UAW https://uaw.org International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America Sun, 05 Apr 2020 16:41:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 https://uaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/uaw-official-logo-white-150x150.png UAW https://uaw.org 32 32 Heroes on the Front Lines: Robert Nader https://uaw.org/heroes-front-lines-robert-nader/ Sun, 05 Apr 2020 16:41:52 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28506 Making protective face shields UAW Local 245 member Robert Nader gets antsy sitting still. Instead of going stir-crazy, he signed up for a job that would keep him busy and hopefully save lives. He is making face shields to help fight the spread of the devastating COVID-19 virus. “It’s not just me. It’s a lot

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Making protective face shields

UAW Local 245 member Robert Nader gets antsy sitting still. Instead of going stir-crazy, he signed up for a job that would keep him busy and hopefully save lives. He is making face shields to help fight the spread of the devastating COVID-19 virus.

“It’s not just me. It’s a lot of different people in here coming together to help,” said Nader. “The medical community really needs these masks and other personal protection equipment right now.”

Nader, who normally handles die repair, now spends 12 hours a day at Ford subsidiary Troy Design & Manufacturing Company in Plymouth, Michigan.

He is now helping to produce transparent full-face shields for medical workers and first responders. The shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids and when paired with N95 respirators can be a more effective way to limit potential exposure to coronavirus than N95 respirators alone.

“I think helping out is a good thing and it keeps your mind off what’s going on,” said Nader, who has friends who have tested positive but survived COVID-19. “It was pretty touch-and-go there for a while, but thankfully, they made it through.

“COVID-19 is pretty nasty,” said Nader, who has been a UAW member since 1999. “I know not everyone wants to sign up for this. I get that. The best thing everyone can do is just take care of themselves so we can stop the spread of this virus.”

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COVID-19 Update 4/3/2020 https://uaw.org/covid-19-update-4-3-2020/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 21:33:17 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28502 My Brothers and Sisters, Today brought more news of members and hard-working men and women stepping up to help our first line responders and their families and communities during these difficult days. We have members who have courageously volunteered their time, going through rigorous safety training at the GM Kokomo, Indiana, facility as they begin

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My Brothers and Sisters,

Today brought more news of members and hard-working men and women stepping up to help our first line responders and their families and communities during these difficult days. We have members who have courageously volunteered their time, going through rigorous safety training at the GM Kokomo, Indiana, facility as they begin their work to make ventilators that will save lives. One of the first UAW workers to volunteer there said that she thought of her elderly mom as someone who might need this life-saving equipment.

We have members making masks and brothers and sisters all over this nation stepping up to help one another in so many ways. Just like we always do. The fortitude of this UAW family has seen us through hard times in the past, and it will see us through this. It is during these times that test us all, that we truly see the power of our Solidarity.

Sadly, with every one of these messages I write, there is always tragic news to deliver. Today, we lost a committee person at the FCA Warren Stamping Plant; a member who worked at AK Steel in Dearborn, Michigan; a brother from GT Technologies in Toledo, Ohio, and a sister who worked at the Department of Corrections in Detroit, Michigan.

On behalf of the President’s Office and the entire International Executive Board, our support and sympathies go out to their families and friends.

I will have more to report in the coming days of our continued work with companies in all sectors and local and federal agencies to keep our members and our communities safe. And I will share more stories of our members and frontline responders who are making tremendous sacrifices to help our nation during this terrible pandemic.

As always, I urge everyone to stay safe and continue to support one another and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

For more updates and questions that you may have about your worksite, visit UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/).

Remember — we are all in this together.

In solidarity,

 

Rory L. Gamble

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Heroes on the Front Lines: Sandy Welch https://uaw.org/heroes-front-lines-sandy-welch/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 14:43:41 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28482 UAW Local 95 member Sandy Welch is a five-year cancer survivor. She has high blood pressure, too. That means her immune system is not 100%. But, while others in Wisconsin are told to stay home, she heads to work every day as a medical transcriptionist at a medical clinic in Janesville. “I have a compromised

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UAW Local 95 member Sandy Welch is a five-year cancer survivor. She has high blood pressure, too.

That means her immune system is not 100%. But, while others in Wisconsin are told to stay home, she heads to work every day as a medical transcriptionist at a medical clinic in Janesville.

