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Vice President Lena Wyeth Archive
Oct 08, 2020

September 2023

Picture this! I’m a new hire in the late 90s, vanpooling with a bunch of guys from Gratiot County, who at that time had over 20 years of seniority at GM. I never worked in a shop before and I was clueless! Yes, the van got a little loud and crazy on our way home from working 2nd shift. Whenever the plant had to shut down early due to a breakdown, you can bet that our vanpool stopped at the party store before we hit the highway back to Gratiot County. My go-to was always Mt Dew and a bag of chips.  Larry Rhode was the owner and driver of the van. Doug Terwilliger and Denny Wolfgang were the main jokesters in the van and Eddie Fell was the quiet one. It was the popular vanpool to be in back in the day. Believe it or not, I learned the most from this group of guys. Whatever the boss tried to pull during the shift, was always talked about in that van. My fellow vanpoolers weren’t committee men and never held an elected position, but they sure knew the contract. I heard a lot of, “Oh no, they can’t do that” and “You make a committee call tomorrow”. Back then, contract knowledge was passed on from worker to worker, we didn’t have social media and most didn’t even have cell phones. The point is, that contract education was talked about all the time. Most people knew the contract, and that was very valuable. I was lucky when I was hired because most of my co-workers working beside and around me were high seniority and they taught me “plant life”. The information and history that high seniority knew was passed on to the next generation and that was key. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. -Aldous Huxley

I think it is essential to pass on information to the next generation. This is why I contacted a UAW archivist from the Walter Reuther Library at Wayne State University. He said they don’t have much information on Local 652 and would like to come to the hall to start tagging information that he would like to have at the Walter Reuther library. We have so much history at Local 652 and it would be a shame if the story was left untold. Once it is at the library, Local 652 history will live on and can be studied by generations to come. The UAW Archivist is considering making a video, so more news to come on that. Some of you just might get a phone call from me, asking if you would give a recorded interview. If this is something you are willing to share, give me a call at the union hall. As always, it is my honor and pleasure to serve as Local 652 Vice President. If there is anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to call.

April 2023

As many of you know, we have benefit reps at the hall on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Sometimes I get to meet retired union brothers and sisters when they come in for a benefit question. While they wait, I like to engage in conversation. I ask when they retired, what plant they worked at, and so forth.   When retired members Bob and Carol Gates came to speak to a benefit rep, I did just that.  We went to the basement where we have a map of where all the plants were located before they were demolished. Carol worked in Plant 5 and that is where she and Bob met.  I bet many of you married couples met in one of the plants, just as my parents did in Plant 3 in 1970. If any of you retirees are in town, or at the hall, I would love to show you the big map that we have in the basement at the union hall. I love to hear the “back in my day” type of stories and to learn more about our History at Local 652.

On a sad note. They say that people come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime. When I started coming to union meetings as a new hire back in the late 90s, I didn’t know much about unions. I set my eyes and ears on one particular union brother because he was very active at the union meetings. He was so confident in the way he knew Parliamentary Procedure. In fact, it was this particular union brother that taught me Parliamentary Procedure just by watching/listening to him.   I watched him mentor the then-leadership before me and learned the importance of supporting the standing committees’ events and activities. This particular union brother’s teaching is instilled in many of us and goes on through us.  I’m sad that I never told him what a positive influence he was on me and how much I learned from him. This union brother is Harold Foster. I’m hopeful his family will find comfort in knowing the impact he made in the union movement.  Harold Foster came into my life for a reason and his legacy will live on. He was the epitome of what a great union brother is and I am honored to have met him. Well done, Brother Foster we will take it from here!

February 2023

As my 1st term as Vice President of Local 652 winds down, I’m sitting here, looking back, reflecting on what stands out the most from the last 3 years. WOW! What a term. Nearly the entire term was uncharted waters for us, which created many firsts the past 3 years. It took a lot of teamwork, communication, understanding, and perseverance to get through it, and we made it.

My term as vice president began just a few months after the start of the pandemic. Nobody had ever experienced, in our lifetime, the uncertainty that covid brought. Most everyone experienced a type of loss, loss of family members, friends, union brothers/sisters, and loss of time because of the virus. It seems as though time flew by, yet, lasted forever. It’s hard to believe that we were stuck at home in masks for nearly 2 years and that all union functions had been canceled for almost as long. I would say that 95% of my calls at the hall were COVID related. “I’m sick, what do I do?” “Who do I call?” “I don’t want to get fired.” Some showed up in the plant with symptoms just to get fired for showing up to work. Thank goodness for an amazing bargaining team to help get those members back to work.

Another first, during the pandemic, we had part shortages along with manpower issues or lack of.  Management asked members to build the car and park it in the lot until whatever needed part was available. Part shortages led to layoffs, which led to unemployment benefits and the issues with that. The Michigan Unemployment Office was just not equipped to handle the massive layoffs in the state due to Covid. We had all hands on deck helping members get through this stage. It was also quite the task to keep a record of which plant was working or laid off. At any given week, we could have LGR LOC, GA, paint, and body shop laid off with both stamping plants working, or just one shift working, or one stamping plant working, and other variables with our Avancez and Ryder facilities.

With all the commotion and the whirlwind we were in, I never had the chance to sit still and think about another first, which was the 1st time a female ever held this position. I never let it sink in until recently. I think of the amazing men that had this position before me and how I have big shoes to fill. I understand that it takes more than just my efforts, to get to this position.   I stand on the strong shoulders of the women before me.  I also recognize that it takes strong union brothers to take a stance and say, “Yes, we are going to be the first to lift a female high enough to crash through the glass ceiling”. I know I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without either and I am thankful to both. I’m also appreciative to have a supportive membership, both active and retired!   Ok, so yes, I removed the traditional pictures of the deer off the wall in the VP's office and yes, I added flowers and a pink lamp. But, whether it’s deer décor or pink flowers, my main focus will always be Local 652 membership.

I’m happy that all those firsts are in the rear-view mirror and more than thankful for the experience!  It has been my honor and pleasure serving this fantastic local and membership. I look forward to a 2nd term as your Vice President. As always, if there is anything I can help with, please don’t hesitate to call on me.

In Solidarity!

Lena Wyeth

December 2022

The UAW Constitution sets out fundamental principles by which the UAW is governed. In other words, it’s the rules that the local has to follow. My favorite Article in the Constitution is Article 41, section 2. It says,

“It shall be the duty of each member to render aid and assistance to brother or sister members in cases of illness, death or distress, and in every way acquit her/himself as a loyal and devoted member of the International Union.”

I have seen our members following this, even when they likely didn’t know this article existed. Our members are genuinely wonderful people. I want to share a couple of situations that will back my statement up.

One of our members is undergoing chemo treatment because of a cancer diagnosis. She needed a little help with getting her brakes fixed on her car, so she would be safe on her drive to her treatments. It was posted on our plant’s Facebook page that help was needed. One of our union brothers who work in our trim shop, Kevin Bell, was a great help. He is what I would call a mechanical guru, aka car nut, aka car enthusiast. He donated 100% of the labor and several members sent money via cash app to purchase the parts. Kevin also went to her home to pick up the car and returned it.

On another occasion, one of our members, Steve McKellar, had a house fire where they sadly lost everything to the fire. I received a message from a member, Scott Zimmerman, General Assembly, Quality, saying he had a donation for Brother McKellar. Brother Zimmerman had trash bags full of clothes, shoes, and coats in great condition. (If I’m being honest, the shoes took up 1 bag because of the size shoe they both wear.) Brother Zimmerman didn’t hesitate when he realized they wore the same size and I’ll add that he doesn’t even know Brother McKellar personally. Without hesitation, he packed up some bags and brought them to work. 

We have a member whose son was ill and, in the hospital, long term. A union member in the Paint shop, Jareb Fosket, called me and wanted to brainstorm different fundraising opportunities for this family that he could pursue. He ended up designing a shirt that incorporated everything the little boy likes, the boy’s name, and a skywalk that had an entrance into the plant with Wynken, Blynken, and Nod in the background. I assumed that the union sister worked with Brother Fosket in the Paint shop because he was so passionate about helping her. To my surprise, Brother Fosket didn’t know the union sister and she doesn’t even work in the same shop. Brother Fosket knew she needed help and didn’t hesitate. 

