Site Map Icon
RSS Feed icon
 
Lansing Labor News
Established 1945
 
 
April 25, 2018
Archived Articles for Rose Van Schoick
Print Icon Dec 13, 2011

December 2017: Reflecting

The hustle-bustle of the holiday season is upon us and winter is finally here. As many of us hibernate inside during the winter months, we have the opportunity to reflect upon all of the wonderful things in our lives for which we are blessed and for which we are thankful. Please keep in mind those that may be less fortunate this holiday season. Volunteer opportunities, food and clothing requests are abundant at many community organizations, such as the City Rescue Mission, Volunteers of America, local area food banks, etc.
You may also call 2-1-1 to ask for suggestions regarding the needs of different organizations. They will help match your blessings of gifts/food/dollars to an agency that is in need as well as give you a location for the organization if you are dropping off your gifts.
Let us hope that 2018 will be a happier and more prosperous new year.

September 2017: UAW resource

Maybe you’ve been to the uaw.org site, but have you explored all it has to offer? There’s a tremendous amount of information and assistance for all manner of union interests and activities. Want to check the UAW Constitution? It’s under the About dropdown menu. Under the Members dropdown, you can learn about the standing committees, the history of the UAW, educational resources, health and safety, and much, much more—including “Labor Lab.” Labor Lab examines core areas of building a strong union and highlights the experiences and best practices in our union. Check it out, you may be amazed at all there is to learn.

May 2017: Your voice matters

Your calls and emails to your local, state and national legislatures are making a huge impact on issues that affect all of us by keeping the pressure turned up. It has been reported that a phone call from a constituent can hold more weight as compared to an email. A flooded email inbox is easier to ignore than phones ringing off the hook. Therefore, activists should call their legislatures to express their opinion on issues that are relevant to them. It is recommended that sharing a personal story of how a situation impacts your life is also liable to make a lasting impression.
At our last CAP meeting, it was reported that attendance at local town hall meetings in our local communities have dramatically risen. People are becoming more engaged in matters of our country, our state and our local communities. I encourage you to stay active, attend meetings and continue to make those phone calls to your legislators. Keep up the good work – your voice matters.
Mark your Calendars
Congratulations and welcome to the new officers at our local union as well as those in our surrounding local union community of brothers and sisters!
You may wish to mark your calendars for the following events happening soon in our community.
1. Through the end of June, our Civil Rights Committee is collecting women’s feminine products – all donations will be delivered to Volunteers of America to help support the homeless and those in need.
2. Tuesday, June 6, 5-7 pm Free Skin Cancer Screenings at Sparrow Cancer Center, 1215 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing. Schedule your free appointment by calling 1-800-Sparrow (772-7769). This screening is being offered by appointment only.
3. Tuesday, July 11, opening of the new Cancer Center; for more information, go to: SparrowFoundation.org/NewCancerCenter
As I’m sure most of you are aware, it’s tick season once again. While we like to enjoy the outdoors this time of year, it’s unfortunate but true that we have to be ever more aware of preventing tick-borne diseases. Lyme disease gets most of the news coverage, but there are other diseases and other kinds of ticks to watch out for.
There is an excellent resource at www.michigan.gov/emerging diseases. It has all the identification and prevention information you could want (and then some, ew).

March 2017: Community service resources

Since February 6, your Community Service Committee has been attending classes to gain information to pass on to our members who may benefit from the outstanding resources which are available in our local community. Below, is a sample of various local organizations and the benefits they offer.
Mid-MI Recovery Services – An agency offering alcohol and other drug treatment. Advocates, educates and serves as a substance use treatment provider for 50 continuous years. Also provides family and friends support services if 18 years or older. For more info for programs and services go to: www.mmrsinc.org or 800-337-2310 or 517-887-0226
Financial Empowerment Center – Financial counselors can help you take control of your debt, improve your credit, lower your payments to take control of your finances, help you create a budget, suggest methods to save and plan for your future, etc. For more info go to: www.lansingmi.gov/ofe or call 517-483-4550
Bullying – MSU Extension has a program called Be Safe which helps people who may be experiencing bullying. A myriad of other resources are available to help Michigan’s Economy and People. For info: www.msue.msu.edu 
Community Resource for Women – Support groups and workshops provided by the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing. For more info and events go to: www.womenscenterofgreaterlansing.org 
Footprints of Michigan – Mission statement is: making a “soleful” footprint in the life of others. Donating new or gently worn shoes, boots, winter boots to the homeless and those in need. www.footprintsofmichigan.org 
2017 Recycle Rama – 9am – 2 pm on April 8. If you have items to either donate or recycle, you will want to mark this date on your calendar! For more info: http://bit.ly/RecycleRama2017 
Boys & Girls Club of Lansing – Open since 1964, outreach program to youth ages 7 – 17 years old in a very supportive environment. Open from 3pm – 8 pm; club membership is $10 per year. Helping to meet children’s needs by helping with homework, developing social skills, getting “future-ready”, learning responsibility, respect, job readiness, etc. Hosts many programs/activities for children including Arts & Crafts, Jr. Games Room, Computer Center, Gym, Cadet Room, Teen Zone, etc. For more info: bgclansing.org or 517-394-0455. If you are interested in volunteering, every adult volunteering at the Boys & Girls club must have a background check.
Lansing Promise Scholarship – Tuition assistance for college or skilled trade education. Must be within Lansing School District boundaries. Application eligibility criteria must be met. For more info: www.lansingpromise.org or 517-203-5020
Siren Eaton Shelter – Advocating against domestic violence in Charlotte, MI  For info: www.sireneatonsheltor.org or 517-543-0748
EVE – Advocating against domestic violence in Lansing, MI 
For more info: www.eveinc.org or 517-372-5572 (hotline # open 24/7)
Highfields — Counseling, intervention, training and support services to children, youth, parents and families who wish to change their lives. For more info: www.highfields.org 
Camping Resources
Mystic Lake – Mystic Lake Camp is a great place for your child to experience this summer and as a UAW Local 4911 member, there are scholarships for which your child may qualify. Applications are available at the Union Financial Office, 1010 River Street and also at the Union House on Holmes (first house next to the old Goodyear parking lot). Submission deadline is mid-May.
Black Lake Campground – Campsites available for $28/day. (Pets $5/day extra) Walter & May Reuther Family Education Center, 2000 Maxon Rd., Onaway, MI 49765. Call 989-733-8521 for a reservation.

