January 2017: A leader sorely missed
Here is an article from the Lansing Labor News archives, dated April 18, 1968. This was shortly after the
assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was written by Local 652 member Grady Porter.
The nation mourns the untimely death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but America is a much better place because he lived. And the principles of love and nonviolence which were a part of his life will live forever.
His great love for people, his belief in equality, justice, brotherhood and dignity for all men gave hope to all men, and especially those who are oppressed.
I was privileged to have known the entire King family very well, having been a close and personal friend of his uncle, Joel L. King, who for eight years was a minister in the Union Baptist Church in Lansing. During this time the Reverends Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr. visited Lansing and we became close friends.
During the first mass demonstration in Washington, D.C., I accompanied the Rev. Joel King to the nation’s capital and attended, as a guest, a banquet given by the India delegation honoring Dr. King.
Yours truly was deeply honored, as well as grieved, to have been invited to join the bereaved family at the funeral. I also expressed the personal condolences of my local union, Local 652 UAW.
Labor also lost a great friend and leader. Dr. King had addressed many of the UAW National Conventions, and every Civil Rights Conference held by the UAW. When the assassin’s bullet struck, he was [trying to help] organize the sanitary workers of Memphis, Tennessee.
Never before in the history of a nation were so many people, great and small, important and insignificant, affected and stunned by the death of a single man.
I stood at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1963 and heard this man with a golden voice proclaim, “I have a dream.” In this dream he envisioned a world, especially an America, where love, justice, brotherhood and dignity for all men would reign.
In Atlanta, Georgia a week ago,
I saw a part of his dream come true.
I saw white and black weep together.
I saw white and black holding hands and marching together. I saw whites comforting and wiping the tears of black faces, and I saw black people comforting and wiping tears of sorrow from white faces.
I saw 250,000 people in solemn respect to a man who had given his life for the cause of love and freedom. Greater love hath no man than this when he will give up his life for a friend.
Christ preached love, turn the other cheek, patience, brotherhood, and justice for all—and they killed Him also.
His death made this world a better place to live.
Editor’s Note: Grady Porter, in addition to being a Local 652 member, was a veteran of the European campaign in World War II. However, he is best known for being an Ingham County Commissioner for 24 years. In 1992 the Ingham County building at 313 W. Kalamazoo Street in Lansing was named the Grady J. Porter Building. Perhaps more UAW members will take his example and run for office–and be elected.
December 2016: The keys to our future
The year 2016 will turn into 2017 with the keys to all of our futures. No matter how you may have voted, we will all reap the outcome.
Remember, we will be called upon to rally together to make sure the future for our children and grandchildren is one we can be proud of.
The keys to our future will be turned over to the Republican Party, where they will appoint at least three Supreme Court justices that will impact all of our lives.
On the local front, our CAP Council endorsements had over 80 percent elected. My thanks to everyone who worked on phone banks, passed out slates, and voted on election day.
Ryder Group reached a five-year agreement, thanks to Unit Chair Mike Luna and the bargaining team. Luna reported that 100 new truck drivers were hired to support the Grand River facility and the Delta plant.
At the YFAI Unit, Unit Chair Mike Pattison and the bargaining committee reached a new three-year agreement. Congratulations to all.
I was interested to see that Costco will be opening their first store in the Lansing area in 2017. This will be a great benefit to the greater Lansing area. Costco is a much better alternative to WalMart. Costco is labor friendly and will be involved in our communities.
On a personal note, I have a new grandson named Duncan. That gives me another hunting partner!
I also want to thank everyone in our Local who gives so willingly at our plant gate drives, which goes to the less fortunate in our community.
From the Green family, we hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and a happy new year!
September 2016: Your vote is your voice
I hope the summer was a fun time with your family and friends.
We have been very busy at the local with some updates at the union hall and thanks to our retiree chapter for their donation to help out.
I am sure you feel like your have heard enough about the candidates but we must remember “Your vote is your voice!” For working men and women, that includes many issues for our people, such as education, Social Security, health care, and good paying jobs.
Our CAP Council has screened over 100 candidates on their positions on all the issues that face our members. Remember, our system allows Democrats as well as Republicans to receive our support if they support the issues that support working people.
We don’t tell our members how to vote. We tell our members why they should vote for our endorsed candidates.
Please see page 5 for a list of our vetted and endorsed candidates for the mid-Michigan area.
I would like to share a quote that was in the Detroit News on August 12, 2015:
“You can go to different parts of the United States and then ultimately you’d do full-circle—you’ll come back to Michigan because those guys are going to want their jobs back even if it is less. We can do the rotation in the United States—it doesn’t have to be in Mexico. [After Michigan] loses a couple of plants—all of a sudden you’ll make good deals in your own area.” – Donald Trump
May 2016: Good news on new members
We're very happy to report our third shift is all in place and all three shifts are now fully utilized. Once again I want to welcome our new hires to the UAW family. We’ve very happy to report that 100 percent signed up to join the union!
Ted Krumm, Local 652’s Shop Committee Chairman, reported that over the last year 1,100 new Social Security numbers were added to our Lansing Grand River plant and Local 652, and that 150 members of 652 retired. Congratulations to all.
Distinguished Service Award
Have you ever been surprised at an event? Well, add me to the list of being surprised. At this year’s Standing Committee Conference I received the “Walter P. Reuther Distinguished Service Award.” My immediate thought was that our membership deserved this award, with your donations and gifts to the less fortunate than ourselves. On behalf of all our membership, I accepted this award. Thanks to each and every one who made this possible.
The 50th anniversary Camaro SS will be the pace car at the Indy 500 this year. We’re very happy to be building the new generation of Camaros. I think I might watch this race!
Stay safe this summer and check out the Lansing Labor News website for news and endorsed candidates this year. We will screen any candidate who asks for the UAW-CAP endorsement here locally. The screening process will recommend to our membership in our Region 1D CAP Council area.
These candidates will be asked where they stand on labor issues and if they support issues that are important to labor. We ask our members to vote for them and make our voice heard.
January 2016: Gains and losses in 2015
The new year at Lansing Grand River has been very busy. Here at Local 652 we have been welcoming the 500 new members to fill the third and build our new 2016 Camaro.
Our goal has been to make sure our plant is fully utilized to build the world-class product produced by our membership.
Congratulations to everyone at the plant. Your work and dedication help to ensure future products built here in Lansing!
2015 ended with the Old Newsboys collection. Thanks for your donations to help our less fortunate with boots and shoes for the winter season. Several local presidents and officers from the Lansing area joined together at LAFCU’s main office to help collect donations, along with Local 652 retirees. Thanks to everyone who helped collect donations and bought the spoof newspaper. (See the photo to the right.)
This last year we lost:
Dorothy Hoisington, spouse of past 652 Retiree Chair Henry Hoisington, who served many years on elections, rallies, and anything else that needed to be done.
Local 652 retiree Willa Wright. Vice President Randy Freeman and I had a chance to visit her, and brought her a chocolate malt. She was able to get out of bed and enjoy her treat and visit with us. Willa was always available for anything she could help with. I will miss those pecan pies and special cookies and desserts only she could make.
Dorothy Stevens, Local 602’s Retiree Chair. Dorothy was a great asset to our CAP Council when it came to phone banks to get out the votes for our endorsed candidates. She will be missed.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to each of these fine ladies’ families.
On Tuesday, January 19, we attended a rally at the Capitol to call for action to meet the needs for safe drinking water in Flint. I can only tell you what I think about those who created an atmosphere to jeopardize our families, children, and grandchildren. They must be held accountable. Hopefully, if rallies are called, you can attend, or write, phone, or visit your representatives.
How could this happen, the lead poisoning of Flint’s drinking water? And Detroit schools with floors demolished, mice running around in the school, and security doors rusted with no money to repair them!
The Lansing State Journal reported that Region 1D Assistant Director Steve Dawes stated that Governor Snyder and his crony Republicans created the crisis and refused to acknowledge the problems.
The voters of our state have voted in the past that they did not want the emergency manager law. The legislature passed the law again and did so with an appropriation to make it referendum proof.
What has happened in Flint is proof enough that the governor and legislature are responsible!
December 2015: Thanks for a job well done
Congratulations to all our members for the great job you do in building our products. I never get tired of thanking you. The award of Motor Trend’s Car of the Year on our 2016 Camaro is the proof of a job well done.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote on our national and local agreements. Information has gone out on the Local 652 Facebook page.
Retiree $500 bonus payment
The $500 payment will be issued as a check which will be printed and mailed beginning December 15, 2015.
Payments will be made to retirees who retired on or before October 1, 2015.
This includes UAW retirees who were divested to another company and who receive part of their pension benefits from the GM Hourly Pension Plan and part from the other company’s pension plan. This includes UAW-Delphi retirees who are receiving only Uplift or Top-Up benefits from the GM Hourly Pension Plan.
