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Lansing Labor News
Established 1945
 
 
August 18, 2018
Archived Articles for Dean Poggiali
Print Icon Apr 08, 2011

March 2017: Another busy season

Hope this finds things going good for you and yours. With our weather on a roller coaster pattern, we are blessed with warm temps and sunshine one day and wind chill readings the next. On a personal note, I hope it is not too much crazier; with the temps as it was several years ago, as we lost all our apples. 
 It will be a busy time at Local 724 as several units will be negotiating new collective bargaining agreements, as in the newly organized Faurecia and Kirchhoff Automotive Units. Several more units will be entering into talks to renew existing current agreements. We hope that these talks will bring meaningful positive change for their respective memberships.
The recent Walk for Warmth was again a success in collecting donations to assist those folks needing help with their heating bills. 100% of the proceeds are used for program. Again this year there were several union members who saw that the cause is a worthy one. This was my 26th year of walking and my sincere hope is that we will one day no longer need to walk because everyone will not have an issue with heating the home for their families.
Another event that will be in May is the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) annual food drive. This one-day effort allows us to place nonperishable items by our mailbox and then either your carrier or a volunteer will collect the donation and get it to the food bank. This event will be on May 13 and we can always use volunteers. Please let me know if you are interested. Also worthy of a note is that this effort allows the food bank and area pantries to replenish their supplies, as a month later school is out. Many of our children and grandchildren get their breakfast and lunch throughout the school year. This can make a positive impact in our children.
The Mystic Lake Union Camp Committee (UCC) started meeting to grant scholarships to deserving area youth. The program has been a partnership between the YMCA and area unions since the 1940’s. Countless area youth have benefited from a week of camping at the Mystic Lake Camp, located in Lake, Michigan. Please contact me if you are interested in more information. 
The triennial elections will be taking place on May 8, 2017 at UAW Local 724 from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. These elections will be for Local 724 Executive Board officers and also Unit level officers. These elections will set the template for the next three years for those elected to represent the membership. 
“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

January 2017: Doing for others

As we embark on a new year with some uncertainty for the direction of our country, we must be ready to face any challenges that may occur. Regardless of your selection of candidates, it is important that we are members of the human race first and foremost and must continue to strive for the common good.
Speaking of the common good, we had some wonderful results from some Local 724 outreach efforts during the holidays. The Local 724 total from the Old Newsboys efforts was over $2,800!! This includes the Local 724 donation, several Unit donations, and the facility collections.
All the Units did fantastic with their collections at the doors, but one worksite needs to be specially recognized. The Delta Dental Unit collected over $700 this year from union and non-union employees. They have consistently achieved fantastic results and we applaud their efforts. 
The annual Toys for Tots collection was again a rousing success. With several units taking action to purchase donations, along with those dropped off at the hall, the small meeting room was like the Toy Department at Meijer with all the donations. The IMPCO Unit also conducted a door collection that generated around $200.
We would also like to thank our neighbors at UAW Local 652 for helping us with the delivery of the toys to the warehouse. I was on the mend, as I had carpal tunnel surgery, and was not able to navigate very well.
The Holiday Tree of Warmth was also overwhelmed with donations of hats, mittens, scarves, etc. We have had retirees drop off donations which are handmade and greatly appreciated. We also received a donation to purchase some additional items that was also put to good use. Thanks to Local 724 Financial Secretary and Women’s Committee chair, Debra Abent, who spearheaded this effort and made sure they passed on to the Highfields organization. 
With the reduction of the third shift at the GM-LGR facility, the impact at this point is completely unknown. Although several of our Units have a supplier relationship with the LGR and LDT facilities, in many cases they also utilize temporary employees. The collective bargaining agreements spell out the laying off of these employees first before any bargaining unit members. We sincerely hope that this will be short in duration, but we will continue to monitor the situation.
That being said, we still have some collective bargaining agreements that will either expire, or in the case of our two new Units—Faurecia and Kirchhoff Van Rob—still need to negotiate for a first agreement. 
2017 also brings the triennial elections at Local 724 for Local officers and Unit officers. The Local 724 Election schedule will be posted in the worksite bulletin boards as well as the Local 724 hall and the Lansing Labor News print edition and website. If you are considering running for either a Unit office or Local office, either speak to your Unit Chair or call the Local. 
By the time this edition has reached you, the nation would have honored the teachings and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King was a man who always strived for the common good for all of society. His words have inspired many for decades. If ever you have an opportunity to visit his memorial in Washington, DC, stop and take in the aura that is there by the monument. People pose for pictures, stop to reflect on his words, say a silent word for peace and are moved by the presence of a great American. My wife and I have had the opportunity to visit there on several occasions with some of our grandchildren. I hope that when they get older they can do the same and reflect as we did. 
On that note, here is something Dr. King so eloquently spoke in 1957 to a group in Montgomery, Alabama: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” The world is better place because of him and we must get back to his mantra and do for others.

December 2016: 2017 to see contract talks

From our families to yours, we hope you have a blessed holiday season. As we compose this it is still in the 50 degree range, so it is hard to imagine Santa Claus needing a sled. Perhaps he will need  rain boots.
December brings a variety of activities at the Local. From the Old Newsboys to the Toys for Tots to the Local holiday party to the Tree of Warmth, the membership of Local 724 continues to help our community. We hope to report in our next column the results of all these activities. 
Pertaining to the Old Newsboys, this program helps area kids who don’t have proper footwear to combat Michigan’s winter weather. Here is the criteria for the program: 
“In cooperation with the Greater Lansing School Districts, we were able to provide shoes or boots to more than 7,000 local school children last year through our fundraising efforts. The Old Newsboys Shoe Voucher program is handled through the Administrative Office of your local school district. Children who are eligible for free or reduced lunches meet our income requirement. However, please contact your local school district for additional information and to request the eligibility form.
“When completing the eligibility form, you may include all school age children from the same family even if the children are attending different schools. You must verify that each child listed on the form is attending school.”
We welcome Todd Arnold to the Local 724 Executive Board from the Dimondale Nursing Care Center. We look forward to working with him.
As we look into 2017, several of the local worksites will be entering into contract talks. Whenever these talks take place the rumor mill ramps up to a heightened state. It is important to let the committee get your input, evaluate the needs of the membership and seek a fair and equitable agreement. This is also important for our two new units: Faurecia and Kirchhoff-Van Rob. We pledge any support needed to help this endeavor going forward. 
We are also to hear that the IMPCO Unit recently ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The process was long and stressful, but the agreement allows for continued growth at the facility. At this juncture there is work in the facility well into the next year or so. Congratulations.
Also on the radar is the reduction of the third shift at the Lansing Grand River (LGR) GM facility. With approximately 85% to 90% of our Units supplying area GM facilities it will have an impact. It appears as though the majority of our worksites that supply LGR also utilize temporary employees; contractually those folks will be the first to be laid off. However, we will help out any of those impacted as needed. If you know someone who has been affected, they can call the free help line at 2-1-1 or at http://www.centralmichigan211.org/  Also, I can be reached at 517-203-5027 at the Capital Area United Way. 
As we face uncertainty into 2017, in some cases we are reminded of a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

September 2016: Organizing victories

Here’s hoping you had an enjoyable summer. From no rain to hot temperatures to abundant rain, we have seen it all.
There are a few updates to report since our last article. The UAW has been conducting some organizing efforts at some local area facilities. Two such drives were successful. The Faurecia and Kirchhoff Van Rob locations recently voted for UAW representation. Additionally, UAW Region 1D Director Gerald Kariem has requested that both locations become part of the UAW Local 724 family. We wholeheartedly thank Gerald for his trust in placing them within our Local. As they are working to secure their first collective bargaining agreement, we wish them the best of luck and welcome to the UAW.
Another change you may notice if you stop by the Local is another entry point to the main hall. This is an added layer of security for staff, officers and members. We have seen a slight increase of non-members accessing the hall to ask for pop cans, use the bathroom facilities, etc. The Executive Board and General Membership approved the extra security door. We also solicited union contractors from the Carpenters hall, which provided us with the contractor who did the work.
Many of our worksites have been experiencing difficulty with staffing. The pool of potential employees who desire a job in manufacturing/assembly is shrinking. There has been a turnover in some locations as those hired in are not familiar with the requirements and work conditions in many of our facilities. So, if you are aware of someone who may want to consider working at one of our facilities, please contact us as the companies all have a different procedure for employment consideration.
Many of our worksites have conducted or will be conducting worksite United Way drives. We truly have some members who are very thoughtful of the communities we live in and donate to the cause. There are worksite campaigns at most of the UAW Local 724 Units. One note from this year is the Alliance Interiors Unit, which had the largest United Way drive in the history of conducting the outreach there. Units worthy of recognition are Bridgewater and RSDC, which have a significant number of their donors who donate $5.00 or more per week. However we couldn’t do the work without all of the support from organized labor. Thanks to all those worksites that go above and beyond.
We have been overwhelmed with political ads, rhetoric, name-calling and sound bites. Before we know it November 8 will be upon us. Please take time before you and your family vote to review the candidates and their platforms on working people. And please review the list of candidates that have the recommendation of the Capital Area UAW CAP Council. They have been evaluated over their time in office and/or their commitment to working people.
The list will include more than those running at the top of the ticket. It will include township boards, community colleges, judges, county commissions, etc. These offices conduct the framework for lives locally from educating our children, providing a social safety network, to providing fairness in court. The old thought that we only endorse those with a “D” is not always the case. We look at all the issues. Additionally we don’t go and seek out them to appear before our screening panels, they must request our support. So when the listing is on the UAW Local 724 website, please consider voting for them.
We can also use help in getting out the message in a variety of ways. From speaking to family and friends, to registering the unregistered to phone banks, and door-to-door outreach, we can help with making sure our working class values are kept intact.
As Walter Reuther so eloquently said: There’s a direct relationship between the ballot box and the bread box, and what the union fights for and wins at the bargaining table can be taken away in the legislative halls.

May 2016: Contract gains and struggles

As we pen this, the sun is shining for at least a few minutes. April sure has been a roller coaster of temperatures, snow, and rain. As crazy as this sounds, we can hardly wait to start cutting grass!
As has been the past history, several Units are experiencing some contractual issues at this time. After several sessions of bargaining the Woodbridge Unit overwhelmingly ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The membership was able to gain economically and in favorable language. Kudos to the Woodbridge Unit bargaining committee in their perseverance and the membership for their patience
The IMPCO Unit is currently dealing with some difficult issues in the quest for fairness for their Unit members. The landscape for worker equality and fairness is an indeed a tough road to handle.
Remember, there is a vacancy on the Local 724 Executive Board for the remainder of the current term which will expire in June 2017. Nominations are to be conducted at the general membership meeting on May 10 at 5:00 p.m.
The Mystic Lake Union Camp Committee (UCC) has been meeting in order to raise donations to send deserving kids to the Mystic Lake Camp. The UCC reviews the applications of kids from union affiliated households and, funding dependent, is able to send them for a week to the camp. Contact Dean at the Local if you would like an application.
The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) annual one-day food drive is May 14. We are asking for folks to place nonperishable items by their mailbox first thing on Saturday morning. Then either your carrier or a volunteer will pick up the items, and then get them to the area food bank or local pantries. Volunteers are always needed to assist that day. The Capital Area United Way is helping with volunteer coordination. Find out about volunteer opportunities at their website: www.micauw.org
The Volunteers of America Homeless Veterans Stand Down is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25 at Lansing’s Adado Riverfront Park. This event helps bring needed resources for the veteran who needs a little direction in their life. There will be a variety of services available that day. The UAW has been a major force in both the donation of funds for the event and volunteers. You can also help by collecting personal needs items at your worksite for the event. Registering to volunteer is available through this link: http://cerv.is/m?0111e. Or call Volunteer Coordinator Vicky Mollitor at (517) 489-5307.  If you collect personal needs items, please contact me at 203-5027 to make arrangements to pick them up.
The water situation in Flint is by no means over, but through the efforts of folks like you the situation is a little better. They still need donations of money versus water and those are being funneled through the United Way of Genesee County. Please let me know if you need assistance with anything related to this.
Everett Henderson, UAW Local 724 Chaplain, is asking any Local 724 member to contact him if you have anything he can assist with. Everett can be reached by either calling the hall at 517-482-7377 or send an e-mail to chaplain@uawlocal724.org
Lastly, the political landscape has been long and brutal. The attacks on working people seem to be nonstop. We do have the great equalizer by expressing our opinion by voting for worker friendly candidates who make impactful decisions on the issues based on thoughts of strong working class values. If you have not registered to vote, please make time to register and then exercise your right.
People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said but they will always remember how you made them feel.

January 2016: Surviving in uncertain times

Happy belated New Year. As we are about to enter February, the grips of winter have finally arrived full force. On one hand, we have been pretty lucky so far and it is Michigan. Another spin is that we have gotten through November, December, and hopefully January in relative good fashion.
The last time we sent an update, the Alliance & Bridgewater Units were able to find some common ground and ratified new collective bargaining agreements. The process was a long, involved one and congratulations to the bargaining committees and membership at both facilities. In order for us to survive in these uncertain times, it is important that our membership continues to produce a high-quality component for their customers. This will only insure their viability and allow for growth the membership.
That being said, the Woodbridge Unit is into talks for their next contract. There have been preliminary meetings, with more to follow. We wish the committee and membership well in their quest.
The Local 724 Old Newsboys collections were higher than last year by several hundred dollars. This has been a labor of love for many of our units to help our kids in the community.
The annual Walk for Warmth will be on Saturday, February 27 at various locations around the area. Walkers collect donations from family, friends, and co-workers and then pledge to walk between 1.5 to 3 miles, many times in cold temperatures. 100% of the collections are administered to the program. This will be the 26th year that the Capital Area Community Services holds the Walk for Warmth. If you would like more info, please contact me at 517-203-5027.
The YMCA Mystic Lake Union Camp Committee will again start meeting to solicit donations and find deserving children to send to the Mystic Lake YMCA Camp in Lake, MI. The partnership between the camp and organized labor is decades old and contains to flourish due to the thoughtful contributions from many union locals and councils in the area. Again, if you would like more information, please contact me at 517-203-5027.
The annual community services classes are about to begin. The sessions begin on Monday, February 8 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm with the last session being a dinner on Monday, March 28. Many locals have already taken action to send activists to these sessions, but there is always room for more. Please contact your Local Union President, Financial Secretary or Community Service Chair for more details.
The call to action for the Flint water crisis is loud and clear. The outpouring of support is immeasurable. This issue is long-term, so be aware that the help needed today will also be needed in months and years to come. The United Way of Genesee County and the information and referral line 2-1-1 has been a powerful force in dealing with the outpouring of calls for help. Please consider calling them first to see where the demand is needed.
As we recently honored the legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, we are reminded of a quote from him that resonates during these times for the citizens of Flint: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Organized labor has never been satisfied with idly standing by, but meeting challenges head on and with conviction. Peace be with you and yours.

