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Lansing Labor News
Established 1945
 
 
February 17, 2018
Archived Articles
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September 2017: UAW sound car back on the road

Looking at the 1949 Ford “Woody” station wagon, it’s easy to imagine it back in another era, a time when a local union would mount a huge speaker on the roof and broadcast messages to members as they left their plants, or maybe one might see it rumbling down a residential street on Election Day in west Detroit, encouraging people to vote for labor-friendly candidates.
Mike Kerwin, 93, a retired UAW international representative and Local 174 member, had driven that Ford while on Election Day duty. He was pulled out of his plant, American Metal Products Corp., to encourage members to vote and to deliver election materials. The car, which has “UAW West Side Local 174 CIO” painted in light blue on both sides on its wood side panels, was a critical part of the local’s communications effort. In addition to political work, it was used at rallies, parades, organizing and other functions where the local needed to reach a mass audience.
“I remember driving it around the west side of Detroit from one plant to another,” Kerwin recalled. “For any one of our units on strike, a car like that could be quite useful.”
After more than two decades of service but only 23,314 miles, the car was sold to an employee of the local, Fred Adams in 1973, and it seemingly vanished, its glorious past gone to the ages. But, thanks to some lucky breaks, fine craftsmanship, and respect for our UAW history from Jim and Cheryl Bassett, a Carleton, Michigan, couple, the West Side Local 174 Ford Woody is again on the road in southeastern Michigan.
Jim Bassett is a retired Ford Motor Co. sheet metal model maker at its Product Design Center in Dearborn, Michigan. His passion is to take an old car or truck and make it into something no one has seen before. His spacious garage is a testament to his talent — and a busy place. At present, he has a tiny Plymouth concept car from the 1940s and a 1956 Chevy pickup truck that he is customizing. About seven or eight years ago, a friend had noticed the Woody in the garage of Billy Adams, Fred’s son and a local lawyer. The friend inquired if it was for sale and was promptly rebuffed. But he did leave his card with Adams and three years ago received a call that the Woody was for sale. Jim Bassett’s friend called to advise him of the car’s availability and, seeing an opportunity to make a really cool hot rod out of it, bought the dusty wagon three days later, something his wife didn’t initially support.
But they became intrigued by the car’s lettering on the side, a union banner that came with it, and the discovery of some old union buttons in the seats and key chains in the glove compartment. The more they learned about the car, the more it became apparent that this car wasn’t simply another old relic. There were two large old dusty signs that came with the car and – after they cleaned them up, read, “This 1949 Sound Car was Used by Walter P. Reuther to Organize UAW Members.” That could not be immediately verified, but the Bassetts and others are still investigating the car’s historical background. Reuther was the president of Local 174, but had been elected as a UAW vice president and then president long before the car was purchased by the local.
Either way, it’s a significant piece of our history. Cheryl Bassett did a lot of the research – and just in time. Her husband had already begun fixing a few mechanical problems and removing a couple dents in the roof where the sound equipment had been mounted.
“She goes, ‘Don’t you take another dent out of that car,’” he recalled.
“When we first purchased the car, we didn’t know what it was,” his wife said. “It was like finding a lost treasure.”
Fixing the mechanical issues wasn’t time consuming: He replaced the plugs, points and battery.
“We put the battery on it, cranked it about three times and it started right up dding that he replaced the brake lines, master cylinder and parts like rubber hoses and gaskets that had deteriorated over the years. Safety, not getting the car back to its pristine original condition, was the most important factor.
“We just cleaned it up and presented it as it is,” he said.
The couple have driven the Woody around southeastern Michigan, including in Detroit’s Labor Day Parade two years ago where they gave Mike Kerwin a ride. They also took it to “The Glass House,” the nickname for Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, where it was received warmly by top Ford executives and Cheryl Bassett’s co-workers. She works in the corporation’s legal department.
The couple gets a lot of compliments and questions from people who are current and retired Local 174 members, as well as from the general public. It gives them a chance to discuss local and labor history with young people who may only know that Interstate 696 is named after Walter Reuther, but not much else. For Jim Bassett, it brings back memories of his father, a UAW member, and the union’s role in securing advances for working people.
“The car was used to help promote the UAW and it helped change the world,” Jim Bassett said.
When they got the car, Cheryl Bassett said restoring it to nearly its original state felt like their mission. But the couple would sell it if the circumstances were right, particularly if the new owner would be interested in keeping the car as is. But it also takes up valuable space in the garage and Jim Bassett is ready to move on to his next project.
John Zimmick, current president of Local 174, said he’d love to see the car put to good use in its current state. The local two years ago raised funds to save a labor mural that had been at their local’s previous locations, and was in dire need of clean up due to cigarette smoke damage and age. It is now proudly displayed at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit. The car deserves preservation, as well, he said.
“I’d like to preserve it for sure,” Zimmick said. “That’s a part of our history, right there.”
You can see pictures of the car at uaw.org/solidarity-magazine/local-174s-sound-car-back-road