These 3 members stood up, raised their hands, and rendered aid without hesitation. To them, it was the right thing to do, to the receiver, it meant everything in the world!  I know there are several more situations like these and I would never have enough room on this page to list all of them.

It's stories like this that fill my heart with joy. It is my greatest honor and pleasure to represent you as your Vice President. It’s because of all of you that this position is so fulfilling and I thank you for that. If there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to call. (That includes our AWESOME retirees!)   517-372-7581 extension 132.  Enjoy the Holidays and please be safe!

P.S. Totally unrelated, don’t forget to vote in the International Executive Board Run-off elections. You should get your ballot in January. Solidarity Forever!


 

September 2022

By now, you have likely heard a lot of talk about the “UAW Monitor” and “one member, one vote”. To make a long story short, I thought I would give a bit of information that might clear up some questions.

Every member in good standing, and that has a valid, updated address with their local union, will receive a ballot in the mail. You will vote for the candidate(s) that you would like to see on the International Executive Board. That will include: President, 3 Vice Presidents, Secretary Treasurer and the Regional Director (of which you belong to)

How did we get here? On May 12, 2021, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan appointed Neil M Barofsky of Jenner & Block LLP as the independent Monitor of the UAW, pursuant to the Consent Decree entered into by the US and the UAW in US v. IUAW, No.20-cv-13293 (E.D. Mich.).

The Consent Decree required the UAW to hold a secret ballot Referendum. UAW members voted on whether to keep the current method for electing members to the International Executive Board (IEB), or whether the method should be changed to a direct election where each UAW member would directly elect the members of the IEB. The count after the vote was 63.7% voted for the direct voting system and 36.3% voted for the delegate voting system. The membership always has the final say, and the majority voted to have a direct voting system.

The UAW Monitor is now tasked with administering and overseeing union-wide secret ballot referendum. This means that ALL UAW members, in good standing as of 10/31/2022 will be eligible to vote in the UAW International Executive Board elections. If you are not a member in good standing and wish to be, call your local union hall.

The UAW Monitor is independent of, and does not represent the UAW or any of its constituent entities. The Monitor only reports to the district court. The UAW Monitor’s authority and duties are established by, and set forth in, the Consent Decree. The UAW Monitor has their own website that describes their duties. www.uawmonitor.com. 

You can also find 94 pages of election rules at the Monitor’s website. Also included on the Monitor’s website are all forms for the 2022 Election, FAQs, answers and information regarding a session on campaign finance rules.

www.uawmonitor.com/elections

Here are important dates to remember:

- September 2022: 2022 UAW International Officer Election Candidate Forum(s) to be held.

- October 17, 2022: First formal mail distribution of mail-in ballots distributed to the electorate.

- October 24, 2022: Second formal mail distribution of mail-in ballots distributed to additional voters.

- October 31, 2022, at 5pm ET: Deadline by which members MUST be in good standing in order to have their vote counted in the Election.

- November 11, 2022: Final date replacement ballots can be requested from the Election Vendor.

- November 18, 2022: Last day by which members should place their ballots in the mail to best ensure receipt by November 28, 2022 deadline.

- November 28, 2022: DEADLINE for all return ballots to be received by the designated U.S. Post Office or Postal Facility.

- November 29, 2022, at 9am ET: Tabulation of votes begins.

- December 2022: All official victors of International Officer races will be sworn-in.

If you have further questions, please direct all inquiries to UAWMonitor-Election@jenner.com or call 212-303-252. Per the UAW Monitor, I am not allowed to discuss the candidates as an officer of UAW Local 652, but if you want to have that conversation, I am more than willing to talk about it after hours. Solidarity!

April 2022

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.
In Solidarity!

March 2022

We have a newly elected (by acclamation), Women’s Committee chair for Local 652, Patty Haindel. Patty was elected just in time for Women’s History Month (March) and International Women’s Day on March 8th. The Women’s Committee, as well as all standing committees, is an important piece of a high-functioning local

The Women’s Committee has several purposes. They educate the women in the plants about labor’s position on local, state, and national laws regarding women’s issues. They provide some type of educational training for members so that they become more active in the local union and eventually seek leadership positions. The Committee encourages women to become more politically active, to discuss problems of women workers in the workplace with the local union leadership, they become active with other labor and women’s organizations supported by the International Union, UAW in order to promote labor’s agenda and support the local union’s program. Last, but certainly not least, the Committee helps build self-esteem.

