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Lansing Labor News
Established 1945
April 30, 2017
UAW Local 602

UAW Local 602 is located at 2510 W. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48917

Phone  (517) 372-4626

President Bill Reed
Mar 15, 2017

Dealing with changes at Delta plant

The Corporation announced they will be laying off our third shift starting in May of this year. I hope everyone recognizes the commitment and contribution of those impacted by this announcement, our temporary and low-seniority members. They have played a significant role in the success of General Motors. This announcement has a dramatic effect on, and places stress and hardship on, many in our UAW Local 602 family. My hope is that we can bring these folks back to work, but in the meantime we all need to do whatever we can to help them during this time.
I have been working with our benefits representatives; worker’s comp and unemployment representative, Harold Brown; EAP representative, Martha Adams; and production zone, Heather Woods, to produce a booklet providing important information and resources to those facing a layoff due to the recent announcement of a reduction in shift.
To keep you up to date as much as possible, UAW Local 602 provides many resources for information, including our website,; the Line Talk Newsletter, which goes out to the plant floor twice each month; as well as social media and print media.
While all of these are great ways to stay informed, the best way is to attend your monthly membership meetings. Our meetings are held the second Sunday of the month (unless the second Sunday falls on a holiday) at 6:00 pm. Let’s all come together as a membership and be available and willing to help, in any way possible, our sisters and brothers affected by this layoff.
As with any changeover in product, we may see some ups and downs as we work to maintain stability and meet market demand for quality and sales projections. From the meetings I’ve had with the national parties in Detroit, I have every indication to believe our future at LDT is looking bright. I believe we have submitted a solid business case for full utilization of our facility and we will continue discussion over adding a third product to our plant.
Recently, I had the opportunity to represent the membership of UAW Local 602 at the International Auto Show in Detroit for the unveiling of the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse. As I spoke on camera to the various media outlets, I wanted to be sure they conveyed to the public who the true heroes were concerning the recognition our vehicles receive: the UAW Local 602 women and men who sacrifice their time and commitment every day on the assembly line. They truly are the experts when it comes to assuring a world class quality vehicle is provided to our customers.
I was very excited to announce the new Traverse will be built at the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant (LDT) by our UAW Local 602 members. During the auto show in New York we will unveil the second vehicle to be built at our facility, the 2018 Buick Enclave. The new designs of the two show off some of the best technology and safety features of any GM product on the market.
As someone who is involved in many of the Lansing area community outreach programs, I would like to encourage you take advantage of volunteer opportunities within your community. Volunteerism is important to the good and welfare not only for our local outreach services, but more importantly to those who depend on these programs in order to sustain their family’s health and well-being.
The second Saturday in May is the largest one-day food drive in the nation and this is just one of the many ways you can help out in your community. On May 13 the National Association of Letter Carriers (NLAC) will be holding their annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. As they deliver your mail, you get to do your part by filling their mailbag with non-perishable food items. You can also volunteer your time at your local Post Office to help sort food gathered from the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Visit either of the following sites for more information on how to participate: or
In the Lansing area, the Mystic Lake YMCA Camp will be looking for volunteers to help with their “Work or Shirk” clean up April 28–30 and again October 20–22. The Mystic Lake YMCA Camp offers high quality camping programs for children and teens. Their programs focus on helping campers develop the skills necessary to have great success in life by helping children gain confidence, make great friends and by teaching lifelong skills to further their maturity.
On Wednesday, May 24, we will be having our Volunteers of America (VOA) Homeless Veterans Stand Down at Lansing’s Adado Riverfront Park. It’s a shame when we hear the words “homeless” and “veterans” in the same sentence and the only way to change that is to do our part in making sure goods and services are provided for those in need.
If you haven’t done so, I welcome you to spend a little time volunteering for any one of these events. Our Local’s Standing Committees are the best when it comes to coordinating and providing assistance and education to our membership and to the public. They are instrumental in keeping these and other programs in the limelight and are always willing to welcome you with open arms, should you decide to help.
With all of the outreach our Local Union is involved in, there are endless opportunities to lend a helping hand. Volunteering is a great way to stay mentally and physically healthy. Not only will you build self-confidence, make new friends and have a positive effect on the day-to-day lives of your fellow volunteers, you’ll also experience purpose and satisfaction as you change the day-to-day lives of those in need. Volunteering can also work as a great gateway to future career opportunities and teach you valuable job skills.
All in all, make 2017 YOUR year. It’s an awesome feeling to look back and know you’ve made a difference.