No overpayment collections will be applied against the $500 payment and no taxes will be deducted from the payment.
Region 1D Capital Area CAP Council endorsed candidates who won:
Lansing City Council
At Large: Carol Wood and Patricia Spitzley
First Ward: Jody Washington
Third Ward: Adam Hussain
East Lansing City Council
At Large: Mark Meadows
Congratulations to all the winners. I know you will work very hard for all our members and our community.
From my family to yours, I hope your Thanksgiving was just wonderful for you and your families. Have a great Christmas holiday and new year!
September 2015: The impact of your work
I want to welcome back our members as we get ready for the Camaro launch this fall. We have 200 members returning, with 400 new hires, who will populate the second shift at LGR. Our new LOC unit, which has hired 79 people to support the second shift at LGR, we also welcome to the family at Local 652. Josh Clifford, unit chair at Ryder, said they will be hiring 50 new hires to support the second shift at LGR.
This shows what an impact a new product brought into Lansing has on area jobs. New workers are needed, and it’s because of you, the membership who day after day have committed to building a world-class product in Lansing. I am very proud to represent you here at Local 652 and that’s why GM can count on us to launch a quality product here at Lansing.
The strike vote held on August 20 was 99% for a yes vote to strike if necessary to secure a new contract in negotiations. This lets our bargaining team know that we support them in securing a fair contract. We will strike if called on by our top negotiating team.
The United Way’s Labor liaisons coordinated the building of a wheelchair ramp for a Local 652 retiree in Potterville. I want to thank Glenn Freeman and Dean Poggiali, the United Way’s labor liaisons, and Josh Clifford, unit chair of 652’s Ryder Unit, who supplied the material to build the ramp. The Carpenters 1004 Union Local members did the construction. Thanks to everyone who helped make someone’s life better.
Our Region 1D Capital Area CAP Council would like to thank everyone for their support of our endorsed candidates. The primaries are over, and now on to the full elections. The CAP Council has endorsed a number of candidates (see below) and asks for your support for these labor-friendly candidates.
May 2015: Convention update
I believe our International Union is in good shape financially as we head into negotiations with the Big 3 this fall. I think the move to raise the dues structure has helped to make sure we’re financially fit to take on the fight if necessary to reach an agreement that best serves our membership.
We will all need to make sure we prepare ourselves both financially and mentally if we should have to strike to reach an agreement. Hopefully, that does not occur, but we must be prepared.
The UAW’s first contract was one page long, in which the UAW was recognized to be the representative of our members. And now our contract is 754 pages long, along with numerous supplement books that relate to our insurance coverages, wages, transfers, health and safety, seniority rights, return rights, etc. All these items have to be renegotiated come September 14.
Our top negotiating team led by Vice President Cindy Estrada has the job of bringing back a contract that is best for membership and their family—as I know they will. “No more tiers, enough is enough!” As chanted at the bargaining convention.
Our Shop Committee Chairman Ted Krumm and the rest of the bargaining committee have been very busy organizing all the local demands as submitted by our members. I know our chairman and his committee will work hard in the best interest of our members at 652.
This will be a very busy summer with both national and local negotiations starting up! Updated information will be at uawlocal652.org or lansinglabornews.org and/or the Local 652 Facebook page.
I want to thank all those people who volunteered to come out to spruce up and clean up at the Local and at the Lansing Labor News.
Have a safe and fun-filled summer!
January 2015: Busy start to new year
I hope everyone’s holiday was a joyous time for you and your family!
The new year starts with a very busy schedule, starting with GM Subcouncil 5 (skilled trades) and GM Subcouncils 1, 2, 3, and 4.
The Oldsmobile Outdoor Club’s Winterfest will take place February 13-15 in Grayling. That is also free fishing weekend. Please see more information on page 5. If you have questions, please call Mike Bokovoy at 517-420-5335. The Olds Outdoor Club does a wonderful job to make sure everyone has a great time.
March 24 and 25 will see the UAW Collective Bargaining Convention held in Detroit.
Local 652’s Recreation and Conservation Committee will hold a Cabin Fever Game Night at the local on February 21, for adults only. It will include a euchre tournament and other games from 1:00 p.m. to ?
In his article on page 1, Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem talks about our region being more involved with our community. I am very proud of the efforts in the Lansing area that our local unions have been involved in. These include breast cancer walks, Toys for Tots, Old Newsboys’ paper, Walk for Warmth, the school backpack program, Greater Lansing Food Bank, United Way, American Red Cross, and the many boards and service organizations our members serve on to make our community a better place to work and live in.
Concerning the child ID pack that was mentioned in our Director’s article: the UAW has joined the American Football Coaches Association to offer free ID kits. A gift of safety from our UAW family to yours, each kit contains two inkless fingerprint cards, two DNA collection swabs, and one activator card. All this information is stored and kept with you, so you can give it to authorities if ever needed.
At this year’s Winterfest in Grayling we will be passing these kits out. We will also have the kits at the Local 652 union hall, 426 Clare Street in Lansing. We have already had a request for 500 kits from Clinton Area Fire & Rescue/St. Johns Fire Department.
Thanks to everyone who called or sent a card to congratulate Pam and me on our first grandchild!
December 2014: How the elections could have gone our way
I want to thank everyone who helped on campaigns for our endorsed candidates, whether with phone banks, door to door, or lit drops. We had good turnouts for all the work it takes to elect our endorsed candidates. Despite our efforts, turnout of voters was 41.6%, which was less than the 2010 non-presidential year, when it was 42.9%, as reported in the UAW Dateline report.
How close were the races? Just 7,399 votes in nine State House districts kept Democrats from winning a majority:
House District GOP victory margin
Our work to stop the attacks on working people will continue for years to come.
The lame duck agenda in November and December includes:
• A transportation funding package to deal with our roads in Michigan
• The Electoral College
• Prevailing wage
• Public employees’ collective bargaining rights
I would like to thank our Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem for his help in our election.
Region 1D Subcouncil 2 Election
I was elected alternate top negotiator at the Subcouncil 2 meeting. I look forward to serving on the 2015 negotiating team for the car side at the UAW-GM national negotiations.
We had a lot of discussions on what we will need to do at the 2015 negotiations. UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada spoke about the many issues we will be facing. Estrada will lead the talks on the GM side. She brings a wealth of knowledge from the IPS and Organizing Departments, and she understands the issues facing us on the GM side.
Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem announced that Steve Dawes will be the Assistant Director for Region 1D. Our congratulations to Steve.
My wife Pam and I became proud grandparents on November 3—a baby boy named Phenix Michael Green. Congratulations to the parents, Rollin and Allison, on our first grandchild!
As we approach the holidays, may you and your family have a safe and enjoyable time.
And remember to buy American and buy union!
September 2014: $174 million for local stamping plant
I don’t know where summer went, but it’s time for the kids to go back to school and thoughts of fall activities start.
I want to thank all our members who got out and voted in the primary election. Our CAP-endorsed candidates fared well, but the job is not done until the November election is done! Please go to the Lansing Labor News website, lansinglabornews.org, to make sure you know the endorsed candidates. The screening process takes into account all the concerns working people have.
I also want to thank each and every one of our members over the announcement of GM’s decision to invest $174 million in the Lansing Grand River stamping facility. The following are comments from Erin Davis of GM Lansing Operations Communications:
General Motors will start construction of a $174-million stamping facility that will create or retain about 145 jobs. The new facility, part of the company’s Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant, will produce stamping components for the Cadillac ATS and Cadillac CTS family of vehicles and a future product.
“Lansing Grand River Assembly is known for the high quality of its work and the flexible manufacturing that has been a trademark since it opened,” said GM North America Manufacturing Manager Christine Sitek. “Today’s announcement demonstrates GM’s commitment to strengthening key plant capabilities related to quality and efficiency.”
The new facility, which comes on line in 2016, will save about $14 million a year in logistics costs tied to material handling. Built in 2001, Lansing Grand River is GM’s second-newest U.S. assembly plant and the manufacturing home of the Cadillac ATS, CTS and the CTS V-series performance versions. Earlier this year, Motor Trend magazine recognized the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan with its Car of the Year award.
“This major investment is a vote of confidence in the hard-working membership of UAW Local 652,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who directs the union’s General Motors Department. “We’re proud of the role we played in helping rebuild Michigan’s economy through collective bargaining and negotiations for investment and jobs in our UAW-represented plants.”
“I think I can speak for all of the UAW members at General Motors’ Lansing Grand River plant when I say we are thrilled to have this additional investment in the plant and the jobs it will create in the community,” said UAW Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem.
Including this latest announcement, GM has announced Lansing facility investments of more than $530 million since 2009.