The Women’s Committee should have a Chair, Co-Chair, financial secretary, and recording secretary along with members at large. The Chair should lead with a vision to further the agenda of the labor movement. They should plan the order of business and set the agenda for the meetings with the Committee Secretary before the meeting. Preside at all meetings, or make arrangements for the co-chair to preside in the absence of the Chair. The Chair should conduct the meeting following Robert’s Rules of Order and in accordance with the UAW Constitution.

The Co-Chair should preside in the absence of the Chair, and upon request, assume the other duties of the Chair. The Co-Chair should assist in implementing the programs and activities agreed upon by the Local Union Executive Board.

The most important duty the Committee’s Recording Secretary has is keeping accurate records of the Committee meeting (minutes). The minutes should include the type of meeting, date, time, location, roll call, the action taken on reports, and record the motion information and the time of adjournment. Too, the Recording Secretary preserves all important papers and documents of the Committee, provides the Chair with a list of members, records, and correspondence, assists the Chair in preparing the agenda, keeps attendance, records report summaries, and keeps a record of all subcommittees of the Committee.

The Women’s Committee Financial Secretary should receive and record all monies raised by the Committee and turn ALL monies to the local union Financial Secretary and receive a receipt indicating the amount and date of the transaction. Money cannot stay in the possession of the standing committee. The Committee Financial Secretary should also maintain a record of all financial transactions of the committee and give reports to committee members upon request.

The role of a committee member is an important one. The committee members and officers are the teams that develop and implement the committee plans and activities. Effective committee members should educate themselves on the purpose of the committee, attend and participate in meetings, offer facts, opinions, and suggestions, make recommendations on projects, see that goals are completed successfully, gain skills to assist in their responsibilities, and be willing to compromise.

A big thank you goes out to our previous Chair, Liz Arcaute. If you are a member of Local 652 and interested in joining the Women’s Committee, please contact Patty Haindel, or feel free to contact me at Local 652 Union Hall.

December 2021

Just as I thought a single year couldn’t get crazier than 2020, here comes 2021. It’s the chip shortage, then it’s a part shortage all while COVID still lingers. All but 4 of General Motors’ North American plants were shut down at one point because of shortages. Our members have had unemployment issue after issue, one positive covid test after another, loss of family members, loss of union brothers/coworkers, indefinite layoffs for some, and much more. What in the world did we walk through this year? Would you have ever imagined a year like this? All of this, and we are still standing! We are still standing at our local because of our strong leadership and membership.
Heading up our leadership at Local 652 is our President, Ben Frantz, and our unit Chairpersons. As the great Martin Luther King, Jr said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy," Let me tell you, brothers Frantz, GM Unit Chair Rollin Green, and Ryder Unit Chair, Mike Luna is standing tall and strong about now. Under their leadership direction and guidance, it appears as though it is just another year and it is business as usual at the union hall. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

It is the duty of the President of the local union to make sure that all of the local union affairs are in order. It is the duty of the Chairman to make sure their contract agreements are being followed in their unit shop(s). I don’t know any 3 people that work harder on their tasks than these 3 union brothers. These 3 put all of their might into their elected positions. Brother Frantz is making sure labor has a voice in the community by being involved in CAP, Labor News, United Way, President’s Council, and much more. Brother Green, GM Unit Chairman is on call 24/7 for our 1500 or so members. He can recite anything from either agreement and leads our shop committee and bargainers to success. The same goes for Brother Luna and his organizational skills are like no other. If you know me, you know that I’m not one to give credit where credit isn’t due and let me tell you, it’s due!

Yes, we have had a pretty rough year, but thanks to our leadership, surrounding cast, and especially the strength of our membership and what they have endured this year, we are still standing. I would like to wish our members at Avancez, Ryder, GM units, and all of our retirees a very happy holiday season. Happy New Year, brothers and sisters! It is my great honor and pleasure to serve as your Vice President at UAW Local 652.

