committee to begin planning projects for this year. I would ask that we all recognize the sacrifice the brave men and women and their families who serve this great country by supporting the efforts of this committee. Also if you know of a Veteran who you would like to see recognized in the Searchlight, please send or drop off his or her Bio with a phone number so I can contact them to set up a photo and speak with them. They will receive a desktop flag set as a small token of our appreciation. Normally this recognition is for our active and retired members only. However we recognize that a growing number of our members and Retirees’ have Children and or Grandchildren serving, if you would like to recognize them please submit the same info and we would be glad to do it. You can e/mail it to email@example.com At this writing the news that the members in the GM Units would be receiving $9,000.00 in profit sharing was announced. To be frank about it after all the questions surrounding the recall costs. I was not optimistic about a positive outcome for the membership. As I understood, the National Agreement, those types of costs did negatively impact on the profits. I had heard Vice President Estrada and President Williams at various meetings state very clearly to us as local leadership that she had let GM Management know that we would not stand for being penalized for decisions made by the Company Pre Bankruptcy that we had no control over or knowledge of. Let there be NO DOUBT ABOUT IT this only happened because we are UNIONIZED workforce with collective bargaining. "PERIOD" Vice President Estrada knew we were solidly behind her. In other words we had her back and she had ours. Brothers and Sisters that only happens when we demonstrate that we are UNITED IN SOLIDARITY!!! Don't think for a minute that management did not hear conversations on the shop floor about this. I heard it, I had many questions about it in the plant and at the Union Hall, that's the type of chatter we need on the floor and quite honestly on social media such as Facebook and twitter. Thank You President Williams, Vice President Estrada and your staff for a job well done. By the time you receive this the White Shirt Day Celebration will have taken place we celebrate this to honor the men who sat down in the plants to force GM to the bargaining table to recognize the UAW and obtain the first ever contract. They did this to fight for respect and dignity in the workplace. They wanted fairness, safety, and a voice. That was the ground work for what we have today. While I never want to forget them and I never would support stopping this great celebration, I would say let’s honor them every day by Standing United and demanding that we again get our fair share. We get the opportunity to have the American Dream as well as our children and stop this downward trend in wages and benefits that allows the rich and the powerful a seat at the table and the rest of us to stand in the bread line. Thank You, Sit Downers and Women's Emergency Brigade. In closing, as always, never forget our Veterans and Active Men and women in Uniform.
Greetings and Happy New Year, I hope everyone enjoyed the Holidays with friends and family. I know I certainly needed the time off and it was great to watch and listen to my granddaughter get so excited as Christmas grew nearer. The odd thing was I have three children of my own and I just don't remember them asking so many questions about Santa or how Santa does what he does. I guess it is true that you need to live in the moment take time to listen and watch. This Local submitted just under 400 resolutions for the upcoming National Negotiations. After reading and sorting through them (with the help of our Local Secretary Donna - THANK YOU DONNA), we voted to forward them to the National Parties at a Special Joint Council Meeting called for that purpose on December 14. The resolutions came in from all of our GM Units and remarkably they were very similar. Following is a brief summary. There are many on the elimination of the second tier, along with a raise for the current first tier. There were many in regards to skilled trades' job security and apprentices. There were many on raises and bonuses for our current and future retirees. There were many on cutting co-pays on health care for both active and retired. There were many on keeping current work done by our trades and bringing work that has been outsourced back. There were some in regards to adding language to protect and stregthen the profit sharing formula against circumstances like the recalls. There were some on the Doc 8 language. These are just a few of the 400. When broken down we ended up with approximately 96 seperate resolutions. We, as a Local, have representation on the various sub-councils who will put a plan in motion to negotiate a fair and equitable outcome on these resolutions. I want to thank the membership for taking part in this very important step in the bargaining process. Often times, members feel that they don't have any input or influence as to what our union bargains for. Yes you do, and the resolution process is how. Thank you also to the various plant Shop Committees and Shop Chairmens for assisting the Local and the membership on these very important resolutions. All the elections are over and the elected have been sworn in, so now is not the time to go to sleep. We must keep a watchful eye and tuned in ear as to what they do or don't do. We must communicate with them in every form available to us. This I know, they or their staff read emails, so pay attention, ask questions, and keep track. We need to hold them accountable. Just a reminder, White Shirt Day is February 11. This year, the annual celebration will be held at UAW Local 651 in Flint. Get there early as parking is limited and we always have a great crowd. John Nelson the Veteran Service Officer (VSO), will again hold office hours here at the Hall on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, from 9 am till 11 am or until the last person is seen. Sign-ups for the Pre/Post Retirement Classes are ongoing and the first clas will be February 2. There i a morning class from 10 am till 12:30 pm and the evening classes are from 5:30 pm till 8 pm, with the last class being March 23. These classes are organized and facilitated by your Local Education Committee of which I have the pleasure of having as one of my assigned committees. These members go above and beyond to make these classes as professional and infomative as possible. If you have any questions, or would like to sign up, call Donna at 810-232-4130 ext 231. She will be glad to assist you. In closing, as always, never forget the men and women who serve or have served this great nation and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. God bless them and their families.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Let me begin with Season's Greetings to all. This is really a great time and not just because we may get a few gifts. When you reflect on what it is about, it zeros you out and takes you back to the base setting, so to speak. This may be a good or bad comparison, but it's like a cell phone when it's acting up and things do not work right the creator (manufacturer) reboots it back to the base settings and they tell you to start over. 2014 brought about good and not so good. As it should be, we celebrated the good reflected on the not so good, hopefully we learned from both and we moved on. In the end, I'm thankful first for my personal family, then my union, and my union family. I know this, I can count on both to encourage me and tell me what for when they believe I have erred. In most cases, they are correct. We have a lot to do in 2015 and it will require the membership to be focused and involved in the process. This Local represents members who perform work in all phases of the auto manufacturing business, except vehicle assembly itself. The membership of this Local plays a key role in the success of the companies our members work for. They can't maintain the facilities, they can't keep the facilities clean, they can't ship the parts or vehicles we build, they can't design and build the die's and other equipment it takes to build a vehicle, and they can't paint process and ship the replacement parts to the dealers and they certainly can't build some of the best engines in the world. I say all of that to say this. Your elected leadership WILL bring the issues to the bargaining table brought forward by you, the members, with a plan to achieve the long-standing goals of this great UAW of a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, a benefit package that allows us to work and not worry about the health and well-being of ourselves and our family members, and a safe and healthy workplace. We will also help those who cannot help themselves, and we will work to support the communities that we work and live in. The membership of this Local is as generous as any group of people or organization out there and I could not be prouder than I am to be able to say I represent you. Thank you President Reggie Smith, Vice President Steve Gruener, Financial Secretary Duane Ballard, and last but not least, office staff Donna Howd and Natasha Fuller for the hard work and dedication you put forth on a daily basis on behalf of the membership of this Local. I am proud to call you co-workers and friends. I wish all of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Please be safe and come back in the new year ready to meet the many challenges we face as a union and working people. Never forget the brave men and women serving now or who have served. Especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us and the great nation we call home. In Solidarity...