January 2017: Planning for Social Security

Are you planning ahead for those “golden years” of retirement? It pays to begin the research now to determine what age is suitable for you to retire from your employment. Many people are depending on Social Security to help ease the burden of financial woes during retirement years.
How do you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits?  By earning “credits” when you work and pay Social Security taxes. If you were born in 1929 or later, you would be required to have 40 credits (10 years of work) to receive retirement benefits. Currently, about 10,000 people reach retirement age daily. You have the ability to view many sources of retirement publications and information on the following websites or choose to join 14 million people who have opened a personal mySocialSecurity account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. 
For the average worker, about 40 percent of your pre-retirement income is replaced by Social Security. The website www.socialsecurity.gov/retire has a retirement planner for your use to answer questions and help you prepare financially for this life-changing decision. (Some financial experts believe you may need up to 70-80 percent of pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement.)
In the past, Social Security sent our earnings history in the mail annually. After age 60, you will receive a Social Security statement every year in the mail about three months before your birthday, unless you have a mySocialSecurity account online. Your complete earnings history is shown, which will allow you to verify the accuracy of your earnings. Your benefit amount is based on your earnings over your lifetime.
Your actual earnings are adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. They apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit. This is how much you would receive at your full retirement age – 65 or older, depending on date of birth.
Age to receive full Social Security benefits 
Year of birth     Full retirement age     1943-1954     66     
1955         66 and 2 months
1956         66 and 4 months
1957         66 and 6 months
1958         66 and 8 months
1959         66 and 10 months
1960 and later     67 
NOTE: People who were born on January 1 of any year should refer to the previous year. 
Achieving the maximum Social Security benefit would depend upon the age that you choose to retire.
To help you understand how the maximum benefit is calculated, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf for an in-depth explanation.
For example, if you earned $$$ in social security benefits and you retired in 2014:
Retirement Age    Maximum Benefit
62        $1,992-Reduced Benefit
66        $2,642
70        $3,425
Additional sources of information regarding retirement and Social Security: 
Frequently Asked Questions website: www.ssa.gov/faq 
For retirement benefit estimates: www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator 
For information on Special Payments, such as; pension payments, annuities, interest or dividends:
www.socialsecurity.gov/hlp/isba/10/hlp-isba063-specpmt.htm 
For information on unemployment benefits as earnings:
www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/qualify.htm#sb=2 
For information on Social Security benefits and military service: www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm 
For information on Social Security if disabled: www.socialsecurity.gov/dibplan/dapproval4.htm 
57 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries age 62 and older are represented by women. A staggering 68 percent of women are beneficiaries aged 85 and older. There is a site specifically for women at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/women which has information for widows, working women, wives, etc.
If you know anyone that is currently on Medicare, you may be able to help them if they are struggling financially. “Extra Help” with Medicare prescription costs is available if you have limited income (tied to the federal poverty level) and limited resources. To see if you qualify, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or pass along the website address to someone you can help.
Another website address is www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare/prescriptionhelp or you can call Social Security’s toll-free number.
Many people are contemplating retirement and have questions which are unanswered. The websites listed in this article can be used as resources for you to begin your investigation regarding retirement. 
Source: www.socialsecurity.gov

December 2016: Happy holidays!

The hustle-bustle of the holiday season is upon us and winter is finally here. As many of us hibernate inside during the winter months, we have the opportunity to reflect upon all of the wonderful things in our lives for which we are blessed and for which we are thankful. 
Please keep in mind those that may be less fortunate this holiday season. Volunteer opportunities, food and clothing requests are abundant at many community organizations, such as the City Rescue Mission, Volunteers of America, local area food banks, etc.
You may also call 2-1-1 to ask for suggestions regarding the needs of different organizations. They will help match your blessings of gifts/food/dollars to an agency that is in need as well as give you a location for the organization if you are dropping off your gifts.
Let us hope and pray that 2017 will be a much happier and more prosperous new year for all of us to enjoy.
Local 4911 donates $5,000
to new cancer center 
UAW Local 4911 is pleased to donate funds for one of the most exciting building projects under construction at Sparrow Hospital – the new Herbert-Herman Cancer Center. The construction of the new $64 million Sparrow Plaza is located across from Sparrow’s Main Campus and will also adjoin Sparrow Professional Building (SPB). Within the Sparrow Plaza is the location of the new Cancer Center which will be twice the size of the current 28,000 square foot Cancer Center. 
Three specialized linear accelerators will be utilized for radiation therapy treatments of cancer patients. The process of treating a cancerous tumor is to customize the radiation beam to the tumor’s shape thereby limiting the surrounding tissues exposure to any unnecessary radiation damage. To plan an accurate dose of radiation to a cancerous tumor and deliver the radiation treatment requires the expertise of many professionally trained, specialized caregivers – doctors, physicists, dosimetrists and radiation therapists. 
As a former radiation therapist at Sparrow, I can attest to the fact that along with our medical expertise, there is a very special quality that the caregivers possess: an abundance of compassion to address the emotional state of their patients as well.
A typical radiation treatment course may last 4-6 weeks. During this duration of time, a patient and their doctors, radiation therapists, nurses and ancillary care givers develop a very special bonding experience. Because of the medical expertise and level of compassion, it is not surprising that hundreds of people a day choose Sparrow for their service provider in cancer care.
A multidisciplinary approach to patient care is currently in use at Sparrow Cancer Center. However, the new Herbert-Herman Cancer Center will offer the community a more convenient cancer center which takes into account the patient’s needs and the patient’s convenience for managing their daily treatments, multi-doctor appointments, etc. Patients will also have convenient access to additional features, such as; a pharmacy, lab, dietician, social workers, resource center, genetic counseling, palliative care specialists, and retail space is planned for a hair and breast prosthetics salon.
The installation of 40 infusion pods will treat nearly 1,500 people who visit Sparrow for chemotherapy and specialty infusions annually. A beautiful rooftop garden area will also be constructed for viewing pleasure while patients are receiving treatments in the infusion pods.
The pavement in front of the new building has an under-concrete heating system so icy driveways will not be an issue for patients being dropped off or picked up. Patients will also be able to conveniently park in the new 600 space adjacent parking deck. 
As you drive down Michigan Avenue at Sparrow’s main campus, you may wonder what all the construction fencing and barricades are protecting. It is the location of the new Sparrow Plaza which will house the new cancer center and serve the community’s cancer needs in an improved, convenient way. The grand opening of the new cancer center is scheduled for mid-2017.

September 2016: Absentee ballot

If you are a registered voter, you are provided with a convenient way to vote if you are unable to attend the polls on Election Day. Your request for an absent voter ballot must include one of the six statutory reasons listed below, your signature and date. Utilizing this option will ensure you have time to discuss the candidates with your family and have ample time to mark your ballot in the comfort of your home.
Many unforeseen circumstances can happen–a sudden emergency, an illness, a work schedule conflict, a family medical issue, etc., are all issues which could prevent you from reaching the polls on Election Day.
Voting by absentee ballot will ensure you have the opportunity to exercise one of the most fundamental rights in our country-casting your vote.
You can obtain an absent voter ballot for the following reasons:
• 60 years old or older
• Unable to vote without assistance at the polls
• Expecting to be out of town on Election Day
• In jail awaiting arraignment or trial
• Unable to attend due to religious reasons
• Appointed to work as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.
If you would like to fill out a Michigan Absent Voter Ballot Application for the November 8, 2016 Election, you have options:  
1. UAW Local 4911 has applications at our 1010 River Street office. Simply give us a call at 372-7201, go to our website, or email us your request at www.uawlocal4911.org. (You may return the completed and signed Absent Voter Ballot Application request to our office and we will forward them to your city or township clerks.)
2. Or, you may contact your city or township clerk directly for an application and more information. To find your clerk go to: www.Michigan.gov/vote
Requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your city or township clerk the Saturday before the election.

