Season’s Greetings brothers and sisters. It is the time of year when many of us can celebrate the events and blessings we have experienced this year. I thought I would briefly update everyone on some Frantz family milestones for 2023. The biggest blessing would be celebrating my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with my beautiful wife, Kristin. As if that weren’t enough, Kristin and I were blessed to witness our oldest son, Carter, marry his high school sweetheart, exactly what his mother and I were all those years ago. Carrying on the significant life events, my middle son Matthew graduated from the fire academy and EMT school and turned twenty-one. Still further, our baby boy Drew started his senior year of high school, opening the door to Kristin and me being empty nesters as soon as next spring!
As it relates to our Local, the year brought a variety of highs and lows with blessings and sadness. We have a new product that will keep our Lansing Grand River assembly plant and supplier units busy for decades to come, which is a huge blessing. With that comes a heavy burden; we will have to shut the plant down for an extended amount of time for remodeling, which will stress our membership, the likes of which many currently working have never experienced.
The blessings that we have been provided this year need not overshadow the tragic losses that our local has faced. When we look back, as a union family, on this past year, we must not forget those we lost far too soon. We must remember that many of us enjoy holidays and family more than anything else in life, but this isn’t the case for many of us. Holidays present a particular stress to many we hold near and dear to our hearts. We can be thankful for all the blessings but challenge ourselves moving forward to try and reach out to old friends and be more aware of those around us. I want to ensure those in my life know I am thinking of them, even if it is just a text message saying, "Hey, hope all is well.” If we can all make a small move in this direction, maybe someone in our lives who needs a person to talk to, whether it shows or not, can get that chance and we won’t lose any more brothers or sisters. If we all look out for each other and make the extra effort, I am hopeful next year, we won’t have the same burden on our hearts.
The coming year will present many scenarios for our units that will drive opportunity, stress and uncertainty. We will have one unit laying off a couple hundred members and other units hiring a few hundred new members. This is the first time Local 652 has faced such challenges since 2009. We will work tirelessly to ensure all members are taken care of per their agreements; nonetheless, this will drive a lot of emotional stress on the membership. We in leadership will work to provide the support necessary as we move forward toward the next chapter here at Local 652.
As this year ends and the new year begins, we must remember that we are union and our brothers and sisters’ keepers. If we all look to come together and unite to move together as a union family, we can weather any uncertainty and accomplish great things. God bless, and I hope you all have a blessed Christmas and holiday season.