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
Well the elections are over and quite frankly in my opinion we are in for some very trying times due to the results. Whatever the reason, only about 40% of the registered voters turned out to vote. This always favors the candidates that don't support working families. I cannot for the life of me as a Veteran figure out how a right given to us by the Constitution of these United States and countless numbers of men and women died for in battle can be taken so lightly. Here is a fact that will or should astound you. During the bitter Civil War in Kosovo a higher percentage of people voted and they were being shot at while doing it. To each your own I guess the Constitution also gives the right not to vote. However, that choice in my opinion diminishes our democracy. When the facts are that over 4 Billion dollars was spent mostly by outside special interest groups on this election and “We the People” were not the one's spending it, we have a problem. In my opinion the Supreme Court sold this Country to the highest bidder by upholding Citizens United, which by the way was not put forward by Citizens. It was wealthy corporate interest and individuals like the Koch Brothers who funded the Lawyers to push the issue and argued it in front of Supreme Court. Look whether you identify yourself as a Republican or Democrat does not come into play here. All I know is that for me personally I have yet to find a reason not to vote. There will be more to come on the election results in the near future. There was a question at the November Joint Council Meeting as to how we know who voted for who. The answer to that is; we do not know individually who anyone voted for, however all of the other statistics are a matter of public record and are easily obtainable by anyone. Furthermore to drive home the point when you walk into a voting booth and you have registered as a Democrat the records reflect that but they do not tell who you voted for. I could have as a proud democrat walked in and voted for Snyder no one would know that but me. For the record that did not happen. The last point I want to make is that 625,000 of the registered Democrats in this state did not vote and the candidate that the leadership had endorsed as a person who would stand up for and fight for working families only lost by roughly 120,000 votes. Thank You to our dedicated hard working Retirees who worked countless hour’s phone banking for our endorsed candidates you are simply the best. Tuesday November 11th is Veterans Day. Please take the time to Thank a Veteran for their Service to this Nation and the Sacrifices they have made on our behalf. God Bless them all. We have many activities going on both for recreation and business please take the time to visit our webpage and Facebook page. If you have not already, please click the like button on the Facebook page as we are constantly updating both of these sites in an effort to inform the membership. One business item of note is that we are currently accepting 2015 National Contract Resolutions. These resolutions are the opportunity for the rank and file to let the leadership know what it is that you are looking for in the new contract. These resolution forms are located in all the plants and worksites, if you have questions, ask your committeeperson where you can get one. These are a very important and they must be submitted by December 5th so they can be processed and voted on by the membership and forwarded to the International Union. In closing, to all the hunters out there good luck and be safe. To all the non-hunters out there good luck and be safe in whatever you do. Also as you know the cold wet snowy days are upon us YEA give yourself extra time to get to and from work and other places you need to be.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers
Well its crunch time. At the time of this writing we are 3 weeks away from the mid-term election normally I try to encompass a number of subjects in these articles. That will not be the case with this one. Simply put there is too much at stake. We as unionized working people have to stand up for ourselves and because we can we have to stand up and advocate for the non-unionized working men and women.
Governor Snyder and his cronies in the State House have to go. " WE CAN" take our State House back from the TEA PARTY RIGHT WING WACKO'S that have taken this state backwards. "WE CAN" GAIN SEATS IN THE STATE SENATE currently the Republicans have a super majority in that body 26 to 12 they are running roughshod over Senate Rules and the normal way committee and public hearings are conducted. THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE FOR OUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS. WE CAN NOT SIT ON OUR HANDS AND NOT VOTE, OR VOTE AGAINST OUR OWN INTERESTS.
The numbers are staggering people who identify with working men and women and the values and issues that are important to us like Education, Healthcare, Public Safety and Infrastructure, Workplace Safety, Workers Compensation when we do get hurt, Taxes, Pensions, Secure Jobs that pay a living Wage, Equal Pay for Equal Work, unemployment compensation, and Women's Rights to decide what's right for their own bodies. Let us start with education he claims to have increased spending on it, No he did not, he cut 1.8 billion from it he did however give tax breaks and incentives to for profit Charter schools, by the way that's your money. These schools have been proven to be ineffective and failing our children and grandchildren. Don't take my word for it Detroit Free Press July 16th 2014, released a study titled (How Michigan is spending 1 Billion Dollars and failing to hold Charter Schools Accountable). So when you see Governor Snyder's TV ads claiming to have increased spending on education he has NOT and he is bankrupting public education in the process.
When it comes to roads and infrastructure that one is simple do you drive? Enough Said. Public Safety watch the news crime is up municipalities all over the state are being forced to lay-off police and firefighters in large part do to state revenue sharing and the overall failing economy. Michigan is still in the bottom 5 in unemployment and future predicted job growth.
I will remind you when they stole from education and consequently gave the same 1.8 billion dollar tax cuts to big business we got fed the same old failed tired line that it would create jobs and hiring you know TRICKLE DOWN well I call BULLSHIT. Where are the jobs? Mr. Governor. We all know that a lot of our worksites are dangerous. Why is this important? Because there is a nonpartisan portion of the ballot. The current Michigan Supreme Court consistently favors business and corporations they have fell in lockstep with the republicans when it comes to redistricting, and when the state shut the capitol down during the lame duck session while they were ramming through the right to work for less law they sided with the republican leadership who ordered the doors shut. Just remember Bernstein, Murphy, and Thomas these are the UAW Endorsed Candidates for a fair State Supreme Court.
These same republicans gutted workers compensation cutting the amount a person can be awarded and making it much tougher for a case to be won. They also tried to close some of the courts where these cases are heard putting an unfair burden on the injured worker. Taxes we have heard for years from these republicans we are the party of lower taxes less government and staying out of our bedrooms and daily lives. Again I call BULLSHIT.
We now have taxes on our pensions we now have higher property taxes, lower per child tax credits, higher income taxes the list goes on and on. They have said to women you are not worth what a man makes. They have told women they have to purchase rape insurance. Look the bottom line really boils down to who looks out for the 99% we all have differing views on issues, however, the one thing we all have in common is we want high quality schools for our children we all want safe neighborhoods for our children to play in we all want to be able to access low cost high quality healthcare we all want to retire in dignity, we all want our parents and grandparents to live full healthy lives without having to skip medications in order to eat, we all want to love who we choose to love, we all want to be able to make a living wage, we all want time off to spend with family and friends, and when things are bad, through no fault of our own, to have the safety nets in place to assist us until we can get back on our feet. These are not government handouts they are moral, civil, and human rights. The reason we have endorsed the candidates we have is very clear, they want an economy in our State and in the Country as a whole to work for all Americans not just the wealthy and well connected.