May 2016: Union awareness education classes
During any given Sparrow Orientation Day, the time slot allowed for the union to present material to new hires is a short duration of 20 minutes.
Due to this fact, I am proud to announce that on April 21 Local 4911 conducted our first Union Awareness Class at Local 602 in Lansing. This educational class will help our new members understand the importance of unions in the workplace as well as provide the history of unionization.
This pilot program, if successful, may be expanded to include any member interested in learning information on union awareness and labor education.
If you are interested in attending a future union awareness class, please give me a call at 372-7201 to express your interest (or email me at rose@uawlocal4911.org). If we receive a significant amount of membership interest, perhaps this may be an opportunity we offer our members on a regular basis.
Save the Date(s)
May 7–November 13, UAW Black Lake Campground is open and UAW members receive discounted rates. Call (989) 733-8521 to reserve your site. The address is 2000 Maxon Rd., Onaway, MI 49765.
May 10, 5-7 pm, Free Skin Cancer Screening at Sparrow Cancer Center by appointment only. Call 1-800-SPARROW to schedule an appointment.
May 14, Letter Carriers’ Food Drive – place non-perishable foods by your mailbox for pick up.
May 21, 9 am – Run for the Ages is a 5K walk/run/wheel at Hawk Island Park. To register go to www.tcoa.org
June 12, from 1–3 pm, National Cancer Survivors Day Picnic at the Sparrow Cancer Center Parking Ramp (East end of Sparrow).

January 2016: Tragedy of the MI people
A day after the rally at the Capitol in downtown Lansing, I am still trying to warm up. A flood of emotions are coursing through my mind—I have not been able to sleep without waking several times during the night. I ask myself over and over again, how can the Flint water disaster be in existence for a YEAR? Human lives are at stake; the unborn, children, families, elderly, no one is exempt from this tragedy. 10 people have died from Legionnaire’s disease in the area, is there a connection? The state health department will investigate and report their findings.
At the rally, I wandered through the crowd masses. One sign being held displays pictures of dark brown water gushing out of a fire hydrant. Another picture displays deep amber colored water in a gallon jug and in a kitchen sink—the text reads: Fix Our Water!
I pass by a mother who is holding a baby bottle with amber water next to a clear colored water bottle. I ask, may I take your picture? “Of course,” she responds, “we need your help, thank you for being here with us.”
I was so impressed and moved by the variety of people I saw and spoke with. A mother, holding a bundled up toddler next to his stroller, is chanting with the crowd. A woman, standing alone, chanting—her battery powered Christmas lights decorating her walker so she wouldn’t get run over by the crowd because she walked so slowly. A gentleman in a high powered wheelchair with a United States Marine Corp emblem proudly fastened to the back of the headrest—chanting with the crowd at the base of the Capitol steps. How did he get here safely? There is snow and slick ice still covering some of the downtown parking lots and sidewalks.
What did they all have in common? They were all committed to helping save precious lives—despite the elements of the cold weather, despite giving up their personal time, despite this, that, or the other thing, they all gave up something to be out here with the masses in support of the people of Flint.
As a society, have we failed in our duty to protect our children, our families, our brothers and sisters? Have we become too complacent thinking someone else would protect them for us? Are we so self-absorbed that we feel too busy to get involved? How many people are not aware of the tragic events unfolding in the Flint water crisis or the severity of health risks to the public population? Flint’s drinking water is poisoned with lead! One year in the making, shame on us for not being informed and getting involved earlier. Can you imagine not being able to take a shower every morning, brush your teeth, give your pet a drink of water, wash the dishes, do a load of laundry, etc.?
An investigation of the state and local government’s actions is being conducted by the Justice Department. Our Michigan leaders will become a public embarrassment for the national news. As Michiganders, we all deserve better. The future of Michigan is not dependent upon a few, it is up to each and every one of us. We are the people and we can demand accountability. We are living proof of a toxic political failure.
Former Congressman Mark Schauer was one of the speakers at the rally. He said, “The one thing missing on the spreadsheet/balance sheet of Michigan’s current leadership was a column called ‘people!’” Corporate and/or budgetary interests and cost-cutting measures should never be placed above the common good for the people. Let’s all play a key role in making our state government accountable to the people.

December 2015: The season for negotiations
As many of our members know, we are in negotiations with Sparrow at this time. Meetings have been occurring throughout the month of November at our River Street office. To keep you informed, a “UAW Local 4911 Bargaining Updates” Facebook page has been created.
Facebook users: search and go to “UAW Local 4911 Bargaining Updates.” Like it to receive updates, which will be done following each bargaining session. The purpose for the page is for bargaining updates only and not messaging. All messages and comments will be deleted.
Non-Facebook users: go directly to https://www.facebook.com/4911bargainingupdates and read updates in center of page.
The Ultimate Holiday Gift from the Labor Movement
Over the past numerous decades, union officials have battled during historical negotiations to gain workers’ rights and benefits. Many people take for granted what the labor movement has won for working Americans. Little things such as paid holidays, paid vacation days, an eight-hour workday, weekends, overtime, break time, paid sick days, living wages, workplace safety, worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, health care, dental and vision insurance and safe working condition—to name a few. In addition, add the fact that union workers also have a democratic voice in their workplace.
As you know, a vast number of workers still enjoy these benefits today. This is a perfect example of how union-negotiated benefits were often embraced, accepted and adopted by the business community over the years. The ultimate holiday gift that we enjoy all year long. Working people and working families make up the majority of our middle class society, which is being eroded by corporate greed. Can you imagine how loud our voice would be if 99% of us showed up to vote during elections. We would out- number the 1% and bring greatly improved economics to the middle class working families, no matter the vast amount of dollars the billionaires spend on television, radio and/or printed advertising.
Holiday Greetings!
As we approach this blessed holiday season, may we all spend time reflecting upon everything for which we have to be thankful. Let’s all open our hearts and look for opportunities to help those who are less fortunate through kind words, kind acts, monetary donations, cooking meals, shoveling sidewalks or driveways for a neighbor or family member, etc. The gift of giving without expecting anything back has a therapeutic effect on our hearts and souls.
Do you have a favorite waitress at a restaurant you frequent? An unexpected extra holiday tip may help pay a bill or buy gas to get to work. The need may not be monetary, it may require your time to help around the house to get a task or repair done. The possibilities are endless if you open your heart to helping someone in need.
There also are several organizations that support our local community needs and appreciate donations. Toys for Tots, City Rescue Mission, Capital Area United Way, Old Newsboys and Sparrow Hospital’s own Care for the Caregivers are a few examples.
I hope you enjoy safe travels during your holiday visits this holiday season. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with peace and joy.

September 2015: 36 reasons to thank unions
Have you ever heard a union member say “What does the union do for me?”
Did you know that labor unions made the following 36 things possible?
1. Weekends without work
2. All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
3. Paid vacation
4. Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
5. Sick leave
6. Social Security
7. Minimum wage
8. Civil Rights Act/Title VII - prohibits employer discrimination
9. 8-hour work day
10. Overtime pay
11. Child labor laws
12. Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
13. 40-hour work week
14. Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp)
15. Unemployment insurance
16. Pensions
17. Workplace safety standards and regulations
18. Employer health care insurance
19. Collective bargaining rights for employees
20. Wrongful termination laws
21. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
22. Whistleblower protection laws
23. Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) – prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
24. Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
25. Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
26. Sexual harassment laws
27. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
28. Holiday pay
29. Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
30. Privacy rights
31. Pregnancy and parental leave
32. Military leave
33. The right to strike
34. Public education for children
35. Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 – requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
36. Laws ending sweatshops in the United States
Source: www.unionplus.org/about/labor-unions/36-reasons

