Greetings Brothers and Sisters, As I am writing this article, we are in the midst of a snow, ice, and rain event. You have to love winter in Michigan. Although the weather hasn't been too bad, it seems to go from one extreme to another. Here's hoping Spring is just around the corner. I, for one, have had just about enough of shoveling the white stuff and dealing with ice. On February 11th, White Shirt Day was celebrated here at UAW Local 659. Hundreds of members and guests showed up to pay tribute and remember those who came before us and laid the ground work for our great union. We need to remember everything that we enjoy today, including the $10,750 paid to our GM folks for profit sharing. This benefit was not given to us, but gained through tough negotiations. A big thank you to all of the volunteers who did everything from setting up and decorating the hall, serving the bean soup, helping park cars, and shuttling people to the door. We couldn't have had a successful event without your help. Pre-Post Retirement classes are off to kind of a rough start due to the weather. Every effort is being made to reschedule the speakers that were missed. Your patience is appreciated. The always popular Super Bowl Pancake Breakfast was well attended and as always the food was great and there was a lot of it. (See photos on the back page of the February Searchlight) On Sunday, February 24, from 2:00-4:00 pm, the Local Black History Committee will be hosting a black history celebration honoring black entrepreneurs. The program will include entertainment and dinner. Everyone is welcome, and I hope to see you there. For all of you bowlers, the 32nd Annual UAW Local 659 Bowling Tournament will take place on Sunday, March 3, 2019, at Galaxy Lanes in Grand Blanc. All participants must be members, retirees, or affiliates of a UAW Local 659 dues-paying member. Flyers are available at the Union Hall. Think Spring!
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Happy New Year to you and your families! Here's hoping that 2019 will be a happy, healthy and prosperous year. For our GM folks, the most important issue of 2019 will be negotiations, which will kick off later in the year. Sticking together in Solidarity is more important than ever. Management loves nothing more than to see our house divided and us fighting amongst each other. Please attend your monthly Union meetings to stay up to date on current information. If proper information circulated as fast as rumors, we would have far fewer problems. For those of you who don't know, Unit and Joint Council meetings take place the second Sunday of the month. See your Searchlight or postings in your facility for times and locations. The Pre/Post Retirement classes for 2019 are ramping up. The most repeated comment that I hear is, "when it comes to preparing for retirement, our members wait far too long." Please don't be the person who waits too long and is unprepared. Call the Hall to register or check out the ad in this Searchlight. I'm sure you will learn something that will be beneficial to you every week. The annual Super Bowl All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast will take place on Sunday, February 3, 2019 from 8:00 am to noon. It's only $5.00 per person, kids 10 and under eat free. My family has attended for years and I'm looking forward to seeing you there. On February 11, 2019, we will be celebrating White Shirt Day at UAW Local 659. The program begins at 11:00 am. A lunch of bean soup, bread and an apple will follow the program. This traditional lunch is a reminder of the simple meal served to our brothers on the line as they endured hardships during the early days of our Union. I hope you can join us and remember to wear your white shirt to work on that day. On February 17, 2019, our annual Detroit Red Wings game will take place. Buses will leave Local 659 at 4:00 sharp. The $100 price includes your ticket, transportation to and from the game, a $10 food voucher, UAW Night t-shirt, and refreshments on the bus. A few tickets are remaining. When those are gone, we will be sold out. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, As we head towards a new year, let's reflect on some of our accomplishments and downfalls from 2018. This year started off well, but layoffs at Flint Metal Center and Flint Engine recently reared its ugly head. As of this writing, some of our members are being called back to their home plants. Hopefully, in 2019, we will get all of our members back to work. We also made many gains on the political front. In Michigan, the governorship, attorney general, and secretary of state spots were won by labor-friendly candidates. This may prove to be very important with our upcoming negotiations with General Motors. As predicted, the Republicans are gutting the minimum wage and sick time bills that they passed before the election, with the sole purpose of making sure the public would not be able to vote on those measures and they could gut them in a lame-duck session. Anyone who thinks that the Republican Party stands for labor is either not paying attention, or just doesn't care. On the national front, the House was taken over by the Democrats who can hopefully hold some of the idiotic ideas of the other party at bay. Nothing passed so far has done a thing to help working men and women in this country. All you need to do is look at the announcements from GM and soon from Ford on upcoming layoffs and plant closings. Is everyone tired of winning yet? As always, our members stepped up to support many charities throughout our communities. Whether it was Veterans groups, United Way, Old Newsboys, Toys for Tots, or another worthy charity, our members are always very generous with their time and money. Many thanks to you all. At UAW Local 659, a few big projects were completed. The first was the new LED sign out front, to keep our members informed of upcoming events taking place at our Hall and throughout the community. Another very big project was the rebuilding of the whole south side of the Hall, top and bottom. The project exposed a lot of rot in the walls that had been neglected for years. It's a good thing this project was approved before that side of our building came crashing down. Many thanks to the Joint Council and the Local Executive Board for approving these important projects. Our 2018 Kids' Christmas was very well attended. A few hundred people showed up to get their picture taken with Santa Claus and enjoy some good food. A big thank you to the Recreation Committee for putting on this event, and Santa Claus for taking time to visit with all of the kids. I would also like to thank Ryan Lloyd from ACC for providing the music for this fall's pancake breakfast. It was very much appreciated. The biggest thing for 2019 will be negotiations with General Motors. As always, when it comes to negotiations "hope for the best, but expect the worst." It is more important than ever that we all stick together as Union Brothers and Sisters. In closing, I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the time that you have together, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Fall is upon us, and we are rapidly approaching the Holiday season. For those of you venturing out to the woods in hopes of bagging a deer, good luck and be safe. As beautiful as nature is, it can also be dangerous, be aware of your surroundings. A big thank you is in order to all of our members who served or are currently serving in the armed forces. Your sacrifice makes us all safer and the world a better place. Thank you all for your service. As I write this article, I am on sick leave due to an accident. Thank you for all your thoughts and well wishes. They are very much appreciated, as I make my way toward a full recovery. It is amazing and frightening how fragile we humans are, and how one minute you can be going about your business, and the next you are relying on friends and family to see you through. Truly, one appreciates the little things when faced with such hardship. With this in mind, enjoy every minute of your Thanksgiving with family and friends. I know I will be counting my blessings this year. Until next time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, The days are getting shorter, there is a certain nip in the air, and the trees are slowly changing color. Get outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. My favorite time of year is fall. If only it lasted longer than a couple of months. This November, we have important choices to make. From the governor's race to the several proposals on the ballot, be sure to be an educated and informed voter. Remember, nobody can force us to vote. It is our civic duty. The right to vote wasn't given to us. It was fought for. When we choose not to vote, we are basically saying that we are okay with others making decisions for us; decisions that could have a direct effect, good or bad, on our lives. Your vote does matter! Who we elect as leaders has a direct impact on our lives. We have seen right here in Michigan the effects of having officials who are not friendly to labor. I have heard before form some members that the UAW only endorses Democrats. The UAW will endorse any candidates who are labor friendly. There is a lot of research that goes into vetting candidates before they are endorsed. One can never have a good reason not to vote. Some of our members have the day off from work. Also, if you will be gone or busy, absentee voting is always an option. Walter Reuther was right when he stated that whatever we gain at the bargaining table can be lost at the ballot box. As we approach 2019 and contract talks with General Motors, it has never been more important to have elected officials in place who will have our backs. BE SURE TO VOTE NOVEMBER 6, 2018! Trunk or Treat will be held on Saturday, October 27th from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. This event is open to the whole community. On Sunday, February 17, 2019 the Detroit Red Wings will take on the Philadelphia Flyers for UAW night. See Upcoming Events for more details. I hope to see you at both of these upcoming events. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, With shorter days and cooler nights, you can feel that fall is in the air. Be sure to get outside and enjoy. It is also a time when we should all plan on attending our Union meetings. Union meetings are an important way to stay informed on what is going on inside our facilities and your Local Union. Instead of relying on rumors and second-hand information, come and get the information first hand. All members are welcome to attend. The November elections are fast approaching and it is very important that each and every one of us votes to let our voices be heard. There is never a good excuse not to vote. We have that day off and if you are going to be out of town, vote by absentee ballot. Who we have in office directly affects our daily lives. Research the candidates and issues before you vote. We, as voters, need to focus on the big picture and not just one or two single issues. As proud members of the U.S. workforce, we should choose candidates who protect workers' rights. On Saturday, September 8, I had the chance to golf in the NAETC golf outing benefiting the Old Newsboys. Plenty of fun was had and a substantial amount of money was raised for the cause. To the volunteers who made the outing happen, great job. Let no child be forgotten. Here are some of our upcoming events which you may want to participate in. On Friday, September 28th from 9 am - 3pm the Black History Committee will have a polish sausage fundraiser here at the Hall. If you are into Hockey, the Recreation Committee will be hosting a Detroit Red Wings game on Sunday, February 17, 2019. Tickets are $100 per person and includes transportation, $10.00 food/beverage credit, a UAW Night T-Shirt and refreshments on the bus. The Recreation Committee is also planning a Trunk or Treat event here at the Hall. See the Upcoming Events tab for further information for this and other upcoming events. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I hope this month's article finds you and your family well and enjoying what we have left of summer. It took some time to heat up, but lately the heat and humidity combination has been stifling. Soon, the kids and grandkids will be starting school and the fall season will be upon us, which will mean more temperate days and cooler nights. Summer school at Black Lake started the week of August 12th. To our members who attended, have fun, learn a lot and feel free to share your experiences with the officers at the Hall. We welcome your feedback. Labor Day is quickly approaching. On September 3, 2018 there will be a program at Region 1-D in Flint, MI. The program includes a tribute to our Sitdowners and Women's Brigade, which will begin at 10:30 am with a barbeque and music following at 11:30 am. It's a great program and worth attending.
Some facts about Labor Day:
The first Labor Day was in the early 1800s. Because no government or company recognized the day, a one-day strike was called and the workers were expected to walk in a parade and then participate in a huge picnic.
Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894, when President Grover Cleveland signed the Labor Day bill into law. Just because it is a national holiday doesn't mean that all workers get the day off.
Labor Day also marks the perceived end of summer.
The National Hotdog and Sausage Council estimates that between Memorial Day and Labor Day Americans will consume approximately 7 billion hot dogs.
To our members on lay off, hang in there, hopefully GM will start calling back this fall and early next year. Until Next Time..
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Well, the summer we have all been wishing for is alive and well, with temps n the nineties becoming an all too common occurrence. Enjoy the summer we have remaining, because as I watch the farmers harvesting their wheat fields I am reminded that summer is already half over and Fall is just around the corner. To our members who are laid off or getting laid off, rest assured we will not forget about you. Hopefully, there will be opportunities that you will be able to take advantage of until the time you are called back to your home plants. In my opinion, the cuts are way too deep and they will probably regret their decisions in the near future. All excess overtime accomplishes is the burning out of employees and greater chances of safety missteps. To all of our members, remember to work safely. The 18th Annual Chipping in for Children golf outing and fundraiser will be held on August 18, 2018 at the Jewell of Grand Blanc. The first 32 teams paid are in. Proceeds from the outing go to the Children's Miracle Network and the United Way Ramp program. Several other events are also planned for you and your families to participate in. See your Searchlight for more details. Have a safe and fun summer. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I hope this article finds you and your family in good health and ready to tackle this summer. Whether you are taking that much-deserved vacation, or staying closer to home, be safe and careful on the roads, put the cell phones away, and don't let distractions cause you to become a statistic. Opportunities to attend Black Lake Summer and Fall School are quickly approaching. If interested in attending, get ahold of your Committeeperson. There will be two sessions. The summer session will run from August 12-17, 2018. The Fall session will be running from September 23-28, 2018. Be sure you are able to attend before expressing interest. Once you are committed, we cannot cancel without a cost to our Local. Following are just a couple of the upcoming activities we have for you to participate in. The 12th Annual Car Cruze, benefitting the United Way Ramp Program, will take place on July 21, 2018. The car show starts at UAW Local 659 at 2:00 pm with the cruze to Auto City Speedway starting at 3:00 pm. Awards will be given out at 6:00 pm at the Speedway. The 18th Annual Chipping for Children golf outing and fundraiser will be held on August 18, 2018 at the Jewell of Grand Blanc. The first 32 teams paid are in. Proceeds from the outing go to the Children's Miracle Network and the United Way Ramp Program. See your Searchlight for any other activities that may be of interest to you or your families. Have a great summer. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, It finally feels like spring is in the air, even though we are still experiencing some up-and-down temperatures. The grass is greening up, trees are finally budding, the sound of lawn mowers can be heard on a daily basis and our backs are sore from yard work. With work on the Hall wrapping up, problems that have been overlooked for years are being taken care of. The south side of the building, upper and lower levels, has been repaired and the fear we had of flooding every time we had a hard rain is a thing of the past. The new sign in front of the Union Hall has been installed and just awaiting the finishing touches. In the next few weeks, our pavilion will have the shingles stripped, rotted wood replaced, and a new steel roof installed, ensuring its stability for years to come. As we all look forward to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, I can imagine your families relaxing in the warming weather, and I thought I could share here a few facts about the Holiday for us all to consider:
Memorial Day and Veterans Day are often confused. Veterans Day honors all U.S. Military veterans, while Memorial Day honors soldiers who died while serving.
Approximately 620,000 soldiers from both sides lost their lives during the Civil War. More than WWI and WWII combined.
Congress passed a lawin 2000 that requires all Americans to stop what they are doing at 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day to remember and honor those who have died serving the United States.
The flag is supposed to be flown at half-staff till noon on Memorial Day, then raised to full staff until sunset.
It is common for volunteers to place flags on the graves in the national cemeteries.
More than 300,000 fallen soldiers are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. On an average day, there are 28 burials.
It is estimated that 32 million people will travel by car over Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer vacation, while Labor Day marks the end.
As you enjoy your negotiated holiday weekend, be safe in your travels and remember the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Our April weather is not turning out to be much warmer than our March weather. Maybe April will eb the month that comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Keep the faith, because before we know it July will be here and we will be complaining about it being too hot and muggy. Despite the cold weather, the Local 659 Hall has been bustling place. Our Local 659 Pre/Post-Retirement classes wrapped up on March 26th. The classes were well attended and our members were exposed to a lot of useful information to help them prepare for their lives as retirees. It does not matter how long you have until retirement, it's never too early to start preparing for your future. My wife and I took our first class almost 20 years ago and made steps back then to prepare for our future. One of the comments that we hear most often from participants is, "I wish I would have taken these classes years ago!" Don't be the one lagging behind. Be the one ahead of the curve when it comes to preparing for your future. I would also like to thank the Local 659 Education Committee for all of their hard work in facilitating these classes, but at the end of the day it's the participation of our members that make these classes a success. The March 25th Easter Egg Hunt fell on a cool, sunny day that brought out a bustling crowd full of Easter enthusiasm. Everyone had a great time. The excited kids were treated to pictures with the Easter Bunny, hotdogs, cookies and plenty of candy. A big "Thank you" goes out to the Recreation Committee. The remodel work at the Hall is progressing nicely. It is so nice to see updates and improvements that will preserve our historic building. Many issues that could have caused us problems down the road have been identified and corrected, and our flooding problem has been fixed! We should also notice a savings on our heating and cooling expenses, with the efficient new windows in the offices and auditorium. I hope everyone had a nice Easter Holiday and keep thinking of Spring. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, As I am writing this article, we are in the middle of a March 1 snow storm. Let's hope that since March came in like a lion it will go out like a lamb. I saw a few robins the other day, so all I can say is think spring and better weather is on the way. Because of the turmoil that we have been experiencing in some of our General Motors facilities, it is more important than ever that we all stick together and have each other's backs. Hopefully, our laid off brothers and sisters will be returning to work soon. Until that time, I ask that you please keep them and their families in your thoughts. There have been a lot of questions lately about contract language, especially from our Flint Metal Center folks. Remember, just because we do not agree or have not read some of the language doesn't mean it's not there. Shop Committees are charged with the responsibility of implementing the language, whether we agree with it or not. The NIO group language has been in the Flint Metal Center contract for a long time. In 2011, then-Chairman Don Reinhart and the Shop Committee printed out the whole contract for the membership to look over. Page 2 of those highlights addresses NIO groups in the plant. The membership had this information before voting on the 2011 agreement. If there is language that you do not like, or think is unfair, turn in a resolution next contract to have it changed. On Sunday, February 18th, my wife and I had the chance to attend the Black History Committee's presentation on African American Inventors. It was an educational program, and as always, the food was fantastic. It was nice to see several of our members in attendance, keep up the good work Black History Committee. Some of our upcoming events that may interest you include: Bring your kids or grandkids to the Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 25th from 1 pm til 3 pm. Enjoy refreshments and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny. The Local 659 Bowling Tournament will take place on Saturday, April 7th at Galaxy Lanes on Hill Road. All participants must be a member, family member, retiree or affiliate of Local 659 dues-paying member. Come out and enjoy time with your Union Brothers and Sisters. Enjoy the upcoming Easter Holiday with your family. IF you are traveling, be safe on the roads. Think Spring, Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, As I am writing this article, we are on about our fifth consecutive day of snow. So far this year, we have received over 50 inches of snow in the Flint area. Hoping spring is just around the corner. I for one have had just about enough of shoveling this white stuff. On February 1 and 2, 2018, UAW International Vice-President Cindy Estrada and her staff, along with Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem and his staff, visited our General Motors Units. All were very impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of our members. Cindy went out of her way on the plant tours to talk to as many members as possible. Good or bad, she was eager to hear each individual's thoughts and opinions on the state of our Plants. We should all be proud of Flint's bright future, and although we are currently experiencing a few tough times, we will surely navigate these challenges and become stronger as the year progresses. Recently, we had many opportunities to get together, despite the recent onslaught of snow. The always popular Super Bowl Pancake Breakfast was well attended, despite the large amount of snow we received. As always, the food was great and there was a lot of it. A big thank you to UAW Local 651 for hosting White Shirt Day, celebrating the 81st Anniversary of the great Sit-Down strike. If not for the strength and determination the strikers showed when they occupied the plants, there would probably be no UAW today. All of the benefits that we enjoy would just be a dream, not only for us but for workers across the Country. On March 10, we will see the return of the Irish Extravaganza at the Hall. Check the Upcoming Events tab for more details. You won't want to miss this celebration of Irish music, dances, scottish pipes, and vendors of Celtic foods and wares. Be sure to save the date! On the maintenance front, the frame for our new sign has been installed. As soon as we get some electrical work completed, the sign will follow. Around March 1, the basement and window project should start. That work will stop the flooding problem that we have been experiencing in our lower level. Think Spring! Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Let me start out by wishing you all a Happy New Year. 2018 is already shaping up to be an uncertain year, with opportunities for hopefully more ups than downs. All of our facilities are facing challenges. Some affect us all, some are unique to certain locations. Sticking together is more important than ever. Management loves nothing more than to see our house divided. 2018 will also be an important year politically; with national, state and local elections being held in November. Please do your research on candidates running for office. The attacks on labor in this country are a reality that we are facing. Almost every day, it seems that some kind of anti-worker legislation is being introduced. Look up all of the bills being introduced and take note who (and which political party) is introducing these bills. It's our duty to keep our Union Strong, not only for ourselves but for our future membership. The January 7th Red Wings game was well attended, with 3 bus loads of our members and their families going down to enjoy the game and to get a look at the new arena. Unfortunately, the Wings didn't get a victory, but we were treated to some good old smash-mouth hockey. It is always rewarding to spend recreational time with our Union family. The Pre & Post- Retirement classes for 2018 are ramping up. The most repeated comment that I hear is that when it comes to preparing for retirement, our members wait too long. For more information, call the Hall or check out the ad (see page 4) in this Searchlight. It's never too early to start preparing for your future. On February 4th, the 659 Hall will be bustling with families at the annual Super Bowl Sunday, all-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast. Join us 8:00 am - 12:00 pm. It's only $5.00 per person (kids 10 and under eat free). My family has attended for years and I am looking forward to seeing you there. On February 9th, we will be celebrating White Shirt Day at UAW Local 651. The program begins at 11:00 am. A lunch of bean soup, bread and an apple will follow the program. This traditional lunch is a reminder of the simple meal served to our brothers on the line as they endured hardships during the early days of our Union. I hope you can join us and remember to wear your white shirt to work on that day. Until Next Time....