I will close with this just please vote thousands upon thousands of Americans have fought and died to give us that right and protect our democracy. God Bless
Fall weather is already upon us. Wow, where did the summer go? Along with that, we start the Unit and Joint Council meetings back up. These are always important meetings. This is where the business of the Local Union is done and information is passed along. These meetings are the opportunity for the entire membership to ask questions, give their input, and discuss the issues. Please attend your meetings, as they are a very important tool to your leadership in our efforts to provide the best possible representation we can. I recently attended the UAW/GM Benefit Conference. Although I am an Officer and not a Benefit Representative, I believe it is my responsibility to at least be familiar with our benefit plans and how they impact the membership and the retirees. There is no way to learn enough just by attempting to answer questions about these complicated plans. My reason for writing about this is simply to shed light on the fact that because of the UAW we actually have hourly benefit reps who get the proper training to help you the members and retirees make some of the most important decisions a person has to make in life. The Union Hall has these dedicated benefit reps at the Hall 5 days a week. You can look in the Searchlight for hours they are here. Anywhere outside of a union shop, an employee would be at the mercy of a management person who may or may not have your best interests at heart. As all of you know by now, it is election season and the results of this election will have a major impact on working families. This current Governor and his cronies in the State House and Senate have sent this state into a backwards spiral, all to the benefit of big business and his friends. Your union does not tell you how to vote. We simply try to put the record in front of you to help you make an informed decision. The ads you see on TV, are in most cases, are paid for by special interest groups who do not have the issues of working people at the top of their list. Either way, just PLEASE VOTE!!! In closing, I want to congratulate Brother Doug Tiderington on receiving the Walter Reuther Award for his service to this union and the membership. Doug served many years as Committeeman and Shot Committeeman at the Flint Metal Center prior to being appointed to the International Staff, where he was assigned to the Sourcing Department and was the Coordinator of the Union's Veterans Department, where he spoke loudly on behalf of Veterans and their issues all over the country. Thank you Doug and enjoy your retirement. You earned it. In Solidarity...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Summer is flying by so fast; it seems like the ice just melted. My hope is you are all enjoying it with family and friends. I recently had the pleasure of golfing in the Chipping for Children Golf Scramble. What a day! The golfers, volunteers, and I'm pretty sure the staff at the course had a wonderful time. By the end of the day, over $20,000 was raised for the kids. Thank you to everyone who helped with this wonderful event. The Primary Elections are complete, and the UAW-endorsed candidates came out of the primaries in good shape. All but one of the candidates we endorsed won. Remember these candidates are the ones who asked for and were interviewed by the CAP Screening Committee, and have pledged to look out for and vote the right way on issues that help working families and promote a level playing field. Remember, we are not telling anyone who to vote for, however, the UAW Constitution states that as union members and elected leaders we shall be involved in the political process. President Walter Reuther always reminded us that what we gain at the bargaining table can be stripped away in the halls of government. We have seen it firsthand now in Michigan with Governor Snyder and Republican-led State House and Senate ramming through the Right to Work for Less Law, as well as many other laws and policies taking rights and other money from working families. Take a look at what they have done to education cutting millions of dollars. They put a tax on senior pensions for the first time ever, reduced the homestead property tax exemption, lowered the per child tax credit, raised fishing, hunting and many other fees typically used by middle-class families, while giving big business huge tax breaks they claim will create jobs. I will end this topic with this. You have already and will be even more bombarded with political ads. I recommend you take them for what they are (paid infomercials), often times with special interest dollars for which they don't tell you the source. Very soon, our kids and grandkids will be returning to school, so please look out for and always come to a complete stop when the red flashers are on. Reminder, the membership unit meetings as well as the Joint Council meeting will resume on September 14th. I look forward to seeing you there. As always, never forget the men and women who defend us every day, and the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers, Happy belated 4th of July to everyone. I hope everyone had a safe and happy celebration of the birth of this great nation. My wife and kids and I enjoyed the fireworks on the boat at the lake. Along with reflecting on this country's short history and everything that the people of this young nation have accomplished, like winning two world wars, I find myself thinking what it must have been like to have lived through all of it - the sacrifice, the togetherness, the determination, and most of all the will to succeed in the formation and defense of a free nation. We need to get back to that. The Primary Elections for local, state, and federal offices are on August 5th this year. I suggest you vote absentee. It's easy, you can take it home, sit down at the kitchen table and go over it carefully. The bonus also is that you free up Election Day to help get the vote out. Please see the list of UAW-endorsed candidates in this issue of the Searchlight. Take it to the polls if you don't vote absentee and share it with your kids, grandkids, friends and family. Let them know we are not trying to tell them how to vote, but the UAW interviews any and all candidates who seek our endorsement. This list of candidates has pledged to support the issues working families confront on a daily basis and will do everything they can to create a level playing field. I do have one request, please take the political ads with a grain of salt, as they do not paint the entire picture. Do the homework necessary to vote for the candidate who will support not only you but people like you. The UAW screening committee already has and that is the reason we have endorsed these candidates. It has been a rough couple of weeks, with members or members of their families passing away. I knew all of these people well and considered them good friends. As an Officer for this great Local, I get to see a lot of good, but it's times like these when there is sadness in our ranks that I see the true sense of the UAW family coming together to support one another in their time of need. In that, I get the most satisfaction. God Bless them and their survivors. In closing, as always, never forget the brave men and women who defend us everyday and those who went before them. In Solidarity...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Let me start off with a big CONGRATULATIONS to Debbie Carswell on her retirement. This past Joint Council meeting was her last. Debbie has served this membership with class, integrity, and dedication for many years. She has presided over the finances of this great Local during trying times, when many Locals have closed or were unable to fully participate in the necessary conferences and or training of their leadership teams due to declining revenue. Debbie kept our Local's accounts out in front of her fellow Officers and Executive Board and helped us prioritize and use the funds of the Local Union wisely. Without a doubt we would not have nearly doubled our bottom line while still making improvements to the building and training our membership and leadership over these past three years and for her 12 years without her efforts. On a personal note, I am proud to be able to call her my friend and mentor. She will be missed, but if I know Debbie if we call on her for anything she will be there for this Local and its membership. Debbie, I wish you and Mugs the best and enjoy your retirement. You have earned it. I would also like to congratulate and thank outgoing Retiree Chair John McCann. He has also led his Chapter through trying times while going through the loss of 2 sons. John never let anything slow him down or stop him from advocating on behalf of retirees. He spoke loudly to leadership and communicated valuable information to his Chapter in a professional and timely manner, allowing them to make the best decisions for themselves. Thank you, John and Annie, for sharing him with us. June 2nd through the 5th, I was proud to be able to represent this Local as an Alternate Delegate to the 36th Constitutional Convention. While not a voting delegate, I was able to sit through the many hours of debate on the resolutions brought to the convention by the membership from around the country, and there were many. Whatever opinions or views I had going in to these debates, I found were shared by members from around various sectors of this great union. Members want the leadership to let their voices be heard and I found that to be the case. Whatever your position was on the most controversial issues like the dues increase, I can assure you it was not rammed through. I have never been so proud of any International President as I was of Bob King on the day this debate took place. I probably did not start my stopwatch at the very beginning so I may be a little off here, however, I recorded 2 hours, 53 minutes and 19 seconds of back and forth debate with an equal number of delegates speaking in support and speaking in opposition. At one point, a delegate stood up and said I could not hear the previous delegate speak as there was some, what I will call, unnecessary noise on the floor. This delegate was brought back to the microphone and allowed to restate his opposition to the increase. Look, the bottom line is I found this to be one of the most satisfying professional experiences of my life. I, like a lot of members, do not always agree with how our International does things or some positions they have taken, or for that matter how they have spent the memberships money. But I came away from the Convention knowing I do have a voice and I have always had a voice, we all do. Why? Because we pay dues. I also learned a greater meaning to the word SOLIDARITY. This great union is a democracy. We debate, we vote and then we must be UNITED; even if that vote did not go in the direction we wanted. I would also break it down this way. Having been in the Army and gone through Basic Training (albeit at a much higher level of importance and sacrifice), I would say this. If I am in a platoon or squad and my superiors devise a battle plan based on the resources available to him or her (in this case individual soldiers) and let's say 1, 2 or more of them don't like the plan and decide to deviate from it. The likelihood for the mission to succeed is compromised at the least and could result in the death of some or all the soldiers involved. Like I said before, I am not suggesting that paying dues in order for our mission to provide fair wages and benefits along with striving for social justice for all, to that of soldiers in battle the same formula applies. We stay the course. The delegates did approve a resolution to reaffirm the increase at the next convention; meaning the delegates to the next convention, if they choose, will have the opportunity to reverse or keep the increase. For the sake of space and the length of this article, look for a complete report out on all the issues and resolutions discussed and voted on at the Convention in future publications of the Searchlight. In closing, I would like to tank you, the membership, again for the confidence you showed in me by supporting me to serve another term as your Recording Secretary. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly and will strive to improve over my first term. Never forget the brave men and women who have and still defend our freedoms every day. God Bless.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Well aside from a few district elections these triennial elections are complete. It's time to support those that were elected even if it was not your person that won. We cannot be divided, there is to much at stake in the upcoming months. Congratulations to the winners and to those that did not, please stay involved and be active in your union - it makes a difference. As many of you know this year is the Constitutional Convention for our Union. This is a time of great change and in some cases, concern. All of organized labor is under attack from outside groups who are funded by billionaire's who already have it all and would like nothing more than to silence the working person even more. For the life of me, I can't figure out how these people think that it's a good thing or it helps the overall economy to keep wages low and work people more hours taking time away from their families. They could be helping their children with school or supporting them with good activities like sports, community service, or just plain fun time. It is proven time and time again, working people spend their money daily, weekly, monthly, thus supporting the local economy they live and work in. Millionaire's and billionaire's do not. So when we as working people make a living wage we are the drivers of the economy - not some multi-national corporation. Look I am not trying to attack business, I just want to point out that people with money in their pockets consume goods and services at a much higher rate than these companies do. For years it seems politicians have talked about helping small businesses but I just don't see it. Hell, now they are even passing laws to stop people from having small farms and raising their own chickens, this is not to help the small businesses this is to protect their big business corporate donors. In this State Snyder and the Republican led Senate House and Senate shifted taxes from Businesses and onto the backs of working people, their stated goal was that would increase investment and attract new businesses to come to the State and spur hiring. WELL NO, IT DID NOT. What it did do was increase profits for large companies and pay higher bonuses to the CEO's. While at the same time they pass laws that take away rights of workers, cutting funding for Schools, infrastructure and playing games with the Affordable Care Act and Medicare expansion which cost the Michigan Tax Payer $150 Million dollars in lost federal revenue. Now the latest BULLCRAP coming out of Lansing is a plan to tax us by the number of miles we drive to raise funds for road repairs. Tell me how that is fair due to many reasons beyond the control of a lot of everyday working people. We have to drive further to get to work so we would get screwed again. My question is, are they going to make up the difference in the sale price of a person's house that they can't sell due to the loss of value so they can move closer to work? That really does a lot for stability in the lives of their families and the communities they have lived in for years in most cases. Look, I will wrap this up with something I have said many times. If you want to do business in the largest economy on earth then be a good corporate citizen and pay your fair share in taxes, pay a living wage and respect the people who work for you. As a reminder, President Smith wrote last month that the Officers and Executive Board will host a Member Appreciation Picnic following the Joint Council meeting on June 8th, this will happen after the newly elected are sworn in. We hope to see a large crowd of members and their families. This will be a great opportunity to meet and get to know each other, I for one am very excited and looking forward to it. I was very happy and blessed to be able to attend the Check presentation to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. You, the members, contributed greatly to the almost $25,000 donation. We as Union Members answer the call each and every time when it comes to helping the less fortunate. Thank you so much, I am so proud to represent you and it is you the members that make this happen. In closing, as always never forget the men and women who have and are defending us everyday they are the greatest of Americans...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, What do you know, spring is finally here (MAYBE). I would like to begin by congratulating all those on their elections within the various Units on General Election Day, whether you were successful or not. These Unit positions are vital to servicing the membership effectively. Brother Pete Peterson of the ACC Unit was re-elected as Chairman. I look forward to working with him over the next three years to continue the fight for justice for the ACC truck fleet. Brother Dave Perina from the GMCCA Unit for his re-election as Chairman Dave has and will continue to work hard to bring new work and maintain a safe and healthy work environment at his location. Brother Tom Parker recently won his runoff election at Plant 38. Although I do not know Tom well, his membership has spoken and they have chosen him to lead his Unit over the course of the next three years. I look forward to getting to know Tom and pledge my support for him and the membership of Plant 38. Brother Junior Hargis won re-election at Flint Engine Operations. I know Junior well and I have no doubt that he will continue to do a great job representing the members. Brother Bob Weissend from LSI won re-election he will serve 3 more years as Chairman of his Unit and I know those members are also in good hands. Brother Tom Sanders ran unopposed from the DES Unit and will continue as Chairman, fighting hard for the membership at DES. Last but certainly not least Sister Laurie Velasquez also ran unopposed she will remain Chairwoman at the Android Unit. Laurie is a tremendous labor leader and works very hard for the membership. They are also in great hands. We have many District Elections for Committeeperson, Alternate Committeeperson, District Chairperson, District Secretary, and each District has 5 Joint Council Delegates. These elections will take place over the next few weeks. All of these positions are extremely service the membership. Good Luck to all. On a very personal note, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the outgoing Chairman of the Retiree Chapter, Brother John McCann. John and my father go back many years as representatives inside the now-called GMCCA Unit. John has been very helpful and supportive of me during my first three years here as Recording Secretary. He is a great labor leader and he did a fantastic job leading the Retiree Chapter through numerous difficulties like changes to their health care, taxes on pensions, and prescription drug cost increases. John was tireless in his pursuit of justice for all Retirees. He and his lovely wife, Annie, will now re-retire and they deserve it. THANKS, JOHN!!!! Many of you know a Veteran or Veterans. Please help me get the word out that even though we need to make Governor Snyder a one-term nerd, he and the legislature have passed and signed into law that any 100% Disabled Veteran recognized by the Veterans Administration no longer has to pay property taxes in the State of Michigan. Please have them contact me or go to their city, county, village or township offices to get direction as to how to apply. I have copies of the law available at the Union Hall also. Please never forget the men and women who are and have served this great nation. As always we have a full calendar of events both for recreation and business upcoming through the summer months; most importantly defeating Governor Snyder and retaking the State House, along with all the national offices. Look through this publication for the list of UAW endorsed candidates.
First let me start with a heartfelt thank you for having the privilege of serving this great local for the past three years as Recording Secretary. March 12th was the last day for sign-ups for the General Election and again I am humbled and very appreciative for the memberships support to serve the next three years in the same position as I am unopposed. Not only am I unopposed, but the entire Local Executive Board is. President Reggie Smith, Vice President Steve Gruener, and Duane Ballard will replace Debbie Carswell as Financial Secretary. She has announced her retirement. Jim Flannery will remain as Local Guide, Mark Matthews as Local Sgt. at Arms, Kim Jones, Larry Cochrane, and Anthony Odom will be the Trustee's. Anthony replaces Jim Holloway as Trustee; Jim took a position in his plant. Congrats to all of them. A special thanks goes out to Jim for his service as Trustee, and on the Local Education and By-Laws Committee's he has been a tremendous help to me as the officer over those Committee's. We have many challenges facing us as Union Members and members of the shrinking middle class. I believe we have the Leadership Team in place at the Local to face those challenges head on and win. Over the next few weeks each unit will elect Shop Chairpersons Unit Boards, Committeepersons, Alternate Committeepersons, Joint Council Delegates, District Secretaries, and District Chairpersons. Good Luck to all and Thank You for getting or staying involved. The elections do not end there, we will conduct the Constitutional Convention Election of delegates on April 23rd see the front page of this edition for details and sign up dates. The three days that sign ups were conducted are a very busy time for our Secretaries I want to thank Donna, Sharon and Natasha for all their hard work and professionalism in making sure things were done correctly. In addition I thank the membership for their patience at times the lines were long as it does time to fill out the sign up sheets. The Veteran Service Officer has now held hours here twice as advertised the second Tuesday of the Month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. he was very busy this last time and is open to expanding the hours. He is available for all Veterans. The next date he is scheduled to be here is April 8th. After all of our elections are over we need to focus on State, Federal and Local Elections. WE MUST DEFEAT GOVERNOR SNYDER. Along with the Governor's office we need to put the State House back in the hands of the people who supported us and our issues. This group of current legislators controlling the agenda in Lansing has done nothing to support working families. Retiree's now have taxes on their pensions. The earned income tax credit slashed. The unemployment benefits slashed. Workers Compensation slashed. Women's Rights trampled on. Funding for public schools slashed. Funding for State, Local and County Fire and Police slashed. This list goes on and on. Take a look at the roads, now I know roads are always an issue here in the great state of Michigan, however, this Governor and his Republican controlled State House and Senate made choices, those choices I just mentioned and give the money to big business and I stress, big businesses did not get a thing have taken money from the budget that when coupled with Federal dollars would allow for these roads to be maintained. They made here in this State and at the Federal level a hard and fast decision not to invest in America and its infrastructure that would not only fix these real problems it would put millions of Americans back to work. I will sum this paragraph up with this PASS President Obama's JOBS Bill. In closing, as always never ever forget the great Americans who have served and are currently serving this great country.