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Lansing Labor News
Established 1945
April 19, 2019
Archived Articles for Randy Freeman
Print Icon Apr 07, 2011

December 2018


I would like to thank everyone that took time on Election Day this year to go out and vote! Along with Gretchen Whitmer winning the Governor’s race and Alissa SlotKin’s win to help take back control of the US Congress, 85.2% of our local endorsed candidates won their elections. Candidates that our Capital Area Cap Council along with the Lansing Labor Council questioned and interview, making sure that they support labor and are looking out for our best interests before we endorse them.
Don’t forget the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club Winter Fest this year, held at Grayling Ramada Inn February 15th 2019– 17th2019. There will be lots of fun for the whole family. And also there is the winter picnic on February 19th 2019 at the VFW Hall in Bradenton FL., look for more details on these events in this paper.  
I would like to wish everyone a safe and Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy your families and friends during your time away from work.

September 2018

        Time goes by so fast, its fall already; I hope everyone enjoyed summer with their family and friends.

This has been a very busy time for our union. In June we held our Constitutional Convention in Detroit. Saying good bye to President Dennis Williams and electing Gary Jones as the new President of the UAW.

We congratulate President Gary Jones and his entire executive staff which includes:

President - Gary Jones

Secretary – Treasurer – Ray Curry

Vice President –Cindy Estrada

Vice President – Terry Dittes

Vice President - Rory Gamble

And also elected was our Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem with Asst. Director Steve Dawes. Congratulations!

In July this year at Sleepy Hollow State park we held our Local 652 Family picnic. It was a great time with lots of fun and good food. I’m looking forward to the next one. My thanks go out to all of you that made this event such a success.

In August, 29 members went up to Summer School at Black Lake Education Center and by the time you read this we will have sent 29 more members to Fall School. What a great way to see what your union is all about and how you can be a part of your union.

This is an important election year for our state as well as for our country. The Capital Area CAP Council along with Lansing Labor Council did a joint screening of local candidates and decided what candidates we would recommend to endorse.  We were very successful in the August primaries. Together we have a lot of hard work ahead of us to get our endorsed candidates elected on November 6th. You will find a list of our UAW endorsed candidates in this paper. It will be posted on our Local 652 FB page along with the Lansing Labor News web site. This way you can take a picture of the endorsed candidates list and have it with you when you vote. Don’t forget that the Judges and Proposals are listed at the end of the ballots, sometime on the back and a straight ticket vote will not count for them.   Please remember to get your absentee ballots done and turned in. We will need every vote to count. And as a good friend of labor once said “we can’t fix the world in a day, but we can work on it every day” (UAW/ GM Chairman Ted Krumm). And that is what we (all of us)do best, we do the work!

May 2018

I would like to take a minute to thank the Rapaport, Pollok, Farrell & Waldron Group for supporting us over the years.

They have been coming to our hall on Wednesdays for more than 40 years. They have helped to service our members by answering questions and giving advice on legal matters. They have supported many different events at this Local and the Region, and they truly are a part of our union family here at Local 652.

With the return of GM Legal Services (whose numbers is 1-800-482-7700) and the drop in membership at this local, the bad news is, starting June 2018 they will now only be coming to the hall on the first (1st) and third (3rd) Wednesdays of the month. 

If you have a problem that needs to be addressed in the meantime you are more than welcome to call and contact them at 517-332-3555. Again they will continue to be here to support us, but now just two Wednesdays a month at the hall.
      Don’t forget to put this year’s UAW Local 652 Family picnic on your calendar. It is being put on by the Recreation Committee July 21, 2018 at Sleepy Hollow State Park from 12p.m. - 3p.m. Bring a dish to pass and food will be served at 1p.m. Some of us will be camping for the weekend so come on out and bring the family. It should be a lot of fun for all.

March 2018: Use Your Voice

At this year’s white shirt day celebration we were shown the movie clips of the 1936-37 Sit-Downers and Women’s brigade. We had the opportunity to see footage of those truly brave men and women who came before us and took on the company. Together they set in motion a labor movement that would change/ create the face of middle class American as we know it today and for generations to come.  It gave us the right to bargain collectively for safer working conditions, health insurance and a living wage, one that puts food on the table, allows us to buy a house, a car, and one that would allow us to support our families and helps send our kids to school. These are just a few of the things that we have gained.  But now these heroes for the middle class have all passed!

 Feb. 9, 2018 was the first year without at least one of them at our white shirt celebration in Flint. We are told that it is our turn to stand on their shoulders and beat the drum for justice for middle class America! When we beat the drum it’s for all middle class America, because an injustice to anyone of us is an injustice to all of us. We do this with boots on the ground, whether it’s walking a picket line or going door to door to support political candidates that support labor and our middle-class way of life. 

I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if instead of the Governor sending in the National Guard to protect the Sit-Downers protesting, he sent the Guard to forcibly remove all Sit-Downers from the property and they would have all lost their jobs. This would be similar to what happened to the Air traffic controllers in the 80’s when they all lost their jobs. There are groups out there that think you make and have too much and are trying to change laws that would limit your ability and right to collective bargaining. These groups don’t want you to have a voice let alone a collective voice!  So don’t ever think that politics don’t affect you, because every day some political group is coming after your way of life. Remember, the bread box is connected to the ballot box!

December 2017: Members step up

I would first like to thank everyone for all your continuous support, not only to your local and international Union, but the support you show to your fellow Union members and the families in our communities that we live in. I have seen year after year our UAW members volunteering and donating to the many charities we have in our areas.
This year the United Way drives again were very successful in our plants, along with an exceptional Toys- for-Tots drive—the Lansing-area GM automotive plants combined for over $18,900 to help make sure that kids in this community will have a Christmas this year.
And I know by the time you receive this paper that you will have again supported the OLD NEWS BOYS and helped put shoes on kids’ feet. I also see our retirees that take time out of their lives to volunteer throughout our communities with places like the Red Cross and the Safety Council, just to name a few. Thank you for all you do!
Don’t forget the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club’s Winterfest on February 16, 17 and 18. It will again be held this year up at the Ramada Inn in Grayling. It’s great time for the whole family.
Please take the time to spend with your families and friends this holiday season and if I don’t see you, I would like to wish you and yours this Holiday a very Merry Christmas and Happy and New Year!

