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March 04, 2024
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Local 602 Recording Secretary Doug Fox Archive
May 20, 2021

February 2023

By the time you receive this, you should still have time to get your UAW IEB runoff ballot in the mail. Please make sure you mail it in, your vote is your voice.

Oldsmobile Outdoor Club Winterfest is February 17 – 19 at the Ramada Hotel in Grayling. Lots of fun activities for the entire family.

The Special Bargaining Convention is coming up March 27. The new UAW IEB should be in place and ready to lead us forward as one to fight for our fair share. Whichever candidates you supported, we need to come together for the benefit of ALL of us. Showing a united front will show whomever we are bargaining with that we are indeed a force to be reckoned with! We all know the hard work we put in and the toll it takes on us physically and mentally. Working as one, we can put a plan together at the special bargaining convention to ensure the livelihood of all members in all sectors that will allow us to live in comfort and with dignity.

I have some sad news. Local 1618 Retiree columnist Ted Gauss passed away February 2. Please keep Connie and his family in your thoughts.


In Solidarity,
Doug

December 2022

The national elections are over, our IEB elections are almost over. I hope everyone voted in both and will also vote in the runoff next month for the remaining IEB positions. We need to remember that we are stronger and get more done when we work together. We are allowed to have differences, but when we come together for the benefit of all, we ALL come out ahead and become stronger because of it. So, let’s all work together to make this Nation and this Union the best we can for all of us.

The holiday season will be in full swing by the time you are reading this. Please take a moment to remember those who may need something during this time. The holidays, though filled with love, joy, and time spent with family and friends, can be a rough time for some. It could be someone who recently had a loved one pass and needs to hear from friends and family. Maybe an elderly neighbor who doesn’t get out much, would love a visit. Consider volunteering some time at a soup kitchen – they can always use help throughout the year. Check in on people just to say “hi”. It can make a huge difference. For volunteer or donation opportunities, check below.

City Rescue Mission https://tinyurl.com/4vm7xrsr

Salvation Army https://tinyurl.com/ycxenb7r

Old Newsboys Donate https://tinyurl.com/3fj82sez

Toys For Tots Donate https://tinyurl.com/2cr4hkuw

Depression and anxiety rise over the holidays. Make sure to be aware of your mental well-being. Don’t let the pressures of the holidays get to you. If you start feeling overwhelmed, below are some links.

Mayo Clinic https://tinyurl.com/yew9b4z3

Every Day Health https://tinyurl.com/ekwf3bf3

WebMD https://tinyurl.com/3zs579vy

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Call or text 988 or https://988lifeline.org/

I hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season. Enjoy the time with your family and friends and let’s work together to make next year the best ever. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

April 2022

The 38th Constitutional Convention of the UAW is being held in Detroit this July 25-28. This is where we as a union consider changes and additions to our Constitution, as well as nominate and elect the executive board. I found this information on uaw.org and thought I would share it with all of you.

The Constitution of the UAW is the supreme law of our union and is the Constitution of every local union. It provides the foundation for the day-to-day operations of our great union, and equally important, it sets forth the rights, guarantees and responsibilities of all UAW members.

The Constitution can only be amended by a majority vote of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, which is held every four years, or at Special Conventions. This is a democratic process, as members elect the delegates who represent them at these conventions, per Article 8 of the UAW Constitution.

An electronic version of the UAW Constitution is available at: https://uaw.org/uaw-constitution-2/. You can request a paper copy by contacting your Local Union leadership.

It's important that every member become familiar with the Constitution. Just like the U.S. Constitution, to protect the rights of union members and the union, you need to know what those rights entail! You should carefully study our Constitution and apply its principles in your daily life, both as a member of a great democratic union and as a citizen in a democratic society.

It’s also vital that you read your collective bargaining agreement and local union bylaws. These documents address issues specific to your workplace and local union. By reading all three (your collective bargaining agreement, local union bylaws, and the UAW Constitution), you are educating yourself on how your union works. Education is essential to full participation in your union. Remember, knowledge is power!

Our UAW Constitution begins with a Preamble, which is an introduction to our union and core values. If you're a new member, you should pay extra attention to the Preamble and Article 6, "Membership" and Article 41 “Duties of Local Union Members”. These democratic processes govern our union as protections for all members. They are designed to make sure you, as a member, have a voice.