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Burr, I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful winter wonderland. Let me begin by saying it has been very busy here at the hall. We have plenty of events planned for both business and pleasure. Please read the next few Searchlight papers carefully for event dates and times as well as dates and times for the General and District Elections. As you may have seen posted in the work sites already, we now will have a Veterans Service Officer who can assist any Veteran with the filing of claims and/or obtaining copies of Military records, basically anything for or about Veteran issues. He will be available here at the Hall on the second Tuesday of every month from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Please note this is a correction from previous postings that said he would be here for the entire day. If you cannot get here during the time stated, please call me and I can assist with making other arrangements at 810-232-4136, ext 212 or 810-625-8535. This assistance is not solely for members. Please if you have a family member that needs help, bring them in. All veterans deserve to have a convenient way to obtain information and help receiving the benefits they have earned. As the officer over the Education Committee, I am extremely proud of the job the committee does putting the Pre/Post Retirement Classes on. This year, we have over 100 members attending the classes and so far the feedback has been very positive. Also, the Dale Carnegie class has 30 members attending and that program will continue. Sign-ups for future classes will be announced soon. These classes are TAP approved. Tuesday, February 11th was White Shirt Day this year. Unfortunately we only had three honorees in attendance, the oldest being 96 years old. These three and all of the others involved in that historic strike broke down the door for working people and began the building of the middle class. They sat down for fair pay, clean and safe working conditions and most of all DIGNITY and RESPECT. We, as current unionized workers, owe these great men and women the same Solidarity they showed during those 44 days without heat, water, or food in how we carry on that fight. We can't allow their struggle and hard-fought gains to be stripped away by outside interests and the politics of divide and conquer. We have to be UNITED we have to be prepared to do as much if not more than they did. This has to be a year when we tell those in state and federal government we have had enough we are the people not any business or corporation. The most powerful weapon. We, as union and non-union working people, have is our VOTE!!! Our vote is a vote for fairness, equality and a chance at the American Dream. We want to have safe and properly funded schools for our children and grandchildren to attend. We want fairness in the tax code. We want equal pay for women. We want safe and properly funded communities. We want to be able to raise a family with a wage that after working 40 to 60 hours we make enough not to have to ask for help from the government or a family member. We want clean air and water. We can have these things through Solidarity. The way to get the same access and results for our issues is to vote on these issues. We don't have millions of dollars and in some cases like the Koch brothers and the Devos family billions of dollars to spend on elections. I ask this question. Do you think these outside groups and corporations are giving these dollars to our politicians because they want to give us a bigger piece of the pie? NO! As a matter of fact, they are doing everything legally and in some cases illegally to take all of the gains our predecessors fought for away. To sum this up your vote is your voice. Don't let it be silenced by the money and greed of the top 2% of the people who live in a world we can only imagine. In closing, I recently attended the UAW V-CAP Conference in Washington, DC. I will report out fully in upcoming issues but I need to bring to your attention one issue of great importance, and that is a trade deal being negotiated called the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership). This agreement could gut the gains made since the auto loans that kept the American auto industry afloat while we retooled and regained our footing. The automobile manufacturing sector including Suppliers is thriving. This deal is NAFTA 2.0. Please take the time to inform yourself on this important issue. I will post some key points on the Local's Facebook and Web Page. In Solidarity.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Happy 2014! My wife Laurie and I are hopeful that the holiday season was a joyful and happy time for you and your families. The Duplanty household, other than not having power, came through it unscathed. I want to extend a big thank you to the membership for supporting the leadership with everything we were able to accomplish this past year, from supporting candidates who support working families, to helping charities that are near and dear to all of us, especially the Old Newsboys. Watch the plant communications and local leadership's articles for dollar amounts. I do not have the totals, however, I've heard some of them and it is a significant amount of money. I do know that I personally delivered over 300 toys donated by this membership to the Toys for Tots program. When you couple that with all the children sponsored with the money raised through golf outings, bowling tournaments, paper sales, hot dog sales, and Christmas Tree button sales, it proves how generous union members are and what an important group of people we are to the communities we live and work in. This year will be another busy one. We have Local and work site elections, constitutional convention elections, and just as important we have state, local and federal mid-term elections that can undermine anything we do at the bargaining table. This could not have proven to be any truer than when Governor Snyder and his Republican-controlled legislature raised your taxes on property, income, and for the first time created a tax on pensions. He gave it to his big-business friends with the same old tired Reagonomics promise that it would trickle down to the little guy and create jobs. Well take the auto sector out of the equation and Michigan is 49th in new jobs. He has attacked workers' rights and women's rights. He has gutted state workers' pay, and benefits, taken money from cities, towns and schools. Meanwhile, he has appointed friends to positions that we do not need to be paying them thousands of dollars in salary. Never forget when these cities and towns go broke he gets to appoint an emergency dictator who has complete unchecked power to do whatever they want. As is always the case, you're union will do the homework necessary to help inform the membership. But your vote is your vote! Just remember there are consequences for who gets elected and how it affects our day-to-day lives, just as important our rights as individuals, and as organized labor. As the officer over Education Committee, I am reminding you to take advantage of the upcoming Pre/Post Retirement Classes. They begin on February 3rd here at the Hall. They will run every Monday through March with morning and afternoon class times. Spouses are encouraged to attend. Just call Donna at 232-4136, ext 231 to sign up. These classes cover a variety of issues you need to know before making that life-changing decision. The past attendees have given high ratings to both the speakers and the Education Committee. Even if you are already retired or not planning to retire now, you can take them. In closing, as always don't forget the brave men and women who serve now or have served this great country in uniform.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Well it's here -- Christmas. In many eyes, it's the most wonderful time of the year. In other's, it's the most stressful time of the year. I have learned you do what you can and be thankful that you could. The most important thing is to spend time with family and be safe and healthy. I'm so looking forward to this year with my granddaughter being of the age she can open a gift and I get to watch her face light up. Always remember those who are in need of help in order for them to also enjoy this festive time of year. By the time you receive this issue, the General Membership meeting will have taken place, so I will thank you in advance for the American-Made toys that you donated at this meeting for the Toys for Tots program. I would also like to thank those who have and encourage those who have not to visit a Veteran or a VA Hospital and say thank you. You can take them a gift, but for the most part they will love the visit and the thank you. (See the webpage or Facebook Page for a list of accepted items.) As you know the membership has always supported the Old Newsboys "Let No Child Be Forgotten," and from all reports the fundraising is going well again this year. Thanks go out to everyone involved and to the membership for supporting this worthy cause. I know I have not mentioned everything this membership does to help the less fortunate in our communities, let's just say the list is long. We, as Union Members, get a bad rap in the press from time to time. Part of the reason for this is that we don't toot our own horn enough. I know when you do good you are not supposed to get recognition; however, we get blamed for things not of our doing also, and in today's society it seems negativity gets more press. Due to this being the December paper with a lot going on, I am going to cut this a little short. From my wife, Laurie and I, to all of you in my Union Family, Merry Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year!!! In Solidarity...