Financial Secretary Doreen Howard
Mar 15, 2017

Thanking our committees

Many of our members do not seek the spotlight or recognition they deserve. They volunteer to help our Local because they truly love being involved in their Union. It’s the collective effort of many individuals volunteering their time that makes our Local great. If it were not for your efforts we would not be able to be such a wonderful local.
I would like to personally thank all of our Executive Board for stepping up when needed throughout the year. They are always willing to work hard for our membership. Weather it is for a member in need of a helping hand, a committee needing assistance, a local charity collection, or a community organization, UAW Local 602 always joins together to help. 
Thank you to the Union Label Chair Josh Hoerauf, Co-chair Rick Reed, Doug Fox, Gary Howard, Brett Brown, Jesse Williams, Doug Rademacher, and Jody Frasher, who volunteered to represent the Local at the Oldsmobile Outdoor Winterfest in Grayling, Michigan. At this recent event, Local 602 displayed Union/American Made products and information, as well as served chili and hot dogs to the community. Thanks for representing us throughout the year and promoting Union made/American made products. 
Civil and Human Rights Chair Lola Odunuga and her committee put together a magnificent Black History Program. What a wonderful way to educate our members and community. Not only did they hear a presentation by Professor Griff and eat great food, our members had an opportunity to examine an award-winning mobile museum collection of over 5,000 original Artifacts of Black Memorabilia. 
Paulina Rodriguez, Local 602 Recreation Chair, along with Co-chair Daryl Smith and her committee, work diligently throughout the year to provide a variety of entertainment for our membership. A few of the things her committee works on are the Annual Golf Outing, the Auto Show, Casino excursions, Tiger Games, Lions Games, and the Annual Picnic just to name a few items. Thanks for your dedication. 
I commend our new Veterans Chair, Bernadine Ross, on this year’s bean soup collection for the Volunteers of America. She surpassed all past collections for this event. Her committee was able to provide a generous gift to the VOA to help support the homeless veterans program at their facility. She also had a seminar on March 11 at local 602 for Veterans with PTSD. Great job!
Our recently elected Education Chair, Jason Peek, has many innovative and creative ways to educate our membership. He has diligently worked on a new information packet for our membership, of which he will be conducting a sample test. Looking forward to seeing more educational materials from him.
Julie Hartshorn, Citizenship and Legislative Chair, has worked tirelessly for the UAW at the Local and in the community on legislative initiatives that affect our members. Keep up the good work.
I would like to thank our Unemployment and Workers Compensation Chair, Harold Brown, for his continued service to our membership. His marvelous efforts in assisting and educating our members during stressful times of layoff is exceptional. It’s a daunting task. 
Alexis Littlejohn, our Community Services Chair, and her committee volunteer hours of their time to promote Local 602 within the community. They support initiatives for many charitable organizations such as United Way, March of Dimes, Red Cross Blood Drive, and Greater Lansing Food Bank. Each year the committee provides turkey dinners to those in need during the holiday. 
Throughout the year the Women’s Committee Chair, Bobbie Ledesma, and committee members promote numerous events supporting women’s issues in the Local as well as the community. Thanks for supporting women. 
Bylaws Chair Steve Delaney has done a great job in updating our Local Bylaws over this past year. Thanks to you and your committee for the time and dedication to detail that is required to ensure our bylaws support the desires of our membership. 
Over the past 18 months our Retiree Chair, Marta Bobillo, has done a remarkable job in encouraging our retired members to become actively involved to the union. She tirelessly supports many of our committee chairs in the efforts to advocate for our union. It’s wonderful to have such an active committee.
As you can see, our committees are committed to promoting the UAW and our local union. As Financial Secretary, I would like to extend an invitation to our members to become involved in “YOUR UNION.” Our committees have many volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Stop by the Hall, call 517/372-4626, or contact one of the Committee Chairs to see where you can volunteer your services. 
Also, thanks to Doug Fox for promoting our web page, www.local602, and Facebook page for Local 602 UAW. Look there for up-to-date information on happenings at the local and upcoming events that you can participate in. 
 “I’m proud to be a member of UAW Local 602.”