September: Costco is coming to town

After two years of hard work, Costco has finally come to town and will be opening its doors on October 27. It is located at 5800 Park Lake Road in East Lansing. We need to support those companies that support labor and Costco is a labor-friendly company. A company that takes care of their people with good pay and benefits, unlike some of those others guys, like Walmart, that don’t.
Walmart is antiunion and spends millions of dollars every year on attacking unions and their members everywhere. They pay substandard wages and hire a bunch of part-time people so they don’t have to give them benefits. So get out and welcome Costco to our community.
Election endorsements
We have elections coming up on November 7 for our local government offices and we have endorsed the following candidates:
Mayor – Andy Schor
City Clerk – Chris Swope
City Council:
Second Ward – Tina Houghton
Fourth Ward – Brian Jackson
At Large – Kathie Dunbar
Please get out and support and vote for the candidates that support us.
We have the Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk coming up October 14 at the Lansing Capitol, starting at 9 a.m. I hope to see you all there.
October 21 at Local 652 is the UAW Region 1D Veterans Committee “Chili Cook Off.” It runs from 1-4 p.m.
Also on that day, in the parking lot, the Local 652 Recreation Committee will be holding their annual Halloween Trunk or Treat for all the kids. It will start at 2 p.m. and run until 4 p.m. So dress the kids up and bring them out. It should be a lot of fun for all.

May 2017: Appreciating Mike Green

I would like to take a minute and thank all of you who supported me in the last election. I am happy to say that I won my election on May 9 and in doing so I am very humble and proud to be your next Local 652 President. I look forward to representing all of you in the years to come. 
I have had the privilege of working with one of the best presidents Local
652 has ever had, President Mike Green. I’ve seen him stand up and represent UAW Local 652, helping us make it through one of the worst times in our history!
Every chance he got, with the company, in the news, on Capitol Hill at the House and Senate, President Mike Green has taken every opportunity to tell our side, our story.
He has let the whole world know that in Lansing, Michigan we have the best work force in the world, building the best quality cars that can be built. And making the company stand up and take notice with the numerous awards our members have earned, from North American Cars of the Year to Motor Trend and JD Power awards.
As he has always said, “Can you think of a better investment than in the American worker? I can’t.” Always asking and pushing management: “When are you getting us some more products? Do you see what our members are doing in Lansing?”
President Mike Green has always stood up for, and put a face to, our retirees. He has always made it clear to the world that “legacy costs” are more than just some words the company and government use to express a financial burden. But it’s the retirement and benefits that our retired members get after working hard for years, doing what was asked of them for over 30 years, some over 40 years with the company. Our members have spilled blood; some even died to make this company what it is today! 
President Mike Green has always been a full-service president with an open door policy, welcoming anyone that came through his door, especially the kids.
Mike enjoyed the kids, he has always kept a little something in his drawer for them, maybe a toy or a snack or even a dollar coin for the treat box.
From helping prepare the food for some of the events at the Local 652 union hall, to help making coffee and hot chocolate that we bring out for most of the events, like the Breast Cancer walks, Olds Outdoor Club’s “Olds on the Ice Winter Fest,” Mike has pitched in. He has always given snowmobile rides and supplied a place to warm up.
It was not uncommon to see him plowing out the snow in the parking lot to help the hall save some money and so that it would be safe for the retirees when they came over and parked early in the morning before going on a trip. 
Thank you, President Mike Green for not only all you have done for me, but for all you have done for the UAW, our members at Local 652 and communities of the Lansing Area!
I will miss coming to the President’s office in the morning and not seeing Mike Green already there, ready to go!
Mike, you will be missed!

March 2017: On the move

We had a real nice Black History program this year with Melvin Coleman as our guest speaker. Congratulations must go to Mike Green for being awarded the E.S. “Pat” Patterson Community Service Diamond Achievement Award. Great job, Mike!
We had a great time at the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club’s Winterfest this year. Members and their families had ots of fun fishing and playing bingo, and lots of nice prize drawings.
We have the Adam Wils Motorcycle Safety Awareness Ride coming up this year on May 20. Come out and support all the riders. Look for more details on the UAW Local 652 web page or Facebook page.

January 2017: Coming events

It will be a challenging year for all of us, so we need to stick together and support each other as union brothers and sisters.
There is a new phone number for the
UAW-GM Legal Services Plan. Effective Wednesday, January 25, 2017 the Plan began taking new cases. A new case can be opened by calling toll-free: 800-482-7700. For more info, see our website,
It’s not too late to make plans for this year’s Winterfest in February. This annual event is sponsored by the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club. The dates are February. 17-19. With ice fishing contests, Bingo, games for the kids and let’s not forget the indoor swimming pool. It will be fun for all, so come out and join us. If you would like to make reservations, call the host hotel, the Ramada Inn at 989-348-7611. Hopefully the ice will hold up.
Everyone’s looking forward to the Florida picnic in Bradenton again this year. It will be held on Tuesday, February 21. This is for UAW Locals 652, 602, 1618, 1753 and LAFCU, both hourly and salaried employees. As in recent years, it will be at the American Legion Kirby Steward Post, 2000 75th Street West (Between Cortez & Manatee Ave.). Register at 11 a.m., eat at noon. Meal and plastic tableware will be provided. For information, call Jere Auvenshine at (517) 626-2398 or Larry Miller at 941-746-6968 (home) or 941-920-2988 (cell).
Save the date: Sunday, February 26, 4:00 p.m. will be the Local 652 Black History program, at the Local 652 hall. With keynote speaker UAW International Assistant Director of the Civil and Human Rights Department Melvin Coleman. It should be a great evening shared by all.