May 2017: A special place for summer

This summer, introduce your family to a once in a lifetime experience! For more than 40 years, Black Lake has been a place where UAW members and their families come together for an experience that combines education with relaxation. It’s a place to learn about your union, unlock ideas and build new friendships with other working families throughout the United States.
It’s a one-week summer experience that will leave you and your family filled with a spirit guaranteed to strengthen your understanding and appreciation for your union. This year the UAW Family Scholarship Program will take place at Black Lake in scenic Onaway, Michigan from July 23-28, 2017.
Since 1970, thousands of UAW members and their families have participated in the Walter and May Reuther UAW Family Education Center Scholarship Program – changing their lives and those of their loved ones forever!
Through educational and recreational activities, the Family Scholarship Program provides an opportunity for adults and children to learn and think about how our union empowers us to change our workplaces and communities for ourselves and future generations. Lessons involve daily adult and children’s programs and family activities.
All active or laid-off UAW members in good standing are eligible to apply for a Family Scholarship if you have never attended the program before. You must also be willing to use your regular vacation, personal leave or union leave time (where permitted by contract) to attend.
Past participants are not eligible to reapply. Your spouse and children/grandchildren 4-18 years old may attend with you. Children under 4 years old cannot be accommodated and other relatives, non-relatives and retirees are not eligible to participate – no exceptions!
The UAW pays lodging, food and program costs for the one-week session. For information and an application form, go to uaw.org and follow the links.

March 2017: Thanking our committees

Many of our members do not seek the spotlight or recognition they deserve. They volunteer to help our Local because they truly love being involved in their Union. It’s the collective effort of many individuals volunteering their time that makes our Local great. If it were not for your efforts we would not be able to be such a wonderful local.
I would like to personally thank all of our Executive Board for stepping up when needed throughout the year. They are always willing to work hard for our membership. Weather it is for a member in need of a helping hand, a committee needing assistance, a local charity collection, or a community organization, UAW Local 602 always joins together to help. 
Thank you to the Union Label Chair Josh Hoerauf, Co-chair Rick Reed, Doug Fox, Gary Howard, Brett Brown, Jesse Williams, Doug Rademacher, and Jody Frasher, who volunteered to represent the Local at the Oldsmobile Outdoor Winterfest in Grayling, Michigan. At this recent event, Local 602 displayed Union/American Made products and information, as well as served chili and hot dogs to the community. Thanks for representing us throughout the year and promoting Union made/American made products. 
Civil and Human Rights Chair Lola Odunuga and her committee put together a magnificent Black History Program. What a wonderful way to educate our members and community. Not only did they hear a presentation by Professor Griff and eat great food, our members had an opportunity to examine an award-winning mobile museum collection of over 5,000 original Artifacts of Black Memorabilia. 
Paulina Rodriguez, Local 602 Recreation Chair, along with Co-chair Daryl Smith and her committee, work diligently throughout the year to provide a variety of entertainment for our membership. A few of the things her committee works on are the Annual Golf Outing, the Auto Show, Casino excursions, Tiger Games, Lions Games, and the Annual Picnic just to name a few items. Thanks for your dedication. 
I commend our new Veterans Chair, Bernadine Ross, on this year’s bean soup collection for the Volunteers of America. She surpassed all past collections for this event. Her committee was able to provide a generous gift to the VOA to help support the homeless veterans program at their facility. She also had a seminar on March 11 at local 602 for Veterans with PTSD. Great job!
Our recently elected Education Chair, Jason Peek, has many innovative and creative ways to educate our membership. He has diligently worked on a new information packet for our membership, of which he will be conducting a sample test. Looking forward to seeing more educational materials from him.
Julie Hartshorn, Citizenship and Legislative Chair, has worked tirelessly for the UAW at the Local and in the community on legislative initiatives that affect our members. Keep up the good work.
I would like to thank our Unemployment and Workers Compensation Chair, Harold Brown, for his continued service to our membership. His marvelous efforts in assisting and educating our members during stressful times of layoff is exceptional. It’s a daunting task. 
Alexis Littlejohn, our Community Services Chair, and her committee volunteer hours of their time to promote Local 602 within the community. They support initiatives for many charitable organizations such as United Way, March of Dimes, Red Cross Blood Drive, and Greater Lansing Food Bank. Each year the committee provides turkey dinners to those in need during the holiday. 
Throughout the year the Women’s Committee Chair, Bobbie Ledesma, and committee members promote numerous events supporting women’s issues in the Local as well as the community. Thanks for supporting women. 
Bylaws Chair Steve Delaney has done a great job in updating our Local Bylaws over this past year. Thanks to you and your committee for the time and dedication to detail that is required to ensure our bylaws support the desires of our membership. 
Over the past 18 months our Retiree Chair, Marta Bobillo, has done a remarkable job in encouraging our retired members to become actively involved to the union. She tirelessly supports many of our committee chairs in the efforts to advocate for our union. It’s wonderful to have such an active committee.
As you can see, our committees are committed to promoting the UAW and our local union. As Financial Secretary, I would like to extend an invitation to our members to become involved in “YOUR UNION.” Our committees have many volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Stop by the Hall, call 517/372-4626, or contact one of the Committee Chairs to see where you can volunteer your services. 
Also, thanks to Doug Fox for promoting our web page, www.local602, and Facebook page for Local 602 UAW. Look there for up-to-date information on happenings at the local and upcoming events that you can participate in. 
 “I’m proud to be a member of UAW Local 602.”