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Hope this article finds you and your family well and ready to tackle the holiday season. The snow has been flying and everyone will have to learn to drive again on treacherous roads. Remember, give yourself extra time for your commutes and arrive alive. Some of the challenges we have been facing in our facilities in 2017 will continue to dog us for the first half of 2018. Hopefully, things will stabilize and more work for our facilities will be on the horizon. Our members, through their hard work and determination, definitely have earned it. Be patient, in today's industry nothing positive happens quickly or without hard work. The Old Newsboys campaign is off to a great start. On Friday, December 8, some of our members braved the cold to stand on the street corners to collect contributions for this great cause. Once again, thousands of dollars were raised for this annual drive and worthwhile cause. Several toys were brought to the Hall for our December general membership meeting. Those toys will be given to Toys for Tots. For those of you who braved the weather to attend the General Membership Meeting... Thank you! Your attendance does not go unnoticed. The Santa's Christmas Party, held on December 3, was a huge success. We had over 100 children attend and get their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Clause. It was great family event for our members. The Red Wings game on January 7, 2018 is sold out. I look forward to attending and seeing our members at this event. The Pre- & Post- Retirement Classes will be starting up again in 2018. Classes start January 29, 2018 and run for 9 consecutive Mondays. See Upcoming Events for a class schedule. In closing, I would like to wish our members and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the time with family and friends, and be safe. Until Next Year....
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, Fall is upon us, and we are rapidly approaching the holiday season. For those of you venturing out to the woods in the hopes of bagging a deer, good luck and be safe out there! In honor of Veterans Day, a big thank you is in order to all of our members who have served in the Armed Forces. We are all safer, and the world is a better place, because of your sacrifice. The officers had the pleasure of attending the Old Newsboys kickoff for 2017. Our members generously donated more than $117,000 through golf outings, bake sales, popcorn sales and other events. In addition, Local 659 also donated more than $4,000 to the Red Cross for hurricane relief efforts. We have some of the most generous members in the UAW, and you always come through when called upon. You should all be very proud of yourselves. December 8 will be the annual Old Newsboys Paper sale. Sign-up sheets are displayed in the plants, and we are still welcoming volunteers. The December General Membership meeting will be held on December 10 at 12 p.m., which is also when we will be collecting toys for Toys for Tots. A new unwrapped American-made toy is very much appreciated. If you cannot attend the meeting, your toy donation can be dropped off at the hall. The Local 659 Black History Committee will be having a Polish sausage fundraiser at the Hall on Friday, December 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Polish sausages are $5, brats are 2 for $5 and peach cobbler is $3. They will deliver to your facility. Tickets for the January 7th Red Wings game are going fast. If you would like to attend, please purchase your tickets before they're gone. Santa's Christmas Party will be held Sunday, December 3, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Bring your kids or grandkids for a fun afternoon. Until next time, enjoy your Thanksgiving and the time off with your families and friends, and don't forget to finish - or start - your holiday shopping! Until Next Month....
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I hope this month's paper finds you and your family well. As we settle in for the beginning of the fall season, the kids and grandkids are back in school and the colors are starting to pop; although, as I write this article, it is 82 degrees outside and more like August than October. I had the pleasure of speaking to many of our members who attended Fall School at Black Lake Education Center. It was great to see their willingness to learn and their excitement about our future. I encourage our members to get involved. Our young members are someday going to be our Leaders. Going to Black Lake is an educational experience that all of our members should experience. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This disease can affect both men and women. Learn the early signs and symptoms. I also encourage you to participate or donate to many of the worthy events taking place this month to educate and find a cure for Breast Cancer. On October 22, from 8:00 am - 12:00 noon is the Union Label Pancake Breakfast at the Hall. Only five dollars entitles you to this all-you-can-eat breakfast! It's a great gathering and a nice time to catch up with the families of 659. October 28 is "Trunk or Treat" at Local 659, and all are welcome. January 7, 2018 is "UAW Night" with the Detroit Red Wings at the new Little Caesars arena. We have 168 tickets. When these are gone, we can get no more, so get your tickets early. I look forward to seeing our members at these upcoming events. A great big thanks to our members who once again showed their generosity by donating over $4,300 to hurricane relief efforts. As always, our members step up when others are in need. You all deserve a big pat on the back. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, The Labor Day program at Region 1D was well attended and the Sit Downer’s Memorial looked great. You could not even tell that a week before the park was vandalized with the statues being painted and some lighting broken; many thanks to the members and others who showed up to clean up the park. Unit and Joint Council meetings have begun again after the summer hiatus. Don’t be taken in by rumors, attend your Unit and Joint Council meetings to stay informed. The Back Pack Rally that took place on August 24th was a huge success, with around 500 back packs with school supplies being given away. Many thanks to the volunteers that worked tirelessly on that event. October is breast cancer awareness month with the walk being held on October 14th. Other events that we have coming up include a Sip & Shop Craft Show October 7th from 1pm to 6pm at Local 659 featuring many vendors with proceeds benefiting the Evelynne Aimee foundation, to help survivors of abuse. October 28th will be Trunk or Treat at local 659. UAW night with the Red Wings will be Sunday January 7th 2018. When our allotted tickets are sold there will be no more so join us for an afternoon of Hockey at the new arena. See your Searchlight or stop by the hall for more information on any of our upcoming events. Also be extra careful on the roads with the kids being back in school.
Until next month
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, There is a lot of uncertainty right now in the automobile industry. Because of the lower gas prices we are all enjoying, the markets are shifting away from car purchases to more trucks. That's great for trucks, not so good for cars. The changes happening now are purely related to economics and no way the fault of our members. Like the many ups and downs we have gone through in the past, this too will be a hurdle we can get over. If you want to stay informed, plan on attending your Union Meetings, which will be starting up again on September 10, 2017. See your Searchlight for times for your unit.
On a Brighter Note....
The July Tiger's game was well attended and they actually managed to pull out an extra-inning victory.
The second annual Family Fun Day had many fun activities for our Membership and their families and Pure Pro Wrestling capped off our day! A big thank you to our volunteers who were there for set up and take down and anything else we needed to get done. Monies raised from this year's event went to skin cancer research.
Future events we have coming up include a short Labor Day program and cookout on Monday, September 4 starting at 10:30 a.m. at Region 1-D.
The Region 1D Women's Council Backpack Giveaway at Local 659 will be Thursday, August 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
We also have discount tickets available for the Renaissance Festival, which runs August 19th through October 1st.
Summer is rapidly slipping away, enjoy these last few weeks of hot weather with your family and be safe. Until Next Time...
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I would like to start this month thanking the Executive Board of Local 659, the elected and appointed members from the Flint Metal Center, and all other members of Local 659 for all of your kind words, prayers, flowers, and donations for my family during the recent passing of my mother. Words cannot express how blessed I am to be a member of such a great organization with such kind and generous members. It is never easy losing a loved one, but having support of friends and co-workers somewhat eases the pain. She will surely be missed, but I had the priviledge of calling her Mom for 59 years. Don't hesitate to do things with your family. Life is too short to have regrets and there are no do-overs. It's hard to believe that summer is already half way over, but we still have many nice days and activities for our members to enjoy. On August 12, 2017 we will be having our 2nd Annual Family Fun Day. It promises to be a family-friendly event featuring food, fun, and entertainment. Just like last year, this year's event will be capped off with a Pure Pro Wrestling exhibition. Volunteers for tear down and set up are still needed. Watch your Searchlight for details and future activities. Until Next Month....
Greetings Brothers and Sisters, I would like to personally thank each of you for voting in this year's election and placing your trust in me as Vice President. As I move from representing the members of Metal Fab, to representing all members of Local 659, I look forward to the challenge and working with you. Whether you voted for me or not, I promise to serve to the best of my ability and promote Local 659 as I represent all of you. Because campaigning was not permitted inside the plants, I haven't had the chance to meet many of you. Now, I look forward to getting to know you, work with you, and collaborate to tackle challenges as they arise. I hope to use my previous leadership roles to foster relationships across Local 659 and in the greater community. I encourage you all to participate in the many activities scheduled for this summer. Whether you attend a Tigers game, Family Fun Day, or other events, getting to know your fellow Union Members is a unique opportunity to connect and share interests. As the weather warms up, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy summer with friends and family. I look forward to meeting you - and your loved ones - at some of the great events we have planned.
Former Vice-President, Steve Gruener's previous articles
By the time this article is published, we should be just about done with the election process for UAW Local 659 for 2017. I would like to take time to thank our Election Committee for their hard work and long days during this election season. They are the best election committee in Region 1-D. There is a certain feeling of calmness when you know people are doing their jobs and doing them correctly. I would also like to thank all of the candidates who ran for office. It takes courage and bravery to put yourself out there for scrutiny among the members. For those of you who won, congratulations. For those of you who did not, please do not let this deter you from continuing to support the Union, however you see fit. I would be remiss if I did not take time to thank the members and retirees of this great Local for their support in the election for President. To those of you who supported me, thank you. For those of you who did not, I ask that you let me have a chance to earn your support over the next three years as your President. I would like to make all members aware that the swearing in of Officers and candidates will take place at the Joint Council meeting on June 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm. Please invite your families and friends to join you in this auspicious occasion. We have several events coming up on the schedule with the first being support for the 3rd Annual Krystal Jo's Bike Giveaway, being held on June 10. They are looking for volunteers to help wiht the event. All you need is a 10mm, 13mm, and 15mm wrench to come out and help adjust seats and handlebars for the kids receiving their new bikes. UAW Local 659 will also be taking donations throughout the year to help with this project. If you have any bicycles lying around the garage that you do not need any longer, please bring them to the Local. We will unload and store them until they can be turned into a child's dream of having a bicycle to explore and imagine. The 11th Annual UAW/United Way Car Cruise/Car Show/UAW Night at Auto City Speedway will be taking place on July 8th this year, starting at UAW Local 659 and ending at Auto City Speedway. More information can be found in the "Upcoming Events" tab of this website. The next event we have scheduled for this summer is the Annual UAW Day at Comerica Park, happening Sunday, July 16th. More information on this event can be found on the "Upcoming Events" tab of this website. In closing, if you drive by the Hall and see our sign out front is missing, it is okay. We hope to have our new digital sign in operation by the end of June and we have several other projects coming up at the Hall that will need volunteers from our Membership. We are looking at reroofing the pavilion with a metal roof, updating our electric service, replacing a hot water heater, and remodeling the bathrooms to make them handicap accessible in the near future. Until next time, please keep an eye out for motorcycles and children, as we are entering the season for both to be more active.
It was a pleasure to see all of the 191 people who came out for our 5th Annual “UAW Night at the Joe”. We had several people who had never been on our trip and many who have attended for the past five years. The Red Wings gave us all our money’s worth by winning in overtime at one of the last games at Joe Louis Arena. It looks as though another piece of history has come to an end, but we look forward to next year’s trip and the visit to a brand new arena. The new L.E.D. sign has arrived at the Hall and has been run in demo mode in the auditorium. I have finished the design for the new cabinet that will house the message boards and will be turning the plans for construction over to our trades’ people in the plant. The original time frame for install was to be by election time but with the weather and business here at the Hall it looks like we will have to move it back to sometime in May. The Annual Easter Egg Hunt was held at the Hall on Sunday April 2nd, luckily the weather was okay for the event. With all of the rain we received, we could not use the pavilion area but the kids were able to go outside and find their eggs. Thank you to the Recreation Committee, Chuck Inman, and especially the “Ito Bunny”, Mike Gross. As we enter this Easter season remember it isn’t about chocolate bunnies and finding eggs, but about spending time with family members and remembering our family members that have passed. In Closing, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter Holiday, for those of you that have Good Friday and the Monday after Easter off, thank the Union for these days that you get to spend with your family and get paid for it. All too often we take the Union for granted and don’t educate our younger members where we came from. Good Luck to all who are running for election, stay safe, and enjoy the spring weather.
We have been very busy at the Hall, with the departure of Reggie to the CHR, elections on the horizon, and many events happening. Reggie has settled in at CHR and is currently assigned to the LEADS Training division. We wish him luck with the new challenges he faces and I am sure he will attain his goals. You are valued and your vote is important. During this upcoming election period, take the time to inform yourself of the candidates who are running for election, their history of serving this Union, and their dedication to serving others. I try to look at the person's core values, and if they say what they do and do what they say. The Union is based on democratic principles and you, as a member, have rights. The right to vote is one of the most important of them. I would like to see this be the best turnout for voting per capita that we have ever had at this Local. Also, please keep in mind that Retirees have the right to vote for the Officers at the Union Hall. Thank you to all of our members who attended the Black History Brunch held at the Local on February 19th. As always, it was an entertaining and educational event capped off by a fantastic free luncheon provided by our Black History Committee from their polish sausage sale in April, so be on the lookout (see notice of page 12). The 30th Annual UAW Local 659 Bowling Tournament was held March 11th at Galaxy Lanes, with 20 teams participating. I would like to thank our members Michele Gregory, Tammy Byrtus, GMCCA Shop Committee, and Pickard's Pro Shop for donations for the event. Pictures of the camaraderie and fun at the event can be found on pages 6-7 of this issue of the Searchlight. We will be having our Annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Hall on Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate so we can take the kids outdoors. More information on this event is available on page 12 of this issue of the Searchlight or at the Union Hall. We are very close to finishing the new sign project and hope to have it up and running before the elections at the Hall. We are also planning another Tigers baseball trip as we speak and will have details for you very shortly. In closing, I would like to thank all of the membership for their support, kind words, and patience as I have transitioned from Vice President to Acting President. I will continue to strive to be the best leader I can be by holding up the principles of integrity, honor, and morality to keep this Local the best in the UAW.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the 80th Anniversary celebration of the Sitdowners held at UAW Local 599 in Flint. The event was a little bittersweet as this is the first year that we did not have a member of the Sitdowners or Woman’s Brigade alive to join us. I ask you all to take a moment and remember where we have come in this last 80 yrs. Think of the loss of dignity of relieving yourself while you are on the job because your boss will fire you if you go to the restroom. Think about going into work and never coming home. We take many things for granted that our Sitdowners fought and in some cases gave their lives for. The first contract was only one page long and basically about dignity, respect and recognizing the worker as an asset, not a piece of machinery. We cannot forget our history for fear of repeating it and we need to put our petty differences aside for the greater good of this beautiful thing called Solidarity. I would like to wish our President Reggie Smith congratulations on his new special assignment opportunity at the CHR. As of February 13th, Reggie will be reporting to the CHR and I will be functioning as Acting President. I am both happy and sad at the same time, happy that Reggie was offered this position as he will do a great job and deserves it, but sad that he will not be around our local on a daily basis. Reggie has been a great mentor, leader and most important, friend to me and my family. I can promise you as Acting President, I will continue to represent this local to the best of my ability through hard work, dedication, and using integrity to guide my decisions. I ask for your support now and over the next few months as we enter into the upcoming elections. If you had not heard yet Legal Services has finally opened up for new cases as of January 25, 2017. The phone number for the new legal services department is 1-800-482-7700. There were some issues with phones not working for the first few days, but those have been rectified. Once again we have the last trip to the Joe coming up on March 26, 2017 and the bowling tournament happening on March 11, 2017 at Galaxy Lanes, more information can be found inside this issue of the Searchlight. I would like to take a moment to recognize February as being Black History Month. I believe racism is still at work in this country and we need to work diligently to remove it. I challenge you to not believe in the stereotypes, that if you see a young black man with his pants around his thighs and his baseball cap on sideways, take a moment to engage him in conversation. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you may find out. If you see a woman with olive skin wearing a scarf over her head and face, talk to that person to find out more about who she is or why she wears that scarf. I guess the challenge is to don’t take what a person looks like, what they wear, what may be their religion or cultural differences, or sexual orientation. Engage that person in a conversation, get to know them a little more, you may find a new friend or at least a better understanding of who and why. You may find out that this person is still a jerk, but at least you took the time to find out about them rather than label them using a stereotype which will ultimately make you a better person and this world a better place. Until next time, take a moment to let your loved ones know that you love them. You never want to be too late or have regrets and live your life like every day is your last, as we do not know when it is our time.