December 2015: Local 724 unit updates
Hope you Thanksgiving was spent with family and friends and enjoyable. Also Holiday Blessing for everyone in the Local 724 family.
Here are some updates on the Local 724 scene. Scott Hutchins from the RSDC Unit was recently elected to fill the remaining term for the Sergeant-At-Arms Executive board position. We welcome Scott to the Local 724 executive Board.
The Alliance and Bridgewater units recently voted down new collective bargaining agreements. The bargaining committees at both units have been meeting amongst themselves to prepare for another round of talks.
The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Unit recently ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. They were able to address some membership concerns, along with some benefit and wage improvements.
We send our condolences to the family of Yang Her in his passing. Yang was a longtime member of the Huntsman Unit of the Local.
This time of the year is also the time where our membership steps up to help our community. On December 3, the Lansing Old Newsboys will again be collecting donations to help deserving area kids with shoes and boots. Between Local and unit donations, we have totaled over $25,000 over the past several decades.
Also, the annual Toys for Tots drive is on. Donations of new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Local during regular business hours from now until December 9, 2015. The Local Community Service Committee will deliver the donations to the warehouse where the toys are distributed.
The Women’s Committee will again have the Christmas tree set in the hall to collect hats, mittens, scarves, and other winter wear. Then he donations are dropped off to an area non-profit to help with their clients.
On December 6 from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm the Local Kids Christmas party will again be held. There will treats, crafts and a visit with Santa in the plans. This is a little earlier than in the past due to work scheduling, meeting schedules and of course we had to fit into Santa’s schedule as well.
Many of our Units conducted Capital Area United Way campaigns recently. The Bridgewater, Dakkota, Huntsman, and RSDC Unit saw increases over last year. The Alliance Unit had several new donors this year.
As we can see, our membership is truly engaged in helping out our community. We have given in times of need and on occasion even been the recipient of getting help in times of personal need.
This is what makes us proud to be a union member and proud to be part of the community. We are reminded of a quote by Walter Reuther: “There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.” In our humble estimation Local 724 members have done a tremendous job in helping and doing it well.

September 2015: Our anniversary celebration
It doesn’t seem possible that we are already looking down the barrel of the fall. With the rains of June causing us to combat the hordes of mosquitoes to the record one-day rainfall in August, it has been quite a roller coaster ride.
The Local celebrated our seventy-five years of being chartered as a UAW Local at the end of July. The weather cooperated and we had a decent turnout.
We were blessed to have several retirees attend. Additionally, former UAW Local 724 Presidents Russ Emmons and John Legg were also in attendance. Former Servicing Rep Lloyd Cain was there with his daughter, Delta Dental Unit member Rhonda. Lloyd serviced many of our units during his tenure and was instrumental in getting fair and equitable contracts back in the day, as I can attest firsthand. Former Assistant Regional Director Jim Ramey, who also was involved with Local 724, also made an appearance. Between Lloyd and Jim they had decades of dedicated service to representing the men and women of the UAW proudly and with honor. We were truly blessed to have Russ, John, Lloyd and Jim attend.
We would be remiss not to thank all the volunteers who helped with the planning, set-up, helping during the event and helping clean up. In order not to miss anyone, we humbly thank you. Additional thanks goes to IMPCO Unit and Second Vice-President of the Local Dean Paseka’s wife Pat for crafting a beautiful quilt made out of union T-shirts. Between the quilt raffle and a few other raffles we were able to generate a few funds to help with future Local 724 family events.
As a wrap-up to the event, Todd Collins and I were victims of some intense members or friends who were intent in making sure that the dunk tank lived up to its reputation. The dunk tank was active with those trying to raise money for charity as the proceeds were split between the Greater Lansing Food Bank and the Capital Area United Way.
Just an update on a few units, both the Alliance and Bridgewater Units are heading into contract talks this fall and have already been meeting amongst their respective committees and also a few preliminary meetings with the company. In the midst of this, Bridgewater Unit Chair Kirk Nordberg had a heart attack and underwent some procedures to correct the issue. We heard that Kirk is doing fine and will be back to work in mid-August.
Later this fall the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Unit will be entering into contract talks as well.
The Local has a vacancy on the Executive Board as Local 724 Sergeant-at-Arms Josh Paseka resigned to take another job opportunity. Please refer to your Unit bulletin boards, the Local 724 website, www.uawlocal724.org, and the Lansing Labor News print edition in September and also the Labor News website at www.lansinglabornew.org for more details.
The Local is looking for people younger and new to the union movement to fill a role with the Region. There is a group that is meeting on addressing the newer generation of trade unionists. They are looking at ways of engaging members in new and innovative ways that many of us are not as familiar with. If you are interested in finding out more about this, please contact me at dlpoggiali@gmail.com
We hope that as we embark on the new school year for our kids and grandkids that everyone will remain safe and prosper in the learning environment. We hope that the leaders of tomorrow are being nurtured in the ways of the social movement we have come to appreciate, the union movement.
The world is a better place due to our social awareness
People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said but they will always remember how you made them feel.

May 2015: Milestone year for our Local
The temperatures are rising, the birds are singing, the grass is greening and the tax deadline has come and gone. We sure hope that the signs will remain positive for us after another Michigan winter. 
As 2015 is entering its fifth month, it is time to reflect going forward. May 14, 1940 was the date that UAW Local 724 was chartered by the UAW International Union as a Local. Over the seventy-five years of existence, there have been many worksites that have called the Local their home. The early years saw the drop forge industry concentrated in the Lansing area and their members were UAW Local 724 members. Sadly, the drop forge industry has seen the influx of foreign competition and lower-cost, lighter-weight components used in various industries that were customers. However, the legacy of Local 724 will remain intact.
We will be celebrating the milestone anniversary with a celebration to be held on July 25, 2015 from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm at the Local. If you and your family have any links to the past of Local 724 and would like to share some of the memories, please contact the Local and we will be glad to talk to you about being a part of the event. Make plans to enjoy some time with family and friends!
The month of May also brings the annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ one-day food drive. This event allows food banks to replenish their supplies. With so many kids getting their breakfast and lunch through school based programs, it is a great way to help those in our community who will be our future. 
May 20 is the twelfth annual Volunteers of America (VOA) Homeless Veterans Stand Down. The VOA has been at the forefront with programming to help our vets who may have some struggles in coping with the transition from service to civilian life.
The event will be held at Lansing’s Adado Riverfront Park with plenty of service providers to help with the process. The UAW has been a major player in the event over the years. Many of the volunteers are UAW members, veterans and non-veterans, who contribute their time and energy with the event. As we state every year, we hope that the words “homeless” and “veterans” don’t become an easy statement. 
The Local was also the recipient of a plaque from the US Marines for our participation in the Toys for Tots efforts. Thanks to all who contributed to this worthy cause.
The Alliance and Bridgewater Units will be entering into contract talks this year. The committees have been meeting and discussing their issues. We hope they are able to bring a fair and equitable agreement back to their respective members later this year. 
We were made aware that Melvin Coleman was appointed to the position of the Director of the UAW Human and Civil Rights Department. Melvin has been a servicing rep for several of the Local 724 Units over the years and he will be truly missed. We wish him nothing but well wishes in this new endeavor.
Along the Unit lines we also hope that the members who have been laid-off due to the shift reduction at the GM LGR facility have found new employment. With the recall time frame uncertain, sometimes families have to make decisions to make sure they can go forward. Please feel free to call me at 517-203-5027 at the Capital Area United Way if you need to talk.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

January 2015: Reflections on 2014
As we embark into 2015, here’s hoping that your holiday allowed you to recharge your mental and physical batteries. We all have so much going on in our lives that we sometimes neglect to take care of our own well-being.
We would like to reflect back on the last few months of 2014 for a bit. As in the past, the Local 724 membership stepped up when the community needed our help.
The annual Old Newsboys collections were up by over $200 with gate collections. When you enter into the Local and Unit donations that were above and beyond the gate collection, we were well over last year’s final outpouring. Over the years Local 724 members have donated tens of thousands of dollars to help out this worthy program. If you think that your children or grandchildren could benefit from the outreach, contact the Old Newsboys Association of Greater Lansing at 517-485-9107, visit their website at LansingOldNewsBoys.org or e-mail them at ONBofLansing@gmail.com
In that same spirit, the Local Toys for Tots drive exceeded the amount of toys received last year. Many of our worksites received collection boxes and collected donations of unwrapped new items at the worksite. When the Marines arrived at the Local to pick the boxes, there were six boxes that were overflowing. There may have more at some Local 724 worksites who had made arrangements to have the toys picked up at their respective worksite.
The Local 724 Women’s Committee collected donations of handmade and purchased hats, mittens, scarves and gloves again this year. The items decorated the Local Christmas tree and will be donated to an area nonprofit that will put them to good use.
The annual Local Christmas Party was again an event for the solidarity of our members. Kids and grandchildren were treated to some crafts, cookies, and a toy from Santa. We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the RSDC Unit, which was able to secure some donations from their vending machine provider, which allowed the families to have a lunch as well. This collaboration of the Local 724 Women’s and Recreation Committees could only happen with the many volunteers on
Friday setting up and on Saturday helping make everything run smoothly.
Even better is the fact that the weather didn’t impact the day like last year.
The annual Walk for Warmth will be conducted in our area on February 28. The event sponsored by the Capital Area Community Services has walkers and like-minded groups collect donations that then go towards helping with utility bills. 100% of proceeds go towards the program. For more information contact me at 517-203-5027.
On a different note, the Bharat Forge (formerly Federal Forge) had a party that brought together the Unit in early December. This Unit closed in late 2013, but they have never lost their solidarity and union togetherness. With friendships reacquainted and stories to be told, the event was well attended. The Unit at the time was the oldest in the Local. They proudly carried on the tradition of the drop forge industry that at one time was centered right here in Lansing. Local 724 was built on the heritage and unionism of the drop forge members that were part of the Local 724 history. They provided for their families and left us a legacy we can be proud of.
Speaking of our legacy and history, 2015 brings the 75th anniversary of the Local. We are planning to recognize the event with a celebration on May 16, 2015 at the UAW Local 724 union hall. The Local Executive Board has been working on some things, but we will need your participation as well. You can help by volunteering the day of the event, collecting any items that may be part of the Local 724 history, being on the planning committee, and lastly circling the date on your calendar. The Local has had a rich history in the community and we will honor that with the celebration.
We mention our generous spirit and our proud legacy of unionism, but we also reminded that many of our members will be going through a difficult period with the LGR second shift reduction. Many of the Units have a relationship with the facility and it will impact their families significantly. Let us not forget they are part of our spirit and legacy as well. We must continue to reach out to them in any way needed.
Please contact me at the Capital Area United Way at 517-203-5027 or d.poggiali@micauw.org and we can problem solve together.
We are reminded of a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The late, great Dr. Martin Luther King spoke these words over 45 years ago. These words were true then and now.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

December 2015: Interacting in our community
This fall has certainly hit us with a full force. We haven’t even seen winter yet and the sun only makes a cameo appearance and we are talking in terms of wind chill as it pertains to our temps. 
We are sending belated condolences to the family of Russ Klusack, former Local 724 Executive Board member and Unit Chair of the Huntsman Unit. Russ was a long-time member of the Huntsman Unit for over forty years. 
The RSDC Unit recently ratified a collective bargaining agreement. The Unit has seen gains in their employment and is well on their way to gaining some new work. Congratulations to the committee who kept on course during the whole difficult experience. 
The annual Local outreach for hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, etc., will commence with the Holiday Tree of Warmth. Right around Thanksgiving the tree will go up and you are encouraged to bring in new or handmade items to place on the tree. Then the Local Women’s Committee and Community Service Committee will make sure that a deserving agency gets the outpouring to help the community.
Speaking of warmth, the annual Lansing Old Newsboys paper sales date was December 4. Many of our units sell the spoof paper inside their facility and the proceeds are used to make sure area kids have warm shoes and boots needed in the winter months of Michigan.
Also a reminder that the Local is collecting for the Toys for Tots drive. There is a collection box inside the hall  until December 12. Call Dean at 203-5027 if you need to have someone collect your donations or would like to have a collection box at your worksite.
On Saturday, December 20 the Local’s annual Christmas party for kids will be held, from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm. Please bring the kids and grandkids for some holiday fun.
We have touched on the community spirit exhibited by our members who have helped make our community a wonderful place to live and raise their children. We have also backed that spirit with our worksite United Way drives. The recently concluded drives held at Bridgewater, Dakkota, and RSDC yielded results that again show the commitment our members have to helping out the community. 
I now turn the page to a subject a little less cheery, the announcement of the LGR second shift going down for a period of time. It will impact many of our families. Alliance, Bridgewater, Dakkota, JLL-Eurest, JLL-LGR, JLL-TEAM, and Woodbridge will all feel a degree of the announcement. The actual numbers are still being determined due to contractual obligations as it pertains to layoffs. The fact is that those families will be going into the holiday season with a sense of uncertainty. 
Having also experienced this same feeling a while back, it leaves one with questions that can’t be answered. Also futures that can’t be easily determined, so tough choices will need to be made.
Please know that you can reach out to me by calling 517-203-5027 at the Capital Area United Way. We will try to problem solve to look at options for you and your family. Additionally a free and confidential resource is the 2-1-1 call line. Call the and speak to a trained resource specialist who will explore options based on your circumstances. Please remember that the call to 2-1-1 or I will not be able to solve all the issues, but will try to find a path to travel.
We have touched on how we interact in our community in a variety of ways. For many of our families things are still a little uncertain and daily challenges still occur. Let us take solace that we do live in a wonderful community that reaches out to those in need whenever possible. 
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

September 2014: Thinking about our 75th anniversary
Greetings from the Local. Here it is almost the end of August and school will be starting soon. It seems like we were just getting though the non-stop winter. Here’s hoping your summer has been pleasant and enjoyable.
Things have been relatively stable at the hall. Several of our Units have been meeting this summer so they can prepare to meet the needs of the membership. Currently the Dimondale and RSDC Units have been in contract talks. The talks have been rather stressful for the respective committees. With the delicate nature of contract negotiations, it is important that both sides  respect each other to find those middle ground areas. This will allow the bargaining committee to bring a fair and equitable agreement back to the membership and their families. The support of the entire Local goes out to these members.
The decision was made to cancel the Local 724 picnic in order to focus on our 75th Anniversary in 2015. UAW Local 724 was chartered as a Local Union on May 14, 1939. Since that time we have seen many highs and many lows. We have had many good times, along with times where we struggled through difficult times. We had dropped to around 700 members in the late 90’s. Since that time we have seen increases that have the membership flirt with around 2,000. We are currently at 1,700 to 1,800. We hope to continue to grow for the next 75 years.
Speaking of the lows, we recently saw the final members working at the Lear-Mason facility. Since first organized with the UAW, the Unit grew to over 600. As work was reallocated to other facilities, the membership steadily declined. We applaud the members who have contributed to the Unit, Local and the UAW over the years.
On the reverse side, the Alliance Unit concluded their annual Capital Area United Way campaign. When the dust settled, they raised $676 over last year’s total. Thanks to the donors who have taken the initiative to help out the community.
We mentioned that in May of 2015 we will be 75 years young. The Local is planning to acknowledge the occasion with an event close to the anniversary date. We are looking for volunteers to help out with a variety of tasks the day of the event and leading up to the event. If you are interested, please call the Local at 517-482-7377 and leave your name and number.
Throughout the years one thing has been constant at Local 724, and that is the proud members who have worn the wheel. We can stand on our service to our families, our country, our movement and our communities. I am proud to say that I AM A UNION MEMBER.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