Retiree Chair Marta Bobillo
Mar 15, 2017

602 retirees

Hello, I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying this wonderful weather.
Legal Service is now open for retirees. The phone number is 1-800-482-7700.
Also, our Retiree Elections will be held for all Retiree Executive Board positions at the May 17th Luncheon which starts at 12:00 noon. Nominations and Elections will be held at this meeting. Please remember you have to be a dues-paying member to run and/or vote. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (517) 256-3739.
Love, Peace and Justice In Solidarity, Marta.

Local 602 Obituaries
Mar 15, 2017

March 2017

Elizabeth “Betty” Lou Mock – Mother of Leroy Beagle, Retired
Edward Miller – Father of Lynn Miller, GA Trim – Second shift
Elwyn Stubblefield – Father of Dwayne Stubblefield, GA M Doors – Second shift
Oliver Daugherty – Retired, survived by spouse, Pat Daugherty
Ruby Jackson – Stepmother of A. L. Jackson Jr., Body-Underbody Pans – First shift
Charles G. LaMacchia – Father of Paul LaMacchia, Retired
Gavin Sanders – former member of UAW Local 602 and husband to Barbara Sanders
Allen J. Parish – Retired
Steven V. Garcia – Husband of Angie Reid-Garcia, Retired
Robert L. Marrell – Retired
John Oliver – Retired
Albert D. Boice - Retired
Borislav Cvrljevic – Retired
George B. Phillips – Retired
David R. Lancaster – Retired
Ronald “Ron” Stevens – Retired
JoAnn Jenks – Mother of Trisha Passini, Body Sides
Gregory Walker – Active, Materials-Final
Michelle Henderson – Mother of Vernon Henderson, Materials-Final
Dennis H. Ball – Father of Daniel Ball, Retired
James Matthew King – Father of Nathaniel King, GA Chassis 3
Don Martin Sr. – Father of Don Martin, Paint, First shift
Elaine Sue Salsbury – Wife of Jack Salsbury, Retired
Kathy Boltin – Stepmother of Wendy Collins, GA Trim 1

Conservation & Recreation Committee
Sep 05, 2013

Golf Outing Thank Yous
Local 602 Conservation & Recreation Committee says thanks to the following Companies and Individuals for donating to the 15th Annual UAW LOCAL 602 Golf Outing, which raised $3,500.00 for The Lansing Boys & Girls Club. The event took place at Timber Ridge Golf Club in East Lansing on July 28. We would also like to give a big THANK YOU to all the golfers who participated! 

Major Sponsors
Astera Credit Union 
Body Shop District Committee 
Capitol Cadillac 
Continental Canteen (Jeff Shotroff) 
Doreen & Gary Howard 
Dr. Michael H. Deluca, Dds 
Glenn Buege Buick 
JM Builders, Jeff & Melanie Malek 
Knob Hill Bar, Dewitt 
Lansing Delta Township Assembly 
Law Offices Of Neil J. Wilensky, P.C. 
Law Offices Of Lawrence D. Kaechele, P.C. 
Oldsmobile Outdoor Club 
Rick Martinez, Paul Brown, George Davis Chairperson And Zones 
Spalding Insurance 
Subway Of Lansing 
Sundance Chevrolet 
Team One 
Tony M’s 
UAW Local 602 Conservation & Recreation Committee (Paulina Rodriguez) 
UAW Local 652 
UAW Region 1C