May 2015: New location
Financial Administration Office 
New Phone # 372-7201
Spring of 2015 brings a new home for the Financial Administration office of UAW Local 4911. We now share office space (in a one-story building) with our UAW Region 1-D office at 1010 River Street in Lansing. To visit us via driving from Sparrow Hospital, travel west on Michigan Avenue and turn south on Cedar Street. Continue driving south until you drive under the 496 overpass. On the corner of Elm Street and Cedar Street you will see Kwick Car Wash on the right-hand side. Turn right onto Elm Street and then right at the next street, which is River Street. We are approximately 1.5 miles from Sparrow Hospital.
This location will be the new meeting room location for all membership meetings unless otherwise instructed.
For membership convenience, representation by the President (office at each site), Service Unit Chair, Technical Unit Chair, Skilled Trades Unit Chair, Sparrow Specialty and all stewards will remain at the site of the UAW House on Holmes Street. (Located behind the old Goodyear building–right next to Sparrow.)
3 Words You Never Want to Hear
“You Have Cancer”
If you were ever told you have cancer by your physician, it would be the most frightening day of your life. As a former Radiation Therapist at Sparrow’s Cancer Center, I was a caregiver delivering radiation treatments to cancer patients. The Sparrow Cancer Center has been providing incredible cancer care for nearly 50 years – seeing 2,000 new patients each year. The staff includes a team of seven renowned board-certified physicians that have collectively over 100 years of cancer expertise to offer their patients.
Collaboration with Mayo Clinic oncologists is available through Sparrow’s membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This multidisciplinary approach means that every cancer patient is evaluated and cared for by a team of physicians. The Cancer Center’s staff is unique in every way, delivering truly medically precise treatments while offering compassionate, loving care to their patients. As a community, we are incredibly fortunate to have the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of physicians managing one of the most frightening diagnoses we could ever hear–“you have cancer.”
On May 15 a significant expansion at Sparrow begins. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held for the brand new, state-of-the-art cancer center offering the latest technology and treatments and support services for patients and their families. The new cancer center will offer expertise and convenience for cancer patients of mid-Michigan choosing Sparrow, as all of the health system’s cancer treatments will be housed under one roof. “Every patient is evaluated and cared for by a team – managing all aspects of care from tests and treatments, to infusions, nutrition counseling, and more. Board-certified radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and radiologists gather together to determine the most effective treatment plan on an individual patient basis.” The most effective treatment plan is chosen with the patient very well informed and educated regarding their treatment choices. 
James Herman, M.D., Medical Director, Sparrow Cancer Center, noted, “Cancer affects one in three people. This new facility means a state-of-the-art cancer center in our community. We’ll be able to give our patients the environment they deserve.” 
We are very excited to see many areas of expansion happening at Sparrow Health System. As we grow into the future, we expect our union membership numbers to grow as well – currently, we have 2,300 members.
The general public may not realize that they have choices they can make regarding where their health care tests, procedures or services are performed. Too often, if a physician orders an exam, test, procedure, etc., the patient may simply adhere to what directive they are given.
Please know that you need to be your own patient advocate, research and educate yourself and ask questions until you understand completely the complexity of the medical situation. 
As local union members of mid-Michigan receiving the Lansing Labor News, we all are aware that Sparrow Health System is a UAW healthcare facility. However, much of the general population is under the impression that UAW means specifically automobiles or agriculture. We wish to enlighten the general public that Sparrow Hospital is also UAW (our division of the UAW is called TOP).
We would appreciate your assistance to help spread the word when talking with family members, your friends and neighbors who may not know that the UAW also has a segment called TOP – which stands for Trades, Office and Professionals. 
There are two unions at Sparrow Health System. UAW Local 4911 includes Radiation Therapists, X-ray techs, Respiratory techs, Cardiac Cath Lab Techs, Emergency Room techs, ultrasound techs, lab personnel, skilled trades, surgical techs, food service, secretaries, environmental service, etc., to name a few professions. The MNA —Nurses, Pharmacists, Nuclear Medicine techs, etc., is the second union. 
As union members in the mid-Michigan area, we share a unique brotherhood and sisterhood as an extended family of our own. Many of us have an allegiance to one another and choose to support locally made, union-built cars. (Vehicle VIN #’s beginning with a 1, 4 or 5 mean a U.S. made vehicle; VIN #’s beginning with a 2 is a Canadian made vehicle.) 
As the UAW leadership always advocates, if we collectively purchase union-made goods, or grocery shop at union friendly stores (Meijer’s or Kroger’s) or choose to receive our health care at Sparrow Hospital, we unite our union power by strengthening our alliances in support of each other and for the good of our cause.
We have the freedom to choose to band together to ensure our future
grows and prospers while supporting each other in the community in which we live. 
UAW Local 4911 Upcoming Events
May 9, Letter carriers’ Food Drive
May 12, Free Skin Screening (5 pm – 7 pm) at Sparrow Cancer Center. Call 364-2689 to schedule an appointment today.
June 7, National Cancer Survivors Day Picnic, Sparrow Cancer Center upper deck parking ramp. 364-2780 for information.
June 14, Tigers game –  see the April Worker to Worker, website or bulletin boards for details.
August – Free UAW Local 4911 membership appreciation cookout. Dates to be determined for each campus and will be publicized in the July Worker to Worker.

January 2015: Social Security resources
Are you planning ahead for those “golden years” of retirement? It pays to begin the research now to determine what age is suitable for you to retire from your employment. Many people are depending on Social Security to help ease the burden of financial woes during retirement years.
How do you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits?  By earning “credits” when you work and pay Social Security taxes. If you were born in 1929 or later, you would be required to have 40 credits (10 years of work) to receive retirement benefits. Currently, about 10,000 people reach retirement age daily. You have the ability to view many sources of retirement publications and information on the following websites or choose to join 14 million people who have opened a personal mySocialSecurity account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
For the average worker, about 40 percent of your pre-retirement income is replaced by Social Security. The website www.socialsecurity.gov/retire has a retirement planner for your use to answer questions and help you prepare financially for this life-changing decision. (Some financial experts believe you may need up to 70-80 percent of pre-retirement income to live comfortably in retirement.)
In the past, Social Security sent our earnings history in the mail annually. After age 60, you will receive a Social Security statement every year in the mail about three months before your birthday, unless you have a mySocialSecurity account online. Your complete earnings history is shown, which will allow you to verify the accuracy of your earnings. Your benefit amount is based on your earnings over your lifetime.
Your actual earnings are adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. They apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit. This is how much you would receive at your full retirement age – 65 or older, depending on your date of birth.
Age to receive full Social Security benefits
Year of birth     Full retirement age     1943-1954     66     
1955         66 and 2 months
1956         66 and 4 months
1957         66 and 6 months
1958         66 and 8 months
1959         66 and 10 months
1960 and later     67
NOTE: People who were born on January 1 of any year should refer to the previous year.
Achieving the maximum Social Security benefit would depend upon the age that you choose to retire.
To help you understand how the maximum benefit is calculated, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf for an in-depth explanation.
For example, if you earned $$$ in social security benefits and you retired in 2014:
Retirement Age    Maximum Benefit
62        $1,992-Reduced Benefit
66        $2,642
70        $3,425
Additional sources of information regarding retirement and Social Security:
Frequently Asked Questions website: www.ssa.gov/faq
For retirement benefit estimates: www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator
For information on Special Payments, such as; pension payments, annuities, interest or dividends:
www.socialsecurity.gov/hlp/isba/10/hlp-isba063-specpmt.htm
For information on unemployment benefits as earnings:
www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/qualify.htm#sb=2
For information on Social Security benefits and military service: www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm
For information on Social Security if disabled: www.socialsecurity.gov/dibplan/dapproval4.htm
57 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries age 62 and older are represented by women. A staggering 68 percent of women are beneficiaries aged 85 and older. There is a site specifically for women at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/women which has information for widows, working women, wives, etc.
If you know anyone that is currently on Medicare, you may be able to help them if they are struggling financially. “Extra Help” with Medicare prescription costs is available if you have limited income (tied to the federal poverty level) and limited resources. To see if you qualify, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or pass along the website address to someone you can help.
Another website address is www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare/prescriptionhelp or you can call Social Security’s toll-free number.
Many people are contemplating retirement and have questions which are unanswered. The websites listed in this article can be used as resources for you to begin your investigation regarding retirement. I also have confirmed with the Social Security Public Affairs department that they are willing to attend one (or more) of our membership meetings to help us understand various topics and answer questions. We are negotiating a convenient meeting date for this spring. Please watch our Worker to Worker and bulletin boards for the announcement of our guest speaker. I will also schedule a meeting for our Retirees in which Social Security will be the guest speaker and answer your questions.
Source: www.socialsecurity.gov