May, 2014: Congratulations and thanks on local elections
WAfter the harsh winter we had, it now presents new challenges as we have to deal with the daily rains that have frequented us during mid-May. With many yards in near flood stage we can take some peace of mind that it isn’t snow!
Congratulations to all those who were recently elected and/or re-elected in the recent Local 724 triennial elections. Many of those elected have already assumed their offices, while the Local 724 Executive Board takes office on June 10, 2014 at the General membership meeting that starts at 5:00 pm.
Everyone is invited to attend the June 11 meeting to be officially sworn in and your families are welcome. Thanks for stepping up to serve your membership to make sure they are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.
Lastly, many thanks for the dedication of our Local 724 Election Committee who conducted the process. Carol Allen, Bill Barrett, Ken King, Nadia Lockett, Julius Maurer, Mary Patino, Marcella Rosario and Mark Titus deserve our thanks when we see them as they stepped up to the challenge of the process.
There will be a new look about our Executive Board, as there are several new members. We will work to assimilate everyone into their new offices. Due to the fact that we do have so many new E-Board members, the E-Board will not recess during July and August. The General Membership meetings will, however, not be scheduled in July and August and will resume in September. 
The Local 724 Executive Board recently appointed Rich Buscemi, Woodbridge Unit, as a Local 724 CAP delegate. The delegates attend one meeting a month, learn about what other Locals are doing, become informed in the political process, are given tools to empower our members about the major issues, and help further the union brand. If anyone is interested in finding out more, please contact me at 517-482-7377 or dlpoggiali@gmail.com This is a new e-mail address as my previous one was hacked.
The Alliance and Woodbridge Units recently held their Unit V-CAP drives. Working with Region 1-C CAP Coordinator Art Luna, we scheduled the drives, then Krista Szafranski from Region 1-C conducted the outreach. Both units had a good turnout and we are looking at scheduling more drives soon. This year’s top prize will be a 2014 Light Duty Silverado built in Flint. There are also other items available based on the level of donation.
Remember that in order for your V-CAP contribution to stay in Michigan to help with the fight for working-class Michigan families, you need to re-sign up every year. This is true even if nothing has changed from the last time you signed up.
We will be working on some website updates with our webmaster, Nick Lumsden from the RSDC Unit. If a Unit has something they would like placed on their Unit tag on the site, please forward it to me at the above e-mail address. The Local 724 website is www.uawlocal724.org
On the community scene, the Mystic Lake Union Camp Committee (UCC) has been meeting to send deserving kids to the Mystic Lake YMCA Camp. There are many kids that would not have a vacation experience if not for the generosity of many of the area Local Unions. Thanks for all those who believe in the UCC mission.
The National Association of Letter Carriers food drive was recently held on May 10. The final numbers have not been tallied, but we can know that many area families will have food available to them through their area food pantries. Especially critical is the fact that many school districts have students that qualify for free breakfast and lunch, but that may not be available after school lets out. The outpouring of donations helps get the pantries through the summer months. 
On May 21 the Volunteers of America held their annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down. This allows veterans to have a variety of services available to them in one setting to help them make the necessary transition back to civilian life. Many of this year’s sponsors of the event are labor organizations, along with many of the volunteers. 
Until our children no longer need free meals, there are no more homeless veterans, or families not able to take vacations, we will continue to give what we can to make these experiences possible. We can also include those members who have stepped up to the mantle of service by representing their members. 
We are reminded of a quote by the late, great Walter Reuther that sums up our feelings:
“There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.”
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

March 2014: Elections and negotiations
With Daylight Savings Time in effect, it so far has only allowed us more time to view the snow cover in our yards. It has become a challenge to drive down our streets with the snow piled along the sides narrowing our way. The potholes have become pot slabs. By the way, if you are going south on Marshall Street between Saginaw and Michigan please be careful as that section has qualified for the pothole hall of shame. Our sincere hope is that we have seen the end of the cold, snow, and wind.
Changing gears, we applaud all those who have committed to participating in the 2014 Local and unit triennial elections. With many units still conducting their nomination process, things will conclude with the elections on May 1, 2014 at the Local.
The Dimondale Nursing Care Center and RSDC Units are or will be in contract talks by the time you receive this. The challenges in today’s economy and preparing impactful contract language make the process at times very stressful. Here’s hoping the contract talks yield a fair and equitable agreement for the membership.
The Woodbridge Unit recently had a change in Unit Chair. Rich Buscemi has taken over the reins of the unit and has started to get acclimated in the duties of the office. We look forward to working with Rich.
The recent Capital Area Community Services Walk for Warmth received over $14,000 in donations for the City of Lansing event. When these results were added to the results for the rural Ingham County, Eaton County, Clinton County, and Shiawassee County walks close to $45,000 was raised. With the winter we have had, the money will surely be put to a good use.
The Mystic Lake YMCA Camp Union Camp Committee has started meeting for the 2014 camping season. Last year the UCC was able to send 60 kids to camp and have over $13,000 in funds received from local unions. This partnership has existed since the 1940’s between the camp and Lansing area unions. The UCC has impacted literally hundreds of area youth by allowing them to enjoy the experience of Mystic Lake Camp they may otherwise not be able to afford. Please contact me at 517-203-5027 for more information
Speaking of Mystic Lake Camp, they will be conducting the annual clean up weekends. The “Work or Shirk” event will be on April 25-27 and May 16-18. Please contact me if you would like to volunteer.
Also some dates to keep in mind for May. On May 10, the annual National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) will conduct their annual food drive. This drive, the largest one-day food drive in the country, allows area food banks and pantries to replenish their supplies. With many school districts supplying free breakfast and/or lunch for their students, once school is over many of these kids may not get the necessary meals needed for growing up strong and healthy. Please consider putting something out by your mailbox on the 10th and help with feeding of our community
On Wednesday, May 21, the Volunteers of America (VOA) will be holding the 11th annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down at Lansing’s Adado Riverfront Park. The event allows our vets who have experienced issues acclimating back into civilian life an opportunity to meet with many service providers to determine if they can access needed services. One way to help is by collecting personal needs items for the event that will then we assembled into ditty bags for the participants.
In closing, we continue to face many challenges within our families, our community and our worksites. By making those decision makers in Lansing and Washington DC more accountable for their lack of compassion and forgetting the people, then we can resolve to rectify those situations. The most swift
and telling way is to elect those who
truly represent the interests of working families and not the business interests solely.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

January 2014: Union elections coming up

As we embark on the year 2014, here’s hoping that 2013 ended on a good note for you and yours. We wish good health for you and yours and stable employment for the future.
Speaking of the future, in 2015 UAW Local 724 will celebrate its 75th Anniversary. Plans for an event to celebrate the occurrence are underway. If you wish to help with the planning or would like to share a piece of Local 724 memorabilia, contact the Local at 517-482-7377 or e-mail me at d.poggiali@uawlocal724.org
We would be remiss if we didn’t also revisit the past a little as well. The Local 724 Units again stepped up in the Old Newsboys drive. The total collected was over $1,500. Worth noting was the tremendous increase at Delta Dental. They collected just short of $700!! One employee brought in three jars of coins that not only increased the collection, but also caused Gail Douglas to need an extra hand to deliver the collection. Thanks to all those who donated or worked the facilities in this worthy cause
We also received word of the amazing generosity of our membership reaching out at the holidays from the Alliance Unit. The three shifts each adopted a family for the holidays. The second shift, which has the most new or lower seniority employees, collected over $900 to pass on blessing for a joyous holiday for a family in need. This was a collaborative effort between the bargaining unit and salaried employees and they are to be applauded.
The Toys for Tots outreach was again a success. Many of our units collected either money or toys for the kids. The employees of RSDC filled a semi with their blessings. The elves at Huntsman—Pam Kissane and Teresa Klockziem—again met the task of being the supreme bargain hunters. The Bridgewater Unit also filled several boxes that the Marines picked up from the hall. We applaud all the generosity of all our members in helping our deserving youth in the community. 
The annual Walk for Warmth will happen next month. The Walk for Warmth is traditionally held on the fourth Saturday in February (which will be February 22, 2014). The walk is sponsored by local Community Action Agencies. In our area Capital Area Community Services (CACS) oversees walks in their coverage area of Clinton, Eaton, Ingham (CACS has two locations in Lansing and another covering rural Ingham County), and Shiawassee counties. The walks are held in St. Johns, Charlotte, Mason, Lansing, and Owosso. 
Participants collect pledges from family, friends, co-workers or neighbors and pledge to walk. 100% of the pledges collected go to the program which helps folks with their heating bills. CACS coordinates their outreach through a variety of resources that supply the various heating options for the client.
This will be the 24th annual walk in the area and more information is available on the CACS website at: http://www.cacs-inc.org/Walk4W.htm or you can call me at 517-203-5027. With the winter we have experienced so far, I am sure demand for help in heating assistance will go up, so this program helps.
The triennial elections for all Local and Unit level officers at Local 724 will take place this year. The Units will conduct their process separately from the Local. If you are interested in running and need some more information, contact your Unit Chair or the Local.
As we recently celebrated the teachings and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, we could all be refreshed with his thought-provoking words. Dr. King was able to institute change with his words and his wisdom. One such pearl of wisdom that has stuck with me over the years is: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” As working people have been attacked from various fronts, let’s make this our time to leave our comfort zone and challenge the haters.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

December 2013: A time of transitions

It just seemed the other day that we were enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures of summer. Now the sun only makes a cameo appearance and we are talking in terms of wind chill as it pertains to our temps. 
Let us first start by again sending our condolences to the family of Dave McClelland on his recent passing. Dave was an integral part of the fabric of Local 724 for many years. From his time at Lindell Drop Forge, to his years of service as Financial Secretary at the Local, to his work as the Labor Liaison at the Capital Area United Way, Dave exhibited the right stuff in his advocacy of union people and the community. He was proud of his family, his country and his union. He was a source of information from the days of the past at the Local. 
On a personal note, I was never able to, nor ever will be able to, repay his confidence as he supported my efforts to follow him at the Capital Area United Way. Without his support and mentoring I would not have even thought that such a pathway was possible. I can honestly say that although we had not always kept in regular contact he was more than just my union brother, he was a friend. We will deeply miss him. Dave, as you look down from that big union hall in the sky, we will continue to make sure the print on the monthly Local Financial Report never goes back to being too small to read. 
As we change our focus slightly: the JLL-Drayton, JLL-LGR, and JLL-TEAM Units ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The new agreement included improvements in both economics and language. Congratulations to the membership for a job well done.
The local annual “Trunk or Treat” event was again a success. This year the Local 724 Women’s Committee partnered with the Local 652 Recreation Committee. The event allowed the kids to collect their much-desired treats in a safe environment, while allowing parents and grandchildren to spend some quality time together. 
The annual Local outreach for hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, etc., will commence with the Holiday Tree of Warmth. Right around Thanksgiving the tree will go up and you are encouraged to bring in new or handmade items to place on the tree. Then the Local Women’s Committee and Community Service Committee will make sure that a deserving agency gets the outpouring to help the community.
Also, a reminder that the Local is collecting for the Toys for Tots drive. There is a collection box inside the hall and will be there until December 12. Call Dean at 203-5027 if you need to have someone collect your donations or would like to have a collection box at your worksite.
On December 15, the annual Local Christmas party for kids will be held. Because of some scheduled overtime at some of our units, the decision was made to have it on a Sunday from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Please bring the kids and grandkids for some holiday fun.
We have touched on the community spirit exhibited by our members who have helped make our community a wonderful place to live and raise their children. We have also backed that spirit with our worksite United Way drives. The recently concluded drive held at RSDC yielded results that were close to $1,800 over last year. Bridgewater members helped contribute donations that were the highest total in their history with running campaigns.
Speaking of Bridgewater, they ran a successful V-CAP facility drive. The outreach was favorable and many of the members took pride in the seats they build for the Cadillac. 
Over the years I have had the pleasure of engaging in conversation with a variety of people in different locations. One such location is the grocery store. I have had the occasion to speak with a retiree from UAW Local 652 on a variety of topics and at some times we just say hi. Recently we stopped to discuss the notion of restricting the right to vote, especially in the South. (I must apologize because I never got his name and I want to credit him for this profound insight.)
He mentioned that where these laws are being either instituted or proposed, the culture is anti-government, NASCAR and college football. What would happen if some of the socially  conscious football or basketball recruits let their suitors know that until they have equal voting rights within their state they will not consider enrolling in their university and playing collegiate sports? Wouldn’t that get the alumni in a tizzy if the Crimson Tide or the Tarheels can’t field a competitive team? This isn’t just a racial thing but a quality of dignity. It would just take one brave recruit to take a stand.
We have touched on how we interact in our community in a variety of ways. For many of our families things are still a little uncertain and daily challenges still occur.
Let us take solace that we do live in a wonderful community that reaches out to those in need whenever possible. We can continue to honor the legacy of union activists like Dave McClelland by continuing to LIVE UNION and BE UNION.
 May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

September, 2013: Looking forward and back
It just seems like yesterday we were patiently waiting for the arrival of spring and now we are staring down the barrel of fall. At least we can take solace in the fact that this summer was not so hot and uncomfortable as last year.
As we are looking at September around the corner, many of our Units and the Local will resume their monthly meetings. The next Local 724 General Membership meeting will be Tuesday, September 10 at 5:00 pm. Check with your Unit Chair to see when your meetings will resume if they were cancelled over the summer.
The recent UAW Region 1-C Women’s Council backpack event was again a huge success. The day was cool and rainy, but the recipients of the Women’s Council outreach efforts were richly rewarded. UAW Local 724 Women’s Committee Chair Debra Mills took part in the efforts and was amazed at the turnout. This event along with other school supply efforts only adds to the total of outreach efforts that the community rallies around. This lack of resources illustrates that the children of today have to go to school without the safety net many of us enjoyed in the past. As someone who started his schooling in the late 50’s we never had to think about depending on receiving school supplies. Our sincere wish is that one day this community outpouring will not be necessary. Until such a day, we will continue to help as much as we can.
In the same frame of supporting our communities, the Alliance Unit recently concluded their annual Capital Area United Way campaign. When the campaign dust settled the members of the unit stepped up to raise the largest total since they have had a drive. They were at 124% of last year’s drive!! This again illustrates that the labor movement sees the value of being a part of the solution in helping our communities.
The Local 724 building project is a thing of the past. A new layer of crushed limestone was put down on the north side of the building. The previous dirt patches on the lawn have seen grass growing at a good clip. Thanks go to “Keeper of the Hall” Mark Titus, who has made the upkeep his personal mission. Also we would be remiss for not acknowledging the help of Tony Chandler in the project. Tony, former Huntsman Unit Chair and Local 724 Vice President, is currently a UAW Region 1-C Servicing Rep. Tony coordinated the delivery of the dirt and took time away from his busy schedule to help fill in the yard. Thanks to both!
The IMPCO Unit recently ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. With new ownership that had some extreme ideas and differences of opinions, the bargaining committee persevered in getting a new agreement. We offer our humble congratulations to the membership, which is the second oldest unit in the Local.
We are also extending our thanks for his service to Glenn Morrill. Glenn recently resigned as Unit Chair at the Huntsman Unit. The unit is oldest in the Local and we appreciate the contributions Glenn made to the Local and to the Huntsman Unit.
We recently had a visitor stop by the Local from one of our former Units. Mike Mayhew, formerly of the Lindberg/Bodycote Unit, was in the area and said hi. Mike is a union activist in the truest sense of the word. When he was the Chair of the Health & Safety Committee at the Local, he was always on the lookout to help any and all of our Units to work safe. Mike is now working at the Lansing Delta Township GM facility as a member of UAW Local 602.
Lastly, as we referenced our oldest units, we are about to commence our 75th Anniversary as a UAW Local. Chartered on May 14, 1940, the Local has seen many changes, both positive and some not so much.
We had seen the drop forge industry in Lansing thrive and the membership at Local 724 prosper as they had good paying jobs. At one time you could make as much or even more at the Atlas, Federal, Lansing, Lindell, or Melling Drop Forges as you could at General Motors in some cases. Generations of families were able to achieve middle-class status through the pay and benefits that the UAW contracts afforded the membership. Sadly, the industry ceased to exist as a unionized workforce in the Lansing area last year.
The Local has been supplemented by supplier facilities to the GM plants and others. About 80 to 90% of the Local 724 membership now works at a work-site that has a direct relationship with GM. With that background, we will plan to commemorate those who blazed the path before us at Local 724. In 2015 we will celebrate the historic event. If you or your family have any items you would like to share for the event, please contact me at d.poggiali@uawlocal724.org or at (517) 203-5027.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul

Summer 2013 news and events

I hope everyone had a safe Independence Day holiday. I have taken to using the Independence Day tag as it truly reflects the nature of the day. My family has not been in this country long enough to have been through the fight to gain the independence that we so richly cherish. However it’s that freedom and independent mindset that caused my family to come to this country and we are proud to be part of the fabric of America

There is not too much going on the Local 724 front. Several units are currently in contract talks or will be shortly. With the passage of the Right-to-Work legislation, it will make our quest for fair and equitable treatment for our membership more difficult. We support our brothers and sisters who are going through the process in bringing back a contract that treats them with respect and dignity.

The recent hall remodel project left the grounds in need of major repair. There were several spots that needed more topsoil and had to be seeded. Well are glad to say that the grass is growing and the first stage is complete. We still have a few more items to undertake but for now the outside is looking great. We tip our hat to Mark Titus, the “Keeper of the Hall.” Mark has taken upon himself to make the ground project his mission. He made sure the grounds were leveled off, tirelessly seeded and watered to the point it is hard to even see any signs of the ground disturbance. We must also thank former Vice-President and current UAW Region 1-C Servicing Rep Tony Chandler for arranging the delivery of the necessary topsoil. Tony also spent some of his own time in preparing the ground for the project.

The recent Local 724 Golf Outing was again a great time. There are pictures of the outing on the Local 724 website atwww.uawlocal724.org. Many thanks go out to Local 724 Recreation Chair Todd Collins for all his efforts in putting the event together. Also thanks go out the volunteers who helped, Terri Niblock, Local 724 Trustee, and Shawn Dansby, Local 724 Recording Secretary.

Also on the Recreation front, the Local 724 picnic will again be at Valhalla Park located at 4000 Keller Road in Holt. The event will be on August 24 from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Plan on attending with your family and call the Local if you would like to volunteer

On May 14, 2015, UAW Local 724 will be 75 years old. We are planning an event to commemorate the occasion. We have a rich and diverse history in our local. We are looking for anyone who has items they would like to share with the rest of the membership for the event; please contact the local. Because an event of this magnitude will be a major undertaking we are also looking for volunteers who would like to help plan the event. Again, please contact the local or me if you are interested.

As you can see, the local or the union movement and spirit is not gone due to the ill sighted Right to Work legislation. Speaking of myself, I have a stronger resolve in my beliefs in the union movement. I first joined a union over forty years ago and I will not go down to the shortsighted beliefs of those who have never respected us in the first place. When they cry out it is a matter of choice—I made my choice. I am union and proud to say so.

May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

May 2013: Doing good
As we pen (or type) this, the snow is finally gone, but the April showers are still chilling to the body and soul. Until we see the buds on the trees and hear the roar of the lawnmower, we will reserve judgment on the celebration of spring with open arms.
Back to the theme from the last article: Right to Work. I don’t think it’s right for Michigan, right for the middle class, and mostly not right for our families. Check out stats from other RTW states and you will see lower wages, less affordable health care, higher poverty rates and less money from our payroll taxes going to education, the roads, and our environment. That is just my humble opinion, but hopefully one shared by many of you as well. As the saying goes, stay tuned for more details as they become available
Switching to our community, there are several items coming up. The Mystic Lake Union Camp Committee has been meeting and has granted scholarships to some union affiliated kids already. We are a little behind in our donations, so please contact Dean at 517-203-5027 for information about donating either as a Local Union and/or Unit or as a member. Additionally scholarship forms are also available.
On May 11 the largest one-day food drive in the country is happening. In its 20th year, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Food Drive continues to help fill up America’s food banks right before school is let out. With many of our children depending on getting a breakfast and lunch at school, they continue to have a need when school lets out and the cupboard is bare. So please put out some non-perishable items, if you can, to help out our community. The donations go to the Greater Lansing Food Bank and then are distributed to area food pantries. The NALC Food Drive has been in the Lansing area for 19 out of the 20 years and has been blessed with many wonderful volunteers. The group that has faithfully worked the day in the downtown and west Lansing area happens to be all union members who give their day to help out. Their selfless act helps feed families that are dependent on the pantries to sustain their families.
On May 22 the annual Volunteers of America (VOA) Homeless Veterans Stand Down will again be taking place at Adado Riverfront Park. First, the fact that the words “homeless” and “veterans” are mentioned in the same sentence is troubling enough.
It should be against the law to say them together. But until that happens we applaud the efforts of the VOA in sponsoring the event. The UAW Region 1-C Veterans Association has been very active in their participation with the event and will again this year. You can help by collecting personal needs items and dropping them off at the hall. We will make sure that the items get to the vets.
On June 22 the annual UAW Local 724 golf outing will be held at Centennial Acres in Sunfield. Check with your Unit Chair or the hall for a registration form. Also check the Local 724 website, www.uawlocal724.org, for more info.
Speaking of checking on the website or the hall or Chair, check for details about the Local 724 picnic.
Recently the Bharat Forge was approved for the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. The TAA roll-out happened in April and will allow the membership to get some enhanced benefits in their quest for the next path in their employment. In their proud and lengthy history the Unit has served their members and the Local with pride and dignity. We consider it an honor to have known many of them and wish them good luck.
Recently the Delta Dental and Huntsman Units ratified new collective bargaining agreements. With the looming RTW deadline, they were able to negotiate a fair agreement to bring back to their respective memberships.
We wish to send our thoughts and prayers to former Local 724 Executive Board member Juan Villastrigo on the passing of his wife last month. Juan was the Unit Chair for Bodycote, formerly Lindberg Heat Treat, until it closed. Juan also served the membership as the
Local Civil and Human Rights Chair.
Last month the membership approved moving the Local monthly meetings to 5:00 pm. Hopefully this will allow ample time for folks to come to the meeting, then tuck the kids into bed for the evening. The meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month and usually we suspend the meetings for July and August. Hope to see you there.
In May of 1940, UAW Local 724 was chartered. In the proud history of our Local we have seen many highs along with some lows. In 2015 we will be celebrating our 75th Anniversary as a Local Union. There have been some initial plans for an event to commemorate the event. We are looking for active and retired members who would like to help plan the event or have items to share from their history at the Local. Contact the Local at 517-482-7377 if you want to be involved.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

January 2013: My right to work
First and foremost we hope everyone had a peaceful and joyous holiday season. Time spent away from work and with loved ones can be very therapeutic. Even though we seem to have more activities this time of the year, when they are spent with family and friends it is worth the added confusion. We can only hope that 2013 brings good times and better days to you and yours.
After the last article the labor movement was given the proverbial kick in the hindquarters by the Governor and the Republican majority in the House and Senate with enacting the so-called “right to work” legislation. I use the term so-called because I have had the right to work since I started collecting a paycheck over 40 years ago. Also a point of clarification is that some Republican legislators did cross the aisle to vote the law down.
At this juncture the actual ramifications of the legislation are being reviewed in union halls, regional offices, and International offices. Therefore in order to make sure we are all singing out of the same hymnal, the Local is awaiting direction on the law. As soon as we have some time to digest the ramifications, we will make sure that all the units get information.
Here are just a few thoughts in my humble opinion. They say it is matter of choice. Why do folks seek employment in a setting that is unionized in the first place? It is because the wages, benefits, and working conditions are for the most part better, which allows families to live the American dream of a better life. We made the choice when we sought employment in these workplaces knowing there are obligations that entail paying union dues every month for the benefits we receive. Is it a perfect system? No, but it is better than the alternative of not having a representative advocating for my rights as a working person.
Another thing struck my curious nature during the media frenzy about the “right to work” issue. The Chamber of Commerce, usually not on the side of working people and unions, said that they didn’t have an opinion on the issue. Then they changed their stance and came out in support and again mentioned the word “choice.”
With that mindset I am curious if a business that belongs to the chamber and pays their dues, chooses to no longer pay dues but still expect to receive all the benefits the Chamber offers, what will be the Chamber’s reaction? After all, whether union dues or Chamber dues,
if their stance is choice and still get
the service, if they refuse a non-
dues payer or “free loader,” is that not a double standard and shoots holes in their policy?
It is time to move on to a Local 724 update. The Christmas party at the Local was again a success and well attended. The Local 724 Women’s Committee Chair Debra Mills and her committee of elves decorated the hall in a festive mood, had some great activities, some treats, and made sure that every child that visited with Santa got a toy.
A special thanks goes out to Mary Holmer, who continues to remain active in the Committee activities even though she has been laid off.
The Old Newsboys sale went great again this year. Although the total was slightly less than last year, we still collected over $2,000 when the Unit sales, Local donation and some Local sales were all accounted for.
The “Christmas Tree of Warmth” again was full of donations. Many of the donations were again handmade hats, mittens, and scarves so the warmth they will provide were also knitted with an extra helping of warmth and love.
Recently the workers at the General Motors Lansing Grand River facility who perform non-production related maintenance duties voted to join the UAW. This Unit along with the current JLL-Drayton and JLL-TEAM Units perform various duties within the LGR facility and saw the benefits of joining the UAW. The JLL-LGR Unit recently elected a committee and will be working on getting a collective bargaining agreement.
The Bharat Forge Unit met with some resource providers recently at the Hall to explore what lies in the future. While there have been members looking at retiring, many of the members still look to continue working. We are asking if anyone has any job leads, please forward them to me and I will make sure we get them to the membership. I can be reached at 517-203-5027 or deanpoggiali@yahoo.com.
As 2013 is upon us with some uncertainty, I am confident that the labor movement will still be a force to reckon with. Having joined a union over forty years ago, my family has seen the difference in our lives by paying our way. I look at the fact we pay to have insurance on our dwellings, insurance on our vehicles, and in many cases have life insurance to help provide for our families. I equate my union dues as not a choice but my paying on insurance on my job.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

December 2012: Big news
It has been a while since we last updated things at the Local, so we can start with the most recent development. The Local underwent some major building improvements. Over the years we have experienced issues with rain runoff going into the building. Sometimes the overflow would go into the hallways and work its way into the meeting rooms. The parking lot has a slight crown to it and that tends to compound the issue.
Bids were received and the work was started after Labor Day. It involved digging around the perimeter of the building, putting in new drain tile, installing a water barrier on the outside, and a sump pump. As the project was in the middle of the renovation, we experienced some rain and it appears as though we have weathered the storm, if you can excuse the bad pun.
The next phase will be to install a new furnace and air conditioning unit. This will upgrade our system and will allow for increased costs savings going forward. With the new energy efficient units we can expect a warmer and cooler building during the appropriate seasons.
Both of these projects were done by union contractors. The Local 724 Executive Board believed it was important to support the organized labor movement and seek bids from unionized contractors.
The last project will be done in conjunction with our neighbor to the north, UAW Local 652. The parking lot will be seeing some work in filling in the cracks and also getting a reseal as well. Just wanted to update everyone as to what the old building is going through. Also as a point of reference, the current Local 724 building at one point was the hall for Local 652.
The Local 724 picnic was held in August at a new venue, Valhalla Park in Delhi Township. We had a glorious day to spend with family, co-workers, and friends. The kids were able to play some games, get some goodies and have some wide-open spaces to run around. The Recreation Chair, Todd Collins, again had plenty of prizes for the raffles so the event is always a thing to look forward to. Planning is already underway for the next picnic and volunteers are always needed, so call the Local if you are interested.
The JLL-Drayton Unit recently elected a new Unit chair, Trish Trammell. The Unit has been meeting on a regular basis and is working to make sure the membership has a voice in the workplace.
The Bridgewater Unit started contract talks and is looking to improve the well-being of the membership. They have picked up some new work and will undoubtedly be working hard to incorporate some new ideas into their second contract. Good luck to the committee in their efforts.
Speaking of adding some members, the Alliance, Bridgewater, Dakkota, JLL-Drayton, JLL-TEAM, RSDC and Woodbridge Units have seen some more work head their way. Some of this is attributed to the addition of a second shift to the Lansing Grand River General Motors facility.
This brings an interesting correlation. If not for the efforts of President Obama to help preserve the domestic auto industry, many of these opportunities would not exist. In fact, if not for this strategy, many of the current jobs may have been greatly reduced as well. This is an extreme contradiction from President Obama’s opposition, Mitt Romney. Candidate Romney was in the mindset to let Detroit go bankrupt. The very fact that this shortsighted attitude could have cost millions of Americans their way of life should cement the idea that he is not the right person to lead our country.
Remember, the UAW screens candidates on the issues that affect our ability to provide for our families through the work we do. The recommendations are just that—recommendations—and should be looked at objectively. That is why it is critical for us to vote this November. We must review the list of recommended candidates with our families, neighbors, and co-workers to make the choices that will allow us to function as the working class.
Also make sure that the whole ballot is reviewed. There will be three Michigan Supreme Court seats up for election. It is critical that we have judges in the court that will be hearing cases based on their merits, not on who is the most powerful lobbyist. There will several ballot proposals that will also appear. The most important one for union folks is the proposal to protect collective bargaining rights. By insuring that we have a voice in the workplace, we can make sure we are paid fair wages, receive benefits, work safely, and have a recourse in the event of being unjustly treated.
If you have any questions concerning anything that will be on the ballot, please call the local and we will try to help answer your questions. If we can’t answer them, then we will look to get them answered.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your
soul.

