Today, I bring greetings from UAW Region 1D and the International Executive Board. My wish is that all is well, and you are in good health.
This year has already started at a fast pace with a lot happening and so much more to come. We kicked off the New Year with our annual Bowling Tournament at Royal Scot Lanes in Lansing, Michigan. It was a joy to see both the active and retirees enjoying fun and fellowship while displaying their excellent bowling skills.
Our members and retirees participated in several of the Martin Luther King Day celebrations throughout the Region as well as attended the Michigan Democratic Convention in January. We, as a Region have a strong belief that it is our duty to participate and get involved in our communities, as well as governmental elections, and support those candidates that support seniors, working families and education.
On February 11, the Region hosted White Shirt Day at Local 659 with attendance from members and retirees from all over the region. Special Guests included U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Congressman Dan Kildee, Michigan Regional Directors - Chuck Browning, Region 1A, Frank Stuglin, Region 1, and Ohio Region 2B Director, Rich Rankin. This year’s keynote speaker was Vice-President Cindy Estrada. The 2018 V-CAP Grand Prize, the 2019 Chevrolet Traverse, was won by a Retiree from Local 599.
The meaning of White Shirt Day should always be etched in our minds, reminding us to commemorate the struggles and the accomplishments of workers who’ve come before us and fought battles for dignity and respect for workers and their communities. The struggle continues today as General Motors moves forward with their plan to close factories in Michigan, Ohio, and Maryland.
March will be just as busy as our region covers 73 counties and rather than have members travel to one location, we have scheduled (7) Regional Area Meetings with worksite visits in Flint, Lansing, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Three Rivers, Gaylord and Escanaba. We look forward to this opportunity to exchange ideas, information and to say “thank you” to the leadership and members.
The 2019 Special Bargaining Convention will be held March 11 – 13. According to the Constitution, a Call letter has been sent to the Locals for delegates attendance to formulate the bargaining program.
As this year brings the expiration of the Big Three contracts, in keeping with UAW history and tradition, we will be advocating and negotiating for new jobs, investments, wage increases, other contractual gains and improvements and retiree pensions and benefits; keeping the proud tradition of remembering our UAW Retirees. You have always heard me speak about challenging times and this will be one of the most challenging negotiations of my lifetime. There are many concerns with job security and retaining the gains we have fought so hard for.
In closing, in acknowledgement of Black History month, I would like to give a great solute to Congressman John Lewis, who is often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced” and the “conscience of the U.S. Congress.” (Congressman John Lewis, n.d.)