December 2014: Ultimate holiday gift from labor
Over the past numerous decades, union officials have battled during historical negotiations to gain workers’ rights and benefits. Many people take for granted what the labor movement has won for working Americans. Little things such as: paid holidays, paid vacation days, an eight-hour workday, weekends, overtime, break time, paid sick days, living wages, workplace safety, worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, health care, dental and vision insurance and safe working conditions, to name a few. Also, add the fact that union workers have a democratic voice in their workplace. 
As you know, a vast number of workers still enjoy these benefits today. This is a perfect example of how union negotiated benefits were often embraced, accepted and adopted by the business community over the years. The Labor Movement has given us the Ultimate Holiday Gift that we enjoy all year long. To grasp the significance of this gift and appreciate the benefits more fully, would you volunteer to forgo the benefits for one year to imagine what life might be like without them? 
Working people and working families make up the majority of our middle-class society which is being eroded. Therefore, unions will persevere and continue to fight to improve the quality of life for working families everywhere.
Holiday Greetings!
As we approach this blessed holiday season, may we all spend time reflecting upon everything for which we have to be thankful. Let’s all open our hearts and look for opportunities to help those who are less fortunate through kind words, kind acts, monetary donations, cooking meals, shoveling sidewalks or driveways for an elderly neighbor or family member, etc. The gift of giving without expecting anything back has a therapeutic effect on hearts and souls. The possibilities are endless if you open your heart to helping someone in need. 
I hope that you enjoy safe travels during your holiday visits with friends and family this holiday season. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with peace, joy and happiness.

September 2014: Appreciation cookout a success
Thank you to all our members who attended our Membership Appreciation Cookout lunch/dinner August 5 and 7. Every year the attendance at this event continues to grow. It is your Executive Board’s way of thanking our membership for the good work that they do each and every day at Sparrow Hospital. Though we had to move indoors to the doctors’ dining room at Sparrow campus due to a stormy forecast, our numbers continue to grow. Perhaps it may be more convenient for our membership to continue an indoor trend?
A sincere thank you goes out to Jim Long at the Sparrow campus and Dennis Mulholland at St. Lawrence for all their expertise in preparing and serving large crowds in a short time frame. Without your input and guidance, this project would not be so successful. We appreciate all that you do to ensure we feed the masses in a timely fashion!
Tiger Game
If you are going to the Tiger game on Sept 28, remember that you must attend the Sept 24 membership meeting which is at 5:00 p.m. at 2722 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, across from Bud Kouts Chevrolet. Meetings are held in the first floor meeting room. If you have not paid your deposit, please come prepared to do so. Buses will depart on Sept 28 from the Sparrow shuttle bus lot.
Next Fall Event
We will be hosting a Halloween “Trunk or Treat” night in the parking lot of the UAW Administration office – 2722 E. Michigan Avenue. Details for this event will be in the October Worker to Worker. If you are not receiving the monthly Worker to Worker via your email, you may register on our website. Please go to www.uawlocal4911.org

May 2014: It's official!
Nearly a year-long process hasfinally paid off. I am very pleased to announce that on April 23 I received the official letter of notification from the UAW International that our Retiree application was approved. We are now known as Chapter No. 881 – Local 4911, Region 1-C, Sparrow Hospital.
If you would like to become a retiree member of UAW Local 4911, please read the following instructions.
1.) Go on-line to register at www.uawlocal4911.org
2.) On the left-hand side of the home page, look for the blue box titled Member Login. Click on the orange type which reads “Click here to sign up”. 
3.) Fill in the requested information. For Bargaining Unit, choose Retiree from the drop-down list. After entering all required fields, click on Preview Registration Information. Review the entries to be certain correct information is entered. Click on submit to send.
If you do not have access to a computer or do not have an email address, please call Rose or Sandy at (517) 272-5865 to register and we will be happy to assist you.
Two guests from Local 4911 were invited to attend the Black Lake Retiree-to-Retiree outing May 27–30. Much information was gathered at this event for learning the next steps in the process of forming our Retiree Chapter. As we move forward, we will be announcing nomination and election dates, meeting dates, etc.
This is a very exciting new endeavor for our union’s retiree members. Thank you for your support in wanting to begin a Retiree Chapter. Those members wishing to stay in touch and socialize with fellow retirees will soon have an opportunity to do so!

March 2014: Spring is here!
Have you noticed the birds singing in the mornings? To me, this is the official sign that Spring is here!! We have all endured a very long winter season being cooped up indoors with a limited amount of sunshine around us. I am excited to watch the grass turn green and witness the trees sprouting their new leaves. Our surroundings will transform from white and brown to a lush green landscape rejuvenating each and every one of us. I will tackle that Spring cleaning inside and outside without any complaints. In just a few weeks, I will smell the flowers, plant the berries and gardens while breathing deeply the crisp, clean, fresh outdoor air. The hibernation of winter will no longer have its gripping hold on us—we will be set free!
By the time you read this paper, our Local 4911 union will have had our fifth annual bowling event for our membership at Spare Time near Frandor. At this writing, we have 153 signed up to bowl! This event has had a steady growth rate since our first session which was held at Royal Scot during the first three years. We continue to offer this event for our members due to the positive feedback we receive. Remember, YOU are the union and we strive to offer activities that you enjoy.
Please watch our monthly Worker to Worker, the web site, and the bulletin board postings for upcoming summer activities, such as the Tiger baseball game and our annual summer cookout on both the Sparrow and St. Lawrence campuses.
Lansing Promise & H.O.P.E. Scholarship Programs
• Lansing Promise – to qualify you must live within the boundaries of the Lansing School District.
• Targeted at at-risk students identified in the sixth grade and supported through high school graduation.
• Creates hope and inspires students to complete high school and go on to college. Increases future job opportunities and income potential.
• Where can I learn more? www.lansingpromise.org or call Executive Director Brad Patterson at (517) 230-5393
Allen Neighborhood Center
1619 E Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48912, (517) 367-2468
www.allenneighborhoodcenter.org
Interested in information/activities that provide access to education and resources? Check out Allen Neighborhood Center and their programs and/or workshops which include a variety of topics, such as: housing, cooking courses, gardening classes/programs, nutrition, health, plant sales, youth programs, or even the rental of the facility—and of course, their year-round farmer’s market on Wednesdays.
Lansing Financial Empowerment Center
Financial counselors can help you take control of your debt, improve your credit, lower your payments to take control of your finances, create a budget, save and plan for your future, etc. Where can I learn more? www.lansingmi.gov/ofe or call 2-1-1. Free and confidential, multiple languages spoken.
Mystic Lake Camp
Mystic Lake Camp is a great place for your child to experience this summer and as a UAW Local 4911 member, there are scholarships that your child may qualify for!
Applications are available at the Union Office, 2722 E. Michigan Avenue and also at the Union House on Holmes (first house next to the old Goodyear parking lot). Submission deadline is May 20. For more information go to www.uawlocal4911.org.