I would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year and hope you can live the dream in 2017. I would like to thank Duane Ballard, Jeremy Thibault, Lucas Sterns, and Kirk Rheaume for their help over the holidays with another UAW/United Ramp Program project. We were able to build a ramp for a woman in Mt Morris who had literally not been out of her home in nine months. If you would like to help, and feel the satisfaction of helping someone out who is in need, please contact me at the Hall to volunteer. You don't need to have any skills, just a willingness to help. In last month's article, I mentioned a new website for clothing with the UAW Local 659 logos. It is now up and running. The address for the website is www.impresspromogroup.com and for our members who are not internet savvy you can come into the Hall and we will help get you on the website so you can order. We will also be taking pre-orders for new design UAW Local 659 Jackets until April 1, 2017. Look for an order form of this issue of the Searchlight, in the plants, or at the Hall. The Recreation Committee has met and determined the schedule for 2017 events. There will be many of the same events we have had, plus a new "Trunk or Treat" scheduled in October. It looks as though with the timing of the start of the year, we will be moving the Irish Extravaganza to the May timeframe. I ask that you make note of the time change of the Red Wings Trip on March 26, 2017. The game time has been changed from 7:00 pm to 12:30 pm, so the buses will be leaving the Hall at 10:30 am. If you have purchased tickets and cannot attend due to the time change, please come into the Hall to get a refund. I apologize for the time change, but it was done by the Red Wings organization, due to the game being nationally televised. The sign-up and election dates for our Local have been set and approved by the Joint Council. The sign-up period will be March 27, 28, and 29 during business hours. The Election will be April 20th, with a run off (if needed) on April 27th. The sign-up period is for all positions, but the District Elections for Committee will be set by District or Unit meetings after the General Election. I hope this helps with any confusion. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Hall to get the correct answers. Our Election Committee has done a fantastic job of making sure our elections have been run properly and as smoothly as possible through the years. I am sure this one will be no exception. In closing, I would like to thank our membership and retirees for their help and support over the past several years. I will continue to work hard and do my best to represent the "Rank and File" as our members are the Union and I work for you. I look forward to supporting this membership in any endeavor in 2017 and years beyond. May you and your families receive many blessings of health and happiness in the year to come. Until next time, remember one voice can make a difference. Seize the moment to ask a question, make a statement, a phone call, or send an email that makes your voice heard. If one person can make a difference, think how much change a hundred, a thousand, or a million can make. Solidarity makes us strong!!!
I cannot believe how quickly 2016 has flown by, it seems so long ago that we were finishing up national contract language and getting ready for a national election and now it’s all done. I would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year from my family to yours. A special Thank You goes out to Brandy O’Brian from FES and her husband Bob, for the past several years they have shopped throughout the year for the Toys for Tots program. This year I am proud to say they delivered over 460 toys to the Hall for the kids. They always make sure to purchase made in America items and I cannot thank them enough for the work they do. I would also like to Thank Mr. Ivan Pletscher a retired member from the old V-8 Plant, Ivan recently brought in some historical photos and allowed us to make digital copies of them for our archives. Mr. Pletscher was instrumental in the retiree signing book being adopted and the photos he provided have a great historical value to our local and the Flint Area. Some of the photos contained Charles S. Mott attending retiree ceremonies in the plant and Garland Lane former Michigan Senator. We are almost ready to launch the new apparel website for UAW Local 659. The link to the website will be www.impresspromogroup.com/uawstores the tab for 659 is there and should be operational within a week or so. You will be able to order your merchandise and have it shipped right to your home. We will also be selling UAW Local 659 jackets in the plants once we get the details finished. They will be preorder only to get the best price, but will eventually be available on the website at an increased price point due to quantity. The UAW/United Way Ramp program just finished another large ramp project at the Answer Center in downtown Flint with the help of UAW Local 659 members from NAETC and the IAM. You will find a letter from Dave Benjamin past President of local 659 and some pictures of the project in this issue. I would like to take time to Thank not only our Volunteers but the Management at NAETC for allowing us to volunteer to help make our community a better place. I recently attended the Region 1-D Chaplaincy Brunch hosted by our Local. The food was terrific but the program and camaraderie were something to behold. I would like to take a moment to Thank our UAW Local 659 Chaplains, Chaplain Mallard from ACC and Pastor Jamerson from GMCCA for the invite and look forward to next year’s event. As you can see with all of the Thanks I have been giving it is only proper that I give a HUGE Thank You to you our membership as I truly believe that Union Members are the most sharing and caring breed of person on this Earth, between our active members and retirees you could not ask for better, whether it’s Old Newsboys, Toys for Tots, March of Dimes, United Way, Veterans, or any other need our UAW Local 659 members are always in the trenches helping out. Until next time, enjoy your Union negotiated time off for the Holidays and remember it’s not how big your tree is or how many presents are under it, it is WHO is around your tree that really matters. May everyone have a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season, God Bless and I am looking forward to continue working for you in 2017 and beyond.
Well, the Presidential Election is over and the people of these United States have made it known who they want for President. I am truly scared what will happen with Trump in office, but I am willing to see what the man can do. I am grateful for all of you who took time to vote, even though 46.9% of the people did NOT vote. I look at this election result as an opportunity. The Union did not get the candidate we supported into office, but we did see how much work we need to do to educate our membership on what the Union is and how it relates to working families. I would be remiss in not mentioning our retirees and appointed people who worked so hard running the phone banks, passing out literature, and working at the coordinated campaign. I would also like to take a moment to thank all of our veterans for your service. I am pleased to see that our Union-negotiated day off is actually taking place on Veterans Day proper. We are able to own weapons, vote in elections, and raise our families in this great country due to the brave men and women who served in the armed forces. Take a moment to thank a veteran, as some of those brave men and women gave their lives so we could live free. We are approaching Thanksgiving very rapidly and I would like to wish each and every one of you reading this a very heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours. It is much too often that we get caught up in our busy lives and do not take the time to spend with our families. So please enjoy your Union-negotiated days off with family, even the ones you may not like. We never know how much time we have left on this earth. The Recreation Committee is getting ready to have their yearly planning meeting. If you have any ideas for events, please contact me at the Hall. We have scheduled the Annual Christmas for the Kids here at the Hall on Sunday, December 4, 2016 from 1:00 - 4:00 pm. More information can be found on the flyer in this issue. We have also set the date for the "UAW Night at the Joe" Red Wings Hockey Game. It will be Sunday, March 26, 2017. This is the last year for Joe Louis Arena and our game will be just 4 games before the end of the "Joe." Also, more information can be found on this website. Thank you to our members who volunteered to help with the UAW/United Way Ramp building program. We have some builds coming up and we can always use more volunteers. Please contact me at the Hall if you would like to help. We are also working on getting a roof put on a home on Foss Ave. in Flint. A grandmother is raising her granddaughter, who is the valedictorian of one of the Flint Schools. This young lady has to deal with water coming through the roof and into the light fixtures in her bedroom, along with getting excellent grades, life as a high school student, and lead-tainted water. She is an amazing young lady who hopes to go on to medical school and return to Flint to service her community. We, along with Dan Kildee's office and Crossover Outreach, have established a "Go Fund Me" page to help get a roof on this home. The estimate of money we need is around $3,000. I would ask that anyone who can - please donate $10. If we get 300 people to donate just $10 each, we can have this roof done before the snow flies. Thank you in advance for your help. In closing, Financial Secretary Duane Ballard and I are working on establishing a web page, where our members can order UAW Local 659 clothing and have it sent directly to your home. The work will be done by a Union printer right here in Michigan and we hope to have it up and running within a couple of weeks. We will also be taking preorders for a new UAW Local 659 jacket as soon as we get the details sorted out to be able to benefit everyone. Until next time, may all of our deer hunters and retirees who are traveling be safe and come back to join us just as they left. In Solidarity...
The 1st Annual Family Fun Day was a resounding success and a large thank you goes out to Sherry Snyder and Tim Duplanty for their efforts in planning the event. We will be donating over $3,000 to the Mott Children's Cancer Research Fund, thanks to the help from our members and sponsors of the event. Even though the weather did not cooperate, fun was had by all who showed up to the event. I had a great day, even when I was doing my time in the dunk tank. On the same evening as the family fun day, I had the ubiquitous honor of being the Master of Ceremonies for the Sam Duncan Night to Remember. The talent level at this show was the best it has ever been, and the show raises monies for the Sam Duncan Scholarship Fund. Every June, the Sam Duncan Board hosts a dinner, here at the Local, to give away scholarships to young men and women with physical disabilities to further their education and training. It is a worthwhile program and I would encourage you all to attend next year's events. Once again, I must send out a heartfelt thank you to our retirees who have been working so diligently at our Local, manning the phone banks for the upcoming elections. We could not do it without your input, hard work and dedication to the cause. I once again implore our members to educate yourselves on the issues important to you and your family for this upcoming election. Most importantly, make sure you and your family members get out and vote. We are working on partnering with a local business to offer UAW Local 659 apparel on a website, where our members will be able to order directly from the website and have your merchandise shipped to your home. As we get everything in order, we will release the link to the website and finally get UAW Local 659 merchandise available to our members. Work continues on many projects at the Hall. We finally have found the issue with the flooding of the classroom in the basement and it is fixed, assembly has started on the new digital sign with the hope of it being installed by December, and we are getting estimates to reroof the pavilion using steel. If you have any input or insight on any projects at the Hall, please feel free to contact us. In closing, thank you to the people who have volunteered to help with the ramp build program. I am keeping a list and will contact you as we get ready to build, to see if you are available on those dates. As always, if anyone is interested in helping, just contact me at the hall, extension 218. Until next time, please keep an eye out for deer. With the temperatures dropping and hunters in the woods there will certainly be movement of the animals.
Well, the weather is definitely changing and we are getting into fall. The Officers recently were able to go into Flint Engine South to welcome our new members to 659. We apologize for it taking a bit of time, but things have been very busy at the Hall the past few months. We will let everyone know when we will be coming back in for the off shifts as soon as possible. It was a pleasure meeting our new members and being able to hear their concerns. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I would ask that you donate, take part in the walk, or buy a shirt from our Women's Committee to support the cause. This ugly disease affects many people, men and women alike, and has reared its wretched face in my family also. The UAW Local 659 Tigers trip was a success again this year, although numbers were down. We took 70 people to the game on Sunday, August 28. Unfortunately, the Tigers lost but everyone I talked to had a great time at the ballpark. We will be planning another trip next year, but hope to have it earlier in the summer to accommodate more of our members. We are in the process of setting the date for the annual "UAW Night at the Joe" and flyers will be out as soon as we get it confirmed. We are getting closer and closer to the national election date in November. We ask that you take the time to make sure you are registered to vote. The cut-off date for registration is October 11. Absentee ballots will be available at the Hall and I would recommend you exercise that option. If you do the absentee ballot, you can fill out your ticket in the comfort of your own home, on your time schedule, and miss the long Election Day lines that are expected. It will also allow you to enjoy the Union-negotiated day off or volunteer to help during the election. I am still looking for volunteers to help with the UAW/United Way Ramp Program. We are down to only myself building ramps whenever I can get time to do so. If you can help, please contact me at the hall. It doesn't matter what shift or what skills you have, we can teach you. If you want to help, please let me know. You can't imagine the feeling you get by helping someone who could not get out of their home to get the freedom to do so because of your help. Until next time, remember we are Union Brothers and Sisters and all grown adults. Stop the "he said, she said" dialogue. Take some culpability for your own actions and let us all stand together in Solidarity. We are all in this together. Whether you're a retiree, temp, tradesperson, man or woman, 2nd shifter, etc., it doesn't matter. It all boils down to standing strong together for divided we fall. We are seeing this in our plants more and more. Our UAW Brothers and Sisters are not our enemy because of their job status. They are coming to work just like everyone of us to make a Union wage with Union benefits and support their family.
Well, the temperatures are dropping and the kids are going back to school. It seems summer, as always, has come and gone before we're ready. I recently had the opportunity to attend the Michigan State CAP Conference in Lansing and and I wanted to share a few items of information. I know most of you already know this, but I feel the need to share it with you. For the 28% of our UAW Members who may be thinking of voting for the Republican candidate, you really only need to know one thing. Donald Trump has gone on record as saying, "Send Michigan's auto jobs to states where people are happy to work for less. Then bring the jobs back to the Great Lakes State once people here are desperate for any work, at any pay level." Notice the quotes. This was taken from a Detroit Free Press article from August 2015. I find it shocking that 28% of our members would vote, not only for someone who is so divisive, but would actually vote to take money our of their own pockets. I know there are many other issues, but just this one is enough to make up my mind. Now before certain members start calling and leaving nasty grams for me at the hall, remember this is a Union paper for Union members and I will absolutely support the Union lifestyle. It is my job to pass on facts to our membership to help us all stand in Solidarity. Here is another item to make you think about as it pertains to "right to work." The question we all have to think about is, "would the company give you the same things you have now without the Union?" If you can answer yes to that question, you may be correct for a short time period; only because it will take time for enough freeloading, selfish scabs to back out of their dues until the company doesn't recognize the UAW as your bargaining agent. The first people crying in their cereal about what they don't have will be the ones who opted out of paying dues. It is your right to choose whether you want to pay dues or not, but it is my legal right as a proud dues-paying Union member to let whomever I can know who the sellouts are that work with them every day. On a brighter note, the plans for the Family Day Celebration on September 17 are coming together and it proves to be an event that will be sustainable for years to come, which will benefit charities in the Flint Area. Also happening in the evening of September 17 is the annual Sam Duncan Night to Remember, taking place at the U of M Theatre Flint. Your Vice President will again be the host of the event and I invite you to come to both events as I will be in the dunk tank for the family day and get to make an absolute fool out of myself at the evening event. We are trying out new ideas for our members and their families to enjoy and we hope to have a jam session at the Hall this fall. We have several awesome musicians who are members and want to get them together doing what they are passionate about to make beautiful music together. There will be more to come as we finalize details for the event. If you have any ideas for events, please let me know so they can be passed on to the Recreation Committee. We are trying to keep our events relevant to our Members. I would like to thank all of the Members who called, texted, or messaged me on my recent birthday. I am grateful to you for taking a few moments from your day to pass on wishes to me. This is exactly why our Local 659 members are the best, the fact that you always take the time to make someone else's day just a little bit better. This is the spirit behind community service, righting social injustice, and bettering our communities. Until next time, please remember your Officers at the Hall work for you!!! If you need answers to questions, a little help, or just need someone to vent to, we are there. You can not always see or know what we are working on, but trust me we are doing everything we can to make things better and give a loud strong voice on behalf of our members. Representing you as your Vice President is not a title or job for me, it is my passion. Please remember we are blessed to be members of this Great Union!
I would first like to congratulate our most recent group of retirees who went out on July 1st, especially my brother in law, Dewey Taylor, a former 599 member from the Flint Engine South complex. The Officers are currently scheduling time to get into FES to meet and greet our new members, hopefully by the end of August. The UAW/GM National Contract books have been dispersed out to the plants and should be available by speaking to your committeeperson or visiting your respective Union Work Center location. We are continuing to make improvements at the Hall, including adding new asphalt in the front circle in order to be able to open a vehicle door without stepping into the flower beds. We have recently changed maintenance companies for our HVAC service at the Hall. After much consideration, we have decided to employ Goyette Mechanical. Goyette is a Union-Represented company that we have used for other mechanical issues at the Hall and their customer service has been at a very high level. The change also benefits our members in that Goyette has a "friends and family" program where if you need a new furnace or air conditioning unit they will charge you their cost for the unit with no mark up and, of course, you would be responsible for the labor for install. I asked our Rep. from Goyette about our 3,500 members and he assured me our members are now "friends and family." We recently had the UAW/United Way Car Cruze/Show on July 9th at Auto City Speedway. We had over 40 cars that were escorted by the Sheriff's Dept. from UAW Local 659 to Auto City, where they were joined by another 60+ cars for the auto show. We raised over $3,500 for the ramp program to benefit people in our community who are in need. Thank you to all who attended the event, volunteered, and especially the members of the planning committee. We could not do this without you. Until next time, please take a moment to reflect on how blessed we are as Union members. We have a roof over our heads, food in our mouths, and clothes on our backs. As long as your family is healthy, what more could you ask for? I wake up thankful every day and feel blessed to be able to help the less fortunate in our community, which magnifies that blessing exponentially. Until you have seen the joy on the face of another person who is so thankful you took the time to help, you cannot comprehend what you are missing. Take a moment to pay it forward and help someone in need, not only because it's the right thing to do, but because of the many blessings that it will return. In Solidarity...