December 2016: Many thanks!

I would like to thank Sylvia Freese for all her hard work and support this year on the Toys for Tots drive. Also, thanks to our President Mike Green, GM Chairman Ted Krumm, and all the other Unit Chairs from AI, Ryder, GM LOC, YFAIand the volunteers that help make Toys for Tots so successful. Everyone seemed to dig a little deeper this year, making it a very good year. All together, Local 652 collected $10,454. With Local 602 collecting $10,052 and Local 1753 collecting $1,629, that brings this year’s total to $22,135. Great job!
Don’t forget the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club’s Winterfest, to be held again at the Ramada Inn in Grayling, February. 17-19. With ice fishing contests, Bingo, games for the kids and the indoor swimming pool. It will be fun for all, so come out and join us. For reservations, call the Ramada Inn at 989-348-7611.
This is the time of year to enjoy your families and friends, so may your holidays be blessed. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

September 2016: A proud moment

I was very proud to receive the Douglas Griffith Community Service Award this year. What really made the day even more special day was having a lot of my family surprise me by showing up when I got the award. Not only was my wife Michelle there, but all of my kids, grandkids, one of my brothers, and my sister and her kids. Man, was it a great day! But no one person wins this kind of an award by themselves. It takes all kinds of support from all the people around you every day, from the people you work with to your friends and family. So I just want to take a minute to thank everyone for their support. And thank you for all you do!
Don’t forget that October is Breast Cancer awareness month and the yearly Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk at the State Capitol. It will be held on October 22. Register at 9:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 11:00 a.m. You should get yourself checked yearly because early detection means a better chance to beat breast cancer!
On October 13 Mainstay Capital Management will be holding a Financial Investment and Wealth Building class. This class will be held at Local 652 at 7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., with each session lasting approximately one hour. This is open to all active and retired members.

May 2016: Be a life saver

I was up at the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club’s Winterfest this year, which was held at the Ramada Inn in Grayling. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. But while we were there, one of the little kids had a spell and fell to the ground and stopped breathing. Luckily for him, Local 652 member Matt Bowen was there to step in and take charge. He helped save this little guy’s life.
By using life support training that he had received over the years as a volunteer fireman, Matt helped control the situation. We thanked Matt a few different times for all he had done. But it still makes me wonder “What if?”
What if he wasn’t there that day? Or what if something like that were to happen to one of us or one of our kids or grandkids when no one is around but you? How would you have handled it?
So I’m going to look at this as an opportunity to update my BLS/CPR, as should you. And if you haven’t had Basic Life Support or CPR training, take the time to get some.
The American Red Cross has a weekly or bi-weekly class year-round. You can contact them at 1-800-733-2767 or go online at to schedule a class. And for those of you who are working in a GM plant, ask for some ERT training because you never know when it may be you left alone to try and save your loved one..

January 2016: Coming events

The Oldsmobile Outdoor Club is hosting their annual “Winterfest” family event at Grayling on Friday, February 12 through Sunday, February 14.
The weekend starts with family bingo Friday evening. There will be a poker run, snowmobile safari, adult’s and kid’s fishing contests, great company, good food, and lots of prizes!
Registration starts at noon on Friday at the Ramada Inn of Grayling. This will be the location for registration and headquarters for all events.
Come and join the fun! Rooms may be available at the Ramada Inn of Grayling, phone (989) 348-7611, and other area hotels. Please tell them you are with the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club. For more information, go to the club website at
Black History Program
Local 652 will sponsor a Black History Program on February 28 at 3:00 p.m. at the hall, 426 Clare Street in Lansing. The keynote speaker is the Honorable Judge Donald Allen of the 55th District Court. This is a free event and dinner will be served.

December 2105: More awards!

The hits keep coming! We have won the Motor Trend Car of the Year again at Lansing Grand River. This time it is for the new, sixth-generation 2016 Camaro. The CTS V is in Car and Driver’s 10 best cars for 2015 list, making the CTS a Car and Driver 10 best car for eight out of the last nine years.
These top quality cars (North American Car of the year 2013 ATS, Motor Trend Car of the Year 2014 CTS, Motor Trend Car of the Year 2016 Camaro, and all The Car and Driver 10 best cars) don’t just build themselves. It is all the hard work our union members in the plants do every day that make them such a great success.
These same hard working union members are also the most generous people I know, with their continued support on all the local charities. Charities like the Breast Cancer Walk, United Way, Toys for Tots and Old Newsboys. This year our UAW members in Lansing—LDT, LGR, LRS and many other parts suppliers—set a record for Toys for Tots in Lansing of $18,914!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays to you and your families!

September 2015: Helping others
I want to inform you that the Greater Lansing Food Bank is in dire need of your support. Any non-perishable foods can be dropped off at the union hall, if you like. We will make sure it gets delivered to the Food Bank.
Also, the Region 1D Director’s Club Drive/Golf Outing is coming up on September 19. Money raised helps support the Food Bank and the Olds Newsboys’ Drive. For more information on this event, contact the Local 652 Union Hall.
This year’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk will be on October 10. You can support this event by ordering and buying a T-shirt at the hall. Proceeds will go for breast cancer research. “Help Finish the Fight!”
Great job on the GM strike vote! Local 652 approved it by 99%. We appreciate all the support. It’s good to have our members behind us while we’re in negotiations. Thank you.
With the election season approaching, remember to get out and vote for those that support us.