January 2014: Mother Nature's one-two punch
I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year celebration. This past holiday season turned out to be like none other compared to the last several years. The week of Christmas was an exasperating event for so many of us who endured the challenges of living days without power. 
One thing was very apparent to me, friends and neighbors gathered together to help each other. Generators wouldn’t start for some and had to be worked on; neighbors depleted their supply of firewood for their fireplace which was their only source of heat. A heart-warming fact is that disasters usually bring out the best in many people. 
Chain saws buzzed throughout neighborhoods clearing the debris from roads and sidewalks the week of Christmas and well into the next week. I found the nights were extremely eerie outside seeing blackness everywhere you looked. The only sounds were the hum of the generators running. I thought this is how living “off the grid” might be.
Late on the evening of the third day without power, a caravan of six Consumers Power trucks came down our road. I covered my face in my hands in relief – my prayers were answered. I felt so grateful for this blessing of men and women who were engaging in the most beautiful gift for so many of us – restored power. Many of these workers left their families behind in other states to come to Lansing to help us. 
Our area made the headline news which generated a myriad of phone calls to see how we were surviving the ordeal. Would we still make it home for Christmas? Not this year I’m afraid. Maybe in several days we could leave to celebrate our out-of-town Christmas. A thick coating of ice was weighing down the power lines and tree limbs were still randomly snapping and falling to the ground or hovering dangerously over our power lines. It was such a hopeless feeling knowing that we were powerless to help ourselves and totally dependent upon Consumers Power to return to a normal lifestyle. 
Then Mother Nature gave us her second punch – a significant snowstorm which dumped 15 – 19 inches of snow on our area. High winds and bitter sub-zero temperatures followed. Schools and business’ closed. Many roads were impassible and travel was restricted in Lansing. Didn’t we just recover from an ice storm and major power outages? Once again, I witnessed neighbors and friends helping each other dig out from the significant snowfall. 
Immediately following the snowfall, the drifting began which occurred with the high winds accompanied by the sub-zero temperatures. I was concerned with frostbite, sub-zero temperatures and breathing ice cold air. Many layers of clothes later, I could hardly bend over to put my boots on or start the snow blower. The only visible surface exposed to the harsh elements was my eyes. I walked like the proverbial abominable snowman. Please, Mother Nature, I have a request: spare us from any future winter storms and hurry Spring along. 
For me, this experience was a lesson on how much we take for granted to be predictable. We want and need electricity, heat, water, sewer, food, clothing, etc. We expect our winter roads to be cleared daily for safe travel to and from work.
Mother Nature, however, had a few lessons in mind which brought us back to reality. Be grateful for the things that you have and be mindful of what they are. Maybe a part of my New Year’s resolution should be to assemble and stock that emergency kit I have been thinking about.
Contract Security of a New Year
2014 is mid-term for our 3 year collective bargaining agreement. We can expect the contract to be predictable – we have security. It is what the bargaining team negotiated. We have wages based on our skills, a set schedule of raises for two more years, Holiday pay, on call pay, vacation time, health care, vision, dental insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, pensions/401’s, even tuition reimbursement if we are not satisfied with our hourly wage and wish to challenge ourselves to advance our careers. Mother Nature will not change our contract. We are not “at will” employees and nothing will change our contract until the next time we sit down and negotiate with Sparrow. We have a security knowing we have jobs as long as we are employees who follow the rules of the contract. It is spelled out for us in black and white.
We need to get to work on time, be mindful of our attendance and show respect for our fellow workers. We have a security unlike many of our neighbors, family members, friends and even some of our co-workers. We can go to sleep every night knowing we have jobs
the next day as long as we practice and follow the rules which were agreed upon. 
I believe that the vast majority of us will gladly pay monthly union dues to obtain that level of security in these troubled economic times - especially with corporate greed at an all time maximum high level.
How many believe that your children will secure a full time job in the very near future with benefits such as we have?

December 2013: Holiday greetings!
For the past several months, I have noticed that each week I have to change and adjust the “on/off” times on the automatic timer for our living room lamp. It is dark in the house by 5:30 pm! It seems like just a few weeks ago, we were coming in from the garden at 9:00 pm. This simple weekly act has driven home the fact that the days and months are passing by too quickly. And there is still so much to do. 
As of this writing, Thanksgiving is still a week away. However, I am hearing Christmas music on the radio and I am sure many merchants and shoppers alike are gearing up for the Black Friday shopping marathons. Once Thanksgiving has been feasted upon, we all know that Christmas is only a blink of the eye away. The hustle-bustle of the holiday shopping season is upon us. You may want to be making your list and checking it twice. As we approach this blessed holiday season, may we all spend time reflecting upon everything for which we have to be thankful.
Please keep in mind those that may be less fortunate this holiday season. Volunteer opportunities, food and clothing requests are abundant at many community organizations, such as the City Rescue Mission, Volunteers of America, local area food banks, etc. 
Our UAW Labor Liaison, Dean Poggiali, states an excellent resource to utilize for donation opportunities is calling 2-1-1 and simply asking for suggestions of what needs different organizations have. They will help match your blessings of gifts/food/dollars to an agency that is in need as well as give you a location for that organization for dropping off your gifts. To obtain information for counties outside our immediate area, please call Central Michigan 2-1-1 offices at 1-(866)-561-2500. 
Local 4911 News
Our most recent union event was a bake sale which we held at Sparrow campus and St. Lawrence campus with all proceeds going to Capital Area United Way. Thank you very much to those of you who baked for this special event as well as those who purchased our baked goods! We had very little baked goods left over which we promptly donated to the Volunteers of America.
After months of waiting, Sparrow has our new contract now available on the Sparrow Intranet. Your union also has posted a copy on our website at www.uawlocal4911.org. If you prefer a hard copy of the contract, please request one at Sparrow
Human Resources. 
An exciting new chapter of Local 4911 is in the making—our Retiree Chapter! Our first required step in this process was to collect the signatures of 25 current retirees, which we accomplished during our October retiree VEBA meeting. If you are retired and wish to be included as a member in our retiree chapter, for which you will receive our communications regarding future retiree gatherings and/or activities, please call Rose at 272-5865. We will be happy to add you to our database. 
I hope that you enjoy safe travels during your visits to spend time with family and friends this holiday season. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with peace, joy and happiness.

September, 2013: Thank you, Local 4911 members
UAW Local 4911 held its second annual membership appreciation cookout August 13 at Sparrow Hospital campus and August 15 at St. Lawrence campus. Many of our Executive Board members worked setting up the event, as well as working the “food line.” We fed the day shifts and we also returned for the evening shifts as well.
Wil Slone, grill Sergeant at Arms, cooked approximately 1,400 hot dogs for our membership! We increased our participation numbers by a vast amount over last year’s cookout. A huge “thank you” also goes to the Food Service managers and staff at Sparrow and St. Lawrence Hospital, for without their expertise in serving vast numbers of people in a small time frame, we might have run out of food. We sincerely appreciate all the planning and coordination which helped make our event so successful.
A sincere “thank you” and hugs go out to Roberta and her colleagues at APRI for participating at the Voter Registration table to ensure any members had the opportunity to become a registered voter or change their address if need be. Our V-CAP drive was also held at this event for which we appreciate and thank Shane, Krista and Art from UAW Region 1-C office out of Flint for attending and helping. This event is so busy for Local 4911 Board Members that we could not have been successful without your assistance and participation. 
We are so thankful to our members for participating in our most recent annual event! It is truly a wonderful event for the Executive Board to meet our members one-on-one and express our gratitude for the excellent work they do each and every day at Sparrow Hospital. It is an honor to have them as members of UAW Local 4911. It is with deepest gratitude that we show our appreciation to our members as we stand together in these challenging times of economic uncertainty. 