Gift Donations
Advance Auto N. Larch St
Allstate Insurance
Autozone West Saginaw
Autozone Cedar St 
Black Lake Golf Course 
BCBS of Michigan, S Capital Ave
Buffalo Wild Wings W. Saginaw 
Christie Medina
Connections Comedy Club 
Crippen Buick GMC
Custom Embroidery Plus 
Delucas Pizza
Downtown Dewitt Chiropractor 
Finley’s W. Saginaw
Finleys Cedar St 
Frank’s Press Box
Geoffrey Kerley 
Jets Pizza 
Mark Howard, Shaheen Chevrolet
Mark VanEpps (Jar) 
Medi Management (Rod Shangles)
Mitchell’s Fish Market
Moo-Ville Creamery 
Nancy Minella 
O’Reillys Auto Parts
Outback Steakhouse W. Saginaw 
PF Changs
Pinestump Bar Newberry, Michigan 
Red Lobster
Red Robin 
Relli’s Sports Bar DeWitt
Rio Bravos 
The Job Shop

UAW Local 602 Conservation & Recreation Committee: Chairperson Paulina Rodriguez, Co-Chair Geoffrey Kerley, Co-Chair Daryl Smith, John Cardenas, Nancy Minella, Gary Howard, Kellyce Kelley, Adrianne McCloud, Christie Medina, and Tony Perez. 

Apr 07, 2011

It's not rocket science

   Happy New Year to all of our Local 602 members active and retired! 2010 was quite a year, with members from over 20 different locals across the country joining our Local 602 family. 2011 looks like another busy and successful year as we continue to produce the world’s best crossovers on three shifts and we anticipate some scheduled overtime soon. 2011 is also a negotiation year and we are in the process of compiling our membership demands, getting them approved by the General Membership and submitting them to the UAW/GM department for inclusion. GM is healthy again and poised for profit, thanks to the sacrifices of our membership both active and retired. We have shared in the pain; now let’s share in the gain!
    The labor movement is currently under attack from every angle. Our brothers and sisters who are government and municipal employees are under attack from both state and federal legislators. Management is using a page out of the old playbook stating that whenever their bottom line gets soft and revenues decrease they blame the people and not their process. Rather than eliminate waste in their process, they immediately take money out of our middle-class pockets to pay for their reckless and irresponsible decisions.
    It’s not our fault that Wall Street was allowed to plunge us into this recession while they continue to make record profits and bonuses. It’s not our fault that greedy speculators were allowed to drive the price of oil over $140 per barrel, making record profits for oil companies and closing factories here at home.
    It’s not our fault that globalization in the name of “Free Trade Capitalism” has cost our American middle class millions of jobs while corporate America continues to search the globe for the low bidder country. It’s not our fault that our retirees’ 401k’s have been cut in half and their benefit packages have been reduced with the stroke of a pen, while executive pay and bonuses continue their meteoric and immoral rise.
    So what do we do now? Believe it or not, that answer is quite simple.
    The middle class built the economic foundation of this great nation and now that we are shrinking, so too is the economic “greatness” of America. This ain’t rocket science! Rebuild the middle class by creating and protecting good-paying jobs with benefits here in America. That’s it, and that’s all.
    See how simple that was, and what is the only movement that fights for, advocates for, and helps to create and protect middle-class jobs? THE LABOR MOVEMENT! We are not the cause of the problem, we are the only solution.

December 2010, "Keep your eyes on the bad guys"
   Let me take this opportunity to wish all the membership of UAW Local 602, active and retired, a happy and safe holiday season. Our active employees know what a crazy year we have had at the plant with transfers, maximum overtime, addition of a third shift, and what I would consider to be pretty heavy-handed managers!
   Just an FYI for the retired members, we have had members transfer in from all over the USA and Local 602 is now the largest UAW-GM Local in the country. Our membership now represents over 20 different UAW locals from all across the country. This level of change in so short a period of time is extremely stressful and I think it is remarkable that our membership continues to build world-class products each and every day. Thank you for your efforts, and thank you retirees for providing us a strong foundation on which to build. Demand for our crossover products remains strong, and we anticipate a more steady state of production scheduling for 2011.
    We will soon be launching our new and improved website, which will keep our expanding membership up to date with news and happenings at Local 602. With the outcome of the recent national and state elections, we expect the attacks on working middle-class families and the unemployed to skyrocket under the guise of “fiscal responsibility”—and I want to keep an eye on the bad guys so we can see what they are up to next.
   Just days after the election, the deficit commission has already suggested cuts in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and canceling long-established tax deductions for the middle class. Republican members of the House and Senate are playing poker with the unemployed by betting that we will extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in exchange for unemployment extensions that are critical to the survival of needy families.
   And this is just the beginning. They haven’t even been sworn in and they are already shooting across the bow of Labor and the social and economic justice that we fight for.
On the state level, their agenda is to privatize state workers, cut critical social programs for the most vulnerable of our citizens, and in my opinion, “right-to-work” legislation is not far behind! So this holiday season, let’s give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, let’s celebrate the values of a society that cares for one another, and let’s keep both eyes on the bad guys!