Let me start with HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! I hope everyone gets to spend time with their families and enjoy the beginning of the holiday season. I know this time of year is a great time for the Duplanty family. We all have a nice meal and then throw it up watching the Lions play, just kidding. Always remember the less fortunate in our community. We, as union people, have a long history of giving a helping hand or donating money so that they can also enjoy this festive time of year. I know that tradition will continue this year. Thank You!!!! November 11th was Veteran's Day. I know you are receiving this after the fact, however, I just felt that it was important to reflect on what that day means. It means that someone whom you may or may not know either has or was willing to pay the ultimate price for our freedom. Think about that. There are thousands of wives, husbands, daughters, sons, and grandfathers who because of that price never got to meet or grow old together with the soldiers that never came home or came home in a coffin. Then there are the men and women who came home and had to live with the wounds of war. If you ask me, these are the greatest of Americans. Never again should we ever take them for granted or fail to do for them when they come home. It's what they have earned. Those of you who are deer hunters please be safe and good luck. I hope you get the 30 pointer. I myself will head out, rain or shine, even snow. Next year will be here before you know it. Please keep an eye on the Searchlight, Facebook, and the webpage, as we have plenty of family events scheduled. I promised a short article this month, so I will close with this. At our General Membership meeting on December 15th, we will be collecting toys for the Toys for Tots program. Please attend the meeting and bring a American-made toy. If you are unable to attend, you can drop a toy off at the Union Hall 9 am - 3 pm Monday through Friday.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Let me start by saying Thank You to the Education, Veterans, and By-Laws committees for their continued efforts to provide high-quality, dedicated service to this membership. These individuals go above and beyond, including doing things on their own time and with their own materials. With everything going on and resources stretched and pulled in many directions, these committees function at low cost and with high knowledge and professionalism. So everyone understands and I don't get hate mail, these committees happen to be the committees President Smith assigned to me and I get to work with them on a daily basis. As far as I am concerned all of our committees do a great job. Recently, my wife, Laurie and I attended the United Way Charity Dinner along with many other union members from around the county. Not only was it a great time, bt it raised thousands of dollars to help the United Way help those less fortunate in our community. It never ceases to amaze me how generous our members are when it comes to helping others. I know we will be collecting donations to provide Thanksgiving Dinners to seniors and the less fortunate between now and the Holiday, so I am again asking that we all open our hearts and our wallets so everyone in our communities can enjoy this wonderful time of the year. Stop by the Hall to donate or find our who the Community Service representative at your location is and give it to him or her. One last note on giving. The Local still has in stock all sizes of the red Veterans Shirts at $20 each. All proceeds go to the Wounded Warriors Project. They would make a great Christmas gift for a co-worker or family member. See the Veterans Representative from your unit or myself to purchase one. Along with the happenings I have already mentioned, keep an eye on the local's Searchlight paper, bulletin boards, website, and facebook for many other activities coming soon. What a fiasco we just had in Washington DC. Wherever you are in the political spectrum, I hope it is with those who support labor. It was embarrassing at the low end of the scale and downright disgusting at the other end. It did not need to happen, it accomplished nothing, and we get to do it all again the first of the year. The small minority of Tea Party Republicans cost the country $24 billion dollars in economic activity and got nothing for it. As a matter of fact, they planned this months ago. They had no intention of making a deal. They thought President Obama would buckle on the ACA healthcare act. He told them then and now he would not. Yes, from what I have been told and learned through our International leadership, the law does need some minor changes and the President is willing to make them. However, the way to do that is negotiate in good faith, not to hold the country hostage, create uncertainty, and shut the government down. One last thing on politics. Earlier this year, the UAW CAP Council endorsed Phil Phelps to replace Jim Annanich in the 49th State House seat. He was successful in the Primary and will be on the ballot in November. If you live in that State House District, don't forget to vote to finish the job and put another voice for working men and women in state government. As always, I will close with, never forget the men and women in uniform and the veterans who went before them.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I will start with a thank you to those of you who attended your Unit and Joint Council meetings. The input of the membership is always welcomed and needed. To those of you who did not attend, I hope to see you at the next one. These meetings are for you to have input, ask questions, and gain knowledge as to what your union is trying to accomplish for the good of all of us. I hope you all had a wonderful and safe summer. Remember now that the kids are back to school, we have to watch out, and always come to a complete stop when the bus red lights are flashing. Wait for the driver to wave you on before restarting. Recently, the Local's Veterans Committee and I attended the UAW Veterans conference at Black Lake. The speakers put before us were not only extremely informative, they were also very entertaining. Some of the stories we heard sent a chill up my spine. I recently posted most if not all of the information we gathered on our Local's web page and on Facebook, so I won't get into the details here in this article. I would, however, like you to know that there are many federal and state programs to assist our great Veterans with anything from job training, health care, legal assistance, college, tax credits for businesses to hire Veterans, even help and financial aid for Veterans, even help and financial aid for Veterans who want to start their own business. So please don't hesitate to call me 810-232-4130, ext. 212. If I don't answer leave a message and I will return your call as I am not at the hall full time. If I can't answer the question, I will most likely know who to contact. Most of all thank you for your service to our country. Also the red T-Shirts are still for sale. All proceeds will be given to the Wounded Warriors project. The Local Education Committee is planning for next year's Pre/Post Retirement Classes. Watch for flyers and ads in the Searchlight, and on the Website for details. These classes have been rated very highly by the past members who have taken them. I also want to remind everyone to please email, text, write a letter, or call your state representative. Tell them to stop the attack on working families and the poor. I saw a recent report that the top 1% again control as much wealth as they did in 1928. Anyone who has been to a high school government or economics class knows what happened the last time this was the case. This is just my opinion, but I believe greed is killing the American Dream. Why is it that if you're not making a killing you're not making money? There is a roll for large and small business to play in the economy just like there is a roll for working people. We typically spend much of our income weekly, thus we pay the bulk of the taxes. Whether it be income taxes, property taxes, or sales taxes, we pay them, and at a higher rate than companies do. This was really highlighted when Mitt Romney refused to put his tax returns up for public scrutiny like every other Presidential candidate has, going back years. Hell, even his wealthy father put his out there. The biggest thing that came to light was the rich and the super rich do not call their income wages. They say they are dividends and/or bonuses, so they are subject to a smaller percentage of tax. I have no beef with rich people buying my government as a means to make themselves even richer. At last count, I believe seven members of the Walton Family (owners of Wal-Mart) were multi-billionaires. Yet 33% of their employees depend on government assistance of some sort in order to raise a family. I guarantee you those seven family members can't run the hundreds of stores they operate in multiple countries. I will end with this. Share the pie with everyone and we will again be the greatest economy and country of opportunity that exists on planet Earth.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, As of this writing, things are going well here at the hall, not a lot going on. It seems everyone is out enjoying the great Michigan weather. I would however, like to remind you that the Joint Council and Unit meetings will start back up September 8th, so please set that date aside so we can have your input at these very important meetings. I would not normally share something like this in this forum, however, I think with the economy still moving forward at a slow pace and the Real Estate Market even slower in some areas, it might be good to know that there are good hard working people willing to put in the time and effort to help. A little over a year ago my wife and I decided to look for a new home. We had lived in our home for 20 years and remodeled and upgraded just about every room in the place. Well, we found a home that we both loved and we purchased it. Now the bad part, we had a market analysis done on our old home, let's just say we were shocked. After hearing the news we still had to move forward and try to sell the house. We went ahead and listed the house with the same agent we went through to purchase the new home. I already resigned myself that it was going to cost us some money to sell it and I told the agent we would participate in a short sale, so to speak, we would pay up to a certain amount to make the sale. A few months into the listing it was becoming clear to us that this agent had no interest in doing the work necessary to make a sale. I asked around and it was actually a good friend of mine and a former member of the local who gave me the name Ann Wright, whom he said specialized in this type of sale. He was not wrong, this lady worked tirelessly to sell the house and we had a buyer within days. Ultimately we lost several buyers do to one reason or another but she kept at it and the house sold. The reason I tell my story is not to promote Ann, it's because as you all know in the auto industry sometimes people have to move to another community to maintain employment with the company. As an officer here at the local, not a day goes by that members and retirees don't come in asking for guidance or recommendations on any number of issues whether it be this or legal help. Heck I've even been asked for a recommendation for a funeral home. To that end, I feel that it's a good thing to let the membership know when we come across ethical, honest hard working people in the business world and I would recommend Ann to anyone. Shifting gears a little, the Labor Day Celebration will take place at the Sit-Downers Memorial Park, Region 1-C, Atherton Road, Flint, beginning at 9:30 am then breakfast here at the local following. See the flyer and the Searchlight for cost and details. Also please see the Local's Website and Facebook page for the list of items needed for the Battle Creek Veterans Hospital. Those items can be dropped off at the Hall and we will get them to the Hospital. The Education Committee will be conducting a Finance Seminar for members, retirees and family members to help with planning for tuition and other costs associated with getting a college education, on September 25th here at the Hall. Please contact Donna at 232-4130 ext. 231 to reserve your seat. I want to thank the members who voted in the recent election for the 49th State House seat. Phil Phelps, our UAW endorsed candidate, did win the primary and will face a Republican challenger in the November general election, so Phil will need your support and vote again in the fall. As always we need to support those that have pledged to support working families in State and Federal Government. In closing, never forget the Veterans and men and women in uniform who serve and protect us everyday. God bless them all.