“I have a compromised immune system and sometimes I think about that, but I don’t let that take over my thoughts,” she said.

Welch, chair of the amalgamated local’s Unit 9, has been a UAW member for 20 years and has worked at the clinic the entire time. The unit represents about 165 members including nurses, pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, health care transcriptionists, assistants and receptionists.

Normally, four transcriptionists and a host of doctors at the clinic see about 500 patients a day. Wisconsin’s Covid-19 order encouraging residents to stay home has reduced traffic at the clinic to about 90 patients a day seeking only essential medical care. Welch is the sole transcriptionist at the clinic now.“I’m not on the front lines like others,” said Welch. “But I do get a little nervous. You have to get up and do what you have to do every day whether you are scared or not. You have to do what you are called to do.”

For others on the front lines, Welch is keeping them in mind.

Normally, four transcriptionists and a host of doctors at the clinic see about 500 patients a day. Wisconsin’s COVID-19 order encouraging residents to stay home has reduced traffic at the clinic to about 90 patients a day seeking only essential medical care. Welch is the sole transcriptionist at the clinic now.

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COVID-19 Update 4/2/2020 https://uaw.org/covid-19-update-4-2-2020/ Fri, 03 Apr 2020 00:45:32 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28497 Sisters and Brothers, A short message today to recognize the courageous men and women stepping up to help all of us during these difficult days.  As you all know, we have many members on the front lines of this crisis, who report to work every day and put their lives at risk to keep our

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Sisters and Brothers,

A short message today to recognize the courageous men and women stepping up to help all of us during these difficult days.  As you all know, we have many members on the front lines of this crisis, who report to work every day and put their lives at risk to keep our communities safe and functioning. And we have members who are stepping up and volunteering to help save lives in so many ways.

But before I share some of these stories, I must share some sad news. Today, we lost two more members of our UAW family to this virus, a member who worked at the MOPAR Centerline, Michigan, Packaging plant, and a member at the Ford Livonia, Michigan, Transmission plant. On behalf of the President’s Office and the entire International Executive Board, we extend our deepest sympathies and support to the families and friends.

But we also saw some positive news. Training at the GM Kokomo facility is underway to keep our members safe as they courageously volunteer to make life-saving ventilators. We have been working very closely with GM to ensure that stringent CDC health and safety protocols are put in place to keep our UAW members safe and healthy as they provide this critical service that will save countless lives.

UAW members from FCA and Ford are also volunteering their time and stepping up to help our nation with community efforts and the production of much needed Personal Protective Equipment. We are working with all these companies to ensure that our members are safe as they step up, as they have always done, to help our families, our communities and our nation in this time of need.

There are many stories of our members doing good works in this extraordinary time. For example, a member in Region 1 has started a Facebook relief page so he can deliver masks and other critical supplies to people in need. And that is only one story. There are so many more. I think these individual stories are important for all of us to see and to celebrate during this time. It reminds us that we are strong, and we must stay hopeful and vigilant. We are featuring these members at ‘Heroes on the Front Lines’, a new segment on our digital channels. It’s just a way to remind us all of who we are and who we have always been.

I will end with this: Please continue to support one another and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

Watch for updates and submit questions that you may have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/).

And remember, we are all in this together.

In solidarity,

 

Rory L. Gamble

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Statement of UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, Director of the UAW GM Department on the Training for Production of Ventilators in Kokomo https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-vice-president-terry-dittes-director-uaw-gm-department-training-production-ventilators-kokomo/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 22:54:16 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28491 “As our Nation struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteer UAW-GM members are doing a tremendous service for our country by volunteering to come to work to make ventilators in Kokomo. This is what we do at the UAW. In times of National tragedy our members time and time again step up for the good of

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“As our Nation struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteer UAW-GM members are doing a tremendous service for our country by volunteering to come to work to make ventilators in Kokomo.

This is what we do at the UAW. In times of National tragedy our members time and time again step up for the good of us all. For that reason, the UAW has worked with GM out of an abundance of caution to put in place stringent CDC health and safety protocols. UAW members have stepped up to help, and our goal is to make sure that each and every day they return home to their families and communities safe and healthy. We applaud their courage in volunteering in our Nation’s time of need and commend GM for working with the UAW to save lives across this country.”