• $190 million for the addition of the Cadillac ATS and 600 jobs
• $37 million at Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant for tooling and equipment to enhance the plant’s manufacturing capabilities
• $88 million for the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan
• Announced Lansing Grand River would produce the next-generation Camaro
• $44.5 million and 200 jobs for a new logistics optimization center at LGR
Since 2009, GM has announced nearly $11 billion of investment in U.S. facilities, including $777 million so far this year.
“Once again, our hometown car company is hitting it out of the park with a massive new investment at Lansing Grand River,” said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. “I’m deeply grateful to General Motors for making the Lansing region a centerpiece of its global manufacturing strategy. Its confidence in our world-class UAW workforce and strong partnership with local government will continue to deliver jobs and prosperity in Lansing for decades to come.”
In Other News
Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem recently visited the Lansing area GM plants of Locals 602 and 652. I would like to thank him for coming to visit our membership.
September 13 Car Show
Put September 13 on your calendar to join us at the American Muscle and Antique Auto Show, which will be held in the Local 652 and Local 724 parking lots. All proceeds will go to the Lansing Labor News. This is free and open to the public.
If you are entering a car, the registration fee is $10 and registration begins at 8:00 a.m. Show time is 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will be dash plaques for the first 75 entries, a 50-50 raffle, T-shirt sale, food, DJ and trophies. See you there!
May, 2014: Medical and dental benefits
I would like to thank all our members for turning out to vote and for the support you gave to the leadership at the local. The trust you have given to all the officers at Local 652 is important and a privilege serving you to secure all our futures.
Welcome back to all our “snowbirds” who made their way back home. Finally, Old Man Winter is losing his grip on Michigan!
Medical Benefits Trust
We received the following letter from UAW President Bob King concerning reinstating vision and dental coverage starting in 2015. Again the UAW is looking out for our retirees.
Dear Trust Member,
Medical benefits are important to you and your family. The Board and staff of the UAW Retiree Medical Benefit Trust (the “Trust”) is dedicated to designing medical benefits and managing Trust assets in a way that reflects its mission—providing comprehensive health care coverage which improves the health and well—being of members. Each year, the level of benefits is evaluated to keep long-term liabilities aligned with the assets.
We are proud of how we have worked with you to find savings and make the Trust stronger. You’ve helped by switching to generic drugs, using preventive services and maintaining healthy behaviors. Many of you have also used Trust programs, such as diabetes education, Medicare Advantage options, and routine office visit coverage to help even more. All of these programs help avoid the cost of unnecessary care and provide you with better health outcomes.
As a next step, we recognize the importance of quality dental and vision coverage in maintaining your overall health. That’s why the governing Board of the Trust has authorized the Trust staff to provide dental and vision coverage for 2015. This coverage, pending negotiations with insurance carriers, will be comparable to the dental and vision coverage for UAW retired workers prior to the 2009 bankruptcy process.
This is tremendous news for GM and Chrysler retirees and we wanted you to hear it from us before rumors begin. While we know you may have many questions, details of the dental and vision coverage are still under negotiations with various insurance carriers. This new benefit will not be effective until January 1, 2015. Information about these benefits will be mailed in the fall; therefore, no action is required from you at this time. We encourage you to read thoroughly all of the information that you receive from the Trust and our carrier partners.
Bob King, President, International Union, UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust Committee
Robert H. Naftaly, Chair, UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust Committee
Information will be mailed to you as it becomes available.
Mark Schauer has received the UAW’s endorsement for Governor. It’s very important that we do everything we can to defeat Snyder this fall. He has shown that the hard-working middle class and organized labor are his targets! Snyder’s claims to fame have been to:
* Tax the pensions of our seniors
* Take away six weeks of unemployment compensation for laid-off workers
* Make Michigan a right-to-work state
* Claim to create new jobs, with not one job being created, only UAW-negotiated jobs
Mark Schauer will reverse the attacks on senior pensions and on students by repealing the devastating cuts to our schools. He will strengthen the middle class and give small businesses the tools they need to create jobs.
To help, go to markschauer.com.
Gary Peters was endorsed for U.S. Senate. To learn more, visit petersformichigan.com.
Both statewide candidates deserve our support. Please help support them for a brighter future for all Michigan residents, not just the Snyder few!
March 2014: Why we are involved in politics
I would like to congratulate all our members on the announcement of a new press plant to be built at our Grand River facility. The stand-alone plant will be built where our old press plant stood.
Mayor Virg Bernero and City Council members stated that they were ready and willing to make sure they would cooperate with GM to ensure the facility will be here.
So many times people ask why we get involved in politics. The answer is quite simple: none of us want to get Tennessee’d! We look at what happened at the VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the vote of 712 to 626 defeated the UAW’s organizing drive to represent the VW workers. There was interference by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, as documented in an article in the Huffington Post by Erik Schelzig and Tom Krisher.
Sen. Corker’s claim that a “no” vote would quickly mean more jobs fit in with an assertion Gov. Haslam leveled days earlier, when he said a union win would hurt the state’s ability to attract auto suppliers and other future business.
In the same article UAW President Bob King said it was unprecedented for Corker and other elected officials to have “threatened the company with no incentives, threatened workers with a loss of product.”
“It’s outrageous,” King said in an article that appeared in the Detroit News on March 5. Two years ago, when the gates to the General Motors assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee reopened, it was a testament to what can be gained and who wins with sound collective bargaining and strong collaborative relationships.
The UAW’s 2011 collective bargaining agreement reopened the idled GM plant, since infused with new life to the tune of nearly 1,800 new jobs and the hefty $350 million product investment. Those jobs were in or headed to Mexico. Now they belong to workers in Tennessee.
Another article I would like to list is by Lydia DePillis in the Washington Post on February 12. It is an interview with Sen. Corker on why he can’t stand the UAW.
Let’s make sure we don’t get Tennessee’d! Please continue to support those candidates who support the working middle class, and be proud of the UAW, the union we belong to and count on to make sure our voice is heard.
Congratulations again to each and every member on the new press plant.
January 2014: Take back Michigan!
Our message to politicians should be that we will support those who support working people. What has Governor Snyder done for Michigan?
• Taxed retirees’ pensions
• Cut unemployment benefits by six weeks
• Right-to-work (for less) legislation
Surplus funds have come off the backs of workers, retirees, and unemployed workers, while the 1% don’t pay any increase. Our retirees and under-employed have to watch every penny to try and make ends meet.
Governor Snyder and his Republican representatives have, through their actions, made it popular to attack the middle class. On the national level, that same political thinking was ready to let GM go bankrupt. If they’d had their way, where would our nation be and what would Michigan look like today?
I and the rest of the UAW leadership and membership believe enough is enough. We must work to elect people who represent the working men and women. Governor Snyder, you told the Michigan voters that right-to-work legislation would bring new jobs to our state. Where are all those jobs you promised?
So far you have created a mystery surplus in the budget. We know that surplus came off our backs. If you use the funds to fix our roads and don’t create good-paying jobs to drive to, it could be roads leading nowhere!
Thanks to the UAW and bargaining units across our state–they are the real reason the investment in facilities and new products happen in Michigan. I can’t think of a better investment than the American worker.
Our Lansing Grand River members are a great example of when given the opportunity they deliver one of the best products and win awards that shine the light on Michigan and our Capital City!
Our hopes were high as we headed to the Detroit Auto Show to win the North American car of the year with our Cadillac CTS Sedan. We were the only luxury car to compete against the Corvette Stingray and won’t mention the other vehicle, as they announced the Corvette won. I felt we were already a winner; it was another GM product. The frosting on the cake came as GM’s Silverado truck was named North American Truck of the Year. Congratulations to all the membership for the job you do to help make this happen.
We want to thank all the UAW units who supply our parts to the UAW assembly plants that build the world-class vehicles. There is no workforce greater than the American workers and the UAW membership.
My sincere thanks for allowing me the opportunity to represent you. I never will take you for granted, but will strive to earn your respect and support.
December 2013: Reflections on 2013
Jan. 14, 2013 – Our year started out with the best news anyone could have asked for. Cadillac’s new ATS was named North American Car of the Year. We set the bar high for quality, shown by the successful launch the ATS had. Thanks for the many honors we were given from U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, LAFCU credit union, area Chambers of Commerce, and many area businesses. When we’re successful, our community shares in that pride also!
Dec. 19, 2012 – The announcement of “The American Muscle Car,” the Chevrolet Camaro, would be built at the Lansing Grand River plant by Local 652 members.
March 26, 2013 – 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan unveiled the night before the New York Auto Show.
May 21, 2013 – A new facility, a stand-alone building, will be built at our Grand River facility, which will support the new Camaro launch. The site will bring 200 new UAW jobs to Lansing.
November 7, 2013 – The new Cadillac CTS for 2014 was
honored with Motor Trend’s Car of the Year! (By anyone’s standard, we have experienced as many awards as anyone could wish for!)