I would like to start off by correcting a statement I made in last month's paper. The statement was "300 jobs at MFD" and it should have read up to 300 jobs at Metal Fabricating Division. I would like to apologize to the membership, Chairman MacNeill, and the Committeebody for causing any undue grief. It really is amazing how one word missing from a sentence can totally change the whole idea of what one is trying to convey. I have had a chance to meet several new members, formerly from UAW 599. I must say, with all that you have been through, you all have a great attitude. I am looking forward to working with you on our committees and seeing you at the Joint Council meetings. There are to many of us who now work for GM that are "gypsies;" who have been to several locations throughout their careers. It is great to see with all these changes we can still come together as one in Solidarity. We have many events coming up throughout the summer for our membership, including a UAW/United Way Ramp Program Car Cruise on July 9. A UAW Night at Auto City Speedway after the Car Show, and we still have tickets available for the UAW at the Tigers bus trip happening August 28. The cutoff date for tickets to the Tigers game is July 23, so please purchase your tickets before then. We still have no word on when the UAW Legal Services will be up and running, but indications are it will be very soon. We were originally told the May time frame, but filings with governmental agencies are taking a little more time than expected. We do have attorneys at the Hall Monday-Thursday who will give you a free consultation. Please call in advance to determine which day you will need to come in due to the fact that the attorneys have different specialities. Several of the plants we represent will be shutting down for the July 4th Holiday week. For those of you taking a vacation, please take the extra time and thought to be the safest you can be to protect your families. It only takes a split second to change your life forever. Our families are our support systems and family is always first before anything else. I would like to take a moment to congratulate all of our Union Family members who graduated high school or college. Good luck to you and any endeavors you may attempt. Remember, if you don't make any mistakes, are you really doing anything? Learn from your mistakes, follow your dreams, and most important never let anyone tell you "you can't." Until next time, enjoy the summer hiatus from the meetings and take some time to be happy, for no one knows how many summers we each have left.
I would like to start by Thanking one of our members from North American Engineering and Tooling Center(formerly Flint Tool & Die) for his recent donation to the “Be the Match National Bone Marrow Registry”. Rick Pifer Jr., a machinist, at NAETC recently was selected to donate bone marrow and went through the painful and tedious process to donate his marrow to help save another person’s life. All of the Officers at the hall are also on the Registry and I would encourage each and every one of our members to join. You can find more information at www.bethematch.org. I cannot thank Rick enough for his courage and compassion to help try and save a total strangers life. We have confirmed that we will be having Ren-fest tickets available for our members at a discounted rate at the hall again this year. They should be available starting the third week in July. On July 9th we will be having the 10th Annual Cruzin for United Way Car Show in conjunction with UAW Night at Auto City Speedway. The car show will start at Local 659 and travel to Auto City Speedway by police escort and UAW members and their families will receive discounted rates for entry into the speedway for the races. You can find more information by visiting www.unitedwaygenesee.org or by visiting the car cruise Facebook page. All the proceeds from the car show go directly to fund the UAW/United Way Ramp Program of which I also do builds for. I am pleased to announce that we received a commitment from GM for labor for another ramp project for the Answer Center in Downtown Flint. We are experiencing some very trying times on the horizon with our local, MFD just announced the loss of approximately 300 jobs and we are ramping up for a launch at Flint Engine Operations over the next 12-18 months. There will be temporary layoffs but we will hopefully come out of this with a stronger Union with a much higher upside for our members in the future. Our meetings for June, July, and August should be suspended for the summer to help alleviate some time for our members families and vacations. Until we meet again, “It’s not about what you can do or what you cannot do, how hard you hit or how hard you can take a hit. It’s about going the distance, whatever the length, no matter what.” You would think it’s a quote from a fighter or a Union Leader but it is from my son, a Union member. Your kids never cease to surprise you; believe it or not they do sometimes listen and even sometimes get it.
Our Membership is growing by between 400-500 members with the recent announcement that UAW Local 599 will be merging into our Local. It makes me very happy and sad at the very same time. I am happy to welcome our Brothers and Sisters from 599 to our Local with open arms, but am sad that Flint has lost another Local with a history dating back to 1939. It will be a tumultuous year for Flint Engine Operations with the merging of the Locals, a tear out, and a new product launch on the horizon, but I am confident our Union Members will pull through and make it a success for years to come. General Motors has announced a $262 million investment in the plant, but has not yet told us what the new product will be. I would like to take time to thank Mr. Dave Perina for his many years of service to this Union and for doing a fantastic job as Chairman of GMCCA for the past 8 years. Dave will be retiring effective May 1, 2016 and will be sadly missed. He has informed me his wife has a two-page list of things for him to do when he retires, but I'm sure that list will grow to seven pages before long. Congratulations, Dave! You have earned it and may you enjoy every minute of your retirement. I would also like to thank everyone who supported and attended the recent UAW Night at the Joe bus trip to see the Red Wings beat the Minnesota Wild on Friday, April 1st. It was a pleasure to spend the evening with our Brothers and Sisters watching the Wings on their way to a 25th consecutive year of making the playoffs. We have installed new blinds for the windows in the Executive Boardroom and are putting together a plan for possibly getting a new, fully digital sign for the front of the Hall. The local sign companies we have contacted have given us a price in the $25K-35K range, which is not in our budget, nor will it ever be. We are looking into purchasing the sign board and using our UAW Skilled Tradespeople to fabricate the steel sign carrier. We figure to be able to keep the sign (including installation) to fewer than $10K using our people. Who says UAW Skilled Trades can't be priced competitively? We will be having another Detroit Tigers Bus Trip this year, to be held on August 28th, which is a Sunday. The flyers are not out for this event yet, as we are finishing pricing issues. We will get them into the plants and Searchlight as soon as they become available. The cut-off for ticket sales will be 30 days before the game, not a week before like the Wings. Until next time, I implore you to keep an eye out for motorcycles as the weather gets better. I have two friends who have been in accidents in the past two weeks due to drivers not seeing them. Luckily, by the grace of God, both were wearing helmets and both only received minor injuries. I wish to thank Mr. Burns for his feedback on last month's article. It is nice to know people read this paper and are kind enough to share their views with the Officers.
I hope you took the time to vote in the primary elections, as it is our democratic right. I know you hear it all the time, "this is the most important election ever," but it seems with the fact of people not getting out to vote and the threat of the extinction of the middle-class Union worker, every election from here on out is very important. I don't know who you are supporting, but I can tell you if you have any inkling of supporting Trump, you need to have your head examined. Now, granted, he is saying a lot of things people want to hear in our country, especially since we have become so politically correct over the past two decades, but rest assured if this man gets elected we as a Union WILL BECOME EXTINCT. I am not trying to scare anyone because the facts are there. He has said, "I am for right to work." This man has no clue of what Union workers have worked so hard for these last 79 years. So many people are just sitting back and are tolerant of the racial, cultural and sexual undertones he is making. I implore my Brothers and Sisters to stand up and fight for what is right. I don't mean by physical altercations like we have been seeing in the news, but fight by stopping the hatred, fight by stopping the genocide of the middle class, and most importantly fight by educating yourself and voting. You can bet if Trump gets elected, this country will go back 100 years as far as social injustice, workers' rights, and racism. We may see another day like January 11, 1937, which is known as the Battle of Bulls Run. Think about it, tell yourself, "it can't happen, this is 2016." Well, I am here to tell you we are closer than ever to history on many realms repeating itself. We recently had the 2nd Annual Irish Extravaganza in Memory of Kevin Tyler at the Hall. Attendance was a little down from last year, but we still had over 200 people come out to enjoy live music, bagpipes, and dancers. Thank you to Roane Band, Caleb the Piper, and Lochanna Mora Dancers for sharing your various talents. I would especially like to thank the Recreation Committee for a job well done. We still have a few tickets left for the UAW Night at the Joe happening Friday, April 1, 2016. The last day for ticket sales is March 24, 2016. In closing, I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Easter Holiday!!! Enjoy your family members still living and remember the ones who have passed. I trust everyone will enjoy the added Good Friday time off negotiated in the new National Agreement. Remember, Easter is not about chocolate rabbits and hiding eggs. It's about rebirth, rising above, and the remembrance of our loved ones. Until next time, with the warming temperatures, please keep an eye out for motorcycles on the road. It only takes a split second to look rather than a split second to hurt someone.
I would like to thank the membership for their support of the 29th Annual White Shirt Day Celebration held at our Local on Thursday, February 11. It was the smoothest running and best attended I have seen in years. Thank you also to our members who volunteered to perform various duties throughout the day (such as driving the golf carts in the single-digit weather), and to the Women's Emergency Brigade for helping serve food. I approximate that we had 600-700 people at our Local, and it did not go unnoticed by the staff of the International Union. We could not have put this on without your Solidarity, much the same way the Sit-Downers could not have gotten a contract without Solidarity. I wish to congratulate and thank the Black History Committee of UAW Local 659 on twenty years of educating our members. As many of you know, February is Black HIstory Month, a time to celebrate the accomplishments and struggles of our African American Brothers and Sisters. Racism still runs rampant in this world we live in and we, as a Union, continue to fight against social injustice. Whether it is color of skin, religious belief, or sexual orientation, it seems we as American are quick to judge people as a stereotype rather than take the time to learn about a person or their culture. You should take time to "walk a day in their shoes," because you don't know what they are going through. They may be struggling to feed their children, unemployed with no hope, or a relative could be sick or dying. We seem to have entered into the "what have/can you do for me?" zone. We have just announced that we will be having the 2nd Annual Irish Extravaganza in Memory of Kevin Tyler at the Hall on March 12. Tickets are available at the Hall for $10 each or you can walk in the evening of the show and pay $15. We will be featuring an Irish-Celtic band, a bagpiper, highland dancers, vendors and a DJ. Last year's event was attended by over 300 people and hopefully this year's event will top that. Please look for the flyer for the event on page 9 of the Searchlight for more information. Until next time, please be safe during the cold weather and make sure you have an old blanket, some extra gloves and a hat, and some boots in your vehicle just in case. It's better to be prepared than to wish you had something when the situation occurs. Something like that old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Well, 2015 certainly passed by quickly. From the National Contract and water issues in Flint to the implementation of Right to Work, it was a very challenging year. I am proud to say as we enter 2016 that ACC has ratified their Unit Agreement and GMCCA has a tentative Unit Agreement. I cannot say enough about our respective Chairmen and their staffs and how much blood, sweat and tears went into negotiating these agreements. We recently received some information from Vice President Cindy Estrada on the new Legal Services Plan. We were informed that the paperwork has been filed with the respective agencies with the hope of having the plan operational in the first quarter of 2016. We will keep you informed as to the progress of the plan as we receive more information. The Local 659 29th Annual Bowling Tournament will be held February 13, at B's Bowling Center. On Saturday, March 12, 2016, we will be having the 2nd Annual Irish Extravaganza in Memory of Kevin Tyler at the Hall. Last year's inaugural event was a sell out and if you didn't have a good time it was your own fault. We will be having the Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 20, from 1:00 - 4:00 pm at the Hall. The 3rd Annual UAW Night at the Joe will be Friday, April 1, 2016. The tickets for the Night at the Joe are $65 per person this year due to the price of the buses and tickets on a Friday evening, but this was the only date the Red Wings were able to give us. See the notice on the back page of this issue. The most important event in 2016 will take place at our Hall on Thursday, February 11. It is the 79th Annual Sit-Downers Celebration. We have the pleasure of hosting this event again this year and are expecting upwards of 500 people. We have a volunteer sign-up sheet at the Hall to help with parking and other items. So if you feel so inclined, please stop over and sign up. I am proud to report that Local 659 has had only one person fall for the right-to-work sellout and decided to not pay their dues. Solidarity must not mean much to some people as they must be alright to work on the backs of their Brothers and Sisters. Take under consideration what you receive by being a part of the collective bargaining process by paying your dues and being a part of your Union. The benefits and financial gains outweigh any thought of not paying dues. I know, you figure, "why pay dues when I can get it for free." But are you really getting it for free? I truly believe in Karma and if you're okay with letting people pull your share, then may you receive everything that is coming to you. Until next time, please keep our fellow members in your thoughts and prayers. I am not sure why it is that so many people pass away around the holidays, but I have been to the funeral home more times than I can count over the past month. As most of you know, I am a proud G-Pop and on January 7, 2016 we celebrated my grandson Maddox's first birthday. I have a special spot in my heart for my children, but I never could have imagined how much joy and happiness my grandson has given me and my family in this past year. I truly feel blessed to be a father, husband, grandpa, Vice President, and Union Member. I hope that 2016 finds your family showered with blessings and good health.
It is hard to believe it is the Holiday Season and 2016 is just around the corner. This is the time for family and friends to come I together. I truly feel blessed to have a living wage, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, groceries in my pantry and a healthy family. It is too often that people take for granted the gifts they receive. This whole article is about how caring and truly inspiring our membership is and the things they do in our community. I wish to thank the Officers and Staff at the Hall for the tireless work they do for our membership, but the real and overwhelming thank you goes out to our membership. I am a proud third generation Union member and therefore never surprised by our caring and sharing within our community. I am going to go on a little bit of a roll here to let you know some of the things our members do that you may not be aware of, so please bare with me. Did you know that UAW Members in Genesee County give millions of dollars every year to local charities? The UAW/United Way Ramp Program constructed almost 60 ramps in the county over the past year. Through your generous donations in our community, YOUR Union was able to help; United Way, Eastern Michigan Food Bank, Old Newsboys, Lions Club, Red Cross, Genesee County Veterans (including a $6,000 check presented on December 14th from plant gate collections), Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys/Girls Club, Whaley Children's Home, Children's Miracle Network. Wreaths Across America, Catholic Charities, American Cancer and Lung Societies, MDA, and the list goes on and on and on. I cannot tell you how proud it makes me to represent you as your Vice President. No one on this Earth can say they have given more to charity than the UAW, not Bill Gates, not Warren Buffet, no one. We stand together in the spirit of why the UAW was organized, to fight for workers' rights and social injustice. During this Holiday Season, take time to reflect on our accomplishments and give yourself a little nod or pat on the back, because you deserve it. I would like to wish our members and retirees a safe and Happy Holiday season and look forward to working with you to educate and inspire not only our members, but our community in the upcoming new year. I defer to a quote by the great Walter Reuther, "There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well."