January 2017: Walk for Warmth

The annual Walk for Warmth will be held on February 25, 2017 at the various Capital Area Community Service locations in the Clinton, Eaton, Lansing, Rural Ingham and Shiawassee Counties.  This program allows 100% of the donations to go towards heating assistance for families in need. 
Walk for Warmth is a volunteer community effort to assist low-income families with their heat-related utility bills. WALKS are sponsored by Capital Area Community Services, Inc. (CACS), in the City of Lansing, Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, and Shiawassee Counties the fourth Saturday in February each year.
How Are Funds Raised?
Most funds are raised by individuals requesting pledge sheets from CACS and asking their friends to make pledges. Pledge donations of $5 or $10 add up quickly. Contributions can be made at any time by businesses, groups or individuals. Checks should be made payable to CACS Walk for Warmth and mailed to your local CACS Service ACCESS Center.
Many of our friends and neighbors are still struggling to meet their basic needs due to the lack of living wage jobs in our community. Although there are no immediate solutions available to resolve this crisis, you can help by joining us to raise funds to assist your friends and neighbors. The WALKS have helped many who would not otherwise have had assistance.
How Can You Help?
By agreeing to experience what it feels like to be COLD for one hour this Winter, you can help people in your Community so they do not have to be cold in their own homes.
Ask friends, neighbors and co-workers to walk with you or sponsor you in the next WALK.
Offer to be the “Designated Walker” for your company, church, organization or neighborhood.
Walk the 1 to 3 mile fixed route in the community nearest to you (Lansing, Charlotte, St. Johns, Mason, or Owosso).
How Are Funds Applied For?
Applications are available at any of the CACS Service ACCESS Centers or Senior Offices in the four county service area and the City of Lansing. Eligibility for utility assistance requires participation in an energy education workshop prior to payment.
Walk for Warmth funds will be used to assist with paying bills, for match to secure State and Federal funds, to provide Energy Education, and to provide referrals for Weatherization.
Here are the locations of the access centers:
Clinton County Service ACCESS Center
1001 S. Oakland Street
St. Johns, MI 48879
989-224-6702
Eaton County Service ACCESS Center
1370 N. Clinton Trail
Charlotte, MI 48813
517- 543-5465
or 482-3005
Lansing Service ACCESS Center
1301 Rensen Street
Lansing, MI 48910
517-393-7077
Rural Ingham Service ACCESS Center
218 E. Maple Street
Mason, MI 48854
517-676-1065
Shiawassee County Service ACCESS Center
1845 Corunna Avenue
Owosso, MI 48867
989-723-3115

December 2016: Local 602 open house
We will have our holiday open house on Friday, December 23. This is for active and retired members and their families. 
Breakfast will be served 5:00 a.m.–8:00 a.m. Lunch will be served 12:00 noon–5:00 p.m. at the Local 602 Union Hall, 2510 W. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI 48917. 
Join Local 602 in celebrating the holiday season with food, fun, and fellowship! Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
Hope to see you there! You may phone 517-372-4626 for information.

September 2016: Time to unify
UAW members have many choices to make this fall, including who will be our next president. We know that the presidential candidate who supports the needs of UAW members and America’s working families is the best candidate to vote for in November.
We need a leader who is focused on raising the incomes of hardworking Americans, restoring full collective bargaining rights, protecting workers from exploitation, protecting retirement security, and strengthening the manufacturing industry by promoting fair trade and investment in manufacturing.
Donald Trump stated that UAW members should compete with Mexico by taking lower, nonunion wages. When given a chance to clarify his position through our endorsement questionnaire, he refused.  Why would we support a candidate who wants our members to make less money?
Trump talks about trade but his own product lines are largely made overseas with nonunion, cheap labor.
It is time to unify in the presidential race and support the best candidate for UAW members and their families. That choice is Secretary Clinton.