What do all the announcements have in common? It’s our workforce in Lansing doing the best job anyone could ask for, proving again we can compete with anyone here at home in the U.S. or around the globe. Brought to you by the Lansing area workforce and Local 652 members.
*The Breast Cancer Walk held in Lansing was another success. Local 652’s Women’s Committee, Local members, and Region 1C members joined to help find a cure for this dreaded disease. Our sincere thanks to Region 1C Director Norwood Jewell and Assistant
Director Steve Dawes for their support of this annual event.
*Toys for Tots was a huge success this year. Lansing-area GM units raised just under $20,000 and more toys than I’ve ever seen. Along with other Lansing-area locals’ drives, we will help make a difference on Christmas morning. Again our members prove they are always willing to give back to our community where we live and work.
*As I write my article, we will have been out at the gates selling the Old Newsboys spoof paper. This fund-raising effort helps provide boots and coats to the less fortunate in our community. Thanks for your donations!
Congratulations to the JCIM Unit on their ratification vote on their new local agreement, which passed by 83 percent approval. Congratulations to Jim Ward, Unit Chair, and the Bargaining Team for a fine job!
I hope that everyone’s Christmas holiday is filled with joy. A bright New Year to everyone in our UAW family!
September, 2013: Looking toward the election
Wow, summer has flashed by us! I hope everyone has had the chance to do some fun things with your family during the summer time.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to vote in the primary election. Our endorsed candidates did well, but now we must finish the process by voting this fall. Following is a list of our endorsed candidates. They were screened at our CAP Council screening committee and presented to our Capital Area CAP Council for approval. Our process asks all the candidates who applied for our endorsement questions of their positions on issues that involve working people and our community. Endorsed in Lansing races:
Virg Bernero – Mayor
Tina Houghton – City Council, Second Ward
Jessica Yorko – City Council, Fourth Ward
Judi Brown Clarke – City Council, At-Large
Kathie Dunbar – City Council, At-Large
Chris Swope – City Clerk (unopposed)
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was given at the March on Washington 50 years ago. Recently, people from across the country joined together to celebrate this important anniversary. A total of three buses from Lansing made the trip to Washington D.C. Thanks to everyone who went!
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer will take place Saturday, October 26 at the Capitol. The American Cancer Society reports that more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors will celebrate another birthday this year, thanks in part to the dollars raised by supporters like you. Join us and honor those you love by helping us fund and finish the fight against breast cancer. So mark your calendar, start a team, and raise funds today! For further information: www.makingstrideswalk.org/lansingmi. Or call 517-332-3300. Or email email@example.com.
May 2013: Reasons to be proud
I recently attended the apprentice conference. I was very proud to hear the presentation at the opening of the conference about the great job our members are doing in Lansing at our Grand River plant, winning the “Car of the Year Award.” This is only possible because of the job our members do each day in producing a quality product.
The Lansing area has two GM production facilities to be proud of—UAW Local 602’s Delta Plant and Local 652’s Grand River Plant. Congratulations to both plants for the job they do!
I hope you don’t get tired of hearing me say what a great job you do, because I never get tired of saying it!
Region 1-C Director Norwood Jewell announced the car to be given away in our annual V-CAP ticket sale: our own ATS Cadillac! That’s another good reason to buy the V-CAP tickets. Thanks to Norwood for picking our car this year for the grand prize!
The $38 million dollar investment in our Grand River facility is moving ahead for the production of the Camaro.
You may well have gotten a shock when you prepared your taxes before the April 15th deadline this year. A lot of the deductions that you used to get are gone, thanks to Governor Snyder and Republican legislators who supported his tax plan (HB 4361/Roll Call 126 2011). And senior citizens will have to pay tax on their pensions for the first time.
Snyder’s tax hike was a huge tax shift that raised individual taxes by $1.2 billion to pay for a $1.4 billion tax cut for business owners.
Here are some of the tax hikes and deductions you can no longer claim:
Your Children — You used to be able to deduct $600 for each of your children under 18. Not any more. That will cost Michigan taxpayers $57 million.
Senior Citizens and Unemployed — A $2,300 exemption for persons 65 and older and workers whose unemployment compensation exceeds half of their adjusted gross income is eliminated. That’s a $41 million tax hike for seniors and the unemployed.
Homestead Property Taxes — The Homestead Property Tax Credit will be cut for about 400,000 families, costing taxpayers $270 million.
Earned Income Tax Credit — The EITC will be lowered from 20% to 6%, a $261 million tax hike for low income working families–an average tax hike of $307 for those who can least afford it.
Charitable Contributions — A number of tax credits have been eliminated, including credits for charitable contributions, city income taxes, college tuition, adoption expenses and stillborn children. This tax hike will cost Michigan taxpayers $104 million.
Pension Taxes — Retirees will pay more than $340 million in new pension taxes. Don’t get fooled again!
The Lansing Labor News website (lansinglabornews.org) has the complete list of bills over the last two years passed by the Governor’s office and the
January 2013: ATS awarded car of the year
I would like to welcome everybody back from the Christmas holiday. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays.
We welcomed the new year with the news that our ATS Cadillac would receive the Car of the Year award at the Detroit auto show. I want to congratulate everyone for your efforts in building a world-class vehicle. Your efforts have been rewarded. Our launch of the ATS was difficult and I know personally everyone rolled up their sleeves and went to work making sure we overcame any and all problems related too this launch of the ATS.
Our CTS Cadillac was a finalist for car of the year in 2008 and again that was made possible by your efforts then!
Camaro—American muscle car—comes home
It’s an honor and a privilege to be the president of Local 652 and receive the news our plant will be building the Camaro. Congratulations to all our members for all your efforts in building world-class products. Your efforts are being rewarded. I want to say thank you to “world-class workers who build world-class products.”
Governor Sniper and the lame duck representatives go on a hunting trip!
The Governor of Michigan stated he had no argument with labor and “right-to-work” legislation was not on his agenda. When Proposal 2 was defeated, that’s all they needed to call an all-out war on organized labor and working people across the state.
UAW Dateline reported that the bill was rammed through an abbreviated process in the legislature, bypassing the committee process and denying Michigan workers the opportunity to speak out against the bill in public hearings. Substitute versions of the bill were quickly adopted in the Senate on December 6, with final approval by the House just days later.
More than 17,000 union activists and their allies rallied at the Capitol in opposition to the legislation. At several points access to the building was shut down, leaving thousands out in the cold.
The House vote was 58-52, mostly along party lines. Six Republicans joined the Democrats—including Forline, Goike, McBroom, Somerville, and Zorn.
In the Senate it was 22-16 with four Republicans joining Democrats in opposition—Casperson, Green, Nofs, and Rocca.
Legislative assault on middle class
The process the legislature and Governor Snyder chose was an assault on the middle class and organized labor, UAW Dateline reported. The day-long assault on the middle class made a mockery of the legislative process, bypassing public input and using parliamentary procedures to ram the legislation through both houses.
The perversion of regular legislative procedures included no public hearings or committee meetings, discharging the bill from committee to the floor, substitute versions adopted on the floor, the combination of multiple amendments into one vote, and fast gavel maneuvers where presiding officers dismissed amendments without a record roll-call vote.
The right-to-work (for less) bill was not the only one that was passed. The emergency manager law that was turned down by the voters was repackaged under SB 805. The bill ratifies all action under PA4 and includes an appropriation so there can be no referendum on it.
Other actions included:
SB 878 – prison privatization
Recall elections made more difficult
Business tax cut
Elimination of the Job Safety Commission. You can find explanations of these bills on the Labor News website.
I want to thank everyone who has come to the rallies at the Capitol to help the cause!
December 2012: Thank you, thank you
I know by now everyone has heard all the political ads we want to hear. So thank you for getting out the vote for President Obama and all of our endorsed candidates. When our members turn out to vote we make a huge difference. When we vote we make sure union members’ voices are heard!
A message from Art Luna, Region 1C CAP Chair:
First, I would like to thank everyone who helped in this election cycle. We all worked hard to try and make gains for working families. In the next few weeks we will be bombarded by Right to Work legislation in the lame duck session starting November 27.
I am asking again for your help to keep the Republicans in check from destroying our right to collective bargaining. So please be aware and ready when we call for your assistance. Can we count on you? – Art Luna
Let’s hope Governor Snyder is true to his word that this is not the time to fight with labor.
Breast Cancer Rally
Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s event. Region 1C was well represented again this year.
The holiday season is here. Remember, please buy American- and union-made products and help support workers here.
This holiday season a lot of people will not have as good a holiday as our own. Please help out those who are in need during the holidays.
Toys for Tots
Thanks again to everyone who gave and also to those who went on the gates to collect your donations of gifts that the Marine Corps distributes to those families in need.