The body of our UAW Constitution is broken down into Articles and Sections. An Article being a main subject and each Section underneath the Article a key point related to that subject.

Start by reading the Constitution front to back, but after reading each Article, flip to the very back of the Constitution to see if there is an interpretation for that Article. The interpretations are key clarifications. They represent the interpretations of our Constitution by the International Executive Board.

Pay special attention to the Ethical Practices Codes, found after the Articles.

There’s a helpful table of contents in the front of the UAW Constitution. For example, if you're thinking about running for an elected position within your local union, the table of contents shows that Article 38 is titled "Local Union Officers" and Article 45 is titled "Stewards and Committeepersons." This would be a good place to start.

There is also a subject index towards the back of the book (between the Ethical Practices Codes and the Interpretations) that allows you to search by topic or phrase. The subject index is a great tool because it directs you to the article, section, and page number of the specific topic you're looking for. For example, you can look up “Local Union” in the index and you’ll find a sub-topic of “Election of Officers”.

March 2022

Have you ever been in a “discussion” about unions with some anti-union folks? Do you know any talking points to back up the many benefits of having a strong union presence (known as union density) in the community?
I came across the following information in a great article I thought I’d share with everyone. It has good data, with the references, showing how unions help not just their members, but everyone in the communities where union density is stronger. I strongly suggest you read the full article here https://www.epi.org/publication/unions-and-well-being/. There is a lot more detailed information available in the article.
Here are some highlights, some of which you may already know, but some may also surprise you. Areas with the highest union densities:

  •  Have state minimum wages that are on average 19% higher than the national average and 40% higher than those in low-union-density states
  •  Have median annual incomes $6,000 higher than the national average
  •  Have an uninsured (without health insurance) population 4.5 percentage points lower, on average, than that of low-union-density states
  •  Are more likely to have passed paid sick leave laws and paid family and medical leave laws than states with lower union densities
  •  On average, a worker covered by a union contract earns 10.2% more in wages. When union density is high, nonunion workers benefit, too, because unions effectively set broader standards—including higher wages—which nonunion employers must meet to attract and retain the workers they need. The combination of the direct wage effect for union members and this “spillover” effect for nonunion workers means unions are crucial to raising wages for working people and reducing income inequality.
  •  Unions also help to reduce gender and racial/ethnic wage gaps. Hourly wages for women represented by a union are 4.7% higher on average than for nonunionized women with comparable characteristics. Black workers represented by a union are paid 13.1% more than their nonunionized Black peers, and Hispanic workers represented by a union are paid 18.8% more than their nonunionized Hispanic peers.
  •  Union workers are far more likely than nonunion workers to be covered by employer-provided health insurance, have retirement plans, paid sick days, vacation and holidays, more input into the number of hours they work, and more predictable schedules.
  •  Strengthened health and safety. Unions also improve the health and safety of workplaces by providing health insurance and paid sick time, requiring safety equipment, and empowering workers to report unsafe conditions without fear of retaliation

So read the article and arm yourself with facts of the many benefits of unions.

December 2021

Another year is coming to a close and it’s time to reflect on some key issues we faced this past year and will continue to affect us.
Referendum – The referendum for direct election of the IUAW executive board passed. Whichever way you voted, it’s time to come together, now more than ever, and do what we can to make the Union stronger than ever before. Hopefully, those who were active and outspoken leading up to the referendum vote will continue to be active in the Union now that the referendum is over. More voices and participation are needed. The more people participate, the stronger our Union will be.
New/returning product – LDT is getting new product and will see upgrades and changes to the facility. Along with that will come down time in 2022. It’s been a long time waiting for the new Acadia and we look forward to having it back again.
Labor movement - The pandemic has made workers realize their worth. With companies posting high profits and giving executives exorbitant pay, some of which are hundreds of times more than what their hourly workers make, more people are standing up to the inequity. Look at the number of strikes and the gains that have been made. UAW members walked the picket line and also supported other unions on their picket lines. The labor movement is about building workplace equity for everyone. Walter Reuther said at the 11th convention “We are building a labor movement, not to patch up an old world so you can starve less often and less severely; we are building the kind of labor movement that will remake the world so that the working people will get benefits of their labor.  That is the kind of fight we are making.”
Despite a lot of down time at our local, our members have continued to be generous to those in need and have donated to a number of local organizations and causes. The members of ALL UAW locals are extremely generous to those in need. To paraphrase Walter Reuther, you’ll get no greater satisfaction than serving your fellow man.
Finally, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a safe and happy holiday season. Enjoy your time with your family and friends.