September 2012: Sprucing up the local
It has been a while since we last updated things at the Local, so we can start with the most recent development. The Local underwent some major building improvements. Over the years we have experienced issues with rain runoff going into the building. Sometimes the overflow would go into the hallways and work its way into the meeting rooms. The parking lot has a slight crown to it and that tends to compound the issue.
Bids were received and the work was started after Labor Day. It involved digging around the perimeter of the building, putting in new drain tile, installing a water barrier on the outside, and a sump pump. As the project was in the middle of the renovation, we experienced some rain and it appears as though we have weathered the storm, if you can excuse the bad pun.
The next phase will be to install a new furnace and air conditioning unit. This will upgrade our system and will allow for increased costs savings going forward. With the new energy efficient units we can expect a warmer and cooler building during the appropriate seasons.
Both of these projects were done by union contractors. The Local 724 Executive Board believed it was important to support the organized labor movement and seek bids from unionized contractors.
The last project will be done in conjunction with our neighbor to the north, UAW Local 652. The parking lot will be seeing some work in filling in the cracks and also getting a reseal as well. Just wanted to update everyone as to what the old building is going through. Also as a point of reference, the current Local 724 building at one point was the hall for Local 652.
The Local 724 picnic was held in August at a new venue, Valhalla Park in Delhi Township. We had a glorious day to spend with family, co-workers, and friends. The kids were able to play some games, get some goodies and have some wide-open spaces to run around. The Recreation Chair, Todd Collins, again had plenty of prizes for the raffles so the event is always a thing to look forward to. Planning is already underway for the next picnic and volunteers are always needed, so call the Local if you are interested.
The JLL-Drayton Unit recently elected a new Unit chair, Trish Trammell. The Unit has been meeting on a regular basis and is working to make sure the membership has a voice in the workplace.
The Bridgewater Unit started contract talks and is looking to improve the well-being of the membership. They have picked up some new work and will undoubtedly be working hard to incorporate some new ideas into their second contract. Good luck to the committee in their efforts.
Speaking of adding some members, the Alliance, Bridgewater, Dakkota, JLL-Drayton, JLL-TEAM, RSDC and Woodbridge Units have seen some more work head their way. Some of this is attributed to the addition of a second shift to the Lansing Grand River General Motors facility.
This brings an interesting correlation. If not for the efforts of President Obama to help preserve the domestic auto industry, many of these opportunities would not exist. In fact, if not for this strategy, many of the current jobs may have been greatly reduced as well. This is an extreme contradiction from President Obama’s opposition, Mitt Romney. Candidate Romney was in the mindset to let Detroit go bankrupt. The very fact that this shortsighted attitude could have cost millions of Americans their way of life should cement the idea that he is not the right person to lead our country.
Remember, the UAW screens candidates on the issues that affect our ability to provide for our families through the work we do. The recommendations are just that—recommendations—and should be looked at objectively. That is why it is critical for us to vote this November. We must review the list of recommended candidates with our families, neighbors, and co-workers to make the choices that will allow us to function as the working class.
Also make sure that the whole ballot is reviewed. There will be three Michigan Supreme Court seats up for election. It is critical that we have judges in the court that will be hearing cases based on their merits, not on who is the most powerful lobbyist. There will several ballot proposals that will also appear. The most important one for union folks is the proposal to protect collective bargaining rights. By insuring that we have a voice in the workplace, we can make sure we are paid fair wages, receive benefits, work safely, and have a recourse in the event of being unjustly treated.
If you have any questions concerning anything that will be on the ballot, please call the local and we will try to help answer your questions. If we can’t answer them, then we will look to get them answered.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your
soul.

May 2012: We are in motion!
Let me first apologize for my laziness in preparing an article for the Lansing Labor News website on a monthly basis. There is no excuse for not properly keeping the lines of communication open. When we had the monthly deadline for the paper version, it seems as though my gray matter reacted more timely.
A few updates from the Local. John Bramble was elected as the Local 724 Sergeant-at-Arms earlier this year. John has served on the Executive Board previously and is also the Local Health & Safety Standing Committee Chair. John has also served in a variety of roles as an elected person from his Unit, RSDC. Normally we would welcome John aboard, but due to his involvement he never left. Congrats are still in order,
albeit late.
Jane Woodbury was recently elected to the position of the JLL-Drayton Unit Chair. Jane is relatively new to the union process, so we will make sure that we can help her learn about the Local.
The IMPCO Unit recently ratified a new contract. The Unit has seen its share of difficulties. Our sincere hope is that the management will be able to secure new work for the membership.
The Region recently conducted some training about the petition drive to help secure signatures that will look to place a collective bargaining initiative on the ballot. This measure will make sure that we have protections from the misguided legislation we are currently seeing by our State legislators. In order to sign the petition you must be a registered voter. We have the petitions at the Local and many of our Unit leadership have also attended the training and have the petitions in your worksite.
As stated above, many of the pieces of legislation being passed in Lansing don’t do anything but create an unfair playing field for working people. Our ability to provide for our families is constantly being eroded.
The thing that irks many of us is that the changes have not been done to create jobs. They are punitive measures that are clearly being structured by the right wing and business concerns.
By signing the petition we can work at leveling the playing field. Remember the 2010 elections were decided by only 46% of the registered voters actually getting out voting. This is not acceptable this fall. We can’t let 2010 be repeated in 2012.
Changing gears, the Volunteers of America will again be holding a Homeless Veterans Stand Down on May 23 at Riverfront Park. The event connects services with veterans who need some assistance to cope with a variety of issues. They can access legal assistance, health professionals, veteran’s services, job related services, and haircuts, to name a few. One way we can help is by dropping off travel- or trail-size items such as shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and like items. You can drop off items at the hall and we will make sure they get to the project. The UAW Region 1-C Veterans Association participates by manning the grill to cook the food for the participants. It should not be permitted to utter a phrase that has homeless and veterans in the same sentence.
Another way we can assist in the community is by being involved with the National Association of Letter Carriers’ annual food drive. The event is on May 12 and allows us to put nonperishable items by our mailbox to be picked up and then transported to the central food bank. There are several ways to help. One, you can put food by the mailbox; second, you can work on the 12th at a variety of locations; and lastly, you can help sort the donations after the event. Please call me at 517-203-5027 if you are interested.
The UAW National Independent Parts Suppliers (IPS) Conference was held recently in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference provided the delegates the opportunity to be proactive in the course of the sector within the UAW. There were workshops, panel discussions, testimonials from workers being mistreated by their management, and thought-provoking discussion.
One of the highlights on top of the aforementioned items was the appearance of Danny Glover. The actor best known for his acting roles is a community and social activist of the highest level. Danny discussed the need to engage on a more thorough and passionate level with our communities. He challenged us to return to the grassroots level to take back the community we have helped create.
It will not easy, but in order to have
a meaningful and prosperous middle class we must start now. Many of the changes needed may not be fulfilled in our work lives, but the ability to impact our children and grandchildren is sorely needed.
Many thanks go to UAW Vice-President Cindy Estrada and her staff for arranging the conference. Even without the inspiring words of Danny Glover, the delegates were exposed to a world of information to bring back home.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

January 2012: Moving on to 2012
Although we are in the Michigan winter season, we have received only a taste of the winter weather. As we get older the fight is more difficult and tedious, but we persevere nonetheless. On the flip side the vision of a fresh layer of snow on Christmas morning does the soul good.
By the time this is published we hope that the season was filled with good times and joy with you and yours. With still some uncertainty for many Americans, we hope the true meaning of the season can find its way into their soul and that 2012 will bring a new sense of well-being.
On the Local scene, we had a tremendous sale of the Old Newsboys spoof paper at our Units. Over $1,400 was collected by our worksites. This outpouring will allow many area children to have the shoes and boots they need to go to school every day. Thanks to all the members who donated and who help with the sales.
The Christmas tree in the hall is filled with donations of scarves, hats, and mittens, many of which are handmade. The Women’s committee, Chaired by Debra Mills, has made this an annual cause and we make sure that the donations are then distributed to those in need.
Along the same mindset of our generosity, the annual Toys for Tots drive was again a success. We had close to 150 donations that were then taken to get out to the community. Again we can’t thank everyone enough for their donations. We do wish to extend special thanks to the Huntsman Unit and their super shoppers, Pam Kissane and Teresa Klockziem. The Lear and Woodbridge Units also were instrumental in the huge outpouring.
Re-energizing the retiree chapter
Faye Harris, the new Local 724 Retiree Chapter Chair, is asking for current contact information for any
Local 724 retirees. Faye is looking to re-energize the Retiree Chapter and is looking for like-minded individuals. Please leave your name, address, and contact information at the Local at 482-7377 and we will make sure it gets to Faye.
We wish to pass our condolences to the family of Joe Sevenski, who served as President of the Local from June, 1965 to May of 1981. Joe will be remembered for his faith, family, dedication to his country, and his stories, which were endless.
In a reflection of the season, let us keep those in need in our thoughts and prayers. The troops who protect our freedom should be thanked at every opportunity.
Let family know that they are important to us in every way. In spite of all the negativity and difficult times, we still live in the greatest country in the world.
May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

December 2011: Updates and outlooks

Just a few updates from the Local. The Alliance Unit ratified a new bargaining agreement by a 58% to 42% margin. They made some adjustments in language and wages. It is heartening to know that for this contract they didn’t need to walk the picket line.

The Women’s Committee had a wonderful “Trunk or Treat” event recently. There were around 100 kids that participated and they all had a great time. The Women’s Committee took notes and has already been in discussion about how to make the event next year just as successful. Congrats to Women’s Committee Chair Deb Mills and all the Committee for their hard work. Additionally, we would like to thank Local 724 member and City of Lansing Council candidate Jason Wilkes for helping with cooking the hot dogs.

The Local 724 Christmas Party will be on December 17 from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Please join us for activities for children, desserts, punch, and coffee. And Santa will be here! This is sponsored by the Women’s and Recreation Committees and is for active and retired Local 724 members and their families. It will be at the local hall, 450 Clare Street in Lansing.

There is a box in the hall for Toys for Tots donations again this year. Please bring your new unwrapped toy to the hall during regular business hours so that we can pass on some joy to deserving kids in the area.

We also have partnered with the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) to collect coats for the community. The APRI Youth have taken on this initiative in their goal to make our community better. Please bring your usable coat donation again to the hall during regular business hours.

The Local and many of our Units  participated again with the Old Newsboys drive this year. The sale of the spoof paper was on Thursday, December 1. The sale is by donation and allows the Old Newsboys to purchase shoes and boots for deserving youth in the community.

There is a constant theme with the above events. It is our members giving of their time, donating money and items, and increasing awareness of what we do. As we are attacked in the media, in the community, or by friends and family, let us remind them that we are a social movement and we do things for the right reasons, not for the glory and self-satisfaction of the one percent.

We mentioned Jason Wilkes earlier. We offer our sincere kudos in his effort to represent the people of the Third Ward of Lansing on City Council. Jason was running against an incumbent who had the backing of the Chamber of Commerce, who are no friend of labor. We don’t always like moral victories, but Jason will again be heard from as we go forward in City of Lansing politics, undoubtedly.

Touching on politics for a moment, we are about to go on a whirlwind of unprecedented media and barrage of mailers and ads for next year’s election. Organized labor is still being targeted by the forces that wish we were but a footnote in the annals of history. I know many people say they don’t want to be involved in politics, but our everyday lives are impacted by politics. We are not talking about the national or state levels, but things as varied as sewer rates, road improvements, our schools, not having items priced at the stores, to name a few.

This only reinforces the notion of being well versed in the issues from all sides. Many of the stories are only told from the slant of the other side, without our side having a seat at the table. The other side may have the money, but we have the numbers and horsepower. That is why it is important for us to make sure that everyone within our inner circle is registered to vote and then gets out to vote.

Another way to help within Michigan is by renewing our voluntary V-CAP dues check-off. By renewing our check-offs every year we enable candidates from Michigan to have the ability to utilize money for their campaigns here versus elsewhere. Many things are decided on a national basis, but when it comes to our livelihood and our futures, we need to make sure we get worker-friendly candidates from Michigan elected.

With that being said, we hope that you have a joyous holiday season spent with family and friends. In 2012 we must energize like we haven’t in a while to insure that the middle class doesn’t disappear.

May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

September 2011: Fall activities

With the fall season upon us, we must reconfigure our internal clocks and gyroscope to deal with the cooler temperatures, shorter amounts of daylight, falling leaves, and preparing for the inevitable: winter!!! No matter how many winters we have encountered, the impending cold, snow, and ice are never easy to rationalize.

However we didn’t need to do that at the Local 724 picnic held a few weeks ago. The day started out a little rough with some overcast skies and few sprinkles, but progressed into a wonderful time for the those who attended. Plans are already underway for next year, so please contact Recreation Chair Todd Collins if you would like to help. Thanks to all those who volunteered. Special thanks to Ron Dean, Dakkota Unit Chair, for helping to secure many of the food items. Many thanks also to Region 1-C CAP Coordinator Art Luna, who was on hand with V-CAP check-offs, V-CAP tickets, and the Chevy Silverado that will be this year’s raffle prize.

But before we get to that, there are a few things we need to look forward to in the fall. The Local 724 Women’s Committee is working on plans to conduct another “Trunk or Treat.” This year they hope to have more participants and make it better than last year’s undertaking.

We also will be seeing more activity at the hall as many Units have started with their monthly Unit meetings. The increased activity will also allow more members to meet our new janitor, Mark Titus. Mark started last month and has been acclimating himself with the activities at the hall. Mark is a retiree from Melling Drop Forge and was active at the Local and his Unit. If you see Mark, welcome him to the family.

At the September membership meeting, the following were appointed to open positions at the local:

· Local Technical, Office, & Professional (TOP) delegate to the Region 1-C TOP Council, Jane Gibbard from Delta Dental.

· Union Label Chair is Joe Velasquez. Joe is from the Lear Unit.

· Gail Harris is the new Veterans Chair. Gail was involved with the Region 1-C Veterans Association previously from his worksite, Bridgewater Interiors.

· Our new Skilled Trades delegate is Mike Serna. Mike is from the Bharat Forge Unit and has been active with his Unit. Mike will be the source for journeyman card applications and apprentice programs.

· Faye Harris, retiree of Bridgewater, will be representing the Local on retiree matters. Faye will be contacting Unit Chairs soon to reenergize the Local 724 Retirees Chapter.

· The new appointee to our Community Service Committee is really an old one. Yours truly will again serve the membership as it concerns community services. For those unaware, my full time position as the Labor Liaison to the Capital Area United Way from the Capital Area UAW CAP Council has allowed me not to stray too far from the community service realm.

We offer our thanks to all those who have volunteered to serve the membership. If you have any questions for these folks or for any of our other standing committees, please call the Local.

We recently held an election for the vacant Second Vice-President position. Aaron Slates, Bridgewater, won and will be installed at the October monthly meeting.

After going back to the table, the RSDC Unit was able to bring a contract back to the membership and it was ratified. There were some wage increases, language revisions and many membership issues addressed. Congratulations to the RSDC Unit for a new agreement

As we are still struggling as a nation, state and region, we must not lose sight of the nearsighted policies from the Bush administration that caused us to spiral in a negative direction. The partisan bickering in Washington and the attacks on working people in Lansing have put the middle class on high alert. We can’t continue to let these soapbox demonstrations and lack of compassion for working people move forward.