September 2021

Why be a part of something, and not actually be a part of it? I’m referring to being a member of our great union, UAW, and not be involved in making it stronger. We are stronger working together than what we are apart. Sometimes members don’t know where to start in getting involved. There are several ways to become involved, but the 2 most popular ways are attending union meetings or joining a standing committee.

Attending union meetings is like going to the gym. You grumble at the thought of going because it breaks up your day, you hate to leave your family, and/or you have to stop watching the game and drive to the union hall. Once you are at the union hall and especially after it’s over you feel so good about yourself and happy that you went. It’s the best place for camaraderie and to get information on all things local union.

Another way to get involved is to join a standing committee. Standing committees are the building blocks of a strong union. Vibrant local unions and progressive social movements don’t just happen; they are planned for and worked on by our members. Members who care about the future and status of our union and members who care about what kind of future we want for all working families. We have many members that take part in one or more local union standing committees. It gives a feeling of personal accomplishment and pride all while working with your co-workers on projects that are meaningful and purposeful. By working every day to develop and expand our standing and other committees, we can help meet the needs of our members and the community.

Article 44 of the UAW constitution requires each local union to establish 10 identified standing committees, which are: Constitution and Bylaws, Union Label, Education, Conservation and Recreation, Community Services, Civil and Human Rights, CAP, Consumer Affairs, Veterans and Women’s. If you would like to read more information about the standing committees, and/or get a downloadable pdf you can go to uaw.org/standing-committees/.

As our most famous UAW President, Walter Reuther said, “There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.” If you would like to be involved with building the power of our union and surrounding communities through standing committees, contact your local leadership.

May 2021

A friend once told me to treat everyone as if their heart is breaking, because it probably is. Check on your friends. Sometimes they don’t need a solution; they just need someone to tell them that they’re not alone in their fight. Recently, we had a few members that lost a close loved one. The UAW Constitution, Article 41, Duties of Local Union Members, Section 2 states: “It shall be the duty of each member to render aid and assistance to brother or sister members in cases of illness, death or distress, and in every way acquit her/himself as a loyal and devoted member of the International Union.” It is not only in our heart to reach out to a grieving brother/sister, but it is also our duty.

I know it can be a difficult conversation to have with the grieving brother or sister. Your heart goes out to them, but sometimes it feels like you just can’t find the right words. When we have a member in need, I often call on our UAW Local 652 Chaplain, Mark Baldwin. Brother Baldwin has a very kind heart and is a brother of good faith. As a UAW Chaplain, Brother Baldwin serves people of all faiths and respects their faith as well as those who express no particular faith at all and he does not impose his beliefs on others or seek to persuade members to accept his religion or belief. All discussions between the member and a chaplain are in strict confidence. The UAW Chaplaincy program provides a wide range of ministries and services which include: Home Visitation, Crisis Communication, Hospital Intervention, Weddings, Godly Council, Funeral and related ministries, In-Plant Memorials, Inside and Outside Plant contact, and prayer requests. A Chaplain provides services as requested and does not replace the workers' normal Clergy contact.

Another person I call on when we have a member in need is our GM unit EAP (Employee Assistant Program) Representative, Tim Lounds. Brother Lounds is very resourceful, kind, professional, and helpful. If you, or a loved one, are suffering from a mental disorder, alcoholism and/or drug dependency, and/or other personal problems, you can request EAP services. Everything you discuss with your EAP rep is confidential. Your EAP rep will provide you with educational and informational materials to assist you as well as give support.

I want our grieving members to know that they are not alone in their time of sorrow, or during their dark moments and that we do have resources to help them through difficult times. If you are unsure where to start to get the support you need, start with me and I can direct you to Brothers Baldwin, Lounds, or both. You can also call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak to a trained counselor. Remember, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. It is not only our honor to help a member in need, but it is our duty.