From my family to yours, have a happy holiday season!
September 2012: Gearing up for November 6
I hope everyone’s summer was great and you had a great time with your family and friends.
It has been very busy at our local and plant, bringing in new hires and training for the start of our new product line, the ATS Cadillac. Our thanks to everyone who has played, and will play, a critical role in making our new car a success!
As summer ends, we are gearing up for the November election. The UAW sees this process as very important to all our members. Candidates seeking endorsement go through the CAP Council screening process. This is not to tell you how to vote, but to let you know about candidates’ voting records and positions they take that affect each and every one of us.
Our Capital Area CAP Council spends a lot of time on this screening process, so we can make a well-informed endorsement to our membership.
I can remember like it was just yesterday when we all were facing the horrible thought of GM going bankrupt, the reality of our plants closing, and the loss of retiree health care and pensions.
Where do they stand on the auto
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney advocated a bankruptcy process in which the automakers would shed their pension obligation. Romney described the successful restructuring of GM and Chrysler as “crony capitalism,” a reward to “union bosses.”
Later on he took credit for the industry’s comeback, even though he opposed the government loans that made it possible. Romney was never involved in the companies’ turnaround.
“Let Detroit go bankrupt” was Mitt Romney’s November, 2008 op-ed in the New York Times.
I was fortunate to attend the national CAP Conference in Washington, D.C. In 2012 and hear President Obama address our convention, where he said, “I placed my bet on the American worker. And I will make that bet any day of the week.”
President Obama convened a task force to work with automakers and stakeholders on a turnaround plan when private funding was available.
He saved taxpayers the costs of a traditional bankruptcy in which pension obligations would have been dumped on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
He saved over 2.5 million jobs.
Thanks to President Obama, GM and Chrysler avoided liquidation and today both are profitable and adding jobs.
Employment in the U.S. auto and parts industries is growing at a pace not seen since the 1990’s.
You’re already being bombarded by misleading ads funded by Super PACs. If the political right had their way with investing the Social Security fund into Wall Street, where would all our retirees be?
Once we look at the facts, we learn the truth never changes—nor should our support for President Obama to finish the job he is doing.
Remember, every time we add a job in the auto industry, we help add seven to ten more jobs in the community, be it hospital workers, restaurant workers, parts suppliers, or many other service industries.
How could anyone who works in the auto industry come to any other conclusion than to vote for President Obama?
Thank you, the membership, for your help, and please support our endorsed candidates.
If you would like to help elect our endorsed candidates, you could help with phone banks, yard signs, canvassing door to door, etc. We need your help to win the fight of life!
Vote November 6!
May 2012: New member orientation
Welcome to all our new hires. Over the last few weeks, GM started calling our new employees in for orientation. We were able to negotiate one day for union awareness as well.
Norwood Jewell, our Region 1-C Director, attended the new hires orientation and spoke on the union’s role and the history of the UAW. Thanks to our Regional Director for taking the time to attend our meetings.
Our local’s officers also attended and explained their duties at the local.
Thanks also to our Bargaining Committee and Chairman who were in attendance to answer any questions our new hires had.
It was great news to hear that GM returned to #1 automaker. Thanks to each and every employee who takes pride in their job to help build our products that the public thinks so highly of.
Just think, a few short years ago GM was on the verge of bankruptcy. In December of 2008 a group of Lansing-area labor leaders went to Washington D.C. to talk to any of our representatives who would listen to support the loan to GM. Not a bailout, a loan!
Thanks to President Obama, who led the way to help save GM. The action taken by the President helped save over 1.1 million jobs directly and indirectly related to GM, plus the retirement program and health care for retirees through contract negotiation.
Our people were not looking for a handout but a chance to prove that we are hard-working men and women who love our country and go to work every day to build the best products in the world. We’ve never believed in the trickle-down theory that the Republican Party believes in. Our membership has been trickled on too many times, and we don’t like it!
Election time is near, so the summer and fall airwaves will be filled with those campaign ads. Our CAP executive board will be doing screening on all candidates who ask for our endorsement. These endorsements are done to help each member know who has got their backs when it comes to legislation that impacts our lives.
President Obama spoke about his position on the loan to GM at the national CAP meeting in Washington. He said that he will bet on the side of labor every time, as it was the right thing to do. On the other hand, Mitt Romney, the current frontrunner in the Republican Party, went on record saying GM should have been let go to bankruptcy!
If for no other reason, President Obama has earned our support.
Community Services Class
My congratulations to all the community services representatives from the greater Lansing area who attended classes on helping our members in our community when need arises. Dean Poggiali and Glen Freeman are our labor liaisons at United Way and did a great job of instruction and leading the discussions.
The fourth annual Plant 3 Reunion will be held at the Irish Pub on June 12 from 3:00 p.m. till ? For more information, call Al Freeman at (517) 819-8657.
Have a safe and wonderful summer. Check the Lansing Labor News website for updates and information: lansinglabornews.org
Chris “Tiny” Sherwood
I would like to extend my condolences, as well as those of our members, officers, and staff to the family of Chris “Tiny” Sherwood. He was my predecessor in the office of President of Local 652. Here is a list of Chris’ accomplishments in the labor movement and the community:
6 years President of Local 652
9 years Vice-President of Local 652
12 years Shop Committee
8 years District Committeeperson
1 year Alternate Committeeperson
3 years Sergeant-at-Arms
3 years Community Services Committee
Delegate to 26th, 28th, 30th, 33rd, and 34th Constitutional Conventions
Labor Law instruction, Lansing Community College and UAW
Delegate to 1981, 1987, and 1993 National Bargaining Conventions
Delegate to 1990 National Resolutions Convention
Local negotiations: 1976,1982,1984,1987, and 1990
Board of Directors of Lansing Area Safety Council
President, Lansing Area Safety Council
President, Capital Area CAP Council
Chairman, Lansing Labor News
Children’s Miracle Network–Doug Griffith Community Service Award
January 2012: A shared vision
We honor Martin Luther King each year in January, remembering all his efforts to end segregation and help create equality for all people.
Who could ever forget the most impressive speech I have ever heard, the “I have a dream” speech. It still touches the heart of anyone who listens to it, as a reminder that fair and equal treatment is not for the few but for everyone in our great nation, a model for the rest of the world.
The UAW shared this vision with Dr. King and created a Fair Practice Chairperson in the GM locals, which was an elected position.
A talk with Claude Browne
I want to share with everyone the background of one of our past Fair Practice Chairpersons who is now retired, Claude Browne.
Claude was born on May 27, 1922 in a small town of Columbia, Tennessee. He served in the Army from 1943-46. Claude related to me the following about his return home in 1947.
In 1947 I and my future bride, Woodia, decided to get married. We went with another couple we knew to Limestone, Alabama where the four of us got married. My wife and I have been married 65 years, a of January 2. We had two kids—daughter Theresa and son Paul.
I worked in construction. It was hard work and I would get laid off quite frequently. Back then we didn’t have SUB pay or unemployment comp to help us out. So I decided to move to Michigan in 1955 and went to work at Oldsmobile.
The UAW was our representative and thank goodness they were, because the supervisor would give you three days to learn your job—and if you didn’t, they wanted to get rid of you!
I remember the work was hard. I would watch the committeeperson walk up and down the lines and handle union calls and grievances. I said to myself, that’s what I want to do and make a difference in our members’ lives.
I became involved in our local union. I learned right away that I really enjoyed representing our membership. I could help make things better for our membership, as Dr. King and the UAW were pushing for.
When we first came to Lansing, we visited the Missionary Baptist Church, which was located at the corner of Hillsdale and Logan Streets, where Dr. King’s brother was the pastor. We would hear of the many good things Dr. King was involved with to make sure all people were treated equally.
That’s when I knew that the Fair Practice Chairperson was the job I wanted to help make a difference in the workplace.
I think Dr. King and the UAW have made a huge difference in all lives. I will always be thankful to the membership that elected me. I always took pride in making sure I was accountable to the membership which elected me, and I hope I did make a difference.
Auto show news
I attended the announcement of the ATS at the Detroit auto show. We had great reviews from the crowds. People just loved it!
I also had a chance to talk with Dan Akerson, CEO of GM. I let him know our second shift of workers will be ready and that we’re also ready for a third shift at our location for any new product.
I must thank each and every member at our Grand River Plant. Because of you, we’re celebrating the new ATS being built at our plant and any new products for the future.
December 2011: Congratulations all around
I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was a good time with your family! How fast we seem to go past summer and into our fall with the Christmas holiday upon us.
I want to thank all our members for the terrific job on the Toys for Tots gate drive. Our Lansing area plants raised over $14,000, thanks to everyone’s generosity. The Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program has said that over 3,000 families in the Lansing area have requested help for this Christmas.