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COVID-19 Update 4/1/2020 https://uaw.org/covid-19-update-4-1-2020/ Wed, 01 Apr 2020 22:25:46 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28480 Brothers and Sisters, I want to start this message by, again, thanking my UAW family for your strength and your support of your communities and families as we all work through this terrible crisis together. I’m very sad to report that we had one more UAW member fall to the virus yesterday, from Ford Michigan

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Brothers and Sisters,

I want to start this message by, again, thanking my UAW family for your strength and your support of your communities and families as we all work through this terrible crisis together. I’m very sad to report that we had one more UAW member fall to the virus yesterday, from Ford Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Michigan. I want to extend our sincere sympathies to family and friends.

For the courageous UAW members who are still going to work — I know that you are worried and sometimes unclear as to what will be happening with your workplaces. I want to try to address these concerns.

First and foremost, the UAW is working with companies in all of our sectors to advocate for the health and safety of all members in the workplace. While the media tends to focus on automotive assembly, our International Representatives have been pushing all companies to follow and go above and beyond Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for workplace protections during this pandemic. We have members in Public Health; Parts Distribution Centers; Agricultural Implement; and Department of Defense Contractors.

We have told companies that the only litmus test in a boardroom that matters is whether you would send your own family, your own sons and daughters, to work and feel they are safe.

That said, depending on the type of work our members do, there are often some federal guidelines defining essential services that require some businesses to operate. In those cases, we push management to either go to a volunteer paid system, or if that is not possible, we push for highly stringent CDC guidelines and protections to be followed to protect all members.

It is our goal that you go home to your families each and every day healthy and safe. And rest assured, we are pushing hard with management to go above and beyond CDC guidelines.

And to all the men and women on the front lines of this pandemic, please know we recognize your sacrifice and your courageous dedication.

Please continue to support one another and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.  Please watch for updates and submit questions that you may have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/).

Please know, on behalf of myself and the entire International Executive Board, we are fighting every day for our communities and our UAW family.  We are all in this together.

In solidarity,

Rory L. Gamble

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COVID-19 Update – 3/31/2020 https://uaw.org/covid-19-update-3-31-2020/ Tue, 31 Mar 2020 22:06:53 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28476 My sisters and brothers,  I want to start today by thanking my UAW family for supporting one another during this crisis. I have been so impressed to see how our members are pulling together and supporting one another as we navigate this unprecedented situation. It is with great sadness that I must report that we

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My sisters and brothers, 

I want to start today by thanking my UAW family for supporting one another during this crisis. I have been so impressed to see how our members are pulling together and supporting one another as we navigate this unprecedented situation.

It is with great sadness that I must report that we have lost more of our UAW family in the past few days. Over the weekend, an FCA worker at Warren Truck Assembly Plant and a member at Mopar in Centerline, Michigan passed away from the virus. We also lost a member of the President’s Staff Sunday night, although at this time, we do not know the cause of death. And, yesterday, a Ford worker from Local 600 Dearborn Diversified fell to this virus. 

On behalf of the President’s Office and the entire International Executive Board, we extend our deepest sympathies and support to the families and friends of these UAW members.

I would like to share some positive updates. After weekend discussions, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has agreed to allow UAW members to stay at home unless they volunteer to work at time and a half pay. Both parties agreed to adjustments in how personal time is used and accrued and that members who choose to do so can use unpaid leave without repercussion. In addition, the UAW was able to secure agreements on the continuation of benefits and changes in reduction in workforce language that will allow for unemployment during the time of the Michigan Governor’s Stay-at-Home order.

Additionally, Case New Holland Industrial has announced downtime for March 31 – 

April 12 (return on April 13) with the exceptions of Racine, Wisconsin, where 149 of 447 will work; and Burlington, Iowa, where 18 out of 320 employees will continue working. 

Ford Motor Company has stated that they have decided to keep the plants shut down for a longer period than was announced last week. No specific return date has been determined. We will keep you informed.

I want to recognize members of our UAW family who are lending their time and their labor to help stem the devastation of this virus. Ford Motor Company and General Motors, are collaborating with the UAW to begin making ventilators, masks and protective gear. Ford announced their program at the Rawsonville location making respirators. Volunteer paid employees will be making the much needed equipment. We are working very closely with Ford and GM to make sure that all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines are followed and that we are exercising an abundance of caution inside the plant. I want to commend Ford, GM and our brave UAW members for this critical work. I know that many of our members are stepping to make masks, help and support friends and family and I want to recognize those efforts as well. 

I will report back on our ongoing communications and new developments with companies across the nation and our work in Washington, D.C., to ensure that our elected officials are supporting measures to help the hard working men and women of this nation.

On an unrelated note, we formally rolled out the Ethics Reforms today with the appointment of our Ethics Officer, Ombudsman and activation of the Ethics Hotline. As I stated earlier this year, we are committed to doing everything in our power to safeguard this union and ensure that the violations of the past can never happen again. Details here:  https://uaw.org/ethics/.

Again I want to urge us all to stay safe, support one another and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines during this extraordinary time, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

Please watch for updates and submit questions that you may have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/).  On behalf of myself and the entire International Executive Board, please know that we are fighting every day for our UAW family. We are all in this together. 

In Solidarity,

Rory

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UAW Implements Ethics Reform Priorities with Hiring of First-Ever Ethics Officer and Activation of Confidential Ethics Hotline https://uaw.org/uaw-implements-ethics-reform-priorities-hiring-first-ever-ethics-officer-activation-confidential-ethics-hotline/ Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:18:56 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28467 Wilma Liebman Hired as Chief Ethics Officer Ethics Advisory Committee Announced DETROIT – UAW President Rory L. Gamble and the International Executive Board (IEB) announced the appointment today of Wilma Liebman as the Union’s first-ever external Ethics Officer. Liebman is a distinguished public servant and expert in labor policy who served as the Chairman of

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Wilma Liebman Hired as Chief Ethics Officer
Ethics Advisory Committee Announced

DETROIT – UAW President Rory L. Gamble and the International Executive Board (IEB) announced the appointment today of Wilma Liebman as the Union’s first-ever external Ethics Officer. Liebman is a distinguished public servant and expert in labor policy who served as the Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board under President Barack Obama from 2009-2011, having previously been appointed as a member of the NLRB by both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush beginning in 1997. Additionally, the UAW has launched a new confidential Ethics Hotline for union members to report ethical or financial violations.

“While our country and Union navigate the difficult challenges of this pandemic, today’s actions mark an important step in the progress of our ethics reform agenda and underline our unwavering pledge to our members that their Union is committed to operating at the highest level of integrity on their behalf,” said UAW President Rory L. Gamble.  “We know that in hiring Ms. Liebman to lead this important work, we are gaining an expert on labor law, widely respected for her knowledge and integrity, who will set a high bar for our Union in the years to come. Also, with the infrastructure we are putting in place to ensure members can report financial or ethics complaints on a confidential basis, we are installing critical pieces to receive and investigate information about alleged wrongdoing.”

The appointment of an outside Ethics Officer is part of a series of reforms the UAW began implementing in November.  Liebman will work externally from the Union, and will have the responsibility and authority, along with the Ethics Ombudsman, to review and investigate alleged financial misconduct or ethics violations that are reported through the Ethics Hotline.  The Ethics Officer will issue a report with her findings to the appropriate UAW official(s) and to the IEB and, where warranted, recommendations for corrective action.  A report on discipline or corrective action taken will be made back to the Ethics Officer.

“I’m honored that President Gamble and the International Executive Board have entrusted me with the job of being the first external Ethics Officer of the UAW,” said Liebman.  “My job, first and foremost, will be to ensure UAW leaders and employees operate with the utmost integrity, and that any unethical conduct is promptly investigated and properly acted upon. I look forward to bringing my decades of experience dealing with labor issues to this role and to being a part of the UAW’s comprehensive ethics program.  The UAW has a proud history, and it is critical that its members have full confidence in their union’s strong future.  I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens.”

Confidential Ethics Hotline System Put in Place and
Ethics Ombudsman Role Filled

UAW President Rory L. Gamble also announced today that the UAW Ethics Hotline will open on March 31, 2020, as part of the UAW’s pledge to enact significant ethics reforms to safeguard the Union from corruption and identify misconduct.  “The Ethics Hotline is integral to our effort to create a transparent, more accountable, and more responsible future for our Union, and it has the full backing and support of myself and our entire leadership,” said President Gamble.