May 2016: Tips on Personal Savings Plan
Over the past several months, I have been asked questions about the General Motors Personal Savings Plan (PSP) program provides a way for General Motors employees to invest money toward their future retirement. Although I do not represent PSP, I can provide you with some general information.
GM employees can sign up for automatic weekly payroll deductions by calling 800-489-4646 or by going online to gmbenefits.com. This is an all-in-one website for benefits and services for current and retired GM employees. It’s easy to get started.
For active employees, begin by accessing gmbenefits.com, then choose “active hourly”. Choose which benefit you want to review, in this case “Savings Plan”. Two choices will come up. Select “PSP Offerings” to log into the system.
For new users, there is a “register now” tab on the right side of the page. Click here to verify your identity and set up a password.
Once registered, you will be able to access and manage all your GM benefits at this one location. You can obtain information, enroll, or make changes. Simply click on the program you are interested in, and follow the prompts. The GM PSP icon will guide you to the Fidelity Net Benefits site.
How much can you save for retirement in 2016? The IRS has an annual contribution limit for retirement savings accounts, so verify your eligibility for contribution deductibility. In 2016, a person 49 and under can contribute $18,000 to a 401(k) plan, and a person age 50 and older can contribute an additional $6,000.
For those who are just starting to save for retirement, there are many options to choose from, and the Fidelity Net Benefits site has a lot of information to help you with this process. You can manage your contribution and catch-up contribution amounts, enroll in a program to automatically increase your contribution amount annually, and roll over money from an old 401(k) plan to your current plan.
One advantage to participating in the 401(k) plan is tax deferral. You lower your taxable income now and generally don’t pay income tax until you take a distribution from the plan, which for most people is at retirement when they are in a lower tax bracket.
Always read plan rules and understand the tax consequences for any savings plan. Like most investments, you could have charges and penalties under certain circumstances. Review each option’s fee information and prospectus. Read the fine print.
Consider your risks before investing by accessing resources on retirement planning, investing and other financial topics.
If you have questions or need any assistance, contact the GM Benefit Center-Fidelity at 800-489-4646 to talk with a representative.

January 2016: Fighting for a better life
The UAW website had this important information on the campaign to raise wages in the U.S.
Marking nearly one year since the first ever Raising Wages Summit, the AFL-CIO today released a new report detailing the successes, struggles and path ahead to raise wages for working people.
The report, “Fighting for a Better Life: How Working People Across America are Organizing to Raise Wages and Improve Work,” finds that over the last year income inequality shifted from a problem we discuss to a problem we can solve.
The report points to clear and unequivocal steps for a path forward. Armed with the solutions outlined in the report, the central conclusion is that America is ready to move beyond the discussion of income inequality and is beginning to write new rules that will shape the economy.
“One year ago, we made clear that raising wages for all working people was our number one priority,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “In 2015 we came together in collective voice and action, and made significant progress.”
The report goes well beyond direct wage increases, highlighting successes that demonstrate the all-encompassing nature of the raising wages agenda. Numerous organizing victories, paid sick leave laws in multiple states and municipalities and new protections against wage theft if five states are outlined as part of the effort to create an economy built on raising wages.
The report also outlines hurdles to further victories, and challenges that remain as the raising wages agenda grows.
In December 2015 alone, the report shows, President Obama and Democrats in Congress were forced to fight off six amendments to the budget that would have rolled back protections for working people. And while the unemployment rate continued to fall last year, wage growth showed only modest improvement before grinding to a halt.
Even with modest wage growth and significant gains for working people in 2015, the report is a reminder that more work is needed in order to keep raising wages a priority in political and economic conversations.
“Although the victories and the momentum of the Raising Wages movement in 2015 demonstrate that collective action works, we are still far behind where we need to be and where we can be,” said President Trumka. “In the year ahead, we will continue to push for a comprehensive economic agenda that puts working people first. Raising wages is not a hobby, it is our mission.”

December 2015: Look for the union label
Remember, paid Holidays were brought to you by the Union. So while you are out and about in the spirit of shopping this holiday season, please take the time to look for the Union Label. It may take a little more time to shop and possibly may cost a little more for the items you are looking for. But in the end, it will be worth the time and effort because you are supporting your fellow unions.
 Overall, jobs that are unionized are paid more and receive more benefits than those in the same industry which are not union. By shopping local and buying union, you are helping to preserve jobs in our local economy. If you are unable to find union made in the item you want, try to purchase American-made products.
 With the recent passing of our national contract, our bargaining team has secured a raise and bonus for its union membership. Thanks to the Union this will be a very happy Holiday for our members. I am proud I belong to a union that is fighting to get the best contract for me and my family.
 Happy Holidays to all my Brothers and Sisters. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Holiday with your families.

May 2015: Make a stand
“Union” is a way of life in my family. We eat and breathe “Union” on a daily basis. I am not ashamed to say, “I will stand up and fight for what I believe is the right thing to do for the Union and my family.” I’m sure you do the same for your beliefs.
We must remember that every day is a struggle when you’re in the Union. The UAW is not static. It’s constantly changing as external factors influence the decisions made by our leaders. You cannot give up, you cannot back down, and you must always carry on to ensure a future for the next generation.
Do not live in the past. We must learn from our past and build a movement toward a brighter future. This cannot be done by a few people. It must be accomplished by Union members joining forces together on a united front.
It’s easy to throw stones at fellow Union brothers and sisters, pointing out only the mistakes that have been made along the journey. But how does that help us change the future? We know mistakes will occur; learn from them and move forward.
Rise up and support your fellow Union brothers and sisters who are willing to be on the front line fighting for you. No one individual is an island, as the old saying goes. It is only with your support that change will happen.
As a Union member, you must be willing to make a stand at some point in your life. When will you make the choice? Now is the time. Stand together to change our future.