As of this writing the Tentative Agreement has not been ratified. We have held meetings with Skilled Trades and all of the feedback has been signed for and sent to the International Executive Board and the UAW Skilled Trades Department. I will continue to request informational meetings from the International Staff to help our members get answers to the items presented at the Special Skilled Trades Meetings, especially as the language applies to our members at D.E.S. I would like to Thank those members that during the voting process of the agreement, took the time to disseminate the information, make their decision, and vote accordingly. I have lost a lot of respect for the members who found the need to go on Twitter, Facebook, etc. and voice their opinions without educating themselves first. I wish I could say I was embarrassed but these people only embarrassed themselves. This is exactly the divide and conquers mentality that is destroying our Union today. I welcome every member’s opinion on their particular issue, but it doesn’t mean it needs to be broadcast across the world. Once again our Retirees are on point as it pertains to voting and maintenance at the Hall. A group of our retirees recently came into the Hall and replaced the seat covers on over 240 of the chairs and plan to come back after the New Year to finish off the remaining 175. We just received the numbers from the 2014 Election and our retirees had the highest percentage of voting with in their population. The voting numbers are as follows; UAW Members 116,200, 65,110 voted; UAW Retirees 144,175, 106,361 voted; UAW Family members 298,000, 131,515 voted. These numbers are based on registered voters in the State of Michigan. Looks like we have a lot of work to do before the 2016 elections to get our friends and family out to vote. I would like to congratulate GMCCA employees on their fundraising drive for the UNCF. They performed so well that management purchased over 500 sandwiches for our UAW members. On the same charity note, please take a look at our Community Spotlight piece in this paper that benefited one of our Retired members of this Local. We will once again take donations from now until our General Membership Meeting in December of a new unwrapped American Made toy for the Toys for Tots program. Until next time, Thank you for all you do and take time to Thank a Veteran for allowing us to have the Freedom we enjoy in this Country. Safe travels to our retirees going to their winter locations and to all a safe and joyous Thanksgiving
I would like to take the time to Thank everyone who joined us for the UAW day at Comerica Park August 23rd. The Tigers lost, one of the buses broke down, but it was a beautiful day to spend with family in the spirit of Solidarity. I hope everyone was able to enjoy their day and we will continue to plan these events for our Union Members. It is my pleasure to spend time with my Union family outside of the plant, away from the daily grind of the job, to have conversations, share ideas, and get to know everyone better. We recently had a couple of floods in the basement at the hall due to a faulty sump pump and a backup pump that was not working properly. We have installed a new pump and a battery backup and are making repairs to the conference rooms to insure this will not happen again. We are replacing carpet, painting, replacing ceiling and floor tiles, to bring the rooms up to date to once again raise the level of “pride of ownership” for our members. Well it’s time to get to the serious part of this article, as you all know it is contract time and as of this writing the parties have agreed to extend the UAW/GM Contract indefinitely. UAW/FCA (Chrysler) has a tentative agreement and it is being voted on at this time. I implore our Members to stand together in Solidarity. The same day the contract expired, Right to Work came into effect, for clarification purposes, with the contract extended Right to Work does NOT come into effect YET. For those of you who are considering becoming “Barnacles” who don’t pay dues and hang on the bottom of your fellow workers along for the ride take a moment to think about your decision. You don’t want to pay dues for political reasons, what has the Union done for me lately, I got caught doing something stupid and my committee person didn’t get me off ,whatever your reason pull your head out of the sand. I care deeply for the safety, welfare, and employment of the people I work with every day, they are my family. Do you think GM does? Do you think your supervisor cares who is doing the work? Do you know how you received the pay, benefits, and job security you covet? Fact of the matter is GM doesn’t, your supervisor would rather have someone younger, smarter and non-Union to be able to run rough shod over. Your benefits, pay, and employment were bargained for by the UAW, people gave their lives so you could live a better life and you feel the need to repay them by “opting in” to big business and a puppet for a Governor’s decision. I am a realist and I have seen the good old boys club, nepotism, and the days of calling the bar to put in a committee call. The UAW is not a perfect organization and we have worked our rear ends off to fix mistakes that have been made in the past. The UAW is relevant and continues to right the social injustices and violation of worker’s rights that continue every day. By not paying your dues you give up the right for your voice to be heard, you are giving up your right to run for office and partake in benefits provided by the Union Hall. Sounds a lot like giving up your rights listed in the Constitution of the United States, “but I don’t have to pay for those benefits”. If you pay taxes you pay for those benefits. It is your choice to pay Union dues, but please remember, your name will be posted in the plants, your name will be printed in the Union Newspaper, and you can take the responsibility for your choice. If you choose to opt out then have an epiphany and decide you want to opt in, you will have to be voted back in by your peers, the same people you didn’t care about before. If you think I am an idiot, I don’t really care because I am a Union Man with a Union Family and I have over 400,000 Brothers and Sisters that have my back, good luck by yourself. In closing, I would like to share a quote by Gandhi that is actually hanging on a wall in my home and I truly believe in, “Be the change that you wish to see in the World.” Think about it, roll it around in your head, then get involved and do something about it to make a difference.
Until next time,
First off, I would like to apologize for not having an article in last month’s Searchlight. It seems there was a mix up at the publisher and it did not make it to the paper but is available at the Local 659 website. National Negotiations kicked off in July and we as Officers have heard absolutely nothing on the progress. This is the first time that I can remember that negotiations have been so tight lipped; I am hoping that no news is good news and I am sure our elected top negotiators are doing a fine job. Please remember, if we hear anything tangible we will absolutely pass it on to our members and don’t succumb to the rumors flying all over the plants. We will be needing volunteers for a Hall Beautification Day on Saturday September 26th, the plan is to remove the bushes in the front of the Hall and turn them in to flower beds. If you are interested in volunteering please contact our Financial Secretary Duane Ballard or myself. I recently had the pleasure of volunteering for two events for the community, the Open house at Flint Assembly and the 19th Annual BSA Skeet Shoot. Both of these events had beautiful weather and were a success by any measure. The BSA Skeet Shoot raised thousands of dollars for the Woods and Water Council enabling the scouting program to keep teaching the ways of scouting, of which I am partial to being that I am an Eagle Scout since 1984.The Open House at Flint Assembly allowed over 1600 people to be able to enter the plant for tours to see just how hard our Union Brothers and Sisters work to earn a paycheck and see the quality GM trucks being built by UAW Labor. We are once again selling Renaissance Fair tickets at the Hall at a discounted rate for both adult and children. If you happen to be able to attend the Fair this year, stop by the Big Guinness Pub to say hello. I will hopefully be out there most days helping with my son's band Roane who will be performing again throughout the day at the Pub as they have for the last three years. This next piece is an excerpt from last month’s article but I feel it is important to get it out to the membership in the Searchlight: Until next time, Please keep the spirit of the Sitdowners in your heart as we enter National Negotiations and remember the quote by Kofi Annan that “Knowledge is Power, Information is Liberating”, take a moment to educate and inform yourselves from the right sources and in my humble opinion, I believe “Solidarity is Power” because without our members putting aside our minor differences for the greater good as a whole , we will be divided and conquered. History does have a way of repeating itself and we are on the verge with Right to Work. The Union is YOU, each and every member has a voice and it’s time to use it and be heard.
I hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July Holidays with their families. I was able to spend the Fourth with my family on the Appledore Schooner in Bay City enjoying a fantastic fireworks display from the water.
I would like to send out condolences to the family of Dewey Handy; Dewey was the 1st Vice President of our Retiree Chapter and was truly a good Union man.
We will once again have Renaissance tickets available at a discounted rate for our members this year available at the Hall on July 27th and throughout the faire season ending October 2nd. We continue to make improvements at the Hall to make our members proud and keep your Hall in a solid state, over the shutdown the parking lot was milled and new asphalt was put down. We also changed the layout a little to make access easier for our handicapped members. Stop on over and give us feedback on what you think. We are also looking to have a Hall Beautification Day sometime in September to remove the bushes in the front to update and plant some new flowers. We will be canvassing for volunteers as we get closer to fall. The 9th Annual Cruzin for the United Way was held at Local 659 and Auto City Speed Way on July 11, 2015 with well over 50 cars leaving the Hall by police escort and over 120 cars in attendance at the actual show. It was also UAW Night at the races with every UAW member getting a $5.00 coupon for admission. A Great Big Thank You goes out to Teresa McGinnis and the rest of the Board for the planning for this event. The proceeds from the event go to the UAW/United Way Ramp Program to build handicap ramps in Genesee County for people who do not have the resources to afford them. Last year we built 42 ramps and this year we are at 26 done with 5 more under construction, so hopefully we will surpass last year’s number. I would ask that you take a moment to look at our new feature in the Searchlight called the Community Spotlight; this month’s entry is on the Habitat for Humanity Project in downtown Flint. We are trying to let our members who may not know get informed of the projects your Union are involved with so you can be armed with information the next time someone says,” those lazy, greedy UAW workers” , you can change their perception. We as UAW Members put more time, money, and energy into making our communities better than any other organization, and we all should be informed and proud of the work we do.
Until next time, Please keep the spirit of the Sitdowners in your heart as we enter into National Negotiations and remember the quote by Kofi Annan that “Knowledge is Power, information is liberating”, take a moment to educate and inform yourselves from the right sources and in my opinion, I say “Solidarity is Power” because without our members putting aside our minor differences for the greater good as a whole, we will be divided and conquered.
Until next time,
Your Vice President,
I am writing this article as I am attending the UAW Region 1D Leadership Conference, and I must thank the membership for the opportunity to attend. The information I have garnered from this conference has been both enlightening and downright scary. I hope to be able to put this information together and make it available to our members at the Hall. Here are just a few points of information. Eight people in the USA make more than 36 million minimum wage workers combined. In "right to work" states, 25.7% of occupations are minimum wage jobs. These same eight people make 257 times more than the average Union worker makes. What is wrong with this picture? We have to stick together through the upcoming contract talks and make our voices heard with the upcoming elections. On a brighter note, your Local 659 recently partnered with the Genesee Career Institute (GCI) and Crossover Downtown Outreach for a service project benefiting our community. We recently met at Crossover Outreach to do a retro fit of lighting fixtures; changing them from fluorescent to LED and to help mentor the electrical wiring students from the GCI. We were able to save Crossover over 55% in structural costs, did over 70 light fixtures, and improved the lives of people in our community who really could use the help. Look for a brief spotlight on this project below and photos on page 6 of the Seachlight. Just a reminder of some events we have on our horizon, the Tigers Game for August 23 is down to one bus available after selling three already. The UAW, in cooperation with the United Way, will be having the Annual Auto Show/Race Night at Auto City Racetrack on July 11. This will start as a rolling cruise from Local 659, continue to Auto City Speedway for an Auto Show, and culminate with discounted tickets for UAW members available at the Hall and opportunity for the Car Show participants to drive the track. If you need more information or to register for this event, please contact the Hall. We also plan to have Renaissance Festival tickets at discounted rates for our members once again, with the hope the tickets will be for sale at the Local around the first or second week of July. Please call before you visit to make sure of availability. Until next time, please enjoy your family and the weather as we take a break from the Joint Council Meetings for the summer. Until Next Time...
I hope all of the Mothers out there had an enjoyable Mother's Day, spent with their children and families. I would also like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day Weekend and please don't forget what we are celebrating. It is not just another Union-negotiated holiday. It is a day to remember the sacrifices given by the people of this great country in order to keep this country free. I'm sure you have heard this before but it still rings true today, "The price of freedom is not free." We are continuing to try to get information for our members on the upcoming contract talks, but at this time the International Union is being tight lipped. I think this is in response to the bargaining convention, when after the Union announced they wanted to decrease the wage disparity between the Tier I and Tier II, GM within 48 hours came out with, they want to explore a Tier III and IV. We will pass on any information we get to our membership in a timely manner. The Tigers baseball game has had a good response and we have almost three buses full for August 23. We still have seats left, so if you are interested please stop by the Hall as I'm sure this will be a great event. Until next month, I ask that you take a moment of your time and do something nice for a stranger, pay if forward if you will. You will be amazed about how it will affect their day and how they will pick up the same feeling and do it for someone else. Let's start an epidemic of niceness.
I am happy to report your Recreation Committee was finally able to put together a Tigers Bus trip for our local members. It will take place on Sunday August 23rd with buses leaving the Hall at 11am and game time at 1:05pm. Tickets are $50.00 each, which include a ticket to the game and bus ride. Seats are limited to the first 220 people with a cutoff date of July 17th, 2015, so get in to the Hall and sign up soon. We recently held our Annual Easter program for the kids with over 160 children present to get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny, hunt for eggs, and enjoy lunch. It makes me very happy to see the children associate our Union with a fun time. Please take a moment to look at the pictures from this event in this issue of the Searchlight. We recently concluded the UAW International Bargaining Convention and a subsequent Sub council meeting at the end of March. President Williams spoke of raises for our GM people, eliminating the wage disparity between the Tiers, and trying to help our retirees recoup some of the items they have lost over the years. I implore you to not listen to the rumors flying around the plant floors. Some of them I have heard surround buy outs, such as $100k bonus or $2,500 per year of credited service. I assure you your Leadership has not received any word of possible buy outs of any kind from our International Union. There has been a lot of buzz about Prop 1 in the news and on television. The Union has not taken a stand for or against it, but please do your due diligence before you vote. Sure good roads sounds great but at what cost? How about a gas tax of 41 cents per gallon, making us the highest in the country, higher vehicle registration costs, and a host of other bills that are contingent on the passing of Prop 1. I ask you to remember 2012 when “right to work for less” was adopted, the Republicans said, “We should not change the constitution of this State”, funny how just three years later it is okay to change the State Constitution, because this is exactly what Prop 1 will do. Get out to vote on May 5th, as this is the only way your voices will be heard. If you need more information on Prop 1 please stop by the Hall as we have it readily available. The Executive Board recently toured our Local 659 represented Android Industries plant. All I can say is wow!! Our Androids are doing a great job proving just how much our UAW workers add value to the manufacturing process. The plant has come a long way in a short time not only in work and in cleanliness, but it seems that management also realizes the value of a UAW represented workforce and the working relationship between us that can grow the business. Kudos goes out to all of our UAW Android workers, I am proud to represent you as your Vice President. In closing, I would like to wish all of our retirees returning from their winter havens, safe travels and as the weather turns warmer please keep an eye out for motorcycles. Until we meet again…
The National Bargaining Convention should be taking place as of the distribution of this paper. UAW President Dennis Williams has already gone on record in supporting wage increases for UAW workers, please notice I did not say Tier I, Tier II, etc. The UAW is looking to increase wages for UAW workers period. I am certain there will be language to help eliminate the wage disparity between the workers in our plants doing the same jobs for different amounts of pay. I am certain there will be a plan made to help get our “temporary” people hired permanently. We will make every effort to pass the information gained from the Bargaining Convention and Sub Councils on to our members in a timely manner. Much of the dissemination of this information is covered at your Unit and Joint Council Meetings, so I would encourage you to attend.
I would like to pass on my condolences to the Families of Phil Tossey and Mike Defrain; both of these gentlemen were our Union Brothers who tragically passed away suddenly. I had the pleasure of knowing both of them and they truly were good people.
I would like to Thank everyone who attended the 28th Annual Local 659 Bowling Tournament held on February 21st at Richfield Lanes. It was a good time and some great scores were shot, look for pictures and more information in this issue of the searchlight. I recently had the pleasure of attending the Diversity Dinner held at Flint Engine South and let me tell you it was one of the best lunches I have ever had. George Cannon and his group did a fantastic job with the food and cordial service. I really enjoyed getting to sit down with our members and getting to know them better. I would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter and hopefully the weather will break soon. We will be having our Annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Hall March 29th, so save the date so you can bring your children and grandchildren to this event. Last year we had over 150 children visit the Easter Bunny, get a picture taken, and hunt for “Eggs”.
Until next time, please remember a quote by George Bernard Shaw, “Beware of false knowledge, it is more dangerous than ignorance.” Don’t fall into the trap of spreading the rumors, some people will put things out there just to see how far they will travel and smile all the while they are lying to your face. Do yourself justice and take time to look for the truth.
Until next time
I would like to first send condolences out to the family of Geraldine Blankenship for her recent passing. Geraldine was the last surviving member of the Women’s Emergency Brigade that supported the Sitdowners in 1937. She was a true Union Sister and will not be forgotten; in the same note let us not forget February 11th marks the 78th Anniversary of the Sitdowners who put their lives on the line for us to enjoy Union benefits. I would ask that everyone take a moment to think about what the Union means to you. I believe if we all take a moment and think about this, we should all be able to come up with reasons why we should continue to pay Union dues. Whether it is the financial gains of having a middle class job, the protection from being fired on a whim, or the work for equality and social justice the Union provides, there should be no one who should opt out of paying dues. Sure you might have an issue with who the Union supports politically or you may have not liked the outcome of a grievance hearing, but does this really give you enough reason to opt out of dues? For our members who are GM/UAW you have received approximately $32,870 over the last ten years in signing bonuses, profit sharing, and other supplementary payments in the same time your dues payments have been around $7K-$8K or less. I may not be a mathematician but I’ll take that deal every ten years. For our members who are IPS/TOP we have bargained contracts to reduce the wage disparity and included plans to get everyone “UP” to the same wages over a few years. Our Sanitation members are covered under a National Agreement for the first time ever. To our members who are Tier II, Temps., Flex Temps., SSO’s, etc. you have not been forgotten, our UAW Negotiators are continuing to work on a plan to get everyone to the next level, whether it be hired permanently or wage increases. We do know your issues and are working hard for you. The fact of the matter is these companies like keeping these issues in the forefront of our member’s minds; it creates separation in our Unions. Right to Work is just another tool to divide the membership even farther apart, not only do we have the wage disparity and different job classifications, but now we have to deal with members who wish to opt out of paying dues. I implore you to not let this happen and ask that if you have questions about “Right to Work” please get the facts of the damage that can be caused by opting out. The possibility exists that if enough people opt out that these companies will not recognize the UAW as a bargaining representative, if this happens hold on tight, because these companies can cut your wages, benefits, raid retirement funds, and even fire you from your job as an at will employee. You will have NO RIGHTS. I ask that if you have questions please contact your Union Officers at the Hall, the facts are out there and we will be glad to help get you the information you need. I will be happy to sit down and chat with you or even come out to the plants to discuss these issues. I cannot express to you the importance of your decision on this matter and it cannot wait until September to get the information out to our members. We are having the 1st Annual Irish Extravaganza at the Hall on Saturday March 14th, tickets are $10 each or $15 at the door. We have two Celtic bands, a Bagpiper, DJ, and a Scottish Highland dance troupe on the bill for the night, and we are including a few vendors to sell their wares too. This should be an entertaining event with something for everyone to enjoy whether you are Irish or not. Please come on out support the entertainment and support your Local Recreation Committee event. In closing I would like to remind everyone that February is Black History Month and is a time to reflect on all the struggles for equality that people have given their lives for, it is a time to celebrate the perseverance and knowledge that the African/American Community has given to us all in order to make this world a better place. Racism is still alive in our communities whether it is due to skin color, religion, gender, or culture. We are all smarter than this and if we just took a moment to walk in our Brothers and Sisters shoes it would open our eyes to tolerance for human beings. We all don’t have to hold hands and sing together but a little respect and tolerance goes along way. Remember we have all been discriminated against in our lives and I’m sure it wasn’t a good feeling for any of us. Until next time be safe and most importantly continue to be your Brothers and Sisters keepers.