The CAP-endorsed candidates for Lansing city council—Derrick Quinney, Carol Wood, and Jody Washington—won their elections. Our sincere thanks to our members who got out to vote. We had one candidate who came up short—Jason Wilkes, who ran a good campaign for city council.
The election of officers for the CAP Council was held at our November meeting, for the 2012-15 term. They are as follows:
President, Mike Green, 652
1st Vice President, Bill Reed, 602
2nd Vice President, Sandy Masarik, 6000
3rd Vice President, Tammy Thompson,
Recording Secretary, Dean Poggiali, 724
Guide, Ray Whitford, 1753
Sgt.-at-Arms, Edgar Loring, 2256
Eileen Brooker, 4911
Joe Douglas, 4911
Russ Emmons, 652
At Large (7):
Lyle Birchman, 602
Anita Dawson, 602
Curtis Dunn, 1618
Maria Enriquez, 6000
Harold Foster, 652
Christine Rogers, 925
Deb Ruiz, 6000
Congratulations to everyone and I look forward to working with each of you on behalf of our membership.
Our congratulations go to our brothers and sisters at Local 602 for the one-millionth vehicle produced at the LDT plant.
Lansing Grand River celebrated our 10-year anniversary. My congratulations to our members for helping make our plant the award-winning plant that it is and also helping secure a new product in 2012.
The Christmas holiday is sneaking up on us, so I would like to say to your family from mine: I hope your holiday is great and the new year is bright for all of us. Don’t forget to buy American and buy union.
September 2011: Labor loses a great union man
Dale Fee passed away in May at the age of 82. Dale was a great union member at Local 652. He served as a committee member and Benefit Plans Rep. He served the entire greater Lansing area on the Capital Area CAP Council as our Workers Comp and Unemployment Representative.
He touched many thousands of lives. Dale fought for workers’ rights and came up with innovative ideas for the process of unemployment to help our members, companies, and government.
Our sincere thanks to Dale’s wife Annie and Dale’s entire family for sharing him with us. Dale was very proud of the UAW and, Dale, the UAW was proud of you!
Update: Local 652’s retired president Chris “Tiny” Sherwood has been in intensive care at Ingham Medical Hospital over 30 days now. Tiny wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, as he feels your kindness has helped him during this time.
Seasons changing: I hope everyone’s summer was fantastic. As we head into fall, Local 652 along with all the Lansing area localslocals are holding an American Muscle and Antique Auto Show to benefit the Lansing Labor News. As you may know, the Labor News has had to adjust its publication to meet the times. As the number of members in the active workforce has decreased, so has the Labor News funding which comes only from active workers.
Labor News fundraiser
Currently the Labor News is mailed to almost 28,000 retired and active members. Our Labor News has been the source of information about politics and endorsed candidates from the Capital Area CAP Council.
The Labor News raised more than $300,000 for the Greater Lansing Food Bank through the annual golf outing sponsored by the Labor News and LAFCU.
The Labor News also put together the “Adopt a Striking Family” during the holidays for Local 724 members during the Melling Forge workers’ strike. And now the Labor News needs help from all of us.
We have 28,000 members we are mailing to. If everyone donated $1, it would go a long way in helping us continue our newspaper.
Currently we’re only able to staff part-time and publish four times a year, along with a web site to help keep our members updated on current events, elections, and general information.
The car show, which will be held September 10 at Local 652, is our first attempt to help, so please come out and help donate to the Lansing Labor News. Some details are below, with more on the website: www.lansinglabornews.org
8:00 a.m. – Registration. Entry fee is $10. Show time is from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will be door prizes, 50/50 raffles, food, and a T-shirt sale
.May 2011: We say fight back!
Thanks to everyone who has been attending the rallies at the State Capitol. It is very important for our membership to have a presence and show our opposition to our representatives and Governor on balancing the state’s budget on the backs of our retirees by taxing pensions and reducing unemployment benefits which are a safety net for working people across the state.
Our thanks to our Region 1-C Director Norwood Jewell, who sent several buses from Flint to our last rally at the Capitol. Thanks also to Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, who wore one of our red UAW coats to show his support for all of us.
We hope that when the Governor thinks of our members he will see that wave of many thousands of UAW red coats that attended the most recent rally!
All our retirees were recently mailed information and sign-up cards for V-CAP check-off and the “GimmeFive” program. I would urge everyone to donate what they can to V-CAP. It is the only source of funds we can use to help elect people who look out for the interests of all our members.
This particular program helps us identify which members want to be notified of rallies and to receive reports on what bills our representatives are considering that would impact our members. The GimmeFive program would call your cell phone or home phone, or email you, to let you know the location, date, and time of all events. We would need you to attend!
Help me help you, by signing up to help, even if you can’t attend rallies. Hopefully, you could work on phone banks or attend committee hearings at the Capitol. Thanks in advance for your help.
The month of June and two weeks into July is the projected shutdown period at LGR and LRS to get ready for the production of the new Alpha platform small Cadillac.
Our thanks go to Shop Chairman Jack Graham, Shop Committee Production members Ted Krumm and Joe Thelen, and Shop Committee Skilled Trades member Joe Cantin for all their efforts in securing this new vehicle for Lansing. Currently, discussions are going on in hopes of securing the full family of Alpha Project cars for our LGR plant in Lansing.
Our thanks to the membership in Lansing for your efforts in building world-class products at our facility.
Pride Ride 2011
Don’t forget the Pride Ride, which takes place on May 20 at Local 652. See the notice on page 6. Sign-up sheets are available at the hall or at the Lansing Labor News website, www.lansinglabornews.org. Thanks to everyone on the Pride Ride committee for your work at putting together a fun event for everyone.
Labor loses another leader
Local 652 has lost a long-time Shop Chairman and union leader with the passing of Art Baker. Our officers attended the funeral and conveyed our prayers and thanks to the entire Baker family on their loss and ours.
April 2011: The facts on the "bonus"
I would like to address a subject that I have received many calls on from retirees in the last few days, the Performance “Bonus” or Profit-Sharing payments that were recently announced. The Performance “Bonus” is paid based on hours worked in the plant during 2010—therefore most retirees are not eligible. GM, I’m sure, didn’t want to pay this out to the employees, but it was a contractual obligation, that doesn’t include retirees in the 2007-11 contract.
Now let’s look at this “Bonus.” Usually “Bonus” refers to something above and beyond what one would normally receive. Keep in mind that the active employees haven’t received a raise in pay since 2005, and gave up their COLA, relief times, vacations and holidays to preserve as many benefits as possible for the the retirees and keep the retirees’ costs to a minimum. This cost each active employee thousands of dollars in lost earnings.
As you well know, our retirees have also made numerous sacrifices with the bankruptcy of General Motors—the loss of Dental insurance, Vision Insurance, the Medicare reimbursement, to name a few. Many of you, as well as myself, never imagined the day would come where GM would go bankrupt. Even though the loss of retiree benefits was a shame, I believe the International did a fine job in protecting our retirees’ pensions and health insurance, the most valuable benefits for most.
I want to remind you that the concessions made by the retirees during the bankruptcy were intended by the International to be short-term concessions. Their plan is to be able to reinstate these benefits beginning in 2012. I can assure all of you that there are resolutions on the table to reinstate and make whole our retirees and their benefits. I attended the recent Special Resolution meeting and all involved are committed to restoring our retirees’ benefits and more.
Local 652 Retiree Chair Mike Bauer, Local 602 Retiree Chair Dorothy Stevens, and other retirees were invited to and attended the February Subcouncil meetings. They thanked the International and Local leadership for all they have done on the retirees’ behalf, and requested their continued help in protecting retirees. The retirees need their help more than ever. They were received warmly and the leadership was impressed by their message and pledged to “make it happen.” I was proud that Mike Bauer and the others not only took the time and effort to attend these meeting, but also in the way they admirably represented the retirees.
On February 15 I was invited to address the Retiree Chapter’s Business meeting. I requested that Mike Bauer be sent to represent the retirees at the upcoming Bargaining Convention. The body in attendance unanimously agreed. I believe that Mike Bauer’s presence and determination will be a benefit to all our retirees at the Bargaining Convention.
The good news is that we have been awarded a new product from Cadillac—the Alpha, which is scheduled to begin full production in the summer of 2012. This will create 600-700 new Local 652 jobs. Much of the credit for us getting this product is because of the quality of work always performed by the Lansing autoworker, active and retired.
Our products and workmanship are STILL world class. The CTS and LGR received the Bronze Award from J.D. Power for quality, the ONLY facility in North America to win an award. The CTS-V wagon was recently named “Top 10 for 2011” by Car & Driver magazine. MotorWeek named the CTS sport coupe the “Best Sport Coupe” for 20 11. We are trying our best to continue the legacy you built as the best car builders in the world!