January 2015: Change is in our future
As a Union, CHANGE is in our future. At this time across our country, many non-Union-friendly politicians and wealthy Union-busting individuals have been working against us to make sure we do not continue to survive. At the whim of rich lobbyists, these non-Union-friendly politicians are changing laws that will directly affect how we, as a Union, will proceed in the future.
The right-wing Republican Party has reared up and shown how blatantly they plan to attack the Unions, middle class, poor, elderly, and women by continuing to give tax cuts to the rich and corporations, while taking more money from your wallet. They have come out with a vengeance in an orchestrated plan to retaliate against Unions from every angle. On November 4th, many of you sat by and allowed the fire-breathing dragon to burn down your livelihood. Even with a negotiated day off to vote, you did not get out and vote for labor-friendly politicians who would be on your side. Have we reverted back to medieval times when peasants gave all their money to the Lords, who determined how to dispense the wealth? All for our own good, of course.
You have one line of defense at this point, YOUR UNION. We act as the Robin Hood of our time, fighting together to retain the negotiated benefits we’ve gained over the years. We, as members, are willing to stand together side by side to preserve our standard of living.
Next September, our membership will play a pivotal role in how we, as a Union, continue in the future. Right-to-Work was passed with only one thing in mind—to destroy the Unions by eliminating their funding. You have within your grasp the power to determine what your future will look like, either by yourself or as a collective group with your fellow Union brothers and sisters.
The mass majority of our members have stated they will continue to pay Union dues. By sticking together, we can fight for common goals that affect us all. We must not allow our future to be put into the hands of those who intend to destroy all that we have negotiated for over the years.
It is time for you to change your future and the future of generations to come. I urge each and every one of you to remain in the Union which stands with you and fights for you. Together, as UAW members, we can continue the proud history and legacy of winning social and economic justice. For it is said, “In numbers we have strength.”

September 2014: Working together 

My fellow Brothers and Sisters of UAW Local 602:
Thank you for the overwhelming support you gave me in our recent election. I am very proud to represent you during my second term as Financial Secretary-Treasurer.
Over the past three years, I have worked to make our Local financially secure, and with your guidance, I will continue my fiscally responsible representation.
Congratulations to all of our newly elected and re-elected local Union representatives. I look forward to working with each of you over the next three years.
As leaders of this great Local, it is our responsibility to promote solidarity and to inspire and guide our newly elected officers and chairs.
By working together, we can forge a stronger and more effective Local. There is no limit to our efforts.

March 2014: Crossroads
Are we, as a society, at a crossroads? If you look back over history, our fellow brothers and sisters fought for our right to representation and collective bargaining by a Union. Even during this time of rebellion against rich and powerful corporations, politicians stood by the people. They recognized that “We the People” do have rights and signed into law several bills that allowed representation.
What has changed in today’s society that allows the politicians and the rich to think they have the right to control whether workers want to elect representation from a Union? Has corporate greed taken over our way of life? Some politicians in the Republican Party are openly trying to keep workers from electing a Union to represent them in the workplace.
Recently, in Tennessee, the workers at the Volkswagen facility had the opportunity to vote on Union representation. Through negative advertisements and statements regarding future work, Republican politicians, along with their rich and powerful special interest groups, influenced these workers. They know that political power is derived from Union membership.
We, as Union members, are not going to stand by and let these politicians bully people into submission. The UAW filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on February 21, 2014 related to the interference by politicians and outside special interest groups in regard to the Union representation election at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant.
Let’s not forget the past. Do not continue to bury your head in the sand as politicians and the rich take the social and economic gains we, as Unions, have achieved over decades. Take the time to become politically active in your Union and your community.
I invite you to attend the Capital Area CAP Council meetings. Come join your brothers and sisters at our next meeting on April 9 at UAW Local 724 at 5:30 pm.

January 2014: 75 years and counting -- on you!
Congratulations UAW Local 602! This year, we celebrate 75 years of Solidarity and Union activism. As we reflect on our Local’s past, let us also look toward our Union’s future with clarity and vision.
The UAW has a long history and legacy of fighting for social and economic justice. Some of our victories include civil rights, health and safety protections, a social security system, healthcare for the elderly, minimum wage, overtime, and environmental protections. Let these victories compel us to fight for our future.
Over the past few decades, our goal of reaching social and economic justice has become more difficult as Union density has declined. As a Union, to continue this immense work, our challenge is to rebuild our power through increased membership. We must look at home as well as beyond our own borders. Workers around the world share the same concerns and have the same basic needs as each of us.
Our UAW wheel represents the unified front that is created when we work together to build a solid core of Union activism. It’s imperative that we take an active role in the future of our Union; if we do not stand up, then who will? It’s important for our members to understand the issues that affect organized labor and working people and to elect worker-friendly candidates who look out for our best interests.
It’s up to you, through Union involvement, to help determine the future of our success.75 years and counting -- on you!
Congratulations UAW Local 602! This year, we celebrate 75 years of Solidarity and Union activism. As we reflect on our Local’s past, let us also look toward our Union’s future with clarity and vision.
The UAW has a long history and legacy of fighting for social and economic justice. Some of our victories include civil rights, health and safety protections, a social security system, healthcare for the elderly, minimum wage, overtime, and environmental protections. Let these victories compel us to fight for our future.
Over the past few decades, our goal of reaching social and economic justice has become more difficult as Union density has declined. As a Union, to continue this immense work, our challenge is to rebuild our power through increased membership. We must look at home as well as beyond our own borders. Workers around the world share the same concerns and have the same basic needs as each of us.
Our UAW wheel represents the unified front that is created when we work together to build a solid core of Union activism. It’s imperative that we take an active role in the future of our Union; if we do not stand up, then who will? It’s important for our members to understand the issues that affect organized labor and working people and to elect worker-friendly candidates who look out for our best interests.
It’s up to you, through Union involvement, to help determine the future of our success.