Next year we must muster up all the energy we can to make sure the far right agenda is not taken to another term. We can help do this by re-signing up for V-CAP check-off; if not registered to vote, registering and then following up and VOTING; and making sure that you understand the candidate’s platform and not just the sound bites we see in passing.

We have the opportunity to make sure our voice is heard by exercising our right to vote. When we think of the hardships that some of the world’s people have to endure in order to vote, we must not let anything stand in our way to exercise that right. With the contractual language that allows many of us to have the Election Day off, let’s make sure to plan ahead. I know this is over a year away, but we must plan now for our future.

May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

September 2011: Positive news for our local

School is upon our children and grandchildren. It seems like just yesterday we attended the end of school year activities, graduation and the much anticipated school’s out. But this also means that for many of us the football season is also anticipated for our Friday nights, Saturday afternoons and Sunday all day.

There has been some positive news within the Local. Bharat Forge, Huntsman, IMPCO, and RSDC have been calling back some laid-off members. In some cases the members have been laid off up to two years. This is a positive step for our respective Units as they are starting to pick up some work and hopefully stability for the membership and their families.

We have alluded to the fact that many of the Local Units have been or will be in contract talks. The Dimondale Nursing Care Center (DNCC) Unit recently ratified a new agreement. They were able to secure some much needed contract language changes on some major issues. There were wage increases, improved language for job bidding and job posting to name a few. Congratulations to the membership for the perseverance.

Alliance Interiors will enter talks in September. They have been proactively engaging the membership by circulating a bargaining survey, discussing hot issues at their monthly meetings and working at filling Unit level committee positions. We offer them our support as well.

As of the time of composition, the RSDC Unit was still hoping to ratify their agreement. Some issues remain unresolved, with hopes to find fair and equitable results. We hope that the necessary adjustments can be made for the mutual of all the parties.

On August 6, under some cloudy skies and sprinkles, the Local golf outing commenced. There were teams representing many of our Units, along with some retirees. The big money hole-in-one sponsors were UAW Region 1-C Director Norwood Jewell for $10,000 and Graff Chevrolet provided a new Chevy Traverse made here in Lansing by Local 602 and 724 members. Graff also put in a team as well. Thanks to our sponsors, the golfers, Centennial Acres Golf Course, and volunteers Teri Niblock and David Levine who sold 50/50 tickets and watched the money holes. Also a big shout out to Local 724 Recreation Chair Todd Collins for his work in organizing the event.

The Local retiree team consisted of former Local Financial Secretaries Dave McClelland and Donn Jenkins, former veterans Chair Mark Titus, and recently retired again hall janitor Stan Walker. Dave was from Lindell Drop Forge, while Donn, Mark and Stan worked at Melling Forging. We mention this because our retirees have been a source of history, knowledge and inspiration for many of us over the years. Stan faithfully served the membership as “keeper of the hall” for the last ten years or so. We knew the building was in good hands with Stan. He took it personal to keep things operating in light of the varied schedule the Local has. We can’t thank him enough and only wish him the best in his second retirement.

We are seeing some our Units conducting their V-CAP check-off drives, along with pledge drives for the Capital Area United Way. Our membership steps up to make sure we have the necessary resources to support those who support us. If you would like to donate to V-CAP, please see one of your Unit committee.

With our participation in the worksite United Way drives, it against shows that our members have taken social responsibility on a personal level. The UAW has always been at the forefront of being a social movement and making sure we help the community in our actions, deeds, and our donations. Thanks to all who donate their time and precious dollars to help.

What better way to cap off the summer, than with the Local 724 picnic. The event will be held on Saturday, September 10 from noon until 6:00 p.m. at Delta Township’s Sharp Park, located behind the Lansing Mall. Please bring the family for food, fun and friendship on the 10th. Volunteers are always needed and welcomed, so please leave your name and contact information with the hall at 482-7377.

We referred to our volunteer our time and our dollars in service to our families, our community and our union. We are reminded of the most prophetic words of Walter Reuther that illustrates this so succinctly: “There is no greater calling than to serve your brother. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.”

Thanks to all for their unselfish service.

July 2011: V-CAP is critical

As we have encountered some harsh heat conditions, I am blaming my absence of an article on the fact that I ventured outside without a hat too many times. The sun must have baked some the remaining gray matter I have.

On the Local front, the RSDC Unit is still in the quest for a new contract. As it stands today, the extension is until August 26.

The Dimondale Nursing Care Center recently ratified a new agreement. As soon as we have more details we will update everyone.

Alliance Interiors will be in talks later this summer or early fall.

IMPCO has a one-year extension to their agreement and have called several members back.

Please save the date for the Local 724 picnic on September 10 at Sharp Park, located behind the Lansing Mall. Hopefully by then the construction will slow down in order for us to utilize Saginaw a little more. If you would like to volunteer for the day or a portion of it, please call the hall at 482-7377 and leave your name and contact information.

Some Units are also conducting their V-CAP drives as well. Please contact your Unit Chair or one of your committee members for more information and a check-off card. The top prize in the drawing next February will be a Flint-built Chevy Silverado.

Although the tenor of the political atmosphere has calmed somewhat, please don’t let your guard down. Every day a piece of legislation is signed by the Governor that chips away at collective bargaining rights, specifically with the public sector. We must be diligent in our awareness that many of the changes that are being made will impact working families in a variety of ways. The erosion of collective bargaining, both public and private sector, will effectively make us unable to bargain at the table.

That is why contributing to V-CAP is very critical. Our voluntary contributions can help elect worker- friendly candidates to advocate on the behalf of working families. If you are having the deduction currently, please consider re-signing your check-off. By re-signing every year regardless of a change in the amount, it allows the money to be used here in Michigan to help us with the struggle.

Speaking of politics, the Capital Area UAW CAP Council held some screenings recently for the upcoming City Council races. For the at-large positions the Council recommended endorsement of Derrick Quinney and Carol Wood. In Ward 1 the endorsement of Jody Washington was recommended. In the Third Ward, Jason Wilkes was the recommendation. Jason is a UAW Local 724 member, working at Bridgewater Interiors and recently appointed a Local 724 CAP delegate. If you live in the city, please consider these recommendations as you go vote. Derrick, Carol and Jody will have elections in the primary on August 2, while Jason’s election is in the general election on November 8.

In closing, as we reflect on those who received our recommended endorsement, a quote by Cesar E. Chavez comes to mind. “Grant me the courage to serve others; for in service there is true life.” So whether we serve our families, our faith or communities, our union or our country: May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul and thank you for your service.

June 2011: Get America back on track

An update concerning two Local 724 summer events: The Local 724 Golf Outing has been changed to August 6 at Centennial Acres and the Local 724 picnic is September 10 at Sharp Park. More information will be available at the work sites and on the local 724 website: www.uawlocal724.org.

The new Local 724 office hours will be from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Friday.

The IMPCO unit recently ratified a one-year extension to their bargaining agreement. Here’s hoping that this is the sign of things looking up for the IMPCO membership.

If anyone has a loved one in the military and would like to get their photo on the Local website, please e-mail the photo if possible to my attention at d.poggiali@uawlocal724.org. Please include the name, rank, branch of service, whether a member or relationship to a member, and if stationed overseas. As we gather these we will post them with the information to honor these American heroes.

We also send well-wishes to Lear Unit member Sam Moreno, who is about to leave for duty in Afghanistan. Sam served the local as Recording Secretary several years back.

As we have seen unprecedented attacks on working people and organized labor, it becomes abundantly clear that we don’t have many friends at the State Capitol here in Lansing. We hear the Governor’s tag line of “shared sacrifice” on a daily basis. However the citizens affected by these sacrifices have already shared some.

Whether it be a low wage income family that is eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the pensioner who lives on a fixed income, the school districts that are operating with old textbooks, crumbling infrastructure, the unemployed who are being asked to sacrifice even more, we are seeing a shift of the burden of recovery on those who are struggling to function in the economy today. The rally cry by those submitting the sacrifice measures is that the cuts are needed to give more tools for business to expand.

But where are the guarantees that business will expand, create more job opportunities, invest in our communities, and be good corporate community partners? There are no guarantees!

Conversely, the legion of the “sacrificed” can be guaranteed that pensions will be taxed, unemployment in the future will be reduced, and low income families will not be able to break the cycle of have not.

So as we continue to counterbalance these attacks, we must be willing to sacrifice our time, voice, and energy to help those that are without a voice. Whenever possible speak to your legislator, attend the rallies, get informed on the issues, and sign up for V-CAP check-off which helps elect worker-friendly candidates. Life’s journey begins with the first step. Let’s walk together to get America back on track.

In this most uncertain of times for working people we are reminded of a quote: “Be kinder than necessary because everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” Working people are in a battle, but we not be able to remain kind very much longer.

May 2011: Under attack

We still see the effects of winter linger, but spring is peeking around the corner. We saw a bluebird in the backyard just a bit ago, so maybe like robins it is a harbinger of spring.

The unprecedented attacks on working people—and union members in particular—has been something we haven’t seen during our lifetimes. The Republican majority in the State of Michigan is eroding the very fabric that has created the middle class.

We are cognizant that the state is in budget difficulty, but the fixes that are being proposed on the backs of working, middle-class families is mean-spirited and in some cases without justification.

The recent outpouring of union supporters over the Emergency Manager package was a prime example. The very thought of allowing the ability to remove elected officials on top of the slash and burning of the collective bargaining agreements is reprehensible.

The legislation smacks of unconstitutionality in the blatant disregard for our vote being counted. In many cases the misgivings of a school district and/or government entity is not the fault of a union contract or mismanagement.

That may be the case in some instances, but how is a school board to operate with diminished revenue from property taxes, aging infrastructure, and less per pupil funding?

And don’t even get us started on the unfunded mandates such as “No Child Left Behind.” Why would anyone want to serve in these capacities if the ability to govern is in jeopardy by this legislation?

Another attack has been on the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The Michigan credit is fixed at 20% of the eligible federal credit. Again we are aware that the budget is broke, but the citizens who benefit from this EITC are those families in the most jeopardy. These families will feed their families, pay rent and utilities, fix their vehicles, and end up being a catalyst for local spending and spurring local economies that reap the end result.

Here is a quote concerning the EITC that was in reference to the federal program, but the same thought process and principles apply: “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job-creation measure to come out of Congress.” These words were attributed to Ronald Reagan, a Republican who busted the Air Traffic Controllers union in 1981.

 The original legislation began as a federal program. President Gerald Ford signed the EITC into law in 1975. The EITC was expanded in 1986 during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, and President George H.W. Bush signed into law a further expansion of the EITC in 1990. Isn’t it ironic that the “new Republicans” have lost their social conscience today?

As we take a breath and refocus on the Local scene, the contract talks are completed with the JLL Unit. The Local 724 Unit members perform various functions at the Lansing Grand River General Motors facility. The Unit is comprised of members who work for a company named Drayton and another called TEAM. They will function uniquely as separate units, but will be considered the JLL Unit of the Local.

We also have several Units that will be in contract talks this year. The Alliance Interiors, Dimondale Nursing Care Center, IMPCO, and RSDC committees will be or have been meeting to formulate their strategy. We wish the best to our members in their quest for a fair contract.

Also we wish all those who are nominated and running for Local Union and Unit level offices the best of luck. We applaud everyone who has committed to helping out the union and their memberships.

Save the date for two Local 724 events. On July 23 the annual Local 724 Golf Outing will take place. Tentatively scheduled for September 10 is the Local 724 picnic. More information will be available at the worksites and on the 724 website: www.uawlocal724.org

The following was received as a text message: “I am a union employee. I am not the problem. We are not the enemy. If you’re jealous of our benefits, fight for your own. Not against ours. The rich who created this crisis are putting middle-class families against each other. We live here, pay taxes and work hard to support our families!” Thank you to whoever drafted this and keep spreading the message of solidarity, not just for unions, for working people across this great state and country.April, 2011: A dose of reality

   Although we are being tempted by spring-like temperatures, snow melting, and thoughts of outdoor enjoyment, reality sets in and we realize that we are in Michigan and we have snow until April sometimes.
   Another dose of reality is also prevalent as the Federal Government and the State of Michigan are about to embark on unprecedented budget cuts. We are realist in the fact that we can’t continue to go at the problem as if nothing is the matter. We must be diligent in our patience in allowing things to rectify our economy.
   However, when many of these projected cuts will impact the very members of society that need the safety net more now than ever, is it prudent to look elsewhere or make slight adjustments to all programs?
   There is a proposed movement to cut the funding for the Community Service Bloc Grants (CSBG). These grants are usually administered by the Community Action Agency (CAA) in a defined geographic area. The CAA administers the programs in the area and makes sure compliance measures are met. These programs in our area are the function of the Capital Area Community Services (CACS), which governs the Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Shiawassee county programs. The outreach by CACS ranges from government commodity foods to utility assistance, to emergency food, to foreclosure prevention, to free income tax preparation. CACS also is the Head Start provider in our area.
   The Head Start program alone is critical for many children to get the important guidance to start the formal learning process in balance. Many area children are able to succeed due to the programming and nurturing they receive as part of the Head Start curriculum.
   On the state level, the legislature is proposing to eliminate the State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC returns valuable monies back to the hardest hit of our citizens. These credits aren’t based on the number of cars you own, which exclusive club you belong to, or in what gated community you reside.
   As our state is just starting to get to feeling better, proposed cuts in the federal and state safety nets could be detrimental to those needing the most assistance. These credits amounted to approximately nine million dollars impacting the Ingham County economy alone. For more information on EITC and advocacy please visit: www.milhs.org/
   The Michigan League for Human Services is constantly at the forefront of raising the awareness of the critical issue concerning the impact of cuts on those in need.
   We can also let the White House know our feelings on the proposed CSBG cuts. Log on towww.whitehouse.gov. You will be directed to relay information on yourself and allowed to make a statement about critical issues impacting our communities.
   This form of advocacy can be done on a non-partisan basis as a member of the human community who feels the pain of our fellow citizens. We must not allow the voice of the oppressed to be silenced. These measures may end up going through, but if we remain silent, we may be the last ones standing. Then who will be the voice for us?
   May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.   

