The UAW owes a debt to those who came before us. Much was sacrificed to build this great union. We have an obligation as active workers to ensure that those who come after us benefit from a strong UAW, just as our retirees did for us. We are also proud of the important role that retirees currently play in our union. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy my conversations with our retirees when they visit the union hall. They are always quick to tell a story…or 2, or 3….. sometimes more. But, let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoy those stories because this is our history and we can learn so much from them. I often think about gathering all of the information I can from our retirees and writing a memoir just so that Local 652 History doesn’t go uncaptured. If nobody captures it then those years are just a memory and soon, lost in time.
Some retirees still visit the hall on a regular basis. We get visits from past Chairman and top negotiator, Danny Price. Brother Price often talks about past members like Cyril McGuire (He calls him, “Mack”). Of course, I know of Brother McGuire, I see his picture on the auditorium wall at the union hall. Most of the pictures on the auditorium wall are of people that I have never met and are of a far distant past for me. That is why I appreciate my visits from Brother Price. Brother Price never comes in empty-handed, he always brings a piece of History for me to read and keep in my, “History file”. We also walk around the hall to look at the old photos and he tells me bits and pieces about most of the pictures. I can definitely see the nostalgia that he feels. We also get regular visits from Ron Shinaver. Brother Shinaver was on the shop committee for many years. I love to hear his stories about our not-so-distant retirees. We have an almost 100-year-old retiree, Claude Brown that visits regularly. Mr. Brown is a breath of fresh air, chipper and not too shy to drop and show us how many push-ups he can do. Glenn Dilley is another retiree that will come to the union hall and talk politics and Consumer Reports. Maria Starr-VanCore visits occasionally also. Maria is very busy as the President of LCLAA, but she will stop by to have a cup of coffee, talk about her events planned with LCLAA and slip her stories of when she was working in building 32. My absolute favorite retiree that visits me is my dad. Of course, I grew up listening to his now “back in my day” shop stories. I love the advice, and the stories that every retiree tells when they visit, but most of all, I love the camaraderie that they bring.
Thank you, retirees! I want to acknowledge and thank every single one of you for paving the way (sometimes unknowingly) for those after you. When I was a new hire, I was told by high seniority that my time at GM would go by fast, but never told that these will be the good ole days. It’s evident that many retirees remember their working days as the good ole days. As active workers, we should keep in mind that someday THESE will be OUR good ole days! Try to enjoy the moment and the people around you.