December 2013: Active autumn
I am very proud of all the UAW Local 602 members and our Executive Board and Committees for the hard work they have done over the past few months. They have been very busy working to make a difference in the lives of our fellow members and in the community. The collective effort of the many individuals who volunteer their time and money helps bring joy and happiness to so many lives.
I would like to thank our Civil and Human Rights Committee for putting on a superb Diversity Day. They provided an entertaining way to educate our Union and community members. The committee was able to collect monetary donations to give to the Lansing Area Food Bank. Thanks to everyone who participated and donated to this excellent event.
By mid-October, we turned our thanks to our veterans for their service to this country. The Local 602 Veteran’s Committee, in an effort to get veteran information to our members, held a very successful audit campaign. Thank you, Local 602 Veteran’s Committee.
We have a very active Recreation Committee that works throughout the year to bring activities to our active and retired members. The Local 602 Recreation Committee sponsored a casino trip in October and is planning a 2014 Redwings excursion.
The Local then moved on to the Children’s Halloween Party. What a great time we all had seeing children and adults in their costumes enjoying fun, food, and entertainment. Many thanks go out to our Community Services Committee for putting on a wonderful event for our members to share with their children. The Trunk or Treat was a success thanks to all our E-Board members and committees who volunteered to participate in this fun-filled event.
November was a whirlwind of activities. Local 602 active and retired members started it out with a door-to-door campaign and phone banking. Congratulations go out to all the Lansing area UAW-endorsed candidates who won their elections. The area CAP delegates, Local 602 retirees, and our Citizenship and Legislation Committee deserve a big round of applause for all their hard work.
The Marines brought in the next event, the Toys for Tots campaign. Once again, this event was a huge success due to our great membership and their generosity. When we come together as one, we can bring about extraordinary results.
Next, we had our annual Thanksgiving dinner drive, sponsored by the Women’s Committee and supported by our E-Board and other Local 602 committees. It was our most successful dinner drive to date. Many UAW and community families in need will receive a wholesome meal because of your contributions.
Each year, I eagerly look forward to all the festivities of the holiday season. It’s a time to join with family and friends to give thanks and bring joy to
others. Year after year, Local 602’s committees and members generously donate their time and money to help those in need. I am amazed by our Local’s
accomplishments. Keep up the excellent work.
When preparing your holiday meals and searching for the perfect gifts, our Union Label Committee encourages you to emphasize Union-made and American-made goods and services. Go to www.unionlabel.org or www.buycott.com for helpful hints. Make your holiday Union-made by taking the “Buy Union Pledge.”
As a reminder, the Hall will be closed from December 20, 2013 to January 2, 2014. Wishing all our members a very happy holiday!

September, 2013: Stepping up
I am sure there have been times when many of us felt our efforts went unnoticed. I want to say, however, that is not always true. We have many members who do not seek the limelight. They volunteer to help our local committees or members because they truly love being involved in their Local Union.
I would like to personally thank our Executive Board members, our Local committees, and our numerous volunteers for all their dedication to this great Local. These members work hard for our membership every day and are always willing to step up to the plate. Whether it is for a community organization or a member in need of a helping hand, Local 602 always comes together to help. I am proud of everyone who diligently works for our members.
I would like to extend an invitation to our members to become involved in your Union. We have many volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Stop in at the Hall, call (517) 372-4626, or contact a committee chair to see where you can volunteer your services.
Please Note: Since January, 2013, when General Motors transitioned to their new payroll system, Local 602 has experienced GM payroll/dues deduction issues. These deduction issues are not the fault of your Local Union. Currently, we are working with General Motors and Xerox management to rectify known dues and initiation deduction issues.
I’m proud to be from UAW Local 602.