January 2011: "Dr. King saw our future"
   “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The late, great Dr. Martin Luther King spoke these words over 45 years ago. Isn’t it almost foreshadowing that these same words can apply to the situation that President Barack Obama is about to tackle with the newly elected House of Representatives and Senate?
   It appears as though Dr. King saw the future when he contemplated the dilemma that Americans would face. In the 50’s and 60’s the civil rights of Americans was a hot button issue with Dr. King leading the fight for equality. In 2011 the right to be civil by some Americans is being seriously challenged.
   The Republicans are licking their chops to overturn the health care reform legislation without offering a viable solution to fix the broken system. They clamor for smaller government and want to cut everything to the bone without offering a safety net for those who have fallen on difficult times, like those on unemployment. For those of us on unemployment or who have been on unemployment, we would rather work than face the specter of foreclosure, eviction, hungry children, utility shutoff, and a future of uncertainty.
   For the first time in over a decade Michigan is hopeful to add more workers than it loses in 2011. The economy began its downward spiral in 2000. We have lost over 860,000 jobs since that period. If my mind serves me, these years also reflect the Bush Administration. Additionally in 2009 there was a loss of 285,000 jobs. In 2010, after President Obama began to make some corrections, Michigan saw a loss of 34,700 jobs. With a renewed foothold of General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford, 2011 is predicted to add 6,300 more jobs, with the potential in 2012 of more than 48,000 workers added to the payroll.
   As we change our focus, our hat goes off to the Local 724 Women’s Committee for the wonderful Christmas party for kids. The stream of kids and their families was steady, with plenty of activities for them as well. They decorated cookies, made trail mix, and made ornaments, to name few of the activities. There was an opportunity to visit Santa and receive a present as well. We look forward to other events the Committee has in the works.
   Even though as we pen this, the snow has receded, we know that the throes of winter will continue for months to come. Many of our friends, family, and neighbors will struggle to pay their heating bill. One way to help is by participating in the annual Walk for Warmth put on by the Capital Area Community Services. The 21st annual walk will convene on February 26 at various locations in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Shiawassee counties. You can collect pledges and then walk or donate to someone who is planning to walk. Please either contact me at 517-203-5027 or link to information at http://www.cacs-inc.org/Walk4W.htm. 100% of the proceeds from the monies collected go to the program to heat those in need.
   In closing we wish to pose the following: 
   Will the promises made during the 2010 campaign by the right-wing Tea Party be realized or will they just blame someone else for their shortcomings?
   It is imperative that all the elected officials, whether Democratic, Independent or Republican, keep in mind what Dr. King uttered all those many years ago: “We must use time creatively ... and forever realize time is always ripe to do right.” 
   As Dr. King so eloquently said to another civil rights activist: “The fight for equality must be fought on many fronts—in the urban slums, in the sweatshops of the factories and fields. Our separate struggles are really one—a struggle for freedom, for dignity, and for humanity. You and your valiant fellow workers have demonstrated your commitment to righting grievous wrongs forced upon exploited people.” 
   The union movement should take these words to heart to champion our way of life and become exploited by those who think they have our best interests in mind. By following the words and wisdom of Dr. King and Cesar Chavez, the labor movement can continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

December 2010, "In the spirit of the season"
   As we embark on the holiday season, let us wish to you and yours a time spent with family, faith, food and fun. These last few years have been extremely difficult for many of us in the middle class. We encounter more issues on a daily basis than we could have even fathomed to deal with in our lifetimes. That is why it is important that we try to reflect on what we have versus what we don’t have. This may be a concept that is a struggle to realize. If we focus on life-sustaining qualities we can learn to cope with the daily grind.
   In the spirit of the holiday events, the Local will again have the hat, scarf, mitten, glove tree in the front hallway. We have already received donations so far. These handmade donations were sewn with love and the gift of warmth for those in need. We have donated these items to the Salvation Army so that they may be given to the folks who seek their services.
   We are also collecting for Toys for Tots again this year. At this juncture the pick-up time for the collection is uncertain, so please get them to the hall as soon as possible. We will forward any late arrivals to the appropriate resources as we have done in the past.
Also worth noting is the annual Old Newsboys “spoof” paper sales. The sale will be held on Thursday, December 2. Many of our worksites have participated in the past in this most worthy of causes. The collections again go the most deserving of kids who may go without proper shoes and/or boots to fight the snow and cold of the Michigan winters.
   Speaking of the causes we champion, the annual Capital Area United Way drives at many of our worksites have been tremendous. Several Local 724 worksites have exceeded the pledges from the previous year. Again our members have seen the need to help the community. Even with the tough economy the membership has stepped up to meet the challenge. Thanks to all those who have made pledges to help our community become a better place to live, work, and worship.
   I must beg forgiveness in my absentmindedness. The One Nation rally held in October in Washington DC was an experience that will live with this humble member for a lifetime. The literally thousands of likeminded participants believed that this is our America, not the special interests, the radical right wing or the Tea Party. As I talked to folks after the event the media slanted the visuals and the commentary to the detriment when comparing the One Nation event to the love-fest Glenn Beck held. A friend of mine from the media in Washington DC noticed that camera angles were less than flattering to the One Nation coverage. Although the bus ride was a rough go on the body, it was worth the weekend. We would like to recognize the following Local 724 members who we were aware made the trip: Debra, Karen, Lear, and Shelley from Dakkota; Jason from Bridgewater; Abeda and Gail from Delta Dental; Kristine from RSDC; Chris and family from the Lear Unit; former Vice President, past Huntsman Chair and current Region 1-C Servicing rep Tony Chandler, and yours truly. 
   In closing I would be remiss in not thanking our membership for their quality of workmanship, ability to adapt to all the challenges faced in today’s volatile economy, being UAW proud and contributing to the quality of life for our communities. Without our presence the middle class would be but a mere footnote in the annals of history. We stand to continue to increase our numbers as new work is placed within our borders. Although this is attributed to the General Motors facilities, the whole community feels the ripple of the impact.
   May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

Dean Poggiali's October 2010 article
   As the days are growing shorter, the evenings cooler, and the colors of fall are upon us, it also means we are into the political scene. Undoubtedly you have seen the multitude of ads for all the candidates and perhaps even changed the channel when they are on. But please remember one thing: there is a clear difference with the parties and the candidates. The Democratic Party has traditionally strived for legislation that helps working people like us. The basis for their beliefs has for the most part mirrored what the UAW is built upon.
   Please refer to the Local 724 website at www.uawlocal724.org for a listing of endorsed UAW Region 1-C candidates. Not only is it important that we are registered to vote, we must also exercise our constitutional right of the one person one vote.
   On the Local scene, the Bharat Forge and Delta Dental Units are in contract talks. The Delta talks are progressing along and there are some extensions that are being discussed. However, the Bharat Forge talks are a complete reverse. The last offer the company presented after several contract deadlines was overwhelmingly voted down. The concessionary tone by the company has been dominant throughout the talks and the committee has continued to maintain their stance for a fair and equitable agreement. Stay tuned for any updates
   The Local 724 Women’s Committee is planning an event called “Trunk or Treat.” The idea is to assemble a variety of vehicles in the parking lot at the hall and have kids go from trunk to trunk and get some treats. The event is planned for October 24 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Local, 450 Clare Street. Hope to see you and your kids and grandkids there.
   Additionally, the Women’s Committee investigated some possible agencies to donate some of the items left over from the Local 724 picnic. The EVE shelter, which provides shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence, received the donation. Thanks go out to Bridgewater Unit Chair Karac Brown and Kris Derry, Bridgewater Committeeperson, for delivering the donations to the shelter.
   In the same vein with helping out the community, we will again participate in both outreach efforts in upcoming months for the Toys for Tots and Old Newsboys collections. The Toys for Tots collection will commence in mid-October and the Old Newsboys sale day is Thursday, December 2.
   As we referenced the importance of the upcoming election, we are reminded of a quote by Franklin Delano Roosevelt: “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.” Remember, we didn’t get into the current situation overnight or as soon as the Obama Administration was elected. We must stay the course and don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater by electing those who don’t have working people in their interests.
   May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

Dean Poggiali's End of summer 2010 column
   As the dog days of summer are upon us, it is hard to believe that summer is drawing to a close. Although we extend our actual season till September, with the advent of back to school and football practice, we feel the time pass by.
   In the realm of summer, we would like to comment on the annual Local 724 Golf Outing. Twenty teams of Local 724 members, retirees, family members and friends descended on Centennial Acres Golf Course in Sunfield the first Saturday of August. Recreation Chair Todd Collins is to be commended again on the fine array of prizes for the golfers. Todd made sure that all the golfers felt welcome and was successful in securing hole-in-one sponsors for a Lansing built Chevy Traverse and a cash prize of $10,000.
   Thanks go to Region 1-C Director Norwood Jewell, Assistant Director Steve Dawes, and past Director Duane Zuckschwerdt, along with Graff Chevrolet for their generosity. Additionally, thanks go out to Carol Allen from RSDC and Dakkota Unit Chair Ron Dean for volunteering their time on the hole-in-one locations.
   We want to mention a recent event that the UAW Region 1-C Women’s Council held. They organized a backpack/school supply drive, then distributed the supplies to deserving children. See Debra Mills’ article for more on this.
   As we pen this, the Bharat Forge Unit is in the throes of contract talks. The discussions have yielded minimal sources of middle ground. The Unit has remained steadfast in their quest for a fair, respectful, and equitable contract. This proud membership has made moves in the past in order to show good faith in their desire to keep the doors open. The Unit, which is the oldest in the Local, remains unified in their continued quality of job, integrity of their convictions, and their solidarity of spirit in these most stressful of circumstances. Please keep these proud members in our hearts and prayers as they fight to keep their American dream alive.
   As we enter the political landscape of this November’s elections, please remain cognizant that the current administration was saddled with a burden of deficit, military action on two fronts, and economic uncertainty. Some of the very critics who called for change from the Bush administration are now expressing that we must do another overthrow of the establishment.
   The Obama administration has been burdened with issues that are more complex than FOX News can describe in their 30-second sound bites. Our wounds must be nurtured before our critics even contemplate amputation of the system. Change for the sake of change will only doom us to repeat the mistakes made before.
   We must not forget that when President Clinton left office, we had a budget surplus. Bush erased the surplus and burdened us with his blunders. Although the corrections have been slow to evolve, we must stay the course. If for not for the help to save General Motors, the collateral damage felt in our little corner of the cosmos would be felt for generations. 
   As unionists we must remain diligent in our quest affordable housing, quality schools, a clean environment, good paying jobs with life sustaining benefits, and our right to support the union way of life.

Dean Poggiali's July 2010 article "We hope the glass is half full"
    As we enter the mid-July time frame it is hard to believe that summer is half over. It seems as though the month of June was spent mowing our lawns due the significant rainfall. Now we have the heat and humidity to deal with and therefore our mowing experiences drop. Go figure out our weather. As they say in Michigan we have two seasons, Winter and Road Construction.
    Although we still are experiencing high unemployment, the jobless rate in Michigan dropped to 13.2% in June. The modest gains have added a net value of 3,000 jobs to the state job total of approximately 4 million workers. Manufacturing jobs have also seen an increase due to the slow but steady increase in car sales. The numbers may be slightly skewed due to the loss of census workers who may not have claimed unemployment benefits when the June 2010 numbers were published. Additionally we should be cognizant that the unemployment measurement looks at those individuals claiming the benefit. If you have exhausted your eligibility and/or are eligible but can’t claim an extension because the bill is held up in Congress, it may make the numbers slightly difficult to determine. However, as a glass half-full analogy, we hope that the recession is starting to erode.
    Pertaining to the loss of unemployment benefits, we quote numbers prepared by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) from data gleaned from the United States Department of Labor. The following are numbers of workers who have prematurely lost or will lose their federal jobless benefits. The first number is for Michigan and the second is for the United States.
Week ending July 3: 23,600 and 1,722,400
Week ending July 10: 90,400 and  2,137,800
Week ending July 17: 104,000 and 2,502,000
Week ending July 24: 117,600 and 2,864,500
Week ending July 31: 131,200 and 3,227,000
    The fact that the extension is being debated leaves us with anger, frustration, confusion and bitterness. Folks on unemployment are cycling these precious payments through the economy at our local groceries, gas stations, paying utility bills, etc. We can only hope that this issue is resolved as soon as possible. 
    As we shift gears to the Local scene, don’t forget the Local 724 Golf Outing and the picnic. There is still time to register your team for the golf outing to be held on August 7 at Centennial Acres in Sunfield. The picnic is scheduled for August 28 at Sharp Park in Delta Township. Some additional details are forthcoming, but the event is tentatively scheduled for 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
    As working people continue to struggle to make ends meet for their families, we must not lose sight of the battles that have been fought for decades for fairness, equality, unionism, and our voice in society. We must continue to educate ourselves in order to let our detractors know we are still a force to be dealt with and considered. As the great Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you use to change the world.”
   May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

Dean Poggiali's June column,"Summer news and wishes"
    As we embark on the summer months, it should be noted that the Local and many of the Units have cancelled their meetings. The Local took membership action to suspend the July and August meetings, with many Units taking similar action. The business of the Units and Local continues as we interact through phone calls and e-mail updates to make sure we are timely with our outreach efforts.
    Speaking of summer, the Mystic Lake Union Camp Committee concluded their business as well. The committee is made up of union representatives from various unions who solicit donations and receive scholarship applications from deserving union affiliated kids who may not have had the opportunity to attend camp without some financial assistance. This year the committee raised $13,040.00 and afforded scholarships to 62 kids. Thanks to all who donated.
    The Huntsman Unit recently ratified a new collective bargaining agreement. The new agreement allows some flexibility that may bring some more work into the plant. In recent years the facility saw some product leave to other facilities. Unit Chair Glenn Morrill is optimistic that the membership on layoff may be recalled.
    With that said, the Bharat Forge and Delta Dental Units will have their agreements expire in 2010. Both committees have been meeting and packaging proposals to present to the company. We offer our support in their quest for a fair and equitable agreement.
We anticipate the Unit V-CAP drives to resume in the next weeks. With several drives already concluded the remainder of the Units will have their drives after the UAW Constitutional Convention is completed.
    We hope that you and yours have a safe and enjoyable summer. May the time spent with your loved ones be blessed with laughter, love and good times.
    May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

Dean Poggiali's May column "Personnel Changes at the Local"
   The Local recently filled some openings with the committee structure. Dean Paseka and Scott Kazmerski will be assisting Caesar Pizzo on the By-Laws Committee. Scott will also assume the Chair of the Education Committee. Steve Burch will represent the Local as a CAP delegate as well.
   The Local Executive Board reluctantly accepted the resignation of Mark Mesaros as the Local 724 Skilled Trades representative, due to health reasons. Mark has served the membership in the skilled trades’ arena with the highest regard for the trades. Whether it was a worksite walk through, journeyman card application or skilled trade question, you could depend on Mark to take care of business. In addition to his skilled trades’ role, mark served his IMPCO Unit in various capacities including Unit Chair. Mark was also a Local Vice-President and a Local 724 Constitutional Convention delegate as well. We thank you for your years of dedicated service to your Unit, your Local and your union. Remember we will still meet on second Tuesday of the month, so stop in.
   Yet again another reminder to please keep these dates in mind: August 7 for the Local 724 golf outing at Centennial Acres and August 28 is the date for the Local 724 picnic. We will have more details we get closer to the dates. If you wish to volunteer to help as part of the Recreation Committee for these events contact either Todd at t.collins@uawlocal724.org or me atd.poggiali@uawlocal724.org

   The recent National Association of Letter Carrier’s (NALC) food drive was again a success. The initial reports of the amount of donations look to exceed last year’s totals. Although the weather was little on the chilly rainy side the Downtown Post Office was alive with the spirit of unionism. The volunteers for the day all belonged to labor unions or were the family of union members. The following members need to be thanked and recognized: Anita Dawson, UAW Local 602; Doug Elders and Jake Jacobson, UAW Local 652; Phil Huffine and yours truly from UAW Local 724, Ray Trevino and his daughter Hannah from UAW Local 925 and from UAW Local 2256 Cheryl Tonkin. Representing Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 333 was Chris Wright, from UFCW Local 951 were Kim Wilson, Celeste Willard, Joe Platte, Monica Raymond, Bianca Raymond, along with family and friends. Brian Conklin, NALC Local 122 was the site coordinator at the downtown site and was most gracious in helping us feel welcome and well fed. A big thanks goes out to UAW Local 652 Ryder Unit Chair Josh Clifford who volunteered his driving skills to drop off and pick up semi trailers at two locations. Without these folks and the thousands who donated and volunteered we would have not had a successful event. 