Brian Fredline's September 2010 article, "Who are the lucky ones?"
   Have you ever had someone approach you and say, “You are lucky to have this job?” Webster defines “lucky” as fortuitous, or acquired by chance and good fortune. As a UAW President, my blood pressure goes off the charts, and I grit my teeth every time I hear the ill-informed statement, “You are lucky to have this job.”
   Luck is a flip of the coin. Luck is winning the lottery. Luck is being car number eleven in a ten-car pile-up. As UAW members, we are not “lucky” to have a decent job, we have earned the right to a decent job.
   Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonalds corporation said, “Luck is a dividend of sweat—the more you sweat, the luckier you get.” Well, it seems to me that our UAW membership is pretty lucky, based on that statement.
   How lucky we are to accept a job that has forced many of us to move our families halfway across the country and leave all that was sacred to us. How lucky we are to drive for hours round trip, every day, so we can pay the bills.
   How lucky we are to have a job that is controlled by a buzzer and a mechanical moving chain that demands mind-numbing, repetitive task every 67 seconds. How lucky we are to have a job where every movement is engineered down to a tenth of a second with a grip, place, bend, walk, get, grasp, or bend.
   How lucky we are to have a job where we are confined to a footprint and must endure the invasion of our privacy, when we are forced to “pull a cord” just to go to the bathroom. How lucky we are, when we are threatened with discipline for a problem we did not create, nor can we control.
   How lucky we are to have a job where at the end of every day, our muscles are tired, our backs are sore, and our feet can barely carry us home. 
   I would submit that anyone who thinks we are lucky to have this job has never spent eight hours on an assembly line. Fact is, the more we sweat, the luckier we get.
So who are the lucky ones? The lucky ones are the managers who have the honor of working with the most skilled and dedicated workforce on the globe. The lucky one is the corporation that despite all the recent concessions, confusion, and upheaval, has a workforce who is able to maintain focus and build the highest quality cars and trucks on the planet.
   And ultimately, the lucky ones are the customers who are the beneficiaries of our world-class products.
   The next time someone tells you, “You are lucky to have this job,” take a moment for a dramatic pause, straighten your aching back, square your drooping shoulders, look them directly in the eye and say, “ No, you are the lucky one, because I will be back tomorrow.”

Brian Fredline's May article "Election notes"
   May is going to be another busy month for the local, with preparations for the Constitutional Convention (Con-Con), sub-councils, district committee elections, and the Memorial Day holiday.
   We are in the process of installing a new and improved phone system at the hall, which will handle more call volume and provide better service and access to our membership. Circumstances seem to change at warp speed lately, and we are developing the technologies to help our membership stay informed. We will also be updating and redesigning our website to provide real-time information and provide for a better communication process.
   The district committee elections will be held on May 25, May 26, and May 27 (for times, see posting in plant or on website). These are important elections that will choose your committee representation for the next three years. I encourage every member in good standing to come to the polls and vote. Campaigning is in full swing, and I want to wish all the candidates good luck as they actively participate in our democratic process.
   UAW Local 602 has a long and successful history of one-person, one-vote politics. I think it is refreshing that in this age of partisan politics we have not been encumbered by the confusion of special interest groups or caucuses. Our membership should feel empowered to vote for the candidates of their choice and the majority membership will decide who will be their representatives.
   President Obama said it well when he offered this advice: “You will be remembered not but what you destroy, but by what you help to build.” By casting your vote for the candidates of your choice, you will help us build one of the strongest Locals in the UAW-GM department. Now that we have welcomed new members from across the country, we are poised to build upon that success, and to strengthen the cause of social and economic justice for all workers.
   Congratulations to our Con-Con delegates. I am confident that our elected delegation will represent UAW Local 602 with dignity and respect.
   The same rules apply to the committee vote that applied for the Con-Con election, with one major exception. Retirees are not allowed to vote in our committee elections, only active workers in good standing. Absentee ballots are not allowed unless you are out of the plant on official union business and are unable to attend the election.
   Thank you once again in to our new election committee. The Con-Con elections were held with no problems, and I expect the committee elections will follow suit. They will have a challenging task ahead of them as they prepare for the upcoming committee elections, and I have every confidence that they will coordinate an efficient and accurate election. Once again, good luck to all the candidates, run your campaigns with integrity, and may the best persons win!