May 2015: Ready for summer?
It’s that time of year again—it’s getting warm out, so get out of the house, go for a walk, ride a bike or go play a round of golf. But before you do any of that, make sure you warm up, loosen up, and stretch. A couple of great opportunities coming up are:
The Local 652 Veteran’s Com-mittee’s eighth annual veterans golf outing on June 20 at 8:00 a.m. Proceeds to disabled and homeless veterans.
The Local 652 Women’s Committee and Recreation Committee are sponsoring the eighth annual “Save the Girls” golf outing for Breast Cancer Awareness on August 1.
They will both be at Centennial Acres and they are both great causes to support.
Also, the 652 Recreation Committee is putting on a camping weekend with a fishing tournament, September 11-12. See the Local 652 Facebook page or for details and registration forms.

December 2014: Members show real generosity
It never fails to amaze me the amount of generosity our members show this time of year. Local 652 members started this season with the Breast Cancer Making Strides Walk raising over $5,000. It was great to see our our Regional 1-D Director Gerald Kariem at the rally at the Capitol before the Walk.
Next we moved on to the Toys for Tots and again this year raised over $6,000. This was even in light of the amount of down weeks we had this year.
We were at the gates on December 4 collecting for the Old Newsboys, trying to put shoes on young kids’ feet.
Winterfest February 13-15
The Oldsmobile Outdoor Club will be having its yearly Winterfest (Olds on the Ice) at Grayling February 13-15. It’s a great time for family and friends. It’s a free fishing weekend with the DNR. Look for more info at the club’s website, If you have questions, feel free to call Mike Bokovoy at 517-420-5335. So make your reservation at the Ramada Inn, Grayling and we hope to see you up there!
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

September 2014: Veterans notes
I want to share with you these veterans’ notes from our Local 652 Veterans Committee Chair Michael Melfi. Our thanks to Michael for all his hard work and to everyone on our Veterans Committee for their efforts on behalf of veterans.
As we enter into summer, (we hope it will warm our chilled bones of this past winter), Region 1-C Veterans Association has begun their busy schedule, starting with the Region’s Color Guard presenting the Colors at the A. Philip Randolph Annual Luncheon on April 26 at the Kellogg Center at MSU.
At their second quarter meeting at the VFW Home for Children on May 6, the Veterans presented the Home with a check in the amount of $2,500, which was accompanied with a check for $500 from the UAW Local 652 Veterans Committee. 
Normally we would donate bicycles, however the past two years it was decided to contribute to their wish-list which you can review on the Amazon site: go to “Find a Wish List” and type in VFW National Home for Children. Gifts-in-kind are welcome at the National Home. The web site has the most current list of items they can use. And their Santa Shop program is always accepting donations for use at Christmas time. We encourage you to make your generous donation toward one of the many items that the families are in need.
May also is the month for Lansing’s Volunteers of America 11th Annual Homeless Veterans Stand-Down on May 21. Veterans from UAW Locals 425, Jackson; 602, 652, 724, 4911, Lansing; and 659, 598 in Flint; and several other UAW Locals, not only donated their own personal time, (vacation, or leave w/o pay), but those Locals make monetary contributions to help offset the cost of sponsoring that event.

March 2014: CPL class
There will be a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) class at Local 652 on June 22. The price will be $120. For more information, please call Ralph Ball at 517-582-1104. Note that Local 652 is located at 466 Clare Street in Lansing, zip code 48917.
I was at the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club’s Winterfest in Grayling in February and, as usual, thoroughly enjoyed it. There are always so many good people there and so much to do! Thanks to all who took part.
Please see page 5 for our Local 652 Nominations and Election notice.

January 2014: For your calendar
Upcoming important dates at UAW Local 652
February 9 – Membership meetings
February 14-16 – Oldsmobile Outdoor Club “Winterfest” in Grayling
February 18 – Oldsmobile Florida Picnic
March 1 – Women’s Mini-Expo 2pm-6pm, celebrating Women’s History Month
March 9 – Membership meetings (Daylight Savings Time begins)
March 13-15 – American Legion Veteran’s Resource and Job Fair at Local 652
March 29 – Cesar Chavez Celebration 
April 13 – Membership meetings
May 16 – Pride Ride for Motorcycle Safety Awarenes

December 2013: The purpose of unions
Today, unions continue to serve the same purpose for which they were originally founded. CEO and executive wages and benefits are off the charts, while the middle class suffers from layoffs, unemployment and stagnant wages. The average total compensation of a CEO of an S&P 500 company in this country as of 2010 is over $11 million and even more than that now.
Current union agendas include increasing wages, raising the standard of living for the working class, ensuring safe working conditions, and increasing benefits for workers and their families.
Unions are important because most corporations focus on creating profits at the expense of employees, and are funding political machines to push through agendas that pit local, state and federal governments against the working class.
The nature of work in America is changing. Employers are trying to shed responsibility for providing health insurance, good pension coverage, reasonable work Companies are making workers’ jobs and incomes less secure through downsizing, part-timing, contracting out, and sending jobs off-shore.
More than ever, working people need the collective voice and bargaining power unions provide to keep employers from making the workplace look as it did in the early 19th century.
Without collective representation, the threat of sweatshop conditions, unlivable wages and 70-hour work weeks may become a part of working America’s future as well as its past. Just look at the Congresswomen trying to changes the laws to eliminate having to pay overtime after 40 hours. 
Today and in the future, labor unions will continue to play an important role in our country’s work force and the quality of life for working families. America’s working families need and deserve the representation, collective power, and pride in work and fair treatment in the workplace.
So remember, “the bread box is connected to the ballot box.” The only way we can support those who support us is at the ballet box and we plan on taking back the House and the Senate in Michigan, starting right now. This year is will be a busy one! So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

