Bidding a fond farewell
As I compose the last article I will write as President of UAW Local 724, I know that there is not enough space within the Lansing Labor News for me to express my thoughts and gratitude. Therefore it is not out of disrespect that I don’t leave anyone out of the thanks, but offer a wholehearted thanks to everyone where our paths have crossed.
When this journey began in 1979, when I first joined Local 724, the path had many twists and turns. It had periods of layoff, working 60+ hours a week, learning what it was to be a union member and, lastly, learning to serve unselfishly.
The first thanks must go to my family: wife Janet, daughters Shoni (Shawn) and Andrea (Juan) and their kids. Without their support and understanding, I would not be able to accomplish one percent of my service. They understood the long hours, the lean times, the statement “I’m going to the hall for a bit.” I can’t fathom where the path would have taken me if they didn’t have my back.
When I was first elected President of UAW Local 724 we were at around 600-700 members and wondered if we could keep the lights on. We had just gone through a three-year strike at Melling Forging and we had not seen a tremendous amount of organizing. Then in 1999 to 2000 there was a concerted effort by the UAW to organize the supplier plants that had spun out of GM. It was our good fortune to be the recipient of these units and we saw our numbers swell to around 2,000. Although some have closed and our numbers have dropped slightly, we still can maintain the high standards of an Independent Parts Suppliers and Technical Office & Professional Local Union that was chartered in 1940.
I am not retiring, but choose to concentrate on my position as the labor liaison at the Capital Area United Way. I feel as though it was a blessing 16 years last March when I started the position. With my strongest passion being community service, it was a perfect fit. Therefore I will still be around as the liaison, continue to serve on the CAP Council for the remainder of this term, and if called upon will humbly serve our members.
In closing, thanks for all the mem-ories, the friendships, and the laughs. Also the times of struggles, uncertainty, and frustrations have made us stronger to fight the good fight for working people.
My sincere hope is that this quote from Walter Reuther that has resonated with me throughout the years, will continue to stay with me the rest of my
“There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow man. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.