I would like to thank everyone for their support at the rallies being held at the Capitol. We will keep you informed on any events in the future.
January, 2011: Don't forget us!
Welcome back to everyone. I hope your holiday season went well.
The last couple of years have been filled with a lot of emotion, with General Motors filing bankruptcy in 2009 and on the way to recovery in 2010. Of course that was with the help of our active and retired members and the federal government’s loans. Without all those circumstances, GM may never have made it.
We’re glad GM has been able to pay off their loans from the government early. GM is now asking for approval to pay bonuses to key management people so they don’t leave for another company. Well, but let’s remember our active workers who all gave concessions in hour pay increases, new starting wage, loss of COLA—all to help ensure medical coverage for our retirees. At the same time, our retirees gave up vision, dental care, and had increases in co-pays to help the VEBA’s future.
Contract talks start this year and we have received over 180 resolutions for changes in the local and national agreements. I want everyone to know that we need to remember our active and retired members at the bargaining table, especially since GM has made a great turn-around. We members had a huge hand in this achievement and should be remembered now!
The V-CAP campaign has started in our plants. Thank you in advance for donating. It’s very important to maintain our position at the table for working people’s political agenda.
December, 2010 "Wehelped save GM -- and others want to take credit"
My thanks to everyone who got out to vote on November 2. Results were not what we wanted. Our work will be very tough with Republicans winning a majority in the national and state legislatures. Attacks on labor issues, such as the unemployment compensation extension, will be on the line.
Our membership has gone through a lot of changes which were necessary for the survival of GM and the UAW across our nation. With GM emerging from bankruptcy and now the IPO (Initial Public Offering) of stock, it has everybody’s attention across the nation because now the government could sell their share of stocks to start the process of repayment of the $50 billion dollar ownership of GM stock, as reported by Tom Krisher of the Associated Press in the November 18 issue of the Lansing State Journal.
With everyone excited over the turnaround by the auto company, many will take credit. But the next report from Bloomberg Agency by Craig Trudell on November 19 reported that Senator Bob Corker says he is vindicated by GM’s IPO for pressing demands on automakers. Corker said in the article that he knows he’s not popular in Michigan for his involvement in the transaction. I want our membership to know that Senator Bob Corker is no friend of labor, nor should he take any credit for making necessary steps for the automakers’ success.
Our membership in the UAW took action in October, 2005 on a midterm special agreement upon recommendation by then President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Richard Shoemaker that action was necessary to save the health insurance for our retired workers. At that time, GM’s market shared had dropped from 41 percent in 1985 to 26 percent in May of 2005, with a credit rating of junk status (non-investment) and losses of $4.2 billion in North American and a forecast that GM would suffer losses in 2006 and 2007.
In the 1970’s GM had 490,000 active workers and 90,000 retirees. By 2005 there were 110,000 active workers and over 519,000 retired workers!
To save the health insurance for our retired members, a VEBA Trust was agreed to and funded by a $3 billion payment from GM, with retirees paying $10 for single and $21 for family contribution. Active workers would contribute the deferral of pay increases of $1 per hour, plus future COLA deferrals of two cents per hour. In the 2007 agreement (which will appear on the Labor News website, lansinglabornews.org), entry-level new hires moved to $14 an hour, with no defined pension plan, no health care in retirement.
You can see that we as UAW members helped save GM and the UAW, not Senator Bob Corker. Some folks would like to drive a wedge between our active and retired members. So let me be clear: we will always protect our retired and active workers.
Mike Green's September 2010 article, "Our new leaders"
I hope the summer was fun for you and your family.
We’ve been busy at the Local with our Constitutional Convention, which was held in Detroit. This convention was very special as we said good-bye to Ron Gettelfinger and elected Bob King as President of the UAW. Our congratulations to President King and his entire Executive Board, which includes:
Bob King, President
Dennis Williams, Secretary-Treasurer
General Holiefield, Vice President
James Settles, Jr., Vice President
Joe Ashton, Vice President
Cindy Estrada, Vice President
At our Region 1-C meeting we elected Norwood Jewell as our new Regional Director. Norwood appointed Steve Dawes as his Assistant Director. They will do a great job for our Region and the UAW!
On July 28 I attended the community tribute to our retiring Regional Director Duane Zuckschwerdt. Duane was honored for his work in our community on behalf of working men and women in the UAW. Our best to Duane and our thanks to his entire family for sharing him with all of us!
Quality is important
I recently had a visitor in my office who stopped by to tell me the story of his 1991 Olds 88:
I bought my 1991 Olds on January 24, 1991 with 3,400 miles on it. As of today, July 20, 2010, it has 405,480.3 miles. This was bought through Product by Marsh Brothers Dealership in Honor, Michigan.
I still have the original engine, exhaust, and ball joints. At 342,000 miles I had the transmission rebuilt. It has had various minor repairs, but nothing major done to it over the years. I still get 26-30 miles per gallon!
It is the best vehicle I have ever owned. – Proud owner, Dennis Duff.
Thanks to everyone who voted in the primary and supported our endorsed candidates. I would again ask for your support or our endorsed candidates in the fall election. Thank you in advance.
Mike Green's May 2010 article "What's wrong with Toyota"
We must run an aggressive, effective, public campaign to expose Toyota’s betrayal of customers, workers, communities, and the environment.
The goals of this campaign are to:
1) Continue to highlight that the Toyota top management puts profits before people therefore jeopardizing consumers. Expose that Toyota is anti-U.S., anti-environment and anti-worker.
2) Publicly express to Toyota that there is a high cost to being profit motivated which has driven them to be anti-consumer, anti-worker, and anti-union.
3) Through education of the buying public express to consumers that there is better value in purchasing products that are assembled in UAW represented facilities in the USA and workers have a real voice in their workplace.
4) Stop Toyota’s vicious anti-union behavior when Toyota workers try to organize to join the UAW.
The only way this public campaign will succeed is with the full support of the IEB and long-term involvement and commitment from our local union and retiree chapters leadership, CAP Councils, and our local union members!
Consumers, workers and UAW members are affected by Toyota in many ways:
The UAW is benchmarked to foreign nameplate operation in the U.S. Toyota’s market place success, non-union facilities, and antiunion practices and policies, have deeply undermined the standards achieved for members at Chrysler, Ford, GM and supplier plants. In the Congressional hearings, the Federal Government Loan process, and in the concessionary bargaining that followed, the Big 3 were bench marked to Toyota and other U.S. transplant assemblers that were used to destroy so many of our hard-earned contract provisions.
Toyota’s employment practices affect the UAW. 20-25 years of Toyota maintaining 20% - 25% temporary employees at its U.S. operations. Toyota has kept some of these workers on temporary status for as long as 8-10 years!
The Big 3 now will be bench marked to more low-wage plants. With the closing of Fremont, there will be one less high-wage transplant facility, which could be a factor in future bargaining.
Toyota imports more cars to the U.S. than it builds here. In 2001, Toyota assembled, in the U.S., 57% of the vehicles sold here. With the closing of Fremont, this percentage will drop to 44% and when auto volumes return to normal levels, the percentage built in the U.S. will drop below 40%! Failure to publicly pressure Toyota to “build here what they sell here” will encourage Chrysler, Ford, GM and their suppliers to shift more manufacturing and assembly out of the U.S.
We are fighting for job security for our members. Running an aggressive consumer campaign at Toyota dealers to remind the public of Toyota’s safety and quality issues creates the opportunity to drive market share to the, Big 3, giving our UAW members greater job security and potentially creating the need to hire more workers. Our dealer campaign will encourage consumers to look for alternatives to buying a Toyota and, with our outstanding quality and great new vehicles, we will have the opportunity to win many new “converts”.
Big Three Vehicles - Value and Quality. There are a number of Chrysler, GM, and Ford plants either waiting for product, scheduled to close, or recently closed that could benefit by a growth in sales if we drive buyers from Toyota and other Japanese and foreign nameplates as the luster of buying Japanese and other import brands fades and the quality of UAW-made products has dramatically improved.
We have the opportunity now. Toyota is at its most vulnerable point in its U.S. history because of its horrendous handling of its safety and quality issues. Failure to seize this opportunity, which we may never have again, would dramatically weaken our efforts to best represent our members and win justice at the bargaining table for UAW Chrysler, Ford, GM, and U.S. supplier members.
Toyota harasses workers. Toyota workers, like all workers, deserve the right to decide if they want UAW representation without Toyota’s ongoing campaign of intimidation, harassment, and smearing the UAW. The UAW has tried various organizing approaches over the last two decades and all have been unsuccessful when workers are faced with Toyota’s campaign of subtle, on-going intimidation. Running an effective, aggressive, public Toyota campaign, including a campaign at Toyota dealerships, gives us the best chance to create the opportunity to allow Toyota workers to exercise their democratic right to freedom of association without fear of retaliation by Toyota.