September, 2013: Anniversary march in D.C.
UAW Region 1C Director Norwood Jewell and Assistant Director Steve Dawes sent three buses of active and retirees from the Lansing Area UAW locals to Washington D.C. to participate in the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. “Labor Rights are Civil Rights”
Local 652 Retiree Mason L. Robinson was there 50 years ago marching for civil rights with Dr. King. (Mr. Robinson is back row, right, in the picture above.)
Don’t forget the American Muscle & Antique Auto Show coming up September 7. It will be held at the UAW Local 652 and 724 parking lots. Show time is 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 pm. Proceeds go to benefit the Lansing Labor News

May 2013: Car of the year billboards
Have you noticed the “Car of the Year” billboards at I-496 West near the Waverly Road exit, and at the intersection of MLK and Saginaw?
This is one of the highest levels of recognition a car manufacturer can achieve. This doesn’t happen by accident can only be achieved with all the hard work that our members do every day in the plants!
The only reason they call Lansing the Automotive Capital of the world is because of the great work ethic and the excellent quality that Lansing has provided over the years. From the early Ninety-eights, Eighty-eights, Cutlass and the great Olds V-8 Rocket engines to the Grand Am and Alero to the CTS and ATS and next the Camaro.
So thanks to everyone who ever turned a wrench or checked a part in one of our Lansing plants and if you see the billboard be proud because it is you that has made us great!

January 2013: Coming events
Congratulations to everyone on the ATS Cadillac winning the International Auto Show’s Car of the Year award. Again showing there’s no better global manufacturing workers than right here in Lansing, Michigan.
Martin Luther King Day
Remember that Martin Luther King would have been 82 this year. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience.
Cesar Chavez
He was an immigrant farmer who became a labor leader and a civil rights leader. His birthday will be coming up March 31. He would have been 84. There will be a Cesar Chavez program at Local 652 Union Hall on March 30 at 6:00 p.m.
Don’t forget about the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club’s Winterfest February 22-24. I hope to see a lot of you there in Grayling. I’m sure we’ll have another great time this year.
I would like to thank everybody for all their support down at the Capitol rallying with labor, trying to make a difference. All your support is appreciated and we will continue to fight until we make changes that support labor.

December 2012: Doing good
Every year the Marine Corps sponsors a Toys for Tots campaign. This aims to collect money and toys to distribute to children who need a little help to make their holidays brighter.
Several Lansing-area locals seek donations on the gates and in the local halls. This year, Locals 652, 602, and 1753 raised just over $16,000. Thanks to everyone who donated and to everyone who helped collect toys and funds.
The Making Strides For Breast Cancer for Lansing area UAW Region 1C raised approximately $12,000. This is a very well-attended annual event that raises awareness of breast cancer and funds for research. It was a great event to attend and see all the UAW members who participated.
Claude Browne was the first Fair Practices Chairperson at Local 652. (Fair Practices is now called the Civil and Human Rights Committee.) Mr. Browne recently turned 90 and we had a cake for him at the local! Many happy returns of the day, Claude!
Happy holidays, everyone!

September 2012: Join the Olds Outdoor Club
I want to share some information about the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club. The Winterfest date has changed, which I will get to later. Let me first start out with giving you a little background on the club. This family oriented organization was founded in 1943. Founding members of the group were employees from the Oldsmobile Plant (Local 652) in Lansing who were avid outdoorsmen. Club interest grew as the years passed and got bigger as they reached out to include the other UAW Locals in the Lansing area.
In 1984 Locals 602,1753 and 1618 came on board. Membership in the club has fluctuated over the years with a high of 3,000 in the 1960’s to around 1,300 at the current time and looking to grow! We are now open to all UAW locals in a 25-mile radius of plants in downtown Lansing (Grand River), Local 652, and the Plant in Delta Township, Local 602.
The club has numerous events each year, including fishing contests, camping, Summerfest, Winterfest, hunting contests and education to name a few.
We are offering a special $5.00 membership for all new members for the remainder of 2012, and annual dues for all members are only $10.00.
The club invites you to attend informational meetings to be held on Monday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 17 at Local 652, which is at 426 Clare Street, Lansing, 48917. The club will have someone there from 1:00 p.m. To 6:00 p.m to answer questions about the club. The club’s website is at:
Winterfest date change
I have received this notice from Club President Mike Bokovoy:
Attention, the Winterfest date has changed due to unforeseen circumstances. It will be held on February 22, 23, 24, still at the host hotel, Ramada Inn in Grayling. Check our website for further information.
We are sorry for any inconvenience, but we are working to get it back to Presidents’ weekend in 2014 and 2015. Questions? Contact Mike at 517-420-5335.

May 2012: Stand up for your rights

Every worker in America should have the right to bargain collectively and the State of Michigan should have that right protected by putting it into the Constitution of the State of Michigan. By signing petitions you will allow us to put on the ballot and vote on a change to the Michigan Constitution that will protect this right.
Protect us from political attacks on basic collective bargaining rights from a bunch of poor politicians making bad decisions that have done nothing to put Michiganders back to work. Instead, all they’ve done is hurt middle-class families, small businesses and local communities. Instead it would take everyone’s vote make such an important change. Please come sign a petition, there is one at Local 652 Union Hall for whoever wants to sign it.
CPL Class
We will have a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) Class that will be held on May 19 at Local 652 Union Hall. This will be a one-day class running from 8am-8pm and will cost $115. A $65 deposit needs to be sent as soon as possible to Ralph Ball at 1490 S. Royston Rd, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827 to save a spot. For more information, call Ralph Ball at 517-582-1104.

January 2012: Winterfest

This year’s Winterfest event will be held in the beautiful town of Grayling, Michigan! Winterfest 2012 will be held February 10-12. Host hotel will be the Ramada Inn located on the south end of Grayling. This will be the location for all registration, bingo, and headquarters for our event.