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Remember not too long ago we were complaining about how long winter stuck around? Well, it's gone and I hop you like it hot. Just a reminder, with the heat comes health risks. Drink plenty of fluids and don't get over exposed to the sun. Keep an eye on your co-worker, if you are still working. Those of you who have retired don't overdo it and try to plan your outdoor activities, be it play or work, on days most conducive to what it is you are going to do. Most of all, be safe in all you do and enjoy summer. In my last article, I stated I would have a report on the Veterans shirt sale. As of this writing, we have delivered 400 shirts, we have approximately 275 left to sell and deliver. When we go through them, we will have raised close to $4,000. I again want to thank the Veteran Committee for all their hard work and you, the membership, for supporting this effort. However, we have not completed this mission yet. So please, if you know a coworker who has not yet purchased a shirt, please show them yours and let them know the proceeds will go to the Wounded Warriors Project. We have all sizes available (no waiting) first come first serve. Contact the Veterans Rep. from your unit or any Union Representative and they will get the info to me. I will need the $20.00 and your shirt size. You may also pick them up at the Union Hall on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 8:45 am till 3:45 pm and on Wednesdays from 7:00 am till 3:45 pm. Thank you again for your support. The International Union Treasurer's office has just completed its 3 year Financial Audit of the Local as required by the UAW Constitution, as you will probably see written in Debbie's article. We had no issues to speak of, just some suggestions from the auditor. I want to thank Debbie, Natasha, Donna and the Local Trustees for being prepared and doing such a great job of keeping everything in order. As you know, I often write a little bit on politics. Well, this writing will be no different. It seems our Governor can't take "no" for an answer. We the people said (not just union members) that we did not want RTW passed and he said it was not on his agenda. *HE SIGNED IT.* We the people said we did not want taxes on our pensions. *HE SIGNED IT.* We the people said we did not want money taken from education to fund tax breaks for business. *HE SIGNED IT.* We the people said we did not want reductions in unemployment benefits. *HE SIGNED IT.* We the people said we did not want the emergency financial managers law and he and his lap dog Republican legislature put into law, in fact by a large margin we repealed it. What did he do? He told those same lap dogs to rewrite it. They did. It's worse now. What did he do? *HE SIGNED IT.* We the people said we did not want to make it easier for banks to foreclose on home owners who through no fault of their own have fallen on hard times. *HE SIGNED IT.* I could go on and on. Now let me tell you what he said. HE SAID he would be a Governor for all the people. I guess he means all the people in business. HE SAID he would create jobs in Michigan and bring in new industry. I'm still looking for evidence of that. The auto industry is doing much better and hiring. I give him credit for that. They would have gladly let the auto industry go bankrupt, thus killing the unions. It was in fact President Obama and the Democrats in Congress who saved the American Automobile Industry and thus our jobs. I will go further. If not for the six years G.W. Bush and the Republican-controlled House and Senate (at that time) running this country to the ground, we would not have needed help. These and many other issues are the reasons your union is involved in politics. We must keep ourselves informed on the issues pertaining to working families and support and vote for the candidates who will support us. As always, never forget the men and women in uniform and the Veterans who went before them. Never forget the POW/MIA's. Keep them in your prayers and heart daily.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I will start by saying, Thank you!!! Thank you for supporting our Veteran's by purchasing the red shirts. I know it took much longer than expected to receive them and I appreciate everyone's patience. By now, those who ordered shirts should have them. At the time of this article, I do not have the final numbers in terms of dollars raised. I will have that for the next article. Let's just say we done well. I am very proud of this Local and retirees for the generous response. I had former members of this Local from various states around the country see this shirt on the web page and place orders. They even paid extra to have the shirts shipped to them. Other locals around the country, including a Chrysler Local, called to ask if they could copy it. On that note, I do have a limited number of shirts in all sizes available for sale at the hall, first come first serve till they are gone, at $20.00 per shirt. Please call to verify availability if you will be travelling any great distance. Also, I will take orders and I do very much expect the delivery time to be much shorter. On June 4th, the Local Union and Retiree Chapter hosted a celebration for retired U.S. Congressman, Dale Kildee, to thank him for his years of service to this community and working men and women, union and non-union. Region 1C Director Norwood Jewell presented Mr. Kildee with an Honorary Membership in the UAW. Along with Norwood Jewell, we were honored to have retired Region 1C Director and International Union Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks, retired Region 1C Director, and International Vice President Cal Rapson, and retired Region 1C Director and International Vice President Stan Marshall. It was great to hear from the past officers, what a great friend Mr. Kildee has always been to the Labor movement. I will take this opportunity to personally thank Mr. Kildee. I hope everyone is, and will continue to enjoy the summer. Please be safe!!! Keep an eye on the Searchlight and the Web Page as we have a lot of upcoming events that I'm sure you won't want to miss. As another year has gone by since I was elected Recording Secretary, I want to thank the other Officers, Executive Board members, Secretarial staff, and Standing Committee Members for all the hard work and dedication, with the goal of KEEPING Local 659 the GREATEST Local in the UAW. Last but certainly not least, I want to thank you, the hard-working women and men of this great Local for all the support you give us, and all the generous support whenever we do gate collections or any other charity event we are a part of. As always, never forget those brave men and women in uniform and those who went before them. In Solidarity....
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I hope the weather change brings you good cheer. I know it has me, minus the yard work of course. Please be safe and take two minutes for safety before you begin any chores or activities. We want everyone to stay safe and healthy through this summer and beyond. Speaking of summer, the Joint Council has suspended the monthly meetings for the months of June, July and August. This is to accommodate summer vacations. As you will see, I have taken a little different approach to this month's article. Many, but not all of you, know my father was a past Officer and President of this great Local Union. I bring that up as a lead in to what you will read. While he and I were looking at old papers and documents from his time here at the hall, I came across this article from the front page of the Searchlight dated May 11, 1990. After reading it, I decided to propose this question. What has changed in the last 23 years? My answer is; it has only gotten worse. Everyday we see in the news, be it national or local, how school funding has to be cut to pay for this or to pay for that. Then out of the corner of a politician's mouth, we hear how we must invest in education. I say to coin an old TV commercial (WHERE'S THE BEEF? i.e. CASH). As of this writing, the Buena Vista Schools system is out of money and could not meet payroll. The kids are out of school with no place to go, because the other districts in the area are like the rest of the state, broke and under-funded. Governor Snyder could have stepped in and signed an emergency stop-gap measures until the situation was resolved. He did not. I bring him up to say this, he took money out of education, he took money from our seniors, he took money from the low-income, he took money from just about everybody to give his rich well-connected friends and big business buddies on the premise that it would spur hiring, thus increasing tax revenue for all. We have heard this crap going all the way back to Ronald Reagan. BULLCRAP it did not work then and it will not work now. And who pays for it, the working families that can least afford it. Now they have taken it a step further and passed the RTW law, limiting what teachers can bargain for, like class size, text books and the like. Now that I answered the question, I ask that you read it and if you agree with all or part of what I said, get on the phone, send an email or text both your state and federal representatives and tell them in no uncertain terms to FIX THIS PROBLEM NOW!! That you and God Bless you and our beloved Veterans and Active Service Members, who also deserve to know that their children back home are well educated in safe schools, that are properly funded, trained, and staffed. UAW Local 659 Searchlight May 11, 1990 America prides itself on being the "land of equal opportunity". The cornerstone of the opportunity is equal education for all, but for the children of many American workers, equal opportunity is a fading dream. Many public schools are so troubled that workers have to choose between seeing their kids shortchanged, making big sacrifices to send them to private schools, or move to expensive suburbs, if they can afford to. When the knowledge of our kids is tested against that of students of other industrial nations, American students consistently measure at or near the bottom in math and science. And it's even worse that that, public education has failed our youth to the point where some high school graduates can't read their own diplomas. Is money the answer? Behind the crisis of the schools are huge cuts in federal support for education that drained billions of dollars from school systems nation-wide over the Reagan-Bush years. The U.S. ranks 14th out of 16th industrialized nation's gross national product for kindergarten through 12th grade. Only Australia and Ireland trail the United States. "Spending more money is not the only answer to revitalizing primary and secondary education in the U.S." says a report by the labor-backed Economic policy Institute. "But in education, as in every other service, we may get what we pay for." The situation is grim. In elementary and high schools, many classes are jammed with 30 or more students to one teacher. Many cash-poor rural and inner-city schools can't afford enough textbooks for each student to take home. A Tennessee school district says a U.S. News & World Report, is still using textbooks that predict "someday man will walk on the moon." Art and music classes and after-school sports often disappear, victims of budget cuts. Kids under more pressure Since other "people programs" were cut and poverty grew over the Reagan years, the job of educating today's kids has gotten harder. Aside from the psychological wear and tear of poverty, how can 15 year olds concentrate on algebra when their stomachs are growling or they've been up 'til 11 pm flipping burgers? Federal spending on education is just three-quarters of what we spend on the military. West Germany spends 40 percent more on public education than defense. Japan spends five times more. While federal education spending fell steadily throughout the 1980's, spending to build new prisons sky-rocked. Is it a coincidence that two out of three prison inmates are high school drop-outs? "It costs three to five times more to lock our children up for four years than to educate them for four years," says Rev. Jesse Jackson. It makes better moral sense and business sense to educate our children. Bush tries to cut funds George Bush, our "self-named" Education president, says "real improvement in our schools is not a matter of asking more and expecting more of our schools, our teachers, our kids, our parents, and ourselves." Among other education goals he lists, Bush says American students must be the worlds best in math and science by the year of 2000. But he boosted his education budget by just two percent. Once more, the President proposes actual cuts for future years, with spending for 1995 roughly 15 percent below 1990 spending. Critics say Bush's refusal to look for more funding is unrealistic. "You can't just discuss goals without requiring resources to meet them," says House Education and Labor Committee Chair Augustus Hawkins. So far, he says "our commitment to educating young people remains more rhetorical than real." Even the blue-ribbon commission on workforce quality appointed by Bush's Labor Department agrees; nothing is a more "pressing need for a sustained increase in federal expenditure on human resource programs." The UAW says the Bush Administration must rearrange its priorities. We need more spending on our kids' futures, and to crack down on waste and profiteering in military and other budgets. In Solidarity.....