Toyota is anti-union & anti-worker. The UAW has attempted to change Toyota’s anti-union actions using various strategies over the years. Toyota is not a good corporate citizen and because of this their workforce has no true form of democracy in the workplace. Toyota prefers to silence their workers by keeping their facilities union free. This can be evidenced by the closing of NUMMI.
Toyota’s campaign against workers having a voice. Toyota continues to run an anti-UAW campaign in their facilities. Anti-union messages are broadcast continuously on TV monitors throughout its non-union facilities highlighting bad news at Chrysler, Ford, and GM.
The UAW remains engaged in attempting to assist the workers at Toyota. With your help we can be successful.
Mike Green's May column "Veterans honored"
This edition of the Labor News is to honor all our veterans on Memorial Day. On May 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., there will be a Capital Area Stand Down for our homeless veterans at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Michigan Hall of Justice on West Allegan Street.
Among the many services that will be available to our veterans are: health screenings, legal services, Social Security advice, vision testing, job assistance, clothing, and lunches. For further information, call (517) 484-4414 ext. 103.
The Capital Area CAP Council joined the Labor Council and the MEA in a joint screening of candidates for the August primaries. The following list of candidates have been endorsed. For other endorsed candidates, go to our website at lansinglabornews.org. (During the summer months, please go to the website for updates on labor reports and happenings.)
Secretary of State
Mark Schauer - 7th District
Gretchen Whitmer - 23rd District
Barb Byrum - 67th District
Joan Bauer - 68th District
Mark Meadows - 69th District
Eaton County Commissioners
Michael Hosey -1st District
Terrance Augustine - 3rd District
Carol Strachan - 4th District
Jeanne Pearl-Wright - 5th District
Glenn Freeman - 7th District
Joseph Brehler - 8th District
Linda Keefe - 10th District
Art Luna - 11th District
David Fernald - 14th District
Roger Harris - 15th District
Ingham County Commissioners
Victor Celentino -1st District
Debbie De Leon - 2nd District
Brian McGrain - 3rd District
Rebecca Bahar-Cook - 4th District
Andy Schor - 5th District
Dale Copedge - 6th District
Todd Tennis - 7th District
Penelope Tsernoglou - 8th District
Carol Koenig - 9th District
Deb Nolan - 12th District
Randy Schafer - 13th District
Elizabeth Kranz - 14th District
Mike Green's April 2010 article, "Whitacre Tour"
General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre came into our plant unannounced and visited with many of our members. His visit caught everyone off guard.
When I learned of him being in the plant, I rushed over to the plant and found him touring it by himself. I introduced myself and reminded him that our plant is one of the newest in the U.S. and that we have capacity for a second and a third shift.
Whitacre replied that they were aware that Lansing has capacity for more work and that they would be looking at that.
I received good feedback from many of our members who had a change to talk to Mr. Whitacre. I personally would like to thank each of you who took the time to ask Whitacre the hard questions about the state of our company and the future for Lansing.
Cadillac separate from GM?
Many of you have heard that Cadillac was dropping the GM logo. The reason for this that I was given is that this will be a way to highlight our product in the luxury market which competes with BMW, entry-level Jaguars, and the Lexus. Though the Lexus is made by Toyota, many people do not seem to associate Lexus with Toyota.
Hopefully this will highlight our car in the luxury market from our four major brands at GM. People like us know that our car is under the GM nameplate. Let's just hope this strategy works and increases our sales volume.
I wanted to thank Jere Auvenshine and Bud Everts, co-chairs for the Florida retirees picnic, for another successful get-together with over 300 in attendance. Everyone had a great time.
This year I requested to our Regional Director Duane Zuchschwerdt to allow Joe Sagy, Benefits Rep for Region 1-C retirees, to attend the picnic and answer any questions or concerns our retirees had. I also planned to attend this year, but my flight out of Atlanta was cancelled. Next-day flights were unavailable from here on any airline. So our 652 Vice President Randy Freeman, who was on vacation in Florida and had planned to attend the picnic, graciously filled in for me.
The weather is getting much warmer here, so I will say "Welcome back home" to all our snowbirds.
Mike Green's January 2010 column, "What a roller coaster!"
Welcome back to everyone from the Christmas holiday break. I hope every one of you had a great time with your family. As we celebrate the new year, we look back at 2009 as a roller-coaster year for all of us.
With GM and Chrysler in deep financial trouble and bankruptcy looming, Local 652's GM Shop Chair Jack Graham, 652 Vice President Randy Freeman, Local 602 President Brian Fredline, and I packed our bags and headed to Washington to put a face on the people to be affected by the loss of GM to our country. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero brought mayors from across the U.S. to also help plead the case for a GM loan to continue operating.
I am thankful to each of them for lobbying on behalf of all of us. As we all know, GM had to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reorganize on June 1. We all were waiting on the news about whether our plants would be operating.
The sacrifices of our active members and retirees were remarkable. Although none of us liked the agreements that were reached, they were necessary for GM and Chrysler to be viable in the future. Our thanks must go to our active and retired members who made the necessary agreements to secure the future of Lansing.
Ryder Unit will be adding 75 drivers and 200 employees in the warehouse as the Lansing Delta Township (LDT) plant gears up for their third shift operation.
Android Industries will be adding 50-60 new employees to coincide with the Delta plant work.
JCIM will also benefit with jobs to help support the Chevy Traverse being built at LDT.
At the Lansing Grand River plant, the target date for launching our new CTS Coupe and CTS Coupe V regular production will be May of 2010. Thanks to our members for all the hard work you do to make sure we have a successful launch!
Mike Green's September 2009 article:
Stunning fund-raiser at AI
Congratulations to our AI unit (Android Industries), who, along with the corporation, raised over $10,000 for United Way! Management and union representatives challenged the membership if they could beat last year’s donation they would shave their heads. Who wouldn’t like to see that?
The shaving was done with the help of Sherry Freeman, who owns the Union Station Barber Shop on West Saginaw Street. Freeman’s shop is the only union barber shop I know of in the Lansing area. Freeman relieved the four volunteers of their nice locks of hair.
Our thanks to Jeff Schultz, Operations Manager; Doug Elders, first shift Union Steward; Jason Atkins, Hi-Lo Driver; and Jake Jacobson, Unit Chairman, who all had their heads shaved.
Congratulations to everyone who made this year’s United Way Drive such a huge success.
On November 19 our officers and I attended the funeral services for Eddy Ostrander, President of UAW Local 4911, which represents the employees at Sparrow Hospital. Eddy also served as chairman of the Lansing Labor News Board, was on the local Presidents’ Council, and on the Capital Area CAP Council’s executive board.
On November 20 a memorial was held at Sparrow Hospital, where employees could share their thoughts and memories of Ed. We will all miss him. We appreciate the job he did as a labor leader in our community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Eddy’s family and his many friends.
Changes at the Labor News
The Lansing Labor News will be published four times during the year, but it has its website up and running. The address is: lansinglabornews.org
This website will help keep the information updated, so please keep their web address handy.
The holidays seem to get here sooner each year. Please buy American union-made products this holiday season.
Mike Green's September 2009 article:
Welcome back to work to all our members at LGR, Ryder, AI and JCIM. I hope your summer has been a safe one.
On August 19 I was glad to join our members at LGR to launch the new CTS Wagon. Team leader Bob Buck had the honor of driving the first CTS Sports Wagon off the line.
Congratulations to everyone at LGR. Our work force is the reason we can celebrate new products at our plant. We will continue at the local level to make every effort to bring new products to our plant.
Our thanks to everyone who voted for our endorsed candidates in the primary election.
Our congratulations go out to Randy Eding, Education Director of UAW Region 1-C, and Bruce McAttee, Region 1-C CAP Director, as both retired effective August 1. Both were members of Local 652 and deserve our thanks for a job well done. We hope your retirements are full of fun and health for you and your families, from everyone in the greater Lansing UAW membership.
I have received many questions from active members and retirees about what they can do to help keep our Lansing Labor News coming into our homes. Most of you know that our paper was started in 1945 with all our Lansing area locals agreeing to fund a paper that could be the voice of membership for social and economic justice.
Our board of directors and staff at the Labor News are committed to make sure the Labor News continues to be a tool to keep our membership informed.
Through the years our active membership has been able to cover the costs so that all our members - active and retired - would continue receiving the Labor News. As our active membership has decreased, our retiree group has increased dramatically. The action the Labor News had to take was previously announced in our July edition. It is going to a quarterly publication with an ongoing website. The website creation is in the works right now. As soon as it is available, we will announce the web address.
The need currently at the Labor News is funding to keep the paper and website available to everyone. You can make a contribution to the Lansing Labor News at 210 Clare St., Lansing, MI 48917. Our thanks in advance to help keep our voices in the labor movement heard.