The Oldsmobile Outdoor Club
“This family oriented organization was founded in 1943. Founding members of the group were employees from the Oldsmobile Plant (UAW Local 652) in Lansing, Michigan who were avid outdoorsmen. Club interest grew as the years passed and got bigger as they reached out to include the other UAW Locals in the Lansing area. In 1984 Locals 602, 1753 and 1618 came on board. Membership in the club has fluctuated over the years with a high of 3,000 in the 1960’s to around 1,300 at the current time and looking to grow! We are now open to all UAW’s in a 25-mile radius of plants in Downtown (Lansing Grand River) UAW Local 652 and the Plant in Delta Township (Delta Plant) Local 602.”—Mike Bokovoy president-Oldsmobile Outdoor Club
You can get all the details online at:

Martin Luther King Day January 17
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable ... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

December 2011

Our UAW locals have again helped the Marines raise money for Toys for Tots. LGR raised $3,160; LRS raised $1,272; CCA Lansing raised $1,025; and LDT riased $8,626. Thank you all for your generosity!

I would like to wish everyone and their families a Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

Please keep our service men and women who are away from home in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season.

May 2011: Have a great summer!

This will be the last issue of the Lansing Labor News until this summer. So I would like tell everyone to have a great summer at home or away and remember, “We should work to live not live to work.” Enjoy a little time for you and all your family and friends and please be safe

.April 2011: GimmeFIVE

Once again we are in a struggle for our very existence as union members and our right to belong to a union. With the new Republican Governor and a Republican majority in the State House and Senate they are passing laws, and trying to pass laws against labor, they are systematically trying to eliminate our rights to collectively bargaining.

They are trying to fix the budget by taxing the fixed incomes of retirees, taking from the poor and off the backs of hard-working laborers of this state.

This is a time in our life like no other, a turning point where we all need to be involved with our union to help protect our rights, not just the rights of union members but the rights of all labor throughout our state and the nation.

Now is the time! And a good way to get involved is through UAW President Bob King’s program, GimmeFIVE.

How is the GimmeFIVE program important to you?

“GimmeFIVE” is a national program designed to increase activism, to mobilize for collective action, and to improve our capacity to communicate to members regularly on issues, activities etc.  This program is designed to amplify the efforts of the UAW Regions, as well as the International Union.

This is a great way for you to support your International UAW President Bob King, Regional Director Norwood Jewell, Assistant Director Steve Dawes, and your Local President Mike Green by getting involved.

“GimmeFIVE” recruits and engages members in a new and innovative mobilizing program to organize build power and win justice for our unionand community. It is the way to get involved. By signing up you will be notified on the fast-paced, even last-minute events that we will need people to show up and support, like lobby days, rallies, and protest.                                                                                                                            How to send the text:

Enter (313) 288-9979 in the To: box

Enter Your NAME and Your LOCAL UNION NUMBER in the message box.

Press send; once text is sent, you will receive a confirmation text welcoming you to the program.

You can also sign up on line at and click on the “Gimme-FIVE” shortcut or you can check online at www.uawlocal652.orgfor info.

January, 2011: Our commitment
    As we are coming into another contract year and submitting our resolutions everyone needs to know, one of the things we feel strongly about and keeping it in front of us is in this message: The UAW owes a debt to those who came before us. Much was sacrificed to build this great union. We have an obligation to ensure that those who come after us benefit from a strong and vibrant UAW. With teamwork in the leadership and solidarity in the ranks, and with active and retired members working hand-in-hand, the UAW’s future will be as bright and bold as its past. This is the message from the UAW to the Retirees on the UAW website and we feel very strongly about it here at Local 652.
   Just a heads-up for active members the GM FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) process has changed. FMLA will now goes through Sedgwick at 800-489-4646 and you will also need to call GM’s call-in number at 800-222-8889 to meet Doc 8.
    Did you know if you have a Verizon phone that GM UAW members are getting 20% discount, active and retired? Make sure you are getting yours. If not, they are located inside the ABC Warehouse on Pennsylvania Av. Or call them at 517-887-1885

December 2010, "Submit contract concerns"
   The 2011 local and national negotiationns are fast approaching. Every member is urged to submit concerns to their committeeperson or the Local 652 union hall. You can get blank concern sheets here, from the Local 652 hall, or from your committeeperson. We will need these returned for national negotiations by January 7, 2011. We will also be addressing local concerns with a deadline of June 6 for returning your concerns, which is also on the same form as the national concerns.
   Our Toys for Tots campaign raised over $4,000. Great job, thanks to everyone who volunteered and to all of you who contributed.
   We officers of Local 652 are looking forward to seeing everyone at Winterfest again this year. See page 5 for more details.
Christmas Bonus
   I have been getting a lot of questions on the Christmas bonus. To all our eligible retirees, we recently received a letter from Vice President of the General Motors Department Joe Ashton, informing us that your lump-sum payment (Christmas bonus) will be paid out on December 13, in an amount up to $700. Eligible surviving spouses will receive 65%, or an amount ranging from $151 to $455.
   I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from me and my family to you and yours.