I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and may 2015 be a prosperous one for us all. I am going to keep things short for this article and remind all of you about the item we have in front of us. This year is, as most of you know, a contract year for the Big Three and with that is also the first time Right to Work (for less) comes into effect. I urge you all to remain vigilant in paying your Union Dues. We have several events coming in the next few months, including the White Shirt Day Celebration to be held in February at UAW Local 651. The 27th Annual UAW Local 659 Bowling Tournament will be held February 21 at Richfield Lanes and we are having the first-ever Annual Irish Extravaganza at the Hall Saturday March 14. Tickets are available at the Hall or online at www.Roaneband.com. We will be featuring two Celtic bands and a DJ, so it should be a great time. On a personal note, my first grandchild, Maddox, was born January 7 and I would like to thank everyone for the good wishes bestowed upon me and my family, everyone is healthy and well. Until next time, please be safe and continue to be your Brother's and Sister's keeper as we hopefully move into warmer temperatures and spring.
I am looking forward to start a volunteer list for the UAW-United Way Ramp Building Program. This Program builds access ramps for people in our community at little or no cost to them. We are looking to keep a volunteer list between the United Way, Locals 598, 599 and 659 of people who might be interested in helping. Who knows, even if you don't have building skills, you may pick some up by helping with this project. If you are interested, just call the Hall and give your name and phone number. I would like to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of the membership, and please remember there is no UAW without YOU. I would especially like to thank the Officers and Staff for their continued service. Donna and Natasha are always there to get the job done, Reggie and Tim are steadfast in their commitment to our Membership, and Duane has really risen to the occasion with Debbie Carswell's Retirement. I look forward to continuing to work as your Vice President with this Leadership team in place and really believe we are making a difference in getting the voice of the people of this Local heard. As we enter into 2015, please remember our existing contract expires in September. I have been involved in the Sub Council Meetings and have seen some of the resolutions submitted by our membership. I will continue to be a voice for this membership as a delegate to Sub Council #5 (formerly know as Sub Council #6) and have no issue with having the courage to fight for our Local and the betterment of the membership. We are all in this together and without solidarity, rest assured, we will lose. We already have the deck stacked against us with so many worker categories; temps, flex temps, SSO's, Tier II, etc. and now if you do not realize, anyone hired after 2008 will not get a retirement. They will get some form of company-match 401(k), and a limited benefits package, but will be able to achieve full wage in their job category. In my opinion, this just is not good enough. We all need to stay focused on being our Brother's and Sister's keepers, to bring everyone to the same table to eat the same meal. I know the frustration of working with someone doing the same job as you, but you receiving less pay, been there, done that. The companies associated with this Local are all healthy and making money. We all gave during the bankruptcy of GM; it affected our IPS-TOP people and our UAW-GM people. It is time we get made whole again and get our piece of the pie. I say this not as being greedy like the 1% of the wealthy, but from the standpoint that all workers should have enough to be able to raise a family and be able to have hopes and dreams of a better life for their children and grandchildren. As I mention Solidarity and the contract, remember we are a "right-to-work for less" state and the upcoming contract will allow our members to choose not to pay their union dues. Don't fall into the trap. Just like what I mentioned earlier, think about how someone working right next to you who pays their dues thinks about you who chooses not to. If enough people stop paying their dues, then the companies can (and will), not recognize the UAW as a bargaining agent for the membership. When and if this happens, you can bet the people who stopped paying their dues will be the first ones screaming about wages, benefits, and representation. Think about it. You work for say twenty years for a company to find out you now work for ten dollars an hour, you have no benefits and if you don't like it there are twenty people in line for your job. Sound familiar? You don't have far to look - 1936 Flint, Michigan. It is a proven fact history repeats itself because people forget. Take a moment to think about it. It may seem extreme, but we have been there before, lest we forget. On a more positive note, a few months ago, Lansing Delta and Flint Truck Operations accepted referrals from their employees at the respective sites and have hired a few workers. The North American Weld & Tool Center (formerly Flint Tool & Die) has also just signed language and should be taking referrals from their employees for possible upcoming hourly opportunities. I would like to thank our member from Flint Engine South, Brandy O'Brien, for taking the time to purchase 186 American-made toys for our upcoming General Membership Meeting. Brandy and her family did not want any recognition for their deed, but I wanted to give it anyway. Because they get it, they take the time to make sure they purchase American-made, and they service a need in our community, and they support the Union. These are the exact ideals that our beloved Union was founded on and I just want to say, "thank you" for making me proud to be your Vice President. The UAW Local 659 Recreation Committee recently met for the 2015 planning meeting and I would like to share some of the exciting events we will be having in 2015. As previously mentioned, we will be having the 3rd Annual UAW Night at the Joe trip on January 18th, 2015 with money needing to be in at the Hall by January 9, 2015. The Local 659 Bowling Tournament will be held in late February or early March (date to be determined). We will be having the first-ever Irish Extravaganza at the Hall on Saturday March 14, 2015 with two Irish-Celtic Bands, a bagpipist, and DJ. Keep an eye on the Searchlight for more upcoming information. We will once again be selling Ren-faire tickets at the Hall for a discounted rate to our members starting in July. We WILL be going to a Tigers game this summer sometime in late July or early August. These are just some of the events we have planned to promote fun and fellowship with our Union Brothers and Sisters. Before I end this article, I would like to send out a few New Year's wishes to a few of our Members: President Reggie Smith, a golf handicap below 10; Recording Secretary Tim Duplanty the ability to finish all 9 (not 8) holes; Financial Secretary Duane Ballard the full knowledge of the F2 Key; Secretary Donna Howd, shares of stock in 5 Hour Energy; Bookkeeper Natasha Fuller 4.0 in your college classes, and retired Fin. Sec. Debbie Carswell, the patience to put up with Muggs during your Retirement. This is just a portion of the list that I will continue next month. Until next time, may you and your families have a blessed Holiday Season and prosperous New Year. To all of our members whether active or retired, no matter where you are, take a moment to reflect on this great Country of ours and the sacrifices make to keep it that way. Until Next time...
The Elections are over and boy did we take a beating. Many people stayed home and didn’t bother to vote, with over 625,000 registered democratic voters in Michigan that did not vote. As most of you know Mark Schauer only lost the Gubernatorial Race by 120,000 votes. Some quick numbers from the election: 18-29 years olds only 13% voted, Snyder carried the female vote by 1%, and Snyder also carried our Senior Citizens by 1%. I know we have heard it time and time again the quote by Walter Reuther “From the ballot box to the bread box” but it rings so truly, hold on to your rear ends these next few years, for Snyder has already decided to give us a choice on the upcoming ballot on whether we want to pay more for plates and licensing or more in gas tax. I recently attended the United Way Open House for their new offices in downtown Flint. As part of the festivities a check was presented for $18,000 on behalf of several of our UAW Locals and GMCCA Plants in the Region. I would like to send out a heartfelt Thank You to the members of UAW Local 651 and especially to our UAW Local 659 members at Swartz Creek CCA. The members of CCA Swartz Creek should be used as a template for our community service, they have a structured plan of events going on just about every Thursday throughout the year to benefit local charities such as the United Way, Breast Cancer, The Woman’s Shelter and the list goes on. I don’t want to leave out any of our members throughout the Local in saying Thank You for what you do, but I feel the folks at CCA have gone over and above the bar. The GM/UAW Sub council meetings took place in Dearborn Michigan in October where we elected our top negotiating committee for Skilled Trades. Our Region and Flint areas are well represented as Danny Reyes President of Local 599 was elected chairman of the committee, Paul Brown of Lansing Local 602 was elected Top Negotiator Maintenance, and our very own Alex Ortiz was elected to Alt. Top negotiator Engineering. I will continue to keep you updated on reports from the upcoming Sub council meetings in January and May as we march toward negotiations for the 2015 National Agreement. UAW/GM Department VP Cynthia Estrada also addressed Sub Council #6 on both days and let us know she is working on our behalf to have GM remove the Recall loss from our profit sharing equation, we do not know if there will be any type of adjustment at this time but we are working towards that goal. We are also taking Resolution Forms for changes to the National Contract; we ask that you please submit your resolution forms to the Hall before December 5th, 2104. Just a reminder that on December 14th, 2014 we will be having a General Membership Meeting at 1pm with our Region 1-D Director Gerald Kariem as the guest speaker. We ask that you bring a toy in for Toys for Tots for this meeting. We also have our Xmas for the Children happening here at our Local on December 7th from 1pm to 4pm and our 3rd Annual UAW Night at the Joe, Red Wings Bus trip happening on January 18th. More information on these events can be found in this issue of the Searchlight or by calling the Hall. Until next time, please keep our Veterans close to your heart and prayers and to our Snowbirds and retirees enjoy it, you deserve it.
Let me start by reminding everyone to get out and vote. Not only is it our responsibility as Americans, but it is also directly related to our pocket-books. If the "One-Term Nerd" gets re-elected, hold on to your rear ends because he definitely has plans to break our beloved Union. I was told a statement recently that if you sit and ponder it really makes you think about our financial status in this world. The statement was "that someone who is truly wealthy doesn't have to wake up and go to work each day." Now we get our Union-negotiated vacation time and days off, but what this statement means is there is not any of our membership who is wealthy. The reason I bring this statement to you is that if you think you're wealthy, you think you're a Republican, then I think you are out of your mind. The Koch Brothers, Dick DeVos, and Rick Snyder don't give a hoot about your thoughts. Get on the team that fights for you at work, in your community, and helps pave the way for the working man. I would like to once again thank our Retirees for their diligent work with the phone bank at the Hall. I would like to thank everyone for their help and support of the United Way Campaign throughout our Local. The monies donated will go to very good use in our community and will help to support our UAW/United Way Ramp Program, which built 43 ramps this year. We have a plethora of events upcoming this fall and into 2015. On October 26th, we will be having the United Union Label Coalition Pancake Breakfast. November 8th, we will be having the 3rd Annual USA-made Craft Show. December 7th, will be the Annual Christmas with Santa. All of these events will take place at the Hall and more information can be found in this and future issues of the Searchlight. We have set the date for the 3rd Annual UAW Night at the Joe and it will be January 18, 2015. Once again, the price will be $50, which will include the ticket, t-shirt, bus ride to the game and I'm sure your Vice-President will come up with some goodie bags. Last year, we took three buses and this year I have reserved four with an option for five. You can sign up at the Hall until January 9th, but please do not wait as once we pass three buses it will be a wait list until we fill the 4th and 5th buses respectively. Until next time, please enjoy the fall colors and weather for it won't be long before we will be shoveling and cursing Mother Nature for the bitter cold. I wish our Snowbirds safe travel to their destinations and see you in the spring.
Brothers and Sisters, I would like to start by offering my condolences to the Petkoff family. A great husband, father, Friend and Union Brother, George Petkoff recently passed after a battle with cancer. George touched many lives here at the Hall, as he was the gentleman who opened up the auditorium for rentals and cleaned up afterwards. George's wit and willingness to help will be greatly missed. I would like to offer my personal apology to the membership and especially our retirees. The lack of a Labor Day remembrance in Flint was a travesty and goes against everything this great Union is about. I make this promise to you that this will not ever happen again as long as I am tenured at this Hall. We only have a few Sitdowners still living and must remember where we came from, lest we go back and with politicians like Snyder we are not far off from returning to those days. We are once again taking orders for American-Made/Union-Made/Union-Embroidered shirts at the Hall. Prices vary depending on size and style ordered. Please contact me, if you would be interested in ordering. I would like to share some of the upcoming events happening in or around the Local, including our 3rd Annual 659 Craft Show happening Saturday, November 8th. More information can be found on our webpage, Facebook, or by calling the Hall. We are having an All-U-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the Union Label Committee on Sunday, October 26th and the Annual UAW-GM-United Way Dinner on Saturday, October 11th, where we will be giving away the 2014 Chevy Silverado for United Way. Tickets for the truck raffle can be purchased from your Community Service representatives for $20 each. By the way, the truck was built in Flint with UAW 598 labor and the sheet metal and dies came from UAW Local 659 members. Just a reminder to our surviving spouses of our Retiree Chapter out there. You must pay Union Dues to the Retiree Chapter and you must have a chapter membership card in order to attend the Retiree Chapter events. I want to clear up some misconceptions floating around out there, our Union is not perfect, and we have not gotten out in front of some things that have happened in the past. We continue to work on issues such as Tier II workers getting to Tier I. We continue to work on language to protect our temporary workers who pay dues and may not get the representation they deserve. It seems that most of our employers believe we are all "temps" and we still get treated as second class citizens. These items are not plant floor issues or even Local issues, many of these issues need to be taken care of by the National Contract and it is my understanding that they are at the top of the list for 2015. Remember the UAW is not just an organization for workers' rights. It is also and just as importantly an organization for social justice. This includes issues of racial equality, helping the poor, and political stands. The dues you pay help this community and you should be proud to be a dues paying UAW member. In closing, I know the political ads are running full force right now and most of them are twisted half-truths. I challenge you to get involved and take time to peruse the truthful information available to you about the candidates. Make your own decision on who you feel best represents you as a Union Member, as a retiree, or as a middle class citizen. I'm sure if you make the effort and get out and vote, YOU will make a difference. Until next time, I am proud to announce that my wife and I will become grandparents for the first time in January to what we hope will be a healthy and happy grandson. Until Next Time...
I would like to take a moment to thank the Retirees of our Local for all of their time and effort put into the latest phone banking campaign. Our Retirees understand the importance of getting the word out and of getting out to vote, even in a primary election. They were here at the Hall for several weeks making phone calls and were steadfast even when getting sworn at, hung up on, and/or being treated with disrespect. I often wonder if my generation of UAW comprehends the ties between "the ballot box and the bread box." I recently was a victim of a fantastic situation. We were having a benefit for a Local 659 Retiree who needed a little help with medical expenses. I ordered some food from a local business and when I went in to pick it up the manager proceeded to tell me it was paid for and told me the following story. He told me that the Aunt of an infant that passed away 6 months ago called and wanted to "Pay it Forward," so she paid for the food order. The infant was Nash Schupbach and the family wants to make a positive out of a tragedy. They started a Facebook page called "When Nash Smiled" to promote random acts of kindness in honor of him and his smile. So I ask you Brothers and Sisters who are blessed to have a good Union job to pass it on, pay it forward, and keep Nash and his family in your hearts. I recently had the pleasure of attending, the Flint Assembly Open House, held on the 12th of August. All of our GM plants were represented by our UAW Members detailing the different things that are done in each of the respective plants and how UAW Labor plays their part. It was a good event that was open to the community to promote what is going on in our community. As promised, tickets for the 2014 Michigan Renaissance Festival are available at the Hall for a discounted rate of $15.50 for adults and $8.50 for children. Plan on spending a full day at the Festival due to all of the entertainment and fun to be had. Look for your Vice-President, "The Cardinal" at the Big Guinness Pub tending to the needs of the band "Roane" on most weekends. I would like to thank all of you who took the time to vote in primary election and encourage you to take the time to vote in our upcoming Federal Elections in November. It's time to boot Snyder out of the State Capitol. Just a reminder of a couple of upcoming events: September 6th is the Annual FTD Golf Scramble for Old Newsboys and September 21st is the same for CCA. We will be having the 3rd Annual UAW Local 659 Craft Show in November also. Until next time, please take the time to be your Brother's and Sister's Keeper. Everyone deserves to go come home from work the same way they left their families. GM says safety is their overriding priority, but sometimes it seems to be only when it benefits them.
I hope that everyone enjoyed the 4th of July Holiday and remembers why we celebrate it. It is a day to celebrate our independence, our freedoms, and the American way of life. I think that we take things for granted sometimes or just get so busy in our lives that we just look at it as a day off. We need to slow down sometimes and remember where we came from, not only as Americans but also as Union Brothers and Sisters. Take a moment to know the history of the Union, what people fought and died for because of their steadfast beliefs. Did you know the 40-hour work week, overtime, and worker safety programs were all turned into National Laws? UAW workers are some of the smartest people in the world. If you want something done, done right the first time, and done in the shortest amount of time possible, call a UAW Worker. The companies really take for granted the effectiveness of our UAW workforce and we, as UAW members tend to take for granted our UAW-negotiated benefits. We must all stand in Solidarity on the dues increase, we all must stand in Solidarity with our Union Brothers and Sisters, whether they be from ASCFME, IBEW, Teamsters, MEA or any other Union Branch. The fact is standing up with our Union Brothers and Sisters makes our small voice a very large one to be heard over the likes of the Boehners, Kochs, and Snyders of the world. We must stick together, remember where we came from, and be willing to do what is necessary to not go back. We have done some more updating at the Hall over the July Shutdown, including repairing all of the lights in the basement and replacing carpet in the Dues Office. We are looking into two ways to save the Hall money, like most recently changing our refuse handling service for our dumpster to save $300 each month and retain the same level of service. We are getting estimates to repair the parking lot, as there are certain areas that could cause us some liabilities, and looking into replacing the sign in front with a new digital unit. We have some upcoming events I would like to share with you. First, we will once again have discounted Michigan Renaissance Festival tickets available to our members at the Hall. The tickets should be available at the time of printing this article, but please call the Hall to check availability. We will not be having a Tigers game trip this year, due to ticket policy of their organization, but we will definitely be having one for next season in June. We will be having our 2nd Annual UAW Local 659 Motorcycle Fun Run on August 17th to coincide with the Michigan State HOG Rally that weekend in Birch Run. More information can be found in this issue of the Searchlight. In closing, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer, take time to enjoy your families and children or grandchildren. I would also like to send out condolences to the Sanders, Judd, Galey, and Escue families for their recent losses. Until next time, keep a smile on your face, even if you're not happy. It'll make people wonder what your up to!!