May 2021

It’s that time of year again. Young men and women finishing one chapter of their life and beginning the next as they go through the traditional graduation. Whether high school or college, this milestone is definitely one to be remembered. Countless hours doing homework and studying have finally paid off.

For those graduating high school, you have some decisions to make. The most basic is continue education or go straight into the workforce. However, trade schools and apprenticeships are a great choice that need to be explored and are often overlooked. The need for workers in the trades is high and the pay and benefits are great. Here are some examples of starting wages, job growth and training time.

Electrician – Median salary: $56,181, Projected job growth: 10% from 2018 to 2028, Training program: four-plus months

Carpenter – Median salary: $39,416, Projected job growth: 8% from 2018 to 2028, Training program: five-plus months

Truck driver – Median salary: $45,261, Projected job growth: 5% from 2018 to 2028, Training program: six weeks

Some of the areas that are in great demand are Electricians, Welders, Plumbers, Home inspectors, Aircraft mechanics, HVAC technicians, Diesel technicians, and Construction managers. These jobs range in average pay from $49,000 to $84,000.

Other positive things to consider when looking at some of these jobs:

You cannot “outsource” them.

Most remain relatively stable even during economic downturns.

Some have potential for high earning based on experience

Trade school is better than college because it takes much less time, and with apprenticeships you get paid while you learn.

So, if you have a graduate in your family, consider talking to them about a career in the trades. Almost all trades have unions. Consider joining one for that trade. And we all know union jobs have better wages and benefits.

I would like to congratulate and wish all graduates the best of luck. You have many opportunities out there. Consider a good paying, union, trade job.

February 2021

By the time you receive this issue of Lansing Labor News, White Shirt Day should have just been celebrated. White Shirt Day commemorates the end of a 2-month long sit-down strike in Flint from December 30, 1936 to February 11, 1937. Through the efforts of the brave men and women, UAW members gained a seat at the bargaining table with General Motors. We, as a Union, were finally united as one. Working and watching out for each other, together we became stronger and stronger. A formidable force to be reckoned with in our Solidarity.
I feel the idea behind this commemoration is more important than ever now. The middle class is facing unprecedented challenges seemingly everywhere we look. We have many things facing us internally and externally that we need to face together.
Politics, the pandemic, our internal issues, and the inability to have civil discourse are creating divides like never before. We need to once again focus on our common ground. We need to be able to have honest, sometimes painful, discussions while respecting that others may have different views. We need to become more active within our Union to help strengthen it and educate ourselves and our Brothers and Sisters.
TOGETHER. SOLDIARITY. UNION. As a proud UAW member I see, hear, and also speak these words often. Unfortunately, I feel the meaning of these words has been diminished by the many controversies and issues we are facing and apathy is rising.
Together. This simply means you are never alone. Your Brothers and Sisters are there for you. Through all life’s ups and downs. Sharing the joys of birth and marriage, and the anguish of losing a loved one. We rally to help when one of our own faces a disaster. Having each other’s backs and standing together at work. Speaking up when one isn’t treated fairly. Helping educate each other and sharing our experiences. With your Brothers and Sisters, you are NEVER truly alone.
Solidarity. Solidarity, to me, means uniting toward the common goal of improving, and defending, our middle-class way of life. “A rising tide lifts all boats” is a great aphorism for this idea. When we work together to improve safety for us, it makes it safer for other workers. Our gains gradually become their gains. What the unions have struggled to achieve has improved working conditions in non-union workplaces.
Union. Our organization, the UAW. Binding us together as one. With such a variety of members, our strength is our diversity, our knowledge base is broad. Every member has a voice and every member needs to USE that voice.
We are strongest when we are truly united. We may have differing ideas on the path, but the destination remains the same. Together, Solidarity, Union. Not just words. A way of life to improve the middle class.


 
 
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