Randy Freeman's September 2010 article, "Highest praise for our Coupe"
     We received this letter from a union member in Wisconsin who is thrilled with her new Cadillac CTS Coupe. We know we build good cars, but it's always great to get feedback like this:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    I am a fellow UAW member; I am now a retiree of UAW Local 438 that used to be Delco Electronics, then Delphi, and now defunct. In March of 1999, I left my plant to become the Secretary Treasurer of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO. I am now the leader of that organization. I am writing you because I am also the very proud owner of one of your first Cadillac CTS 2011 Coupes, and I wanted to share some thoughts with you.
    When I worked in the plant, and we made the electronic components for these cars, we always fought to do the best job we could to make the parts as important as those that controlled fuel emissions for cars and guidance systems for planes at the plants that finished the vehicle. We did quality work and we worked hard. We were UAW/GM and damned proud of it. So over many years—like, I hope, all my brothers and sisters—I have driven and purchased our cars. For years I drove a Saturn, so many I can’t tell you how many. Then GM lost the plant, in all the upheaval. I found my car and company gone. So when I decided to buy a new car this year, and I will be 60 in September, I decided to buy myself an early birthday present. I decided to buy “a big girl car,” and I decided on a Cadillac. And not just any Cadillac. My father and members of the family have owned many, but I like sporty cars, so when I saw a picture of the CTS Coupe, I fell in love and hard.
    Long story short, I drove it out of the dealership on July 20, and I was never so proud of a car before. It is beautiful, from the stabilizer bar across that engine, to the exhaust system design. It is a remarkable piece of machinery. People stop me, I received thumbs up from kids on the street, and stares from complete strangers.
    That is not why I am writing you all this. As a labor leader, I don’t believe in squandering member dues money on extravagance, and union members pay my wage. This car is being paid for from my retirement dollars, coming from General Motors, negotiated by the UAW. This car was made by my brothers and sisters in the UAW, in your plant. I made sure of it after I knew what I wanted. I called President Gettelfinger office; his Administrative Assistant was my former Shop Chairman, Jim Blaine. Jim told me where it was made. This car is my statement to those who think we are overpaid, lazy autoworkers and not worth the investment of the dollars spent on saving our company. The company that we built and our forefathers helped forge into the future.
     I don’t think I know a single person in your local, but nothing gives me greater pride than looking down on my driver’s side door and seeing the state of Michigan, with the UAW/GM and Local 652 on that door. I show if off with pride. That is why I am writing you today. I know how it feels to have been through what you have, struggled to make a honest living, do what you do for this movement and have to fight every day just to make the product that you are paid to make and then have to fight even harder to hold on to it.
    So I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you so very much for all you do for all of us. I have one request: if you could send me a UAW wheel with your local on it, or a pin or something, I would be so very proud to have it, thank you again.
In Solidarity,
Sheila D. Cochran
Milwaukee Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Secretary-Treasurer /COO
   "Our young people need to think of union careers as earnestly as they do of business careers and professions."—Martin Luther King Jr. 

Randy Freeman's June 2010Our local's impact on
future labor reps and bargainers

   We received a letter from one of the Professors at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University. I would like to share it with our members. Students at MSU who are taking the labor class like to come by and visit our union hall. They get a chance to sit down and talk to us and ask questions on what unions are all about and why we feel they are important. Most of these students go back out in the world as Labor reps or bargainers for companies. We feel it is important that we get to tell them our side of the story before they get out and start to believe all the stories they hear from some of the union haters out there like the Toyota’s or Wal-Mart’s of the world.  
UAW Local 652:
   You may recall that the MSU collective bargaining class visited the Local 652 hall on February 3. As a final assignment, students were asked to write a short essay on three insights they learned in the course. Several of them referenced the Local 652 visit. Their comments are reproduced below.
Again, thanks for everything.
Rich Block
Professor, School of Labor and Industrial Relations
Michigan State University
“The union hall visit was a great introduction to the union and how they operate. The theme of democracy was amazing and how they have an established process for everyone to be able to have a chance to access the membership, access to leadership, and can appeal any decision through a developed process. Another great part of this experience was listening to the pride they had in their jobs. The workers took immense pride in the work product. Another key takeaway was how the UAW viewed themselves as partners in the business which runs counter to the media portrayal. The part which has impacted me the most in understanding unions is they view themselves as the constant which they define by the membership have been around in the same plant while the plants managers come and go.”

“The UAW Local visit gave me an excellent perspective on what Union goals are like and how their Union leadership is set up. The speakers we had were very knowledgeable and helpful in answering our questions on the process and how it was done through their particular Local. I think having this knowledge will shorten my learning curve on the Union organization during my first labor relations job.”

 “By meeting these union members, I realize that a lot of work goes into keeping up union standards and helping workers keep their jobs. I understand that all of it is done with great intentions for the workers and the company as whole unit. However, after meeting these officers, I saw a side that they perhaps did not want to portray. While I feel they have the best intentions for what they fight for in regards to worker rights, I still hold the belief that they are only making things more difficult for management. By having seniority clauses and layoff rules, it hinders, sometimes, the company from firing their lowest performers and keeping their best; which has to be the best policy for any company: high performers making the best products as possible.”

 “Attending the site visit to the UAW union hall was a very beneficial experience for me. The reason I found it helpful was because it was the first time I could have a “face-to-face” interaction with the representatives of a union. Moreover, coming into this class I always held the viewpoint that unionized autoworkers were overpaid for their work, but this experience helped me realize that their wages were comparable to middle class. I particularly found it helpful when the workers discussed foreign automakers coming into the country. They shared that Toyota built a factory in California but relocated to a different state to avoid paying retirement benefits. This was a one of the real “eye-openers” for me of the semester. I realized that unions are not trying to protect lazy, unproductive workers; but rather standing together for protection of basic working conditions, salary, and benefits. Finally, the union representatives discussed their wages. I also enjoyed this discussed because my parents and grandparents have worked their entire careers for one of the Big Three, however, on the management side, with a strong dislike for UAW employees. The union representatives shared that many Americans have a negative perception on UAW wages; however, their wages have not increase in the past 10 or 15 years. They also shared that this was not happening only to UAW members, but to a “disappearing” middle class. I found this statement interesting, because I considered my family to in the middle class category; so I researched various articles when I got home. I found an article about why the middle class needs the Employee Free Choice Act and they argued, “Adjusted for inflation, real wages for US employees have remained flat since the 1980s, except for a spurt in the 1990s. Health and retirement benefits declined at the same time, as countless employers shifted from pension plans to cheaper, more volatile 401(k) retirement accounts” (Louis 8). Overall, the site visit to the union hall helped me put a “face” with the UAW. Moreover, I also realize that the media might highlight a lot of the “extremes” of union demands, but essentially they are collectively standing together for decent wages and working conditions.”