May 2013: Spring greetings
We can finally see the telltale signs of spring – flowers are blooming, birds are singing, the grass is getting green and there are signs of life in the garden plot! The neighborhoods are coming alive again with people walking and children playing. I love this time of year as it rejuvenates everyone into motion after a sleepy winter.
The office has been busy with the regular tax season requirements which we are required to report. Two huge areas of responsibility for all Financial Secretaries of local unions are the LM2 report required by the Department of Labor and the 990 report mandated by the Internal Revenue Service. These reports help the IRS and Department of Labor enforce the many laws that govern the nonprofit organizations, thus making our funds more transparent.
I truly love the challenges of accounting as well as diligently watching over our local union funds to ensure they are kept safe at all times. I also thoroughly enjoy helping many of our members who call me for assistance, guidance, or simply as a friend to talk to when the work day is challenging and you are unsure where to turn. Thank you all for your lively conversations and many wonderful ideas and stories you have shared with me.
I’m happy to report that this year’s bowling event in February was a huge success. We changed bowling alleys this year and the event was held at Spare Time in Frandor. We had many positive comments regarding the facility and
the wonderful pizza. I took pictures
of those who wished to be on our
photo stream of our website. If you have not seen the pictures, go to www.uawlocal4911.org. to view them – they are wonderful.
Our Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox game event is coming up Sunday, June 23 at Comerica Park. We have had an overwhelming response for this event compared to last year, which is awesome. We encourage you to take advantage of these wonderful family opportunities and events which we are offering to our members.
If there is anything I can do to assist any of our Sparrow Hospital UAW members, please feel free to give me a call at (517) 272-5865. I will be happy to help you or guide you to the appropriate person. Please also feel free to call with ideas or suggestions of activities, educational opportunities, etc. Your input is valuable and always appreciated.
Take the time each and every day to enjoy this wonderful spring season Mother Nature is giving us!

January 2013: More challenges
Happy New Year! I sincerely hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. Each year certainly seems to go by faster and faster doesn’t it?
We can expect 2013 to be another year of challenges for our middle-class families who will continue to struggle with rising costs for food and fuel, and increased medical insurance costs being passed along to workers. Unfortunately, we will all see a take-home pay reduction due to the payroll tax for Social Security being reverted back to its normal rate of 6.2% at the end of December. (The temporary payroll tax cut, under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, has been 4.2% since 2011 and was issued by the government to give us extra spending money.) Households will remain under pressure due to the grim job market, continued home foreclosures, and increased expenses.  
Corporate special interest groups and billionaires (Koch brothers and Dick DeVos) will continue to march across our nation hoping to influence politicians with their vast bankrolls. They are quite successful as we recently discovered with our own Governor Snyder signing the Right to Work Legislation in Michigan despite his stating for over two years it was “too divisive” and “wasn’t on his agenda.”
Witnessing the outrage of 10,000+ citizens rallying at the Capitol in December had little effect on the Governor. Was this the Governor’s defining moment to “Reinvent Michigan?” The rush to pass the Right to Work bill was completed during the “lame duck” session before the legislators who were not re-elected left office. This shortened legislative process was clearly an assault on the middle class and bypassed normal committee processes and public input procedures. Do you realize that only 20 states in our country have “lame duck” sessions?
Page 15 of Solidarity magazine portrays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving a speech stating “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right to work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.” The ultimate goal of Right to Work is to silence our democratic voices in the work place. This new RTW law most certainly has proved the written messages by union leadership in the last two years which warned our membership about the agenda the Michigan Legislature was pursuing in lieu of conducting business at the Capitol to enrich the lives of the middle class, create jobs, etc.
We witnessed the cutting of unemployment and worker compensation benefits, pensions being taxed, job safety rules being dismissed, increased health insurance costs, etc. Legislative hidden agendas are in place to make it more difficult for unions to participate in public policy which would help to give corporate America carte blanche.
An excerpt from Jan/Feb 2013 Solidarity magazine reads: “We’re at a crossroads as a country, and the choice is ours: We can build an economy that works for all and strengthens the middle class, or an economy that works for the 1% and guts Medicare and Social Security. Make your voice heard!”
Never before has it been so vitally important for us to join the rank and file to protect our families and our collective bargaining rights. The people do not have the funds to purchase television, newspaper and radio ads or produce countless commercials. Some of the viewpoints you may see broadcast on the news or read in the newspapers typically depend on who owns the radio or television network or the newspaper.
Therefore, please stay tuned to Solidarity magazine for labor-friendly information. Otherwise, you may see labor being portrayed as “union thugs” as announced by the media regarding the December rally at the Capitol.
I don’t know about you, but the last time I looked in the mirror, I certainly didn’t think I looked or acted like a “union thug.” Apparently, if you are supporting the middle class people (99%) and are fighting for a living wage, benefits, a safe and healthy work environment, collective bargaining rights and respect, you become a “union thug” in the eyes of some.
Consequently, what we do have is a large number of Michigan citizens who are very upset that their voices are not being heard. We all witnessed firsthand the decisions of some who choose corporate money (the 1%) and letting that money influence decisions over taking care of the people (the 99%). It is very important that you talk to your co-workers, family, friends, neighbors, etc., to help educate everyone on the downward spiraling direction Michigan is taking. Our time will come in 2014 when we as citizens are called to the voting polls once again and are able to cast our vote for turning our state around.
Please take an interest in what is happening in your state. If you don’t think you want to get involved for yourself, then do it for your children or your grandchildren. If you don’t, you may find them on your doorstep one day wanting to come home to live with you because they may not be able to afford to live on their own in the “Reinvented Michigan.”
Save the date:
March 9, 2012
Local 4911 Annual Bowling Event
at Royal Scot