Brian Fredline's April article, "Busy times for us"
   Well, it sure has been a busy first quarter of 2010 for Local 602. We started the year by welcoming hundreds of brothers and sisters from Spring Hill, Tennessee. They are all here by now and we hope that their transition was a smooth one.
    We also have welcomed hundreds of brothers and sisters from Grand Rapids, Pontiac, Lake Orion, Flint, Lansing Grand River, Shreveport, Wentzville, Livonia, and many other places from across the country. We have also called back our two-tier family and look forward to them helping us stabilize our workforce.
    Like I said, it's been busy, and it is not likely to slow down any time soon. We are anticipating working more overtime than we can understand and our summer shutdown has already been cancelled. In this economic environment we are truly grateful for the prosperity we enjoy. Our hope is that our brothers and sisters across town at Lansing Grand River will get additional product, add a shift or two, and create more opportunity for the City of Lansing and the surrounding areas.
    If the "New GM" business model is to run all plants at full capacity, then adding more products for Lansing is the only thing that makes sense. We are confident that as long as there is a GM Company, the Lansing plants will continue to be a critical profit center for the Company and, more importantly, a vital source of strength, stability, and solidarity for the UAW!
    Our Con-Con Election will be held in late April and the Convention will be held in June.
    Congratulations to the Region 1-C staff members who are retiring.
    Ron Gettelfinger, Cal Rapson, and Duane Zuckschwerdt are also retiring after decades of dedicated service to the membership. We wish them all the best as they begin a new chapter in their lives, and we look forward to building upon their strong foundation of solidarity as we welcome and support our new leadership. Stay tuned ...

Brian Fredline's January 2010 article, "What changes!

    As this New Year begins, I thought it appropriate to show how many challenges we have endured in 2009, and how close we were to disaster. The following are excerpts from my December 15, 2008 “Life on the Line” article. It brings back bad memories!
“This is a defining moment for our industry and for our union. Our future hangs in the balance of the decision makers on Capitol Hill. In spite of all the bad news we have heard lately, there is cause for hope. The White house announced today that they would not allow the domestic auto industry to collapse. The UAW is cautiously optimistic that bridge funding will be given to GM that allows operations to continue outside of bankruptcy until the new administration takes office. The TARP funding is now being considered in addition to the Treasury dept. extending loans to the big three, and the latest numbers suggest that the bridge funding could be anywhere between 10 and 40 billion dollars.
“Strange times make for strange bedfellows. Who would have thought that the Bush Whitehouse would come to the aid of the domestic manufacturers and their workers. I know it may sound cynical but I believe that part of the motivation for “Bush to the rescue” is that he doesn’t want his legacy to include the collapse of an entire sector of the American economy. With unemployment spiraling out of control, a credit crisis, and a housing meltdown, layoffs and plant closings, this decision should be a no-brainer. I really don’t care what his motivation is, as long as he writes the check. The other cause for hope is that on January 20, 2009 there will be a new President in Washington that understands the need for an American industrial policy that supports the working men and women of this country. We are confident that his economic stimulus plan will begin our turnaround toward stability.
“As we begin this Christmas season, let us give thanks for the blessing we enjoy, and look forward to the New Year with a sense of renewed hope.”
   Remember when? Here we are one year removed and our plant is adding a third shift and we have a new product. I know this New Year will hold just as many challenges as 2009, but our challenges will come as a result of new people and new product, and not plant closings, layoffs, transfers, and uncertainty.
   The UAW and Local 602 have weathered this perfect storm, and there will be more changes to come as we approach the UAW Constitutional Convention in June, 2010. I used to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I think for 2010, “Happy” is a long shot, so here’s wishing everyone a STABLE New Year!

