Happy Summer brothers and sisters. I hope this article finds you well and enjoying your summer. I am choosing to write this article about what is happening in our community instead of picking one of the many hyped-up stories circulating in mainstream TV media and various podcasts and social media. Here at the Local, we have enjoyed having the opportunity to have the hall opened up again for Member events. This year has continued to be a challenging extension to the struggles of last year for sure. However, as I write this article, we are providing mesothelioma screenings to all qualifying members of UAW Local 652 or UAW Local 602 here at Local 652 Union Hall. We mailed all eligible members the flyer that gave the particulars to schedule appointments. I was happy to be informed that we had over 600 members take advantage of this screening. As more and more Michiganders get vaccinated and we progress through this pandemic, scheduling events that we are used to having like the Veterans Chili cook-off, Trunk-or-Treat and the all-time favorite, the children’s Christmas party are on the horizon. We look forward to continuing progress and no reinstatement of restrictions. When this happens, we will keep you all informed of the scheduling of these events.
Another high point of this summer is our Ryder Unit’s newly ratified Agreement. The bargaining committee brought to the Membership an agreement that provides immediate raises for existing workers; yearly raises for the life of the agreement coupled with reductions to benefit co-pays beginning next January. Along with a variety of bargained work-life improvements.
We at UAW Local 652 are also patiently awaiting a tentative agreement proposal from our GM Sub-systems Manufacturing, LLC (LOC) group. I would expect this agreement to land near the other settlements ratified in the Lansing area Supplier Unit base during this past year. Though this past year and a half has been a difficult period in our lives, the positive that has come from this whole situation is that working-class people have significantly benefited from the rising wages in all aspects of everyday work life. Unfortunately, it took this extreme situation to finally provide the leverage for the working class to gain this ground on the wage inequities in our society. Still, we will see as we all get back up and running, providing better wages to the masses provides better profits and livelihoods to all. The workers who provide the vital everyday services and products for this country and its small business and major corporations will now have a better life with better wages across the board. So instead of being frustrated that we have longer wait times for goods and services or even a longer wait at a restaurant or bar. We can look at it in a positive view. Maybe people are seizing this opportunity to change their line of work to improve their lives. Perhaps we can avoid falling prey to the notion that our working class society is lazy and just want a free ride. Maybe, families are just working to figure out if they can go from working multiple jobs to just a single occupation, saving on child care, providing more family time to improve their home lives. We need to acknowledge that everyone has a part to play in our communities and that diversity is a powerful asset to us all. I have written many times before. We should choose to support and raise one another, banding together to make forward progress. We will never achieve our collective potential if we are divided and arguing against ourselves. I, for one, am hopeful as we continue to gain momentum opening up, many families come out stronger, more unified and better able to support their families. God Bless, Brothers and Sisters, I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer.