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Department updates from IEB officers insightful, inspiring

Joe Ashton
UAW Vice President Joe Ashton told delegates that General Motors Corp. will recall the last 2,000 workers on layoff by this fall.
Photo by Rebecca Cook

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A sector report from each of the UAW’s International Executive Board officers on Wednesday gave the more than 1,200 delegates and activists attending the Special Convention on Collective Bargaining heaping doses of inspiration, motivation and determination to keep fighting.

UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who directs the union’s General Motors and Gaming departments, told delegates that General Motors Corp.

will recall the last 2,000 workers on layoff by this fall. “We will have full employment at GM in September for the first time in a long time,” said Ashton.

In addition, Ashton said the UAW represents 10,000 workers in the gaming industry and told delegates “when I come back here again, we’re going to have 20,000 casino workers and you’re all going to be part of helping me.”

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada updated convention delegates on the challenges that lie ahead for Michigan’s citizens in light of the anti-middle class, anti-collective bargaining policies being pushed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration and the state’s Republican-dominated Michigan Legislature.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada updated convention delegates on the challenges that lie ahead for Michigan’s citizens in light of the anti-middle class.
Photo by Rebecca Cook

Estrada said child care workers and other public sector workers are being unfairly attacked and vilified in Michigan and across the country. However, UAW members will continue fighting on their behalf.

Estrada said the Snyder administration’s elimination of bargaining rights for over 20,000 home-based child care providers earlier this month was one example of the anti-worker agenda UAW state and local government workers will face at the bargaining table. However, UAW will continue fighting for economic security for its members and all of the middle class.

Estrada also directs the union’s Competitive Shop/Independents, Parts and Suppliers (IPS) Department and said IPS will spearhead efforts by the union to build bridges with workers in Mexico so the standard of living can be raised for all workers. Estrada also stressed the need to develop pattern bargaining among domestic parts manufacturers.

UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who directs the union’s Chrysler Department, told delegates that he wants to see more UAW organized workers producing parts for the Big Three. And, Holiefield said, he is willing to fight for those jobs – the jobs UAW members held before.

General
UAW Vice President General Holiefield told delegates that he wants to see more UAW organized workers producing parts for the Big Three. Photo by Rebecca Cook


“And I want my jobs back. I’m coming after the jobs that we used to have,” said Holiefield, who also directs the union’s Heavy Truck and General Dynamics departments.

Settles
“We should not rest until we see our membership climb back up to 1.5 million members.” said UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles. Photo by Rebecca Cook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an update on Ford Motor Co., UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said that except for those workers temporarily laid off in Louisville, Ky., where the plant is being retooled for the new Ford Escape, Ford workers are back.

Work once outsourced has been brought back, and the industry is in a better spot than a couple of years ago.
But, Settles said, even when things are looking brighter, the fight must continue for all workers in all sectors.

“We should not rest until we see our membership climb back up to 1.5 million members.” said Settles, who directs the union’s National Ford Department, as well as the Aerospace and Insurance departments.

A highlight of the report given by UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams focused on the newly ratified contract between the union and Caterpillar Inc.

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams focused on the newly ratified contract between the union and Caterpillar Inc.
Photo by Rebecca Cook


The union has a long, tough history with the farm equipment manufacturer, Williams said. The talks proved successful, he said, because UAW negotiators met company negotiators with “honest, straightforward and respectful” dialogue.

As a result, a newly ratified labor agreement marked the first one successfully negoti ated with the company before the contract expiration date and without resulting in an extension or strike.

Sandra Davis