May 2013: Why you should care about the minimum wage
The President is calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $9.00 in stages by the end of 2015. This will directly affect over 15 million people, making a huge difference in the lives of many. Economic studies show that modestly raising the minimum wage reduces poverty without jeopardizing employment, in part because it increases purchasing power for the consumer which helps the overall economy.
Congress sets the minimum wage in nominal dollars, so it doesn’t keep pace with inflation. Because the cost of living is consistently rising, the value of the wage buys less than the minimum wage did throughout the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. Although the minimum wage has increased 22 times since it was established, those increases were needed to restore the real value of the minimum wage.
A stronger middle class is a key to a stronger economy. A higher minimum wage will allow more families to be lifted out of poverty. Around 60 percent of these workers are women. The President believes that no one who works full time should raise their family in poverty. A minimum wage worker makes about $15,080.00 a year, which leaves many families struggling to make ends meet. That’s why the President is calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour and index it to inflation.
While President Barack Obama calls for raising the federal minimum wage, Michigan Senate Democrats are pushing for a state increase, as well. Senator Bert Johnson, D-Detroit, introduced Senate Bill 203 in February to increase the state’s minimum wage in increments from $7.40 to $10.00 per hour by 2016. After 2016, it would be linked to inflation. Each year, as the cost of living has continued to increase, our state minimum wage has remained stagnant.
Our state has been taking from families and giving to businesses; it’s time to reverse this trend. Gov. Rick Snyder has made it clear that he opposes a minimum wage increase at either the state or federal levels. A survey of Michigan residents by Progress Michigan showed that more than 70 percent of Michigan residents would support increasing the minimum wage.
You may ask yourself, “Why should I even care about the minimum wage? It doesn’t affect me.” As UAW members, we are fortunate to make over the minimum wage. But don’t be fooled into thinking that “if a company didn’t have to bargain with the unions”, we would receive the same wages. We all know that’s not true. Our ability to bargain on behalf of our members helps us retain these wages. I believe that the dues I pay to my union have more than proven to be a great investment.
It “Pays to belong to the UAW,” and I am “Proud to pay my dues.”

January 2013: We won’t give up
I would like to say “Happy New Year” to all my fellow Brothers and Sisters. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays with their families. For myself, I spent time reflecting on the last year, but also took time to look forward to our future.
We made many strides this past year as a Union, some forward and some backward. Politicians tried to squash our voice, however we are resilient and the UAW will continue to move forward in a direction that will empower the working class citizens of this state.
Gov. Snyder chose to tear Michigan apart by signing right-to-work legislation rather than secure a future for our state by working with Unions to create good jobs. Do not think for one minute that we, as Union members, will sit by and let right-to-work legislation end our right to be heard. We will continue to have a voice so all Michiganders can have good jobs, decent wages, safe working environments, and good benefits to support their families.
Many young people may not understand what a Union is and why so many people want to be a part of this organization. Unions strive for equality, justice, and dignity for the workers they represent, as well as promote job security and fairness in the workplace. Statistics show that Unions do make a difference and are good for society.
By passing right-to-work legislation, some politicians believed they could undermine the Unions by cutting off their funding.
The strength of the UAW is dependent upon the number of dues-paying members in our organization. However, I know the majority of our members will continue to support their Union.
Furthermore, I foresee us continuing to organize non-union companies and grow our membership base. We will have a struggle, but we will not give up on the workers’ desire to achieve the American dream of social and economic justice for all.

December 2012: Many thanks
Victory! What a great feeling. I would like to thank our members who stepped up to volunteer during the elections.
Each of you should be proud to say “I am a member of the UAW.” All of our hard work paid off with the re-election of President Obama.
Thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly on Proposal 2 to help protect collective bargaining and working families in Michigan.
Although we were unsuccessful in the passage of Proposal 2, our efforts during this campaign brought union awareness to our communities and showed them the need to protect the basic rights of workers.
We should use this as a stepping stone to grow stronger in solidarity and strengthen our commitment to labor issues.
During this holiday season more than ever, my thoughts turn toward those who have made our progress possible. And in this spirit, I give special thanks for all your support and friendships.
Warmest wishes for a joyous holiday and happy new year.

September, 2012: We must unite as one
We need to unite as one voice on November 6 for the good of all middle-class citizens. We are being attacked from all sides by the Republican Party and are in a struggle for our way of life. Do not stand by while your rights and voice are taken away.
The Democratic Party has supported the middle class in many ways. Democrats support unions and our right to collective bargaining. They have supported ballot initiatives against the GOP’s anti-worker agenda, thereby protecting working families. They’ve supported equal pay for equal work, while Republicans have repeatedly voted to limit collective bargaining rights, prevailing wage requirements, and to defund the National Labor Relations Board.
President Obama stood at the side of each and every one of us when he supported loans to the auto industry. We know where Romney stands. He was more than willing to turn his back on an entire industry.
Think about where you are today and how different your life would be without the auto industry and the jobs it supports in your community.
Consider how you could live the last few years of your life. Under the Romney/Ryan Medicare Voucher program, future retirees would be forced to buy coverage with a voucher that would not cover all the costs.
You would have limited doctor choices, and insurance companies would have the upper hand in your personal health decisions.
Stop and look at how your children will be affected by your vote. The Affordable Health Care Act allowed millions of people to gain preventative services coverage and allowed your young adult to have insurance coverage through your insurance plan. Romney intends to repeal this law.
President Obama believes that our children are our future and need to have access to an affordable college education. He has increased the number of Pell Grants available and increased the dollar amount to $5,500 per year. Our children who want to attend college will be directly affected if Romney is elected, since he plans to eliminate Pell Grants for many students.
The Democratic Party supports middle class tax cuts and the elimination of tax loopholes for billionaires. It believes everyone should pay their fair tax share. The Romney/Ryan plan will increase taxes on the middle class and give cuts to those making more than $250,000 per year.
The UAW strongly believes that everyone should get out and exercise their right to vote. Through collective bargaining, your UAW has negotiated for you to have Election Day off work, allowing you time to go to the polls.
I urge each and every one of you to stand up for your rights before they are gone.
Vote on November 6.