Brian Fredline's December 2009 column:

Challenges of 2009 turn into promise of 2010

By Brian Fredline
Local 602 President
    Greetings to the membership of Local 602. I hope all of us will enjoy a happy and safe holiday season. This is the year-end edition of the Labor News, and I sure am glad to see this year, 2009, end. This past year our membership, retired and active, has suffered through the most horrific changes that most of us will ever see. Bankruptcy, global economic meltdown, layoffs, plant closings, skyrocketing unemployment, and the list goes on.
    It is truly remarkable that Local 602 fought through these turbulent times, and we have emerged with a new product and a reasonably secure future. We look forward to the promise of 2010, and hope to have all of our Local 602 family back to work, and stay working!
    I think our 2010 calendar sums up our feelings when we read a quote from Emerson on the cover that says, “When the sky gets dark enough, you can see the stars.” In the midst of all the dark days of 2009, at Local 602, our people and our product shine on.
    The holiday schedule for the plant has been announced and we will be on holiday shutdown starting December 12. The Union Hall will also be shut down during the holiday period. If you have benefit questions during shutdown, there will be a benefit representative at the plant, or you can contact Joe Sagy at the UAW Lansing Regional Office.
    Early 2010 will also be a busy time as we prepare to populate for a third shift in April. At the time of this article, we are not sure how many people from Spring Hill will sign up for the 96 moves.
    Remember, they are signing up for an offer to be extended through NEPC, and they still have the right to refuse the offer. We may not know the exact number of Spring Hill transfers until the entire list of signups has been tendered an offer. If we do not get enough people from Spring Hill, LDT management may have to go to extended area hire to get enough people to run a third shift. Stay tuned.
    Whatever your plans for this holiday season, remember to give thanks for both the challenges and the triumphs of the past year. Rough seas make strong sailors. In 2010, we will build upon that strength and chart a course for continued success.



Brian Fredline's September 2009 column:

The C-word

    Don’t you hate it when the doctor says, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news”? “The good news is we found it early, and the bad news is that there was something to find!” Welcome to the world of the C-word.
I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and I had three thoughts come to mind. The first, “Oh my God, I have cancer.” The second, “Oh, thank God I have health care coverage.”
    The third, “Oh my God, what if I didn’t have health care coverage?” Would I be one of the millions of Americans who would be faced with the choice of losing their homes, pulling their kids out of college, buying food, or do I save my own life by paying for treatment? I cannot imagine having to make that decision.
    God bless the UAW for negotiating health care benefits on my behalf. Rest assured that the corporation you work for, whether you are active or retired, does not offer health care coverage out of the kindness of their heart, or their overpowering sense of obligation to the health and well-being of their current and former employees.
    With a global economic meltdown, a GM bankruptcy, and mounting pressure from every direction, (including the US Treasury Department), the UAW was able to maintain basic health care coverage, pensions and supplements for our retirees, and save base wage and base health care for our active employees.
    As a union, our expectation is that once GM returns to profitability, we will remind them that the UAW, active and retired, shared in the sacrifice. We will also remind them that we expect a share in the success.
    Just for the record, if all goes well, I will be fine. I will endure the pokes and the prods of doctors and nurses and robots. I am scheduled for DaVinci robotic radical prostatectomy surgery at Sparrow Hospital (UAW represented), and I’ll be in good hands. My deepest gratitude goes to all those offering your thoughts and prayers in my behalf.
    So guys, get your PSA blood work done, every year. Conquer the audible fear as you hear the snap of the latex glove, and hear “You’ll feel a little pressure,” and save your life for your family, friends and loved ones.

And oh, by the way, the next time a doctor tells you there is some bad news, you can tell them that you have some good news. You have health insurance.


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