“Our field trip to union hall was one of my favorite classes this semester. It was extremely interesting to hear directly from union members. They offered wonderful insight about the benefits of union membership and the economy and future of our country. Growing up in Michigan , unions like the UAW were frequently in the newspaper and television, mainly because of strikes. I had always only heard the side of the story that the news presented, or what the corporation was saying. The field trip was extremely eye opening, and really showed how deep union roots are in families and communities.”

“The first and main insight that convinced me that collective bargaining was not completely bad was our field trips to the UAW union hall. The union hall visit enabled me to get a true understanding of collective bargaining and what it entails. The union committee members’ discussion about the positive and open relationship they have with the management team really surprised me. It was nice to see the committee member’s discussion how they are not out to make so many demands of the management that would hurt the business, but their main concerns were safety, fair treatment and having competitive wages. The unions need the management as well as for the business to survive; so if making concessions helps the overall business it helps the union as well. This trip also helped me realized that not all unions are out to get as much as they can from management without regard to the consequences and the damage that management may incur. It is in both parties best interest to reach a mutually beneficial agreement where neither has to take drastic concessions. I was also happy to hear that they were not trying to convince us all of how great unions are but simply stated what they do and why they try reach certain agreements during the collective bargaining negotiation process. . . . Simply stating their objectives helped change my viewpoint by the committee members explaining what they were really about.”

 “Visiting the local UAW union was something I am really glad we were able to do. I was expecting the union representatives to be exceptionally one sided and lecture us on why we should be pro union. However, after listening to them for a while, I realized that they were not the power hungry, difficult employees that I had imagined, they seemed like a great group of individuals who work extremely hard, enjoy what they do and look out for the interests of everyone. While I still believe that there are unions that abuse their power, in the local UAW’s particular situation, the collective bargaining process brought many needed changes to their jobs and improved their relationship with management; therefore, they cannot help but be supportive of the union and what it stands for. This allowed me to see a more positive side to unions and collective bargaining.” 

Randy Freeman's May 2020 column "Summer Events"
   We have had a number of questions concerning retirees’ legal services. I want to assure you that our GM retirees still retain their GM legal service.
Golf outings
   Local 652 Veterans Committee Golf Outing will be on June 26, 8:00 a.m. start at Centennial Acres Golf Course, 12485 Dow Road, Sunfield.
   The 25th annual Local 652 Golf Outing will be on Sunday, July 18 with an 11:00 a.m. shotgun start at Centennial Acres. The entry fee is $50 per person or $45 for retirees, with four-person teams. Price includes golf cart, food, drink, and fun! The sign-up will be at Local 652, starting on May 31, and ending on July 12.
   The Local 652 Women’s Committee’s third annual Golf Outing will be on Saturday, August 14, starting at 2:30 p.m. at Centennial Acres.
Other events
   The Pride Ride for motorcyclists will take place on May 21 at Local 652.
   The VA Medical Center of Battle Creek is sponsoring the third annual Kalamazoo “Air Zoo” on Saturday, June 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
   MIS/UAW tickets will be available for the June 13th and August 15th NASCAR races at Michigan International Speedway.

Randy Freeman's April 2010 article, "My report from Bradenton"
    I'd like to express how much I enjoyed going down to Bradenton for the annual retiree picnic. I felt fortunate that I had the opportunity to see and speak to each of them, updating them on events and how things are going and changing at Local 652 and in Lansing with all our units. The food was great, the weather could have been warmer, but all in all, it was a great time.
    I would like to thank everyone who contributed their time, energy, and money to make this year's picnic another rousing success, especially co-chairs Jere Auvenshine and Bud Everts. I would also like to thank Robin Frucci and the rest of the staff at LAFCU for all their contributions.
    I'm glad I had the chance to fill in for Mike and Harold whose flight was canceled because of weather and weren't able to come. I know that Mike Green and Harold Foster would have really liked to have been there and I know that they are looking forward to going next year if conditions permit.
Again, I'd like to thank Region 1-C Director Duane Zuckschwerdt and Assistant Director Norwood Jewell, who, at the request of Mike Green, approved and sent Region 1-C Retiree Benefit Rep Joe Sagy to help answer any of your questions.
    In speaking again about the Labor News: it's available online at, so that everyone will still be able to access it between the printed editions. And as things improve, we hope to increase the printed editions.
    Due to the third shift being put on at the Delta plant, it has allowed all our units to increase their numbers and bring back everyone that was laid off in Lansing. Even though Lansing Grand River (LGR) is only running one shift, things are looking better in Lansing, considering the overall picture. And we are still working every day to get a second shift at LGR.

 Randy Freeman's January 2010 Article, "Looking Forward"
   After the rough 2009, I'm grateful that the Lansing area fared better than most. 2010 looks more promising with LGR's launch of the CTS Coupe and LDT's picking up the Traverse from Tennessee.
    Now I'm looking forward to helping cook and serving your Sunday breakfast again this year at the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club's Winterfest 2010. This year, the event is back in the Houghton Lake area, and will be held February 12-14. The activities will be centered around the Knights of Columbus Hall, which is approximately one mile east of Prudenville on M-55.
    The breakfast will be at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The doors open at 7:00 a.m. for our members with free hot coffee. The FREE pancake breakfast will be served from 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., courtesy of Local 652. 
    When you are planning your year, remember that the first weekend of August will see the Local 602/652 Hunter Safety class. For more information, please go to the Local 652 website  and click on the Oldsmobile Outdoor Club link.
Dr. King Tribute
    This issue is our annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year would have marked his 81st birthday. While we are sad that he is not still with us, we are happy to honor the work that he did and its lasting legacy and its contribution to our nation and the world.
    During this winter weather, please give extra attention to the driving conditions. I hope everyone is safe in this inclement weather!

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