   Congratulations to Ray Trevino on winning the recent Doug Griffith Community Services Award. Ray has been a tireless champion of working people and continues to help as a dislocated worker employment specialist at Capital Area Michigan Works. 
Switching gears slightly, the whole health care reform issue has taken a turn that has polarized this country. Threats of violence, destruction of property, disrespect for public officials, and legal action by state government attorney generals have taken this whole issue to an ugly level. 
   Would those so vehemently opposed to this landmark reform please stand up and offer a solution to the crisis we currently have in health care. 
   For those uninsured Americans, they are a heart beat away from bankruptcy, foreclosure, job loss, family upheaval to name JUST A FEW OF THE RAMIFICATIONS! For those that say they don’t want the government to take over health care what the heck are Medicare and Medicaid. For many Americans this is the only recourse for them to be insured for their families. With the reform families who don’t have the luxury of having employer benefits won’t have to go to emergency rooms or ready care or go without treatment anymore. Those costs currently are astronomical and having been driving up the health care system to the point of collapse.
   Is the system perfect? No probably not, but until the naysayers, the conspiracy theorists, the anti-Obama faction propose a plan that will cover the over 40 million men, women and children, we must make this work. 
   May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

Dean Poggiali's May column, "Election Update"
   The Local and eligible Units have concluded their Constitutional Convention delegate selection process. The delegates from the Local are: 
   Dakkota Unit: Ron Dean, delegate and Terri Davis, alternate
   Lear: Mary Holmer, delegate and Michael Clark, alternate
   RSDC: Todd Collins, delegate
   Local 724: Debra Mills and Dean Poggiali, delegates and Scott Kazmerski, alternate. Congratulations to all.
   We recently received an e-mail from the daughter of the late Elmer Huntley. Elmer was President of the Local from March of 1941 to March 1943. Elmer’s daughter liked the history page and the references to our past worksites. She had memories of her father typing his article at the kitchen table, using a hunt and peck method. Even 60-some years later, I am one who uses the hunt and peck method.
   Currently Karac Brown, Bridgewater Unit chair, and RSDC Unit Chair Todd Collins are on a temporary organizing assignment with the UAW. They are working in Michigan and Indiana at this juncture. In this tough environment, we take our hats off to them and the other organizers who are looking to bring fairness and equality to the workplace.
   So far the Dakkota and Delta Dental Units have conducted their V-CAP drives. Results have been positive so far and the Dakkota Unit had an additional site to solicit and the response was great. The vehicle for this year’s raffle is a 2010 Camaro. Other worksite drives are being scheduled in the near future.
   The Bharat Forge, Delta Dental, and Huntsman Units all have been or will be involved in contract talks this year. Their committees will have their work cut out for them in these tough times. We hope the their work ethic, quality of workmanship, and dedication will help their cause for the fair contract they deserve.
   The IMPCO Unit is down to five members as of late April. With minimal work in-house, these troubling times have impacted their membership. They have filed for TAA status and are waiting to hear from the Department of Labor. 
   Save the date of August 7 for the Local 724 Golf Outing; details are on the website:www.uawlocal724.org.
   Also, August 28th will see the Local 724 picnic, with more details to follow.
   “Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” – Anonymous.

Dean Poggiali's April 2010 column, "Our 724 website is up!
   We have finally launched the Local 724 website. The site, www.uawlocal724.org 
is live and in living color. Sorry for the delay as it took a while to sift through some historical references for the site. We will try to keep things as up-to-date as possible. If you need to contact us, please e-mail me at d.poggiali@uawlocal724.org
   Many thanks to Nick Lumdsen from RSDC for all his hard work and innovative thoughts in building the site.
   There are not too many things going on the Local level right now. The Alliance, Bridgewater, and Dakkota Units are gearing up for third shift at the General Motors Delta Township facility. Dakkota recently picked up work for the plant and are occupying one of the former Tec-Mar locations on Grove Road.
   Speaking of Tec-Mar, Rick Joseph, former Chair at Tec-Mar stopped by the Local and said to say hi. Rick is currently working for ACC out of Flint, UAW Local 659.
Save the following dates of August 7 for the Local 724 golf outing and August 28 for the Local 724 picnic. Look for more details in the upcoming months on the Local 724 website and also on bulletin boards.
   Although there are still elements of uncertainty in our economy, we must remain diligent in letting our legislators know we have not vanished. We have seen the actions of one United States legislator hold up the extension of unemployment benefits for those who need them the most. We understand that the country's deficit is an alarming issue, but please remember that we had a surplus under President Clinton and the policies and actions of the Bush administration allowed that to disappear. President Obama has a daunting task and we must continue to support him as he attempts to right our ship.
   It amazes us that many Americans are ready to change legislators back to the party that got us into this mess now. 
   May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

Dean Poggiali's February 2010 article "Some members back to work"
    Not too much has been happening around the Local. We again wish that 2010 will finally bring the end of the economic doldrums we've seen up close and personal in the state for too long.
    In a few Local related tidbits, Tony Chandler, former Huntsman Unit Chair and Local First Vice-President, is back in the region. As you may recall, Tony went on a staff assignment earlier last year in the UAW National Organizing Department with Alabama as his territory. However, with the staff retirements happening within Region 1-C, opportunity shined the light on allowing Tony to accept a position as a Servicing Rep. Tony will be working out of the Jackson office. At this juncture, it is unknown if Tony will have any staff assignments from Local 724. One thing is crystal clear: the commute from Jackson back to Dimondale is preferable than that from Alabama!
    The Alliance and Bridgewater Units are going through limited hiring in anticipation of the third shift going online at the GM Lansing Delta Township facility. It seems as though several of our laid-off Local 724 brothers and sisters are in the loop as far being hired. As we stated before, put our members back to work, as they already know how to build quality parts.
    In the same frame, it appears as though Dakkota may also be hiring as well. The actual number is still up in the air, but they have secured some new business that necessitated them calling back those laid-off members eligible for recall.
   The Salvation Army was the recipient of the donated hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves that were placed on our holiday "Tree of Warmth." These donated items will be given to those in need as they seek assistance at the Salvation Army's North Pennsylvania Service Center.
    Speaking of helping those in need, the annual Walk for Warmth will be held at various locations throughout the state of Michigan. These walks, coordinated through the respective Community Action Agencies, are usually held on February 27. Walkers collect donations from family, friends, and co-workers and walk between 1 to 3 miles. In Lansing the Capital Area Community Services coordinates the walks held in Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, Owosso, and St. Johns. Go to their website at www.cacs-inc.org or call 393-7077 for more information and the location of your walk. Also, feel free to call me at 203-5027 for more information. This will be the 20th year of the walk in the area. Having walked in 19 out of the 20, it always makes me appreciate the fact that we are helping those in need as we brave the elements. Additionally, 100% of the money collected will go to the heating assistance program. 
    Shortly we will conduct the census in the United States. It is imperative that we make sure that our numbers and information are counted. This data is then processed and in accordance with government statutes, it is how money flows back to the state. With the possibility of losing a Congressional seat to population loss, we must be even more diligent on how we fix our foundation. We must make sure that as the recovery happens, we must let the nation know that Michigan is open for business and we haven't turned off the lights.
    May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

Dean Poggiali's January, 2010 column:

Looking ahead

   As we enter 2010, there is still an aura of uncertainty about the economy and, most importantly, the jobs of many Americans. Many of the so-called experts have taken every opportunity to discredit any of the corrective measures taken by the Obama Administration.
    We must be cognizant that we didn't get into the predicament overnight. The Bush Administration took eight years to whittle away at the budget surplus that the Clinton Presidency years had accumulated. We must give the current administration time to make the proper and sometimes painful corrections.
   The rest of the country is now feeling what we have seen first-hand in Michigan. If you would like to see the impact of the unemployment numbers, follow this link to visualize the far-reaching effect of unemployment in America: http://cohort11.americanobserver.net/latoyaegwuekwe/multimediafinal.html 

    On the Local front we delivered the Toys for Tots to the warehouse where the Marines were busy sorting the donations. It looks as though the generosity of the community rose to the occasion as their dock was full! Again our thanks go out to all those who donated. The Lear and the Huntsman Units were standouts in their outreach. We would like to specifically recognize Huntsman Unit member Pam Kissane, who has become the Toys for Tots shopping guru. Pam has taken the holiday spirit up a notch in her shopping for those kids in our community with holiday needs.
    Our Old Newsboys drive was again a success. With fewer members, a layoff week for some of our worksites, and the general state of the economy, we still managed to raise over $1,000 in worksite donations. Thanks to all who dug down deep to again help the community. We would like to recognize the IMPCO Unit, with its reduced numbers of employees averaging $4.00 for every paper sold!
    Also with the movement of the Delta Dental customer service members to their Farmington Hills location, they still had papers, donation jugs, and bags delivered so that those who still live in the area can support this fine endeavor. Thanks to M J Warren and Gail Douglas for spearheading this unique collaborative effort.
Congratulations are in order for the Dakkota Unit in securing a new bargaining agreement. In an uphill battle, Unit Chair Ron Dean along with bargaining committee members Shawn Powe and Terri Davis brought back a contract that was ratified on December 11, 2009 by the membership. With the odds stacked against all bargaining units today, we applaud them in securing some improvements for their members, along with the possibility of more work in the future. 
    The Local 724 Executive Board has been working on getting a website up and running. We have progressed to the point that the site should be up sometime in the first quarter of 2010. RSDC member Nick Lumsden has been working diligently on the site and has been given the green light to go forward. As we get closer to the launch, we will let all Units know the address.
    We recently found out that Robinson Solutions lost their bid to supply services for the Lansing Grand River plant. At this juncture we are unsure what the next step is as far as the employees and what the new company will be. We can only hope that whatever the outcome the new venture includes the former Robinson Solutions members and also recognizes the partnership with the UAW.
    Congratulations to Dean Paseka, IMPCO UNIT Chair, who was recently elected to fill a vacancy as a Local 724 Trustee. Our thanks go to Dean for stepping up and wearing yet another hat in service to his union and Local. 
    Although we haven't consulted the crystal ball or a Ouija board or read tea leaves, we can only hope that the advent of 2010 will mean that the economy starts to correct itself. Then our members who have endured the harshest of storms will be in line to get back to what they do the best: BUILD QUALITY AMERICAN-MADE PRODUCTS. Remember, in order for the middle class to survive, we must maintain a strong and flexible manufacturing base. Our members and the UAW are just the right ones to do it.
    May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

Dean Poggiali's December 2009 article:

One who gave his all for labor

    It was with sadness in my heart when I received the news that our brother, Ed Ostrander, passed away on November 13, after a courageous battle with cancer. Ed was a fighter, a believer in the UAW who fought the good fight to represent his membership with the upmost of integrity and compassion. In a relatively short period of time Ed was deeply involved in our UAW family, along with his beloved membership at Sparrow Hospital. Ed was a Vice-President of our CAP Council, Chair of the Lansing Labor News Board, and was a UAW appointment to the Capital Area United Way Board, to name a few. 

    To Ed his love of the UAW was secondary to his love of family. He will be remembered fondly as one who gave his all and asked little in return. Brother Ed, although our times together were short in duration, the lasting value of your friendship will stay with us forever. Save a chair for us at the great union hall in the sky, my friend.
    On the Local scene, Scott Morey of our RSDC Unit, was elected to fill a Local 724 Executive Board position of Sergeant-at-Arms. Congratulations to Scott and welcome to the Local 724 Executive Board.
At our November meetings we reluctantly accepted the resignation from Jane Gibbard, Local 724 Trustee. Jane's position at Delta Dental will be moving to their Farmington Hills location, as will 71 other union jobs. Additionally, one of those also to leave will be M J Warren, Local 724 Union Label Chair. We wish them both the best and will miss their service to their Unit and the Local. 
    The Local is again participating in the Toys for Tots and Old Newsboys. Although we may have the toys collected by the time you receive this, please feel free to drop them off at the Local. Also, the Old Newsboys drive will be earlier this year. Traditionally, the drive was held on the first Friday of December. This year the sales will be held on the first Thursday, December 3. We again thank all who donate to both of these worthy causes, as the need for assistance will undoubtedly see an increase in these difficult economic times.
    The Local's Executive Board has been in discussion to launch a Local 724 website. We are hoping to have a site sometime early in 2010. As things progress, please consult your Unit bulletin boards.
    In these tough times, we must count our blessings for our family, our faith, friends and health. Life is so very precious that we must treasure every moment with all our passion and love. 
    May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.

 Dean Poggiali's September 2009 article:

Some callbacks

Since our last article, we have seen a few changes within the Local. The Lansing Delta Township GM facility has called back the second shift, which impacts the Alliance and Bridgewater Units. At this juncture they have called back those eligible for recall. We only hope that this is the start of recovery that we need and the announcements concerning Lansing Grand River will occur as well.The recent Union Family Fair Day was a success as many union families took advantage of the reduced ticket prices and short drive to attend the event. There were more ride and admission tickets sold versus last year, so the value provided was easier to fit in the family budget.

Because it happened during the summer recess, we received a letter of resignation from Local Sergeant-at-Arms and CAP Chair, Rob Hardee. The family has relocated to the Atlanta, Georgia area where Kim will continue her education and quest to become a doctor. We wish them all the best and appreciate the years of service Rob gave the Bharat Forge Unit and the Local.

We also would like to pass along greetings from another former Executive Board member, Tony Chandler. As you may recall, Tony received a staff assignment with the UAW Organizing Department and is responsible for organizing outreach in Alabama.

As you have undoubtedly noticed, the Lansing Labor News is being published in a reduced format. Because the operating revenues for the paper are contingent on membership level funding and advertising, the income has been down. As we have members laid off, we therefore don’t have the same income and with reduced publications the advertising revenue is lower. The Lansing Labor News Board is exploring all possibilities to continue with the outreach. We are looking at issues of a newsletter variety, an up to date website, along with quarterly editions that will continue to be published. We thank you for your patience and understanding through this transition period.

We would also like to offer our gratitude for the contribution received for the UAW Tribute to Women that will be constructed at the Region 1-C office in Flint. We have committed to supporting this endeavor, but were helped along greatly by the Bridgewater Unit membership that took membership action to allow the Local to sponsor a bench at the venue. We wish to thank them again for their generosity in making this happen.

In closing, please remember that the media can be a great source of information or it can only give one side to the story. As we go down the health care reform road, remember that the product we see now will inevitably be changed before actualization and implementation. As information becomes available, we will share the information with all Units.

May the wind be at your back and peace and joy within your soul.


 
 
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