Greetings Sisters and Brothers, Well as the old saying goes, we certainly are getting the April showers. Now let's hope for the May flowers. I recently put out a communication regarding the Veteran T-Shirt sales. This is a follow-up on that and also to get it out to more of the retirees through paper. Thanks to the support of the membership and the hard work from the Veteran's Committee, we have sold close to 700 shirts. That being said, the delivery time on the shirts is taking longer than expected. I assure you, as soon as they are received, there will be no delay in getting them to those that ordered. Thanks to everyone for making this a success. Our mission to help our Veterans and active service members will be achieved. The Education Committee will be setting up viewing dates and times for the documentary (Brothers on the Line). This is a movie produced by Sasha Reuther, grandson of Victor Reuther, documenting the history and struggles of the labor movement and the UAW Sit-Down Strike. We will make this available to accommodate all shifts. This is a reminder of the struggles of working men and women and the total disregard for human dignity and safety in the workplace. After viewing my thoughts went to what is going on today. Working men and women and unions are again under attack by big business and state, local, and federal governments. Why is it that it's okay for organizations, such as the Michigan Manufacturing Association, Chamber of Commerce, and other groups like them to form a union? Yes they are a union, they pay dues, the elect officers, they have by-laws, and they negotiate on behalf of their membership. The difference is simple; these type of organizations lobby, state, federal and local governments, on behalf of large and small business for things like tax breaks and eliminating those pesky rules and regulations that prevent them from polluting our water, air and land. Why then was that not a part of the right-to-work law they rammed through? Could it be that they take campaign cash from these organizations. Yes, I was being syndical. I bring this up only to remind you that only when we stick together, do we make a difference. My view is if these companies want to do business in the largest economy on earth, then they should pay their fair share in taxes, they should follow all the rules protecting the environment, and they should pay a living wage and provide a safe workplace for their employees. In the month of March, I participated in both the Local 659 Bowling Tournament and the Flint Tool and Die Old Newsboys Bowling Tournament. I want to thank the Recreation Committee for putting on such a well-organized and fun event, as well as Brother Paul Norman and his group for everything they do for our beloved charity, the Old Newsboys. I had not bowled in 30 years, so I know some got a few laughs out of it, but it was for a good cause. The Local has plenty of events coming this summer, so watch the paper, the website and Facebook as well as the old fashioned bulletin boards for details. Speaking of the Webpage and Facebook page, I want to thank Natasha, our secretary here at the hall, for the outstanding job she has done creating and updating these great communication tools. Check us out at local659.net. From there you can click on the "Follow Us on Facebook" link and it will direct you over to our Local's Facebook page. Just a reminder, I am not at the hall full time, if you need to contact me call the hall at 810-232-4130, ext 212. Leave a message and I will return it as soon as I can. If you need to get ahold of me right away, push ext. 231 and speak with the secretary. She can forward your message to me and I will call you. In closing, as always never forget those Veterans and active men and women who protect us everyday. The events in Boston remind us that we need to be forever on guard against those who would do us harm. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected and many thanks and prayers to the first responders who helped those in need. This is truly the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
First let me start with Veteran’s news. The Local 659 Veteran’s Committee is selling Red T-Shirts to wear on Wednesdays and/or Fridays in support of Solidarity and our men and women in uniform. The shirts are available in all sizes for $20. We had an overwhelming response to the initial order of 80 shirts, they are already sold. I have placed another order from the supplier. If you wish to support this effort, please contact the Veteran’s Rep. at your location or ask your committeeperson if you don’t know who that is. The shirts need to be paid for in advance and will take 1 or 2 weeks to get from the supplier. Thank you for supporting this cause.
Recently, Reggie and I went to some training involving what effect if any, the new Right to Work Law (in my view right to work for less Law) that was passed by our anti-union legislature and Governor, will have on how this local union and unions in general do business. We are putting together a list of commonly asked questions that members have been asking and attaching some answers to them, when that is complete, along with training the leadership, we will get the information out to everyone. The one thing that I can report is that anyone with an existing contract ratified before March 27th, 2013 will not be affected at all until the contract expires. This legislation was rammed through in a lame duck session along with other anti-working family bills that don’t do anything to get people back to work and move this state forward. By now a lot of you have had your income taxes done, I’m hoping you noticed all the tax hikes you received, courtesy of these same Republicans. If you did not here they are. #1 You’re Children: You used to be able to deduct $600 for each of your children under 18. (NOT ANYMORE!) That will cost working families 57 million dollars. #2 Senior Citizens and the Unemployed: A $2,300 deduction for persons over 65 years old and workers whose unemployment compensation exceeds half of their adjusted gross income was eliminated. That equates to another 41 million dollar tax hike for seniors and the unemployed. #3 Homestead Property Taxes: The homestead property tax credit will be cut for about 400,000 Michigan Working Families. Costing tax payers 270 million dollars. #4 Earned Income Tax Credit: The EITC will be lowered from 20% to 6% a 261 million dollar tax hike for low income families. #5 Charitable Contributions: A number of tax credits have been eliminated, including credits for charitable contributions, city income taxes, college tuition, adoption expenses, and stillborn children. This tax hike will cost Michigan taxpayers another 104 million dollars. #6 Pension Taxes: Retirees will now pay more than 340 million dollars in new taxes. Brothers and Sisters, these are the same Republicans who every election cycle campaign on lower taxes, smaller government and staying out of the way of the private sector. BULLSHIT and their not done. The Governor wants to increase the vehicle registration fees, the gas tax, and many other increases that directly affect low income and working families. This after taking money out of schools and public universities budgets and giving it to his big business friends to the tune of 1.6 billion dollars claiming it would spur them to hire and create jobs. I ask you, where are the jobs? The only companies that seem to be doing any significant hiring are in the Auto Sector. I submit to you that The State Legislature and the Governor can take no credit for that, those jobs were saved and added by President Obama. In closing this portion of my article I would ask that you be cognizant of these facts, and they are facts when you vote.
With spring comes outdoor events, such as golf, fishing, boating, gardening, and many other activities. Please be safe and healthy as we enjoy the great things this time of year brings us. The Local Union Recreation Committee has many of these types of events planned. Watch the Searchlight, plant bulletin boards, and the Local website and Facebook page for dates and times. These events are great fun and also allow you to get to know your fellow Union Brother’s and Sister’s. In closing, as always, never forget the Men and Women in Uniform and those Veteran’s that went before them who defend us every day.