I would like to start by thanking the membership for allowing me to represent this Local at the 36th Annual Constitutional Convention. It was a great learning experience. For those of you who do not know, the active members' dues increase to 2.5 hours a month passed after an almost three-hour debate on the convention floor. The other major park of business that was handled was the merger of Regions 1-C and 1-D. Local 659 is now part of Region 1-D with a new Director, Gerald Kariem. Gerald is very approachable and I think he will be the perfect person to lead us in this new direction. He has pledged to keep Region 1-C's vibrant history alive while moving in a new direction, as the mantra of the convention was "It is our time." Dennis Williams was elected the new UAW International President, along with our past Region 1-C Director Norwood Jewell, Cindy Estrada, and Jimmy Settles as vice presidents with Gary Casteel as secretary-treasurer. Dennis has stated "No More Concessions" and pledged to get back some of the benefits we have lost in the upcoming contract negotiations. On a sad note, it is time to say goodbye to one of our Local Officers, Debbie Carswell, Financial Secretary. It has been a pleasure working with Debbie over the last several years and if anyone is deserving of the Walter Reuther Award, it is her. I appreciate everyone's attendance at the most recent Joint Council Meeting and Member Appreciation Picnic. The rain held off and it was a good time to share congratulations with our newly elected members and feel the spirit of Unionism. The Local will have Ren Faire tickets available at a discounted rate for our members once again this year. The tickets should be available around the second week in July. Please call in advance to make sure they have arrived. The Local 659 Recreation Committee is putting together a recipe book as a fundraiser and would appreciate any recipes you would like to share, to be published in the cookbook. We ask that you drop off or send your recipes to the Local: Attn. Rec Com. Cookbook, and please include your name, plant and contact information. We will also be having our 2nd Annual Motorcycle Fun Run for the Local August 17, 2014. I would also like to invite you all to the 8th Annual United Way Car/Motorcycle Show being held at Auto City Speedway on July 13, 2014. It is free for spectators and registration for vehicles is only $10, which includes a dash plaque for the first 100 vehicles. More information on these events can be found in the Searchlight or at the Hall. In closing, I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July. Please remember what it has taken to keep us free. Thank a Veteran for their service you might be pleasantly surprised by their reaction. Thank you for all your support and I am looking forward to serving this membership for the next three years and beyond. It is "Our Time," which to me means it is time once again for the "Rank and File" to let their voices be heard and help the International Union understand what they need to do to support the "Union Worker." The Union is based on the democratic principles and EVERYONE has a voice. Until next time...
All I can say is "wow," what a busy month it has been. Congratulations to all of you who won your various elections. To those of you who did not I ask that you not be discouraged and continue on with your endeavors with the UAW. Things happen for reasons beyond our control and just because it didn't happen this time, just means the timing was not right. I recently had the pleasure of attending Flint Metal Fabricating Division's Diversity Day Celebration on April 24th. I cannot tell you enough what a wonderful event this was. The music was great, the food was absolutely fantastic and it was great to be able to sit down with our members and hear your concerns. I also had the pleasure of attending GMCCA's Soup Cook-Off on the same day and it was also an awesome event. There were several varieties of soups and stews and all of the money raised went to charity. Our members at GMCCA have set the bar high for charity events. We may be small in numbers, but it seems we are always having different events to help our community, be it soup cook-offs, bake sales, popcorn sales, or any number of events. It makes me proud to represent not only the members at GMCCA, but all of our Local 659 Brothers and Sisters who time and time again give monetarily and of their time to help this community. UAW Local 659 recently hosted it's 1st Annual Project Healthy Living Health Fair at the Local on Wednesday, May 7th. It was a great opportunity to network with the people who offer services in our community such as the United Way, Eldercare, Red Cross and many others. It was a day to give back to our community, with Spartan Foods donating food supplies, Project Healthy Living and Quest Laboratories donating medical testing and a great big "thank you" goes out to the students from Baker College Medical Assisting and Massage Therapy Programs who donated their time for the event. The United Way will be having their 8th Annual Cruzin' for the United Way Car/Motorcycle show July 13th at Auto City Speedway. It will start in Metal Fab's parking lot, with a rolling cruise to Auto City. More information can be received at the Hall. For those of you who went on the 2nd Annual UAW Night at the Joe trip, we have picture discs available at the Hall. If you need genuine GM parts at a discount you can check out www.GMEmployeePartsDiscount.com. This site is run by a GM Dealer that still believes in taking care of GM/UAW employees and will ship the parts to your door, or you can pick them up at their local warehouse. Now it's time to hit you all with the politics part of this article, but it will benefit us all to the the man I am speaking of into office. The man I am speaking of is Gubernational Candidate Mark Schauer. I recently attended the press conference for the announcement of the UAW endorsement of Mark and a subsequent following event at a local Church on the North End of Flint. I have to say, the TV commercials that Mark's group has put out do not do him justice. Mark has so much more personality and passion than these ads show. He is the son of a Union Teacher and a Union Nurse, and if that is not enough, he is also a card-carrying Union Laborer. Mark knows the struggles of the middle class and has a plan ready to grow the economy from the middle down, not the trickledown effect that never seems to trickle past the millionaires. I believe Mark will make a great Governor not only for the UAW, but for the people of Michigan. I would like to extend my condolences to the family of our Retiree Chairman John McCann and his wife Annie. They just buried their 2nd child within a year. Take a moment to realize how blessed we are and tell your family members you love them. Not only will it make their day, it will help them realize how much you mean to them. Until next time, enjoy the warm weather and remember to keep an eye out for motorcycles.
I once again would like to start with my condolences going out to the Tremblay Family. Nova Tremblay, die maker at Flint Tool & Die, passed away April 11th. I had the pleasure of working with Nova for several years and she possessed an interminable spirit and a huge heart. Nova ran the coffee pots and was continuously donating to causes inside and outside the plant. If you ever wanted anything done, you could pass it on to her and she would be like a pit bull. Once she got her teeth sunk in, look out because she would take it all the way to the top. She will be missed even by those who didn't know her well because Nova did many things to help out the people on the floor that they may never even know about. I am sure she is in Heaven giving God some ideas on how he could run things just a little bit better. I would like to thank the Membership of this great Union for your support in the recent elections. I believe this is the first time ever that an entire staff of Executive Officers of this Local has run unopposed. These first three years have flown by and I am looking forward to serving you as your Vice-President these next three. Rest assured, we will continue to hold ourselves to the highest level of integrity and dedication to our membership in accordance with the morals and ethics of our Constitution. I am continuing to work on putting together a grassroots effort with our active membership to support a separate fund to regain our retirees Christmas Bonus. More to come on this as we take the steps of presenting to the Region to get their permission and approval. I would like to thank the Membership for your participation in our recent Local 659 events. The 27th Annual Bowling Tournament was held on March 15th with 19 teams of five participating. On March 23rd, we held the 2nd Annual Local 659 UAW Night at the Joe with attendance for the event tripling from last year. We were able to take three buses to the Red Wings Game this year for a total of 168 people. I would encourage you to participate in your Local Union events and if you have any ideas of something you might like us to offer. Please give me a call and plant the seed. We have partnered with Project Healthy Living to have a Health Fair here at the Hall on May 7th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. We will be offering health screenings at no charge and many other providers will be here to answer questions and sign people up for the service they may need. We will have Quest Diagnostics, United Way, Riverfront Hearing and Optical, My Bridges -Helping Hands Michigan, Auburn Counseling, Be the Match and many more. Please invite family and friends out to attend, get health smart and maybe prevent someone from passing away. In closing, as I sit in my office at the Hall writing this, I am constantly being reminded of the construction going on across the road. Although the construction is not directly for our Local Membership, it still makes one feel good that GM sometimes remembers the value of our hard working UAW Members in Flint. UAW workers know how to get the job done no matter what obstacle is put in front of them and I am PROUD to be a UAW worker. We have some big decisions to make in the upcoming months. Don't forget the history of the UAW. So many of the items the UAW fought for are taken for granted by our members and the public. If we forget where we came from, chances are we'll go back.
It is a sad day for this membership as we have lost a good member and a great person. Keith Kaupp, a Die Maker from Plant 38, lost his battle with cancer on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Keith was a character and always had a smile on his face, even when working at the plant as he was going through chemotherapy. On a related note of loss, I would like to wish our Financial Secretary Debbie Carswell and our Retirees Chapter President John McCann good luck with their retirements from Union Offices. Debbie has been the best Financial Secretary this Local has ever had. She is a credit to our membership and will be sorely missed. John has been an asset to the membership and especially the Executive Officers. John has never been afraid to say what is on his mind for better or worse and we have had many passionate discussions over the years, but to say John is a Union Man is an understatement. John has done everything in his power to help our Retirees and has lead his board to help with many of the projects we have done at the hall. I would also like to thank outgoing Chairman of Metal Fab, Don Reinhart. Don has done many good things for Metal Fab and this local. Don has decided to step down from Union office but will continue to work in the plant and keep an eye on things. Once again election time is upon us and I would like to wish all who have signed up good luck in your endeavors. Even if you do not win, it pleases me that you would take the time to get involved with your Union. To all of you please remember that this is your union, you have a voice and it is a democratic process we follow to handle our business. We have had an overwhelming response to our Aflac Group Insurance offered to our membership. Al Maten has been in most of the plants to talk to our members and has received positive feedback on the benefits offered and the pricing they are offered at. There is still time to sign up for Aflac before the open enrollment closes so if you are interested Al is at the hall every Wednesday until further notice. This is an open letter to the membership, retirees included, if anyone has an issue with what we do or do not do as Executive Officers please call or come into the hall and talk to one of us. If you send an anonymous letter to the Officers, as far as I am concerned you do not stand behind your own convictions and therefore the letter holds no value. We are here to support the membership that is our job as defined by the bylaws and constitution of the UAW. If you will not give us a chance to talk with many of our members about decisions that have been made and every one of them thanked me for taking the time to do so, whether we agreed or disagreed. In closing, I would like to thank the membership for their support over the past three years, it has been a great learning experience, and I am looking forward to continue serving you in the future.
I recently had the pleasure of once again attending the Annual White Shirt Day Celebration hosted by UAW Local 599. It was a wonderful day to remember what our Brothers and Sisters did for us to promote social justice and equality. Among the speakers were Region 1-C Director and International UAW Vice-President Nominee Norwood Jewell, current director of Region 1-D and Region-1C/D Director Nominee Gerald Kariem, and Michigan Gubernatorial Candidate Mark Schauer. Mr. Schauer was quite impressive. The television ad that has run for him the past few weeks was very dry and does not show the passion and charisma Mark has for politics and especially for the Unions. Mark's mother was a nurse and his father was a teacher, both Union members, and Mark is a card carrying, proud Union Member. We need to remember this at election time and get Rick "the snake" Snyder out of office and put someone in who will help and respect the middle class and our retirees. February is Black History Month and we are having several events to celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans throughout the ages. I was able to watch a program on WJRT Channel 12 called "The Lessons of Haiti" (pronounced Hay-Tee) on a recent Sunday afternoon and I was educated on the deplorable things that politicians in power did to keep African-Americans from achieving the "American Dream" as recently as the mid to late '70's. Places such as Durham, North Carolina, Black Wall Street, and Tulsa Oklahoma were cited in this program and the atrocities that took place to claim the lives of prominent leaders in the civil rights communities. I would recommend watching this program just to see what African-Americans have gone through and take the time to think about one thing; what if I didn't fit in? I have seen it and experienced it. What if the roles were reversed and you were told you are not as smart as someone just because the color of your skin or your cultural beliefs? Don't be shrouded in your little bubble world. Racism is still alive in this world today not only by color of skin and cultural beliefs, but rights in your own homes. My wife is an intelligent, hard-working woman with an Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees. She will outwork most men not only mentally but physically as well, but in this day and age she still receives 20% less in pay compared to a man in the same job. The UAW is an organization built on equality and social justice and I ask you, isn't it time to come together in Solidarity to fight for our lifestyle, to help erase social injustices, and promote equality? Ask yourself what you can do as a proud Union Member to help your Brothers and Sisters. It can be small, like attending a unit meeting and using our democratic process to give your opinion. If every one of us got up off our rear ends and did one small thing, just think what we can get accomplished. In closing, this is the best Local in the UAW and home of the Sit-Downers and I am proud to represent and support the membership to the best of my ability. Until next time, I hope our "Snowbird" retirees are enjoying warm temperatures in Florida and elsewhere, you've earned it.
I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays as best they could between ice storms, loss of power, and several inches of snow. I would like to thank the Union-represented Utility Workers who braved the elements to work 22-hour shifts to restore power. I would also like to take time to thank all of our members who came out to support our brother, Keith Kaupp, with the bowling fundraiser at B's Bowling. Through contributions and the fundraiser, over $13,000 was raised to help Keith and his family with expenses for his upcoming surgery in Boston. Once again our "greedy, lazy" Union Brothers and Sisters came through as we always do by helping in our communities. I say "greedy, lazy" because it seems with all of the work we have done to correct issues with "perceived quality," it seems that people still can not comprehend that the Union is an organization for social injustice and workers' rights. There has been so much work done by our members and we are the ones who always give back to our communities through monetary and time donations because we are able. I want to personally thank each and everyone of you for your time and efforts. I am proud to call you my Union Brothers and Sisters. I want to inform you of some upcoming events that will be taking place in the next few months at or around our Local. March 15, 2014 will be the Annual UAW Local 659 5-person Bowling Tournament held at Richfield Lanes. Tentatively scheduled for March 23, 2014 will be the 2nd Annual UAW "Night at the Joe" Red Wings Game. We have 100 tickets reserved and two buses this year so please invite family and friends. Ticket cost will be $50 and includes bus ride, game ticket and t-shirt. We are also scheduling a Project Healthy Living Health and Wellness Fair at our Local on May 7, 2014. This event will be co-sponsored by Local 659, ABC Network, and Quest Diagnostics. It will be another opportunity to help the impoverished people of our community get their health checked, including blood, eye and hearing checks with several local charitable service providers on hand to offer their much-needed services. I hope you enjoyed the MLK observance of another Union negotiated holiday and please take the time to remember what a great man Martin Luther King was and the things he did to make this country a better place to live for us all.
I would like to start my article by clearing up some misconceptions brought to us by the media. The first item I would like to speak to is the reported dues increase, there has been talk of increasing our dues from 2 hrs. to 2.5 hrs. This has been talked about at our International Union, but please rest assured this will not happen unless it is voted on at a Convention of a national level. The reason this has been put on the table is in order to grow the Strike Fund to better leverage our resources to bargain a better contract for our UAW Membership. There is also a rumor floating around out there that Region 1-C will be joining with Region 1-D. This too has been suggested by our International Union as a cost cutting measure, this also will not happen until it is voted upon at a National Convention. The UAW has, and will always be a democratic organization and even with the media putting their spin on things nothing of this magnitude will happen without a vote by the membership or their elected delegates.
I would also like to inform the membership about a few upcoming events happening around our Local. One of our members, Keith Kaup, a Die maker at Plant 38 has been diagnosed with and is continuing to fight cancer. The Plant and his family are having a fundraiser on January 11th at B’s Bowling to raise funds for housing and rehabilitation after his upcoming surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Keith is a great guy and up until a few weeks ago he has continued to work even while receiving Chemotherapy and Radiation. Please take a moment to attend or look for the flyer in this issue and make a donation to help our fellow Union Brother get back in good health and please keep Keith and his family in your prayers. I am currently trying to finalize the date for our Second Annual UAW Local 659 Red Wings Trip, more to come as we put the trip together. We have set the date for the Annual UAW Local 659 5 Person Bowling Tournament, it will be held at Richfield Bowl on March 15th, flyers will in the Plants soon.
I would like to Thank the Recreation Committee, the volunteers, and Mr. & Mrs. Claus for all of their help with the Annual Christmas with the Kids held on December 8th at the Hall. We had over 200 kids who all received a toy, stuffed animal, and lunch. They were able to do some craft projects and watch movies and it was just a great time had by all. I’m not sure who had the better time, the kids or our volunteers. The Holidays are upon us once again and it seems like the time just goes by faster and faster. I would like to take the time to Thank our Membership for your support over the last year; it has been with great pride and pleasure that I have had the opportunity to represent you as your elected Vice President. I would like to also Thank our Executive Officers and Executive Board, although we have differences of opinion from time to time, we can always come together for the betterment of the membership. I cannot Thank our Retirees Chapter enough, without their experience and conviction this Local would be a shadow of what it is now. We have so much to be Thankful for as UAW Members and sometimes we take for granted the benefits we receive. Keep in mind there are people working every day outside and inside our factories trying to take these benefits away from us. Take a moment to remember the people who died for us to be able to live the life we do, not only our Veterans but our Union Brothers and Sisters, for if we forget we will be fighting these same battles again. I am a PROUD UAW member. In Closing, I wish you all Happy Holidays and a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year.