May 2012: We need you

Unions are under attack in Michigan. Never before have we seen such intentional targeting by the Legislature to dismantle the power of Unions and take down the middle class. Many of the bills that are in the House and Senate right now would limit or eliminate what Unions have bargained for over many years. Politicians and corporate special interests have every intention of stripping basic protections from each and every Union member.

My father was a proud Union member, and like him, I am a proud Union member. My hope is that my children and someday, when I have them, my grandchildren, can become proud Union members. They may never have that opportunity, however, if we do not stand up and become politically active. No one can stand alone in this fight. We need your help and support.

The UAW wheel is not just a symbol to wear at work and forget about when you go home. Take time to remember why you wear that symbol. In Solidarity, we can achieve justice for all. Do you want to stand by and watch everything we have bargained for over entire generations be written off in the passing of a few bills by arrogant politicians? Collective bargaining is our voice. It’s imperative that we protect our rights.

Check out any of these web sites for opportunities to become involved:

• uaw.org                            

• uawregion1c.org

• local602.org

• AFL-CIO.org

• cluw.org

• moveon.org

• wearethepeople.com

• wiredforchange.com

January 2012: Let's reach out

It’s a new year and time to reflect on the past, but also look to the future. Where would we like to see ourselves and our Union in the upcoming year? I would like to see us build a stronger and more cohesive Union. For it is as one we will prevail in all our struggles.

I would like to challenge each and every one of you to reach out and cross the barriers that have been stopping you from building a new relationship with one of your Union brothers or sisters—members who have come from many different locals across many cities and states to be part of our wonderful family. Let’s take the time to get to know each other and join together as one.

I know that we all have differences in opinion as to how our organization should be and how we think it should run. But it is up to all of us to work together on our forward progression toward the same goal: a Union that is strong and fair for all.

Once again, I would like to say Happy New Year to all my Union brothers and sisters. I hope that you enjoyed your holiday as much as I did with my family.

December 2011: Be thankful but not complacent

During the holiday season, I would like everyone to take a moment to reflect on our great Union and give thanks for all the UAW has negotiated for us. The past struggles of our Union brothers and sisters have allowed us to enjoy a wealth of benefits and a decent standard of living. The benefit I appreciate most this time of year is paid holidays. This allows me to spend quality time with my family during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I am truly grateful for all I receive. But with that being stated, I don’t take what I have for granted. Unions are being politically attacked on many fronts, and with a stroke of a pen, many of our accomplishments could be reversed. Whether you like it or not, politics affects your daily life.

Don’t sit around and be complacent about where you are today. We all need to become politically involved in what is happening in our communities, as well as our Union. You can no longer accept the response that “I don’t have the time to be political, that’s what I elected the Union officials to do” or “Someone else will take care of that for me.”

If you want your children and the next generation to enjoy Union jobs and the benefits that come along with them, you need to make a stand. Become involved. It’s not hard to do. Stand up now and be counted before we have nothing left to stand up for. Sign up to volunteer at www.gimmefiveuaw.org.

I wish you and your family happy holidays.

September 2011: A time of transition

As the newly elected Financial Secretary of UAW Local 602, I would like to thank all the members who supported my campaign. The last few weeks have been a time of transition as I settle into my new role and responsibilities. Be assured I have been hard at work for each of you.
 
I would like to welcome all the new members to our Local; we are delighted to have you here. Please note: a refund of the Union initiation fee may be due to you. If you have paid more than one initiation fee to the UAW, you would be eligible for a refund of that money. Please return your voucher, along with the appropriate check stub, to the Hall. You can obtain a voucher for initiation reimbursement in several ways.
 
• In person: UAW Local 602 Hall, 2510 W. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48917
• Online: www.local602.org under the Financial Secretary’s information
• E-mail: financial@local602.org
• Phone: (517) 372-4842
 
The last couple of weeks have reminded me of how grateful I am to have the excellent benefits that the Union has negotiated for me and my family. As you are well aware, many of your co-workers do not have those same benefits. It’s sad to say it took an accident to one of our own to highlight the fact that there are flaws in the system. When a four-year temporary employee without insurance gets into a life-threatening accident, and her life is changed forever, it makes you stop and think how your life could be different in a blink of the eye. It’s heartbreaking to see how the inequities of employment can affect your life and your family forever.
 
During this time of negotiations, I urge each and every one of you to support your Union leaders in their efforts to achieve justice and equality for all.

 
 
Lansing Labor News
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