February 2021

This new year of 2021 is off to a quick start and here we are in February already.  February is Black History Month and sadly, because of COVID restrictions we will not have our annual Black History Celebration. This month is a reminder that our country is diverse and beautiful, and our cultural differences should be celebrated.
Another reason to celebrate in the month of February is White Shirt Day. February 11th is the anniversary of the Sitdown Strike. On this day in 1937, General Motors recognized the UAW as a union and our very first, 1-page contract was created.  Don’t forget to wear your white shirt on February 11th.
March is Women’s History month and I would be remised if I didn’t take the time to appreciate the women who made great contributions to society and helped pave the way, sometimes unknowingly, digging trenches and paths for today’s leaders.  “If I have seen further than any other before me, it is because of the shoulders on which I stand.”   March is a time to celebrate the countless number of women who marched bold and bright while setting the foundation for others that come after them.  For me, there is a very clear view of why my foundation is strong.  My mother (and father) and my daughter give me stability, strength and confidence.  Paulette Warren, Linda Hodge, Toni Locket, Glender Anderson, Maria Starr, Veronica Johnson, Roberta Cannon, Sharron Mowers and Cynthia Johnson taught the true meaning of leadership, community involvement and how important it is, the true meaning of hard work and dedication, how to get up after you have fallen and how important it is to push others, all while being one’s biggest fan.  All of these women (and others, too many to mention), most importantly, taught me the true meaning of sisterhood and friendship.  I am who I am because of these women and their shoulders, on which I stand.  


December 2020

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and WOOOHOOO!!! Joe Biden was elected President of the United States of America!!

I’m so excited and relieved that many our endorsed candidates were elected by the great voters of Michigan.  Labor had a great year and we saw record turnout across the state, for sure. Congratulations to those that put in hours of phone banking, making and delivering yard signs, lit dropping and more.  Your hard work is appreciated and it definitely didn’t go unnoticed.  I am especially happy to see the 1st female Vice-President elect of the United States. As VP Harris said, “Dream with ambition and lead with conviction”. I have all the confidence in the world that the Biden/Harris ticket will do just that and take this country in the right direction.  If you know someone that voted for the other team, please be humble and kind. It’s a start in healing our souls as a nation.

We can’t relax just yet, however. There will be a senate runoff in Georgia.  The future of the PRO Act will be decided in that senate race.   The PRO act would be so good for unions and especially good for some friends and workers I've met who hit road blocks when trying to make their facility a union shop. Call your friends and family in Georgia and explain how important it is to vote in the Senate runoff on January 5th, 2021. The senators that supports unions and the PRO act are Dr Raphel Warnock and Jon Ossoff.   If you would like to help Flip Georgia Blue and give to the campaign that supports both candidates, go to https://secure.actblue.com/donate/flipgeorgiablue

I hope all of you have a wonderful, yet safe Thanksgiving. My family decided not to get together for our Thanksgiving feast, due to COVID.  Despite us not being able to get together, I have so much to be thankful for. As the old song goes, “God’s given me a pretty fair hand. I’ve got a house and a piece of land, a few dollars in a coffee can.  My old truck is still running good and my ticker’s ticking like they say it should. Lord knows, I’m a lucky (wo)man.” I’m so thankful for the people in my life.  I’m thankful for my family. My daughter is a hard-working, strong young lady making a life for herself, my parents are still healthy, my brothers gang up on me and tease me as usual. My grandma Wanda is still a spunky 95-year-old, I have great friends, and union brothers and sisters that believe in me and my 2 dogs Lila and Luka are silly and fun as well as my grand-dogs, Sky and Nova. As long as we are all staying healthy and COVID-free, I have an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE! 

More than likely, Christmas dinner will be canceled too, but there will still be magic in the air.  Don’t forget, Jesus is the reason for the season. If you are in the giving spirit, there are several community charities to give to or volunteer your time. Here is the link to Michigan Capital Area United Way’s list:  http://micauw.galaxydigital.com/need/

Merry Christmas to all and have a safe and happy new year.


September 2020

My decision on how I vote in the upcoming elections is based on the issues that are most important in my life. Others may have different issues that are important to them, and they should vote accordingly.  For me, my way of life, my job, pay and benefits are most important. I KNOW, without my union and bargaining power it brings, I wouldn't be so well off. Therefore, I am voting for all of the candidates that support unions and support organizing of unions, to keep bargaining power strong.

Statistics show how Unions are important and how equally important it is to organize (form unions).  The decline in union density accounts for one-third of the rise in income inequality among men and one-fifth among women,  Economic Policy Institute researchers found.  The solution, of course, is the same as it was in 1935. In order to restore balance to an astronomically uneven economy, Congress must restore workers’ power to organize.