eptember 2012: What is at stake? The entire middle class
In just a few weeks, we will all have the opportunity to make a difference in our future and our family’s future. We have an enormous number of citizens that could potentially stop the systematic erosion of the middle class family. The 99% versus the 1%; what is right versus what is wrong; we are all in this together versus you are on your own; what is morally right versus morally wrong. Our philosophy is that we are our brother’s and sister’s keeper. We help each other in the time of need in whatever way we can. This is how the majority of us grew up—with respectable ethics which govern the way we live our lives.
Today, we are in the biggest economic fight of our lives. While the 99% have wages that are decreasing, the 1% has wages and company profits that are increasing. While the 1% is quietly funneling money to the Cayman Islands for shelter, the 99% are struggling to keep their houses out of foreclosure, keep their jobs, pay their bills, put food on the table, clothe their children and put gas in the car. How has our society become so twisted and unfair? One reason is because during the election of 2010, only 46% of the people went to the polls and voted. The rest of the people stayed home.
The tragic result is that CEOs and corporations are earning record profits and the wealthy 1% is receiving endless tax breaks. (Recall that billionaire Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway announced that he pays a lower income tax rate than his secretary does!) Some politicians want to undermine and
destroy Social Security and make permanent the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy. The 99% continue to struggle by having the Earned Income Tax Credit diminish, our pensions are now taxed, student loan rates are about to skyrocket, and there are some politicians who want to tax your health care benefits as in come and repeal women’s rights which would take women decades backward in time.
Some politicians have an agenda to destroy unions so the working class people don’t have any voice or power. As President Clinton stated at the Democratic National Convention—some politicians have an agenda NOT to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work. While some will ignore the fact that President Obama inherited a terrible economy, the fact remains that he prevented an economic collapse of the magnitude of the Great Depression era. He also did not let Detroit (GM) go bankrupt which saved thousands of middle-class jobs, whether they were GM workers or countless suppliers who depend on GM orders for their livelihood. That in turn affects our livelihood, as many of those workers and their family members are our patients who frequent Sparrow Health System for our services.
The Super PACs will certainly outspend us this election year for television, radio and public announcements. But we, as the working middle class, outnumber them by sheer number of votes. If we all talk with our co-workers, family members, neighbors and friends, we can make our voices heard by going to the polls and voting in the November election for those “labor friendly” politicians who are fighting to help protect the middle class. (The International UAW sends out their recommended listing of “labor friendly” candidates who vote for the working middle class and support their issues. They also hold them accountable by watching their voting record history.)
Turn the Ballot over: On the back side of the November ballot, the Supreme Court candidates and the proposals will be listed. Remember, Proposal 2 is the Collective Bargaining Proposal. If this Proposal does not pass on November 6, we may not have a contract to negotiate when ours expires on November 30.
Your family needs you so they know what their future will be. Let’s all do our part to ensure our friends and family members vote so that we can all help rebuild our economy in favor of the working middle-class people!

May 2012: Let's be heard

The Legislature currently in office is making life extremely difficult for many citizens in our state. There are 80+ bills pending that would strip protections from working people. Instead of creating jobs and helping those who have lost their job, they are acting for corporate special
interest groups to slash workers’ rights, wages, benefits, and pensions. Many are anti-worker, anti-family and anti-union groups who are making it nearly impossible for our friends in office to act in the people’s interest.
According to the 99% Spring training book, a recent Supreme Court decision “allows corporations to spend an unlimited amount of money in the political process.” The people, on the other hand, don’t have unlimited funding for elaborate television commercials, advertising, fundraising events, etc. What we do have though is an opportunity to band together and have our voices collectively heard through strength in numbers. We can make a difference.
Legislation is also being passed attacking the rights of workers in Michigan to bargain collectively. Petitions are currently being circulated for our membership to sign (as registered voters) to place this issue on the November ballot as a Constitutional Amendment in Michigan. (If you are not a registered voter, we can also help you become registered so you can be qualified to vote in the upcoming elections.)
Your union office has petitions available for your signature. We need 322,000+ signatures by July, 2012. Please visit our Administrative office or the UAW house to sign a petition or simply come to a monthly membership meeting (fourth Wednesday of the month) where petitions are also available.
You may wonder how this destructive group became members of our Legislature. The answer is because the middle class, the workers and the poor stayed home on Election Day a year and a half ago and kept their voices silent. (Only 40% of our state voted in the last election.)
How do we fix the mess we are in? We educate ourselves with the facts and help to educate those around us. We begin by talking to our families, our co-workers, our friends, our neighbors. Click on the yellow AFL-CIO Legislative Report section on the home page of our website (www.uawlocal4911.org) to read a listing of the anti-worker House and Senate bills that are pending.
We can also join the 99% Spring movement (the99spring.com) or you
can visit their tumblr at http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com for inspirational stories of people who are standing up for a change in our society. We all have stories and opportunities which can motivate us to get involved for social change as most of us are in the 99%.
I believe we, as voting citizens, now realize exactly how we all have contributed to our own demise. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to our families, our fellow workers and our society in general to be motivated to vote in the upcoming elections and help “the people” reclaim our country. We cannot afford to let our union voices be silent any longer. The middle class has been under attack long enough—this fight is not just about your future. Your family’s future is at stake and it is now up to you to step up to the plate and do your part. Some politicians are counting on you to not pay attention and not go to the polls this year. Let’s prove them wrong!
Don’t be fooled – be ready
Anti-worker legislators are trying to pass bills to reduce wages and benefits for workers (union or non-union). In the past, the phony title was called “Right-to-Work.” The unaware may be fooled by a new title of the same old scam: “Freedom to Work.” No matter what they may call it, don’t be fooled, stay informed. Right-to-work (for less) is simply a means for national interest groups to increase business profits while destroying unions, cutting our wages and benefits.
Michigan is a free bargaining state. Union members on average earn 17% more than non-union workers. Unions improve your living standards (through increased wages, benefits, healthcare, pensions, etc.) not “right-to-work” laws.

December 2012: Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

The Holidays are upon us, which means old man winter is right around the corner. As many of us hibernate inside during the winter months, we have the opportunity to reflect upon all of the wonderful things in our lives for which we are blessed and for which we are thankful. Let us hope and pray that 2012 will be a much happier and more prosperous new year for all of us to enjoy.

HELP SAVE A LIFE

UAW Local 4911 is proud to co-sponsor an educational forum along with APRI, Sparrow Cancer Center, Capital Area United Way, etc., to help educate men about prostate cancer. This program will cover topics such as Diagnosis, Treatment and Making an Informed Decision. Our panel of speakers for the evening includes: an internist, urologist, radiation oncologist, and prostate cancer survivors. Additional topics include nutrition and its effects on cancer and the benefits of a prostate cancer support group.

With prostate cancer, African-American men have a particularly higher risk of incidence at a much earlier age as compared to Caucasian men. Therefore, we are offering this educational program free and open to the public to help inform all citizens of this disease. Space is limited so please register early by calling (517) 203-5022 or email p.hemingway@capitalareaunitedway.org

This educational session will also offer prostate cancer literature as well as other health materials free for the taking. Light refreshments will be served. Please join us as we inform our citizens about prostate cancer and help us to save a life.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Clark Conference Center at

Sparrow’s St. Lawrence Campus

6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

September 2011: Back to School

I am amazed that summer is behind us and the children are gearing up for the next “back to school” season. I am pleased that Local 4911 contributed to the Region 1-C Women’s Council Backpack Rally program. The backpack program is truly a wonderful annual event which helps those who are less fortunate in the community with their back-to-school needs. A heartfelt THANK YOU is extended to Region 1-C Women’s Council for making this program a huge success.

As we all adjust to our new fall routines for getting children back to school, raking leaves, cleaning out the garden spot and garage, swatting mosquitoes, etc., please make an effort to find time to enjoy the spectacular color show Mother Nature is about to embark on. I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful fall season.
 
Tuition reimbursement increase
Due to our nation’s troubled economic times, many Sparrow associates may be reflecting upon and examining their current/future employment status. Are we comfortable and secure in our current jobs? With the nationwide trend of corporations downsizing their working staff and eliminating jobs through the increasing use of new technology, we find ourselves facing a dilemma. Will the future need us?
 
Upon reflecting on our individual career situations, should we be asking ourselves if it would be advantageous to secure our future by continuing our education? If you find that the answer to this question is yes, remember to take full advantage of Sparrow’s Tuition Reimbursement Program. If you work full-time or part-time, you may qualify for up to $2,100 (an increase from $1,700) of tuition reimbursement per calendar year. For details, see Article 21 – Tuition Reimbursement in your contract.

 
 
Lansing Labor News
Copyright © 2018, All Rights Reserved.
Powered By UnionActive™
Visit Unions-America.com!

Top of Page image