Yours in Solidarity
It seems the cold might be here to stay and with that Consumers Energy is standing with their hand out. I would like to let you know, thanks to Assistant Prosecutor Vikki Bayeh-Haley, that there are forms available here at the Hall for anyone who is over the age of 65 that will keep Consumers from turning off your utilities in the winter. It is a simple form to fill out that lets the energy company know a senior is living in the home. A thank you goes out to all who helped with the 2nd Annual Local 659 Craft Show held on November 9th. We had 35 vendors and a lot of early Christmas shopping was done. I would also like to invite everyone to the Local 659 Annual Xmas with Santa happening on Sunday, December 8th from 1-4 p.m. at the Hall. I wish to thank all of our Veteran's who have served their fellow man by keeping these United States free. The cost of freedom is high and even though we celebrate Veteran's Day, we should celebrate our Veterans every day. We are once again finishing some updates to the Hall. In the past few weeks, we have had the Auditorium painted, replaced the north kitchen wall that was rotting due to roof leaks that we corrected last year and updated the outside lighting to LED. We will continue to update our Hall as we can, while being fiscally responsible to make every member proud to call 659 their home. We have some possible changes coming to Region 1-C. There is talk of a possible merger with another Region and there will be some movement of our International Officers. I ask you please do not believe the rumor mill in the plants. I assure you none of these changes will happen until they are approved by your delegates at the Constitutional Convention in June 2014. We will be transparent with the membership as we always are and will pass this information to you as it becomes truth. In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to watch the ACC video posted on the Local 659 web site. The video was made by a joint effort of our UAW members and the Penske Company to show how they have to come from almost pulling out of Flint to turning things around, using our UAW members as subject matter experts in implementing a LEAN Team initiative. Many thanks go out to our Director Norwood Jewell, Vice President Cyndi Estrada and Ruben Flores on special assignment from President Bob King's office for making this opportunity take place.
All I can say is "wow," what a busy month of September we had. I was pleased to attend the annual Cynthia Estrada Social Justice Dinner at Local 600 in Dearborn on the 20th of September. It was a chance to bend the ear of not only Cyndi, but also a few other UAW dignitaries who could offer significant help to our Local. The dinner centered on the UAW's efforts to promote social justice, from helping poor neglected children to fighting for the rights of homeowners, renters, immigrant workers, families and students. The annual Black Lake Fall School was held September 23rd - 28th. I had the chance to visit for one day, not only to pass out some well-earned paychecks, but to meet and talk to our members in attendance. I believe that no matter how much you know already, you can still learn more by attending the classes at Black Lake. My hope is to be able to get each and every one of our members a chance to attend. The United Way campaigns have kicked off in most of the plants and I encourage you to give. I have sat on the board for the Charity Dinner for several years and it is such a worthwhile cause. I would like to extend a special Thank You to our Women's and Community Service committees for their help with the campaign; especially our members from GMCCA, who have gone over and above with bake sales, popcorn sales, and hot dog sales to raise $4,900 for the YWCA women's shelter. It could not have come at a better time as they were losing their federal funding due to the government shutdown. The United Way of Genesee County Fundraiser Dinner was held October 12th at the Holy Redeemer Family Center and a great time was had by all in attendance. The food was terrific and the Celtic band that performed, named Roane, was fantastic. Wine and beer tasting from Fenton Winery were part of the festivities, along with the raffle of the Polaris UTV. The winner of the UTV was a Local 651 member with the $1,000 prize being won by Local 659 member and the $500 prize winner a Local 598 member. I cannot express my gratitude and thanks to all of our UAW membership. We, as UAW members, are the most caring and sharing people in the world and we do not get the gratitude we deserve. All the media wants to report is about us greedy UAW workers who don't do any work for the pay we receive. The people in the proper places know what YOU members do; such as the lady who has been beaten by her husband and needs a place to stay, the retiree who cannot make their medication bills for the month, or the child who gets a meal because of YOUR contributions. Walk proud my brothers and sisters, for we do support the community in which we live. Just to hit on a couple of upcoming events, we are having a United Union Label All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast here at the Hall on Sunday October 27th from 8 am until noon. Tickets are $5 and are available at the Hall. On November 9th we will be having the 2nd Annual Craft Show at the Hall from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is free and we have at least 15 tables booked already with more coming in daily. I was also proud to represent this Local at the annual V-CAP Conference held in Lansing October 1st and 2nd. I must say this was one of the best and most informational conferences I have attended. We received information on Right to Work, Workers Comp, FMLA, and a host of other programs that are being changed or dropped due to Gov. Snyder's "infinite wisdom." We were able to talk to our politicians in the area and I can't tell you enough how hard they are working for the working people of this state. On a brighter note it gives me great pleasure for a politician to say what they do and do what they say. Our Rep from the 49th District, Pam Ferris, will be holding office hours at our Local for members to come in and get their questions answered. She assures me everyone is welcome to ask legislative questions and you do not have to be from her District to participate. Please see the Searchlight for Pam's dates and times. Until next time we meet, may we all take the time to see how blessed we are for our Union and the gifts it has given our people. Until next time....
What a busy month August was for events in the region. First I would like to thank Region 1-C Women's Council for their efforts in the backpack giveaway here at the hall on August 23rd. Everything went well and the kids not only received their backpacks, but were served lunch, were able to play in a bounce house, and also the vendors in attendance were doing health checks for them. It was just another great event that shows how much we as Union workers care about our communities. I was able to attend two other meetings in August, the first being a Labor Appreciation Dinner put on by our own Congressman from the 5th District, Dan Kildee. It is refreshing to know that Dan appreciates his ties to labor and supports Unions for the rights of workers in our state. The second event I was able to attend was a consortium of labor for the United Way. The premise of the meeting was to help the United Way come up with ways to stay relevant in the community by giving feedback from organized labor. It was very interesting to hear from other Union Leadership in the area about their thoughts on the United Way and on the UAW. I would like to take a minute to list some of our upcoming events so we may get the word out to our membership and their families. On October 12th, we will be having the Annual United Way Dinner at the Holy Redeemer Family Center. Last year's event was a riot and this year's event theme is "Outdoors in Michigan." We have a fantastic Celtic/Folk band booked named "Roane" and are working on Beer and Wine tasting from Michigan producers. We are having the Union Label Pancake Breakfast at Local 659 on October 27th from 8 am until 12 pm, and the Local 659 2nd Annual Craft Show will take place on November 9th at the hall. If anyone is interested in being a vendor for the show, please contact the hall. We are continuing to invest in the hall by repairing and updating as the budget allows. In the past few months, we have waxed and buffed floors, rebuilt restroom valves, installed gates at the pavilion to allow parking on the ball field for overload, and are working up estimates for painting the auditorium and fixing the north wall in the kitchen. We are investing in the future of our hall to keep it viable for generations to come. Right to work is on our horizon, but we can still fight the good fight to protect worker' rights and social injustice. We, as Union Members, can once again use our Solidarity to make sure the middle class survives. I hope to see many of you show up to your unit meetings and remember your Officers are here to support YOU, because YOU are the UNION. Until next time, stay safe and smile, even if you don't feel like it. It makes people wonder what you are up to.
First off, congratulations go out to Phil Phelps, candidate for the 49th House seat, for his primary win. We as Union Members need to support candidates that are "Labor Friendly" to help bolster our position in government. I would like to invite our membership to a couple of upcoming events that will be happening very soon. First, would be the Martin Luther King Commemorative Rally to be held August 24th in Washington D.C. Region 1-C will be sending several buses to the Rally, leaving on the 23rd of August, with a night stay over in Washington. Please contact the Region 1-C office at 810-767-0910 for more information or to reserve your spot. UAW Local 659 will be hosting the Annual Sit-Downers Breakfast that will take place at 10:30 am on Monday September 2nd, directly after the Sitdowners Memorial Labor Day Program at 9:30 am at Region 1-C. I would like to see a good showing from our membership to this event, as we are proud members of the only local in the world that can call themselves "Sitdowners." I would ask that everyone take the time to remember what these people did for us, not only for the Union benefits, but for equality, civil rights, and humanity. It is important to remember where we came from, so we don't go back again, and in this political environment we could travel backwards at an alarming pace. I would like to thank all of you who attended our Annual Fun Run held on July 21st at the pavilion and thank you to the businesses that served as our stopping points: Rocky's Great Outdoors, Shiawassee Sports Center, Jack's Place, and the Baron's MC. A special thank you goes out to Dennis Mitchell from 103.9 "The FOX" for his support on the radio and for riding in the run. It does not look as if we are going to be able to put a Tigers baseball game trip together for this season, due to the issues we are having with ability to get tickets for a group, however, the Red Wings schedule has been released for this year and we are already working on a date for the 2nd Annual Red Wings Trip. In closing, let me remind you all that due to the bylaws and austerity program, the officers are not at the hall everyday. This is to save our membership money and be fiscally responsible. Please leave a message and we will get back to you in a timely manner or talk to one of the secretaries for help, there is no need to leave belligerent messages about your elected officers, if you need to talk to me, I promise you I will call you back for whatever reason you need me for because I was elected to serve you, the membership.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I would like to remind everyone that we will be having Michigan Renaissance Tickets available for purchase at the hall at a discounted rate. Normal gate price for adults is $20.95. Our tickets drop that price to $13.50, and children's tickets are also available for $7.50. The new drinking fountain and sink in the auditorium have been finished and are leak free. We have also done some painting around the bar area. We are currently getting estimates to repaint the auditorium to make Local 659 a better place for our members. The floors in the auditorium, hall and basement were stripped and waxed over the July 4th shutdown. In closing, I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July holidays, but please remember what this day is all about. It is through the work of Veterans of our Armed Services and Active Military that we still have our independence. Independence to practice our religions, to vote in elections, to be as free as one can get in this society. Free to be unionized to protect our benefits and safety as workers, and to provide for our families. We all take for granted the sacrifices of the people who went before us; most of us look at this holiday as an extra day off to go to the lake or picnic with friends and family. I just ask that you please take a moment to thank a Veteran and take a moment to think about what we take for granted on a daily basis. Our Union Benefits were fought for by our predecessors many years ago. Some gave their lives so we could enjoy what we have today. Let us not forget where we came from, lest we may return there someday. Thank a retiree for the ground work they have laid to make our jobs easier, because it is the right thing to do. Until Next Time...
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I would like to start by offering my condolences to the McCann Family. John McCann, our retiree chapter chairperson and his wife, lost their son unexpectedly. No one should have to bury their children, but it is a fact of life in the times we live. Take time out of your life to tell your family you love them because you never know how much time we have. The 2nd Annual Summerfest was again a great success thanks to the efforts of all of our UAW-GM Employees. Congratulations go out to Dale Kildee in becoming an honorary member of the UAW and Local 659. Dale has done so many things to help the working people of this state in his fifty plus years of service that there is not enough room in this paper. We hope that his nephew Dan will follow in his footsteps and knowing him, he will. I recently attended the UAW-GM Skill Development and Training Conference in New Jersey. I was able to network with several people from both the UAW and General Motors. The keynote speakers were absolutely fantastic, intertwining different techniques and skills to help us communicate better and become better leaders. I thank the membership for allowing me to be in a position to attend this conference and hope to speak with you to tell you what I learned and pass it on to our membership. We have made arrangements for our membership to receive discounted tickets to the Michigan Renaissance Festival. They should be available at the Hall sometime around July 1st. Prices for adults will be $14.50 and children $7.50 which is quite a discount off of the $20.95 and $11.95 gate prices. We will be announcing some upcoming events for Local 659 in the coming weeks such as a motorcycle ride and a Detroit Tigers baseball game, please stay tuned to the Searchlight and our Website for upcoming details. The schools are wrapping up for the summer and the weather is getting warmer, so please be a little more diligent as you are driving by keeping an eye out for children playing and our friends on motorcycles. Stay safe this summer and enjoy the recess from the Unit and Joint Council Meetings for June, July and August. Happy Father's Day to all of our Dads out there. Until next time....
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am so pleased with the improvements that you, the membership, have allowed us to make to the Hall. We have just completed the Auditorium roof project that should last for at least twenty years. We have replaced the countertops and refrigerator in the hall, along with contracting a new janitorial service for cleanup. Del King and Executive Maintenance are our new service and so far this hall has never looked cleaner. I am seeing the spirit of pride in ownership funnel down to our membership, in that, people are commenting on the looks of our hall and go that extra step to pick up that piece of paper in the parking lot that they might have passed up before. It's a start in the right direction of getting this Local back to it's original glory. There have been a lot of things that have been, for a lack of a better term, neglected over the years and we are putting forth a great effort to fix them while being fiscally responsible. Some of our upcoming projects include parking lot repairs, replacing the drinking fountain in the auditorium, and painting the inside of the auditorium. I would like to thank everyone who attended the 1st Annual UAW Night at the Joe hockey game and bus trip. It was a fantastic time and the only complaint we had was that it was on a Monday. We will be doing it again next year on a weekend day and maybe we can get two busloads of fun instead of one. The Local 659 Recreation Committee is also working on a "poker run" in July and possibly a Tigers Bus trip in August. Keep your eyes on future issues of the Searchlight for details. We are also helping out this year at the 2nd Annual UAW-GM Summerfest to be held at Union City ball fields on Torrey Rd. June 14th and 15th. Your Vice President will be in attendance playing the music and of course, having a good time, with my fellow Union Brothers and Sisters. If you can make time to stop on out with the kids or grandchildren, say hello, and enjoy the displays and camaraderie. You can test drive GM vehicles, win prizes, and enjoy the games for the kids. Best part is it is free admission, free games and free fun!! Let me be clear, the food is not free as some of you were under the impression last year and let us know so politely. Until Next Time...
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I would like to start by sending condolences out to the Ancira family. Ron Ancira our Publicity Committee head, lost his mother this past week. We are continuing to make improvements to the hall, with a new auditorium roof scheduled to be replaced this month and updates to the bar area. I wish to thank our Retirees Chapter, as they have once again come to our aid financially by agreeing to pay $10,000 towards the replacement of the roof. I cannot thank our Retirees enough for their continued support of this Local. Each one of them have set the precedence for, and put in the hard work for us to have the benefits we do. I can only hope to be able to make them proud by our actions in the future. Our retirees have had a rough go of it as of late, with taxing their pensions, cuts to benefits, and now the possibility of raising the age for Medicare benefits. If the age of Medicare is raised, it could possibly have the effect of bankrupting VEBA Fund. If the age is raised, it would mean that VEBA would have to cover the full cost of healthcare for an extra two years for each member in that age group. Keep an eye on our government and let your senators and representatives know how you feel about legislation. If they don't hear from us, then they won't know there is an issue. It is in our hands to get active and hold them and ourselves accountable for these choices. I would like to thank our secretaries at the hall for the great job they do. Donna is a wealth of information and I invite you to visit the new UAW Local 659 website that Natasha has worked diligently on to totally revamp. They are our support network and I would appreciate it if when you visit or call the hall, please treat them with respect. If you have a frustrating issue, please do not take it out on them, save it for your Local Officers. That is what we are here for. I would like to thank our Recreation Committee for the fine job done on the Easter Egg Hunt. We had a good turnout, a little down from last year due to the weather, but still a great time. Our Red Wings Trip has sold out a full bus, plus a few extra tickets. We are also in the process of planning a motorcycle run to happen sometime in July and a Tigers Bus Trip sometime in August, more information to follow as we firm up the dates. Keep an eye on the Searchlight for upcoming details. Once again, I want to extend the invite to our membership to call your Officers if you have any issues. We cannot help with every issue, but I am sure we can point you in the right direction, or assist you to get the information you need. You elected us to this position and our job is to support this membership.
Until next time, yours in Solidarity
Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to start off by thanking the Civil Rights Committee for their outstanding program put on in February honoring the past African American Officers of our Local and our current President Reggie Smith. I had the opportunity to co-host the program and had a great time “roasting” Reggie. The food, guest speakers, and camaraderie were all without equal.
Once again, we have people leaving belligerent messages on our phone system, I would just ask that before you lower yourself to this level, please call your Executive Officers and ask them for help with your issue. I have said it many times before; we are here because of the membership and for the membership. We cannot help or support you if we do not know about your issue. I am not saying we can solve every problem, but we can listen and if we have to, agree to disagree.
Right to work is set to come into effect in March, let me try to clear up some misconceptions about dues and membership. If you are a member of UAW Local 659 under an existing contract, you cannot withdraw your membership and stop paying dues. Why anyone would decide to stop paying dues is beyond rational thinking. Here are some facts that might help you out, each member of Local 659 pays between $20 to $72 a month in Union dues which for twelve months equals out to between $240 and $864 a year. For most this is less than 1% of their yearly income to be able to come to a safe working environment, earn a living wage, receive health care, receive representation, signing bonuses, profit sharing, and the list goes on. I can’t believe that people would complain about paying 1% of their income, if only for the benefit that your boss can’t just fire you because they are having a bad day. No matter what your political party allegiance is, the Union is there for the working person. You don’t have to agree with the politics of the UAW to be able to see the benefits that the Union has won for you. We tend to take for granted a forty hour work week, vacation time, sick days, and overtime pay, but remember these were all brought to you by YOUR UNION. I am a proud second generation union man and will never forget what the Sitdowners did for everyone.
On a lighter note, we have some great events coming up for our members. Our Recreation Committee is having a Union Night at the Joe on April 22nd, which includes a ticket to watch the Red Wings vs. Pheonix, a bus ride to and from Detroit, a UAW/Red Wings t-shirt and a possibility of a group photo on center ice after the game for just $50, sign-up for this event closes April 5th. Our Retiree’s chapter is having another casino trip soon and our annual Easter Bunny visit at the hall is happening March 24th from 1-4 pm. More information on these events can be found on our Local 659 web page or by contacting the hall. Our final tally is in from the gate collections for Sandy relief; it makes me proud of all of my union members to say that we raised a total of $5,236. May you all have a safe and happy Easter and a special wish to all of our snowbirds returning from their winter locations to have safe travels.