Yes! Our strength is in the numbers! The more members we have, the stronger the leverage at the bargaining table.  It is extremely difficult in the U.S. to organize workers because of their fear of retaliation.   I have personally been on organizing drives, talking to workers that want and need to form a union, but are scared to because they witness an anti-union campaign at their worksites and within their communities.  The bosses have “round table” meetings with reminders of how great their jobs are without a union.  The unorganized workers see billboards along the highway denouncing unions.  It’s unspoken, but visibly loud and clear that their job is at risk. Corporations are getting a slap on the wrist at best and these workers are having their Constitutional rights taken away.  Labor rights are civil rights, and civil rights are Constitutional rights.

This is why I support the  Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act  It would give workers the power to form unions by expanding penalties for labor law violations, and take away retaliation against workers for participating in union activities.  The PRO Act would protect against retaliation and give power to unions.  The House of Representatives passed the PRO Act, and now it sits idle. This is a perfect example of why I support the candidates that support unions, and our livelihood.  If the Senate truly cared about the well-being of the middle class, it wouldn’t be sitting idle. 

I understand that people are passionate about their single issues, like “abortion” and I respect them for taking a stance.  I wish they could think about the bigger picture, however.  If owning a gun (for example) is your most important issue........then you should vote accordingly, but how would you be able to shoot a gun if you've already cut off the hands that feed you by voting against the candidate that supports you? ?? ?? ??


June 2020

This year, 2020, has been an eventful year to say the least. It marks the 100th year anniversary of the Women’s Right to Vote, GM plants across the nation sat idle for 8:46 seconds to honor a man that was killed by the police, Black Lives Matter organized peaceful protests around the world, a pandemic put a halt to the entire country, small businesses closing their doors, unemployment rates, and undocumented children being held in a cage without their parents. What about Killer bees? (ha) All of this happening in this year of 2020 with no guidance or leadership in sight. While the current President didn’t create many of these issues his poor leadership intensified them and made them much worse! 
Americans need someone in the Oval Office that shows competent leadership. We need someone that brings us together and not apart, someone that promotes love and not hate. That is why this upcoming presidential election is so crucial. Joe Biden is the person for that position. Here is a breakdown on part of his plan: 
  • Strengthen the Right to Vote. Joe will strengthen our democracy by guaranteeing that every American’s vote is protected.  
  • He will also champion women’s health care, and reverse the Trump Administration and states’ all-out assault on women’s right to choose 
  • Confront the systemic racism in our country that is built into our laws, our policies, and our institutions and will take aggressive action to correct them—ripping out the inequities in housing, health care, education, the economy, our criminal justice system, and so many other areas. 
  • Plans for COVID-19 includes, but not limited to: 
  • Restoring trust, credibility, and common purpose. 
  • Mounting an effective national emergency response that saves lives, protects front-line workers, and minimizes the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Eliminating cost barriers for prevention of and care for COVID-19. 
  • Pursuing decisive economic measures to help hard-hit workers, families, and small businesses and to stabilize the American economy. 
  • Rallying the world to confront this crisis while laying the foundation for the future. 
  • Establish a True Small Business Fund and make sure the program’s terms actually help small businesses. His plan will keep well-off business owners from using any program to unjustly enrich themselves. 
  • Strengthening worker organizing, collective bargaining, and unions.  
  • Hold corporations and executives personally accountable for interfering with organizing efforts and violating other labor laws. 
  • Pursue employers who violate labor laws, participate in wage theft, or cheat on their taxes by intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors. 
  • Ensure federal dollars do not flow to employers who engage in union-busting activities, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law. 
  • Penalize companies that bargain in bad faith 
In closing, Ronald Reagan once asked the country are you better off today than you were four years ago? The country resoundingly said no and made a change in presidency. We must ask that same question now. I know my answer! My job is less secure with shrinking auto sales because of high unemployment. My health is at risk because of a failed response to COVID-19! My country is divided because President Trump would rather fight a culture war than unite a hurting country!  So, I ask you… Are you better off? If not, make your voice heard by make a change at the polls in November. 


 
 
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