Reports submitted to the Ethics Hotline will be screened and investigated by Exiger LLC, a highly experienced third-party Compliance and Ethics investigative firm staffed with numerous former law enforcement professionals that the UAW has hired to serve as the Union’s current Ethics Ombudsman.  Exiger will report their investigative findings to Wilma Liebman, the newly appointed external Ethics Officer, who will have the authority to direct additional investigatory steps whenever she deems it necessary or appropriate.

Enhanced Financial Controls

The UAW is also instituting new and more robust financial and accounting reviews and controls to protect members’ dues from any potential act of malfeasance.

Establishment of Ethics Advisory Committee

The UAW has also committed to actively obtaining rank-and-file input into future ethics policy through the creation of an Ethics Advisory Committee, to include UAW members and members from the UAW’s Public Review Board. Details of the Committee will be announced in the second quarter of 2020.

For more information on the UAW’s comprehensive ethics reform agenda, please visit uaw.org/ethics

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Statement of UAW President Rory L. Gamble on Ford’s Decision to Extend Production Reopening Date https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-president-rory-l-gamble-fords-decision-extend-production-reopening-date/ Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:09:29 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28432 “Today’s decision by Ford is the right decision for our members, their families and our nation. Under Vice President Gerald Kariem, the UAW Ford Department continues to work closely with our local unions and Ford to make sure that when we return to production all members are safe, and our communities are protected from this

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“Today’s decision by Ford is the right decision for our members, their families and our nation. Under Vice President Gerald Kariem, the UAW Ford Department continues to work closely with our local unions and Ford to make sure that when we return to production all members are safe, and our communities are protected from this spreading pandemic.”

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COVID-19 Update – 3/28/2020 https://uaw.org/covid-19-update-3-28-2020/ Sat, 28 Mar 2020 23:00:05 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28397 Sisters and Brothers, We have been notified today that two more members of our UAW family have fallen to the virus. One member worked at Ford Motor Company Dearborn Stamping and a skilled trades brother who worked at the Ford Data Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Our prayers and support go out to their families and

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Sisters and Brothers,

We have been notified today that two more members of our UAW family have fallen to the virus. One member worked at Ford Motor Company Dearborn Stamping and a skilled trades brother who worked at the Ford Data Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Our prayers and support go out to their families and communities.

I also want to extend, on behalf of the entire International Executive Board, our gratitude and concern for our members and all the brave men and women who are serving on the frontlines of this crisis to keep all of us safe. We pray for your wellbeing and safety.

A quick update today on efforts to produce the desperately needed Personal Protection Equipment for those frontline workers. General Motors has announced that it is converting the Warren, Michigan, plant to begin making surgical masks. They estimate to start, they will be able to produce 50,000 masks per day, potentially increasing to 100,000 per day. All workers in these efforts are paid volunteers.

We continue to work tirelessly to protect our members and our communities during this global crisis. I want to urge us all to stay safe, stay calm and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

You can find updates and submit questions that you may have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/).

My prayers, every day, are with my UAW family. We are in this together.

In solidarity,

Rory L. Gamble

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COVID-19 Update – 3/27/2020 https://uaw.org/covid19-update-3-27-2020/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 23:34:22 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28394 My Brothers and Sisters, As always, I want to recognize and thank all of the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis and extend my sincere sympathies to any one of us who is sick, or struggling with family or financial issues or loss in these difficult, dark days. In my

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My Brothers and Sisters,

As always, I want to recognize and thank all of the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis and extend my sincere sympathies to any one of us who is sick, or struggling with family or financial issues or loss in these difficult, dark days.

In my message today, I want to report that we got some good news on several fronts.

Let me start with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that the House passed this afternoon and was just signed into law. The COVID-19 relief legislation will help provide financial assistance to millions of hard-working Americans during this difficult time. It was not an easy fight, let me tell you. We recognized early on that workers and our nation’s health needed to be prioritized, so we stood up and made our voices heard in the halls of Congress, and we prevailed. And as a result, this $2-trillion bill will provide expanded unemployment (UI) benefits and a one-time payment to individuals and families, a lifeline for millions of hard-working Americans. The act also provides emergency federal funding for food aid, hospitals, schools and universities. Details here, https://uaw.org/senate-passes-cv3-heres-means. Much more needs to be done to safeguard this country and our friends, families and communities. We continue to push for more workplace safety standards, and more critically-needed help for our frontline workers.

We announced today that the UAW GM department is collaborating with General Motors towards the production of critically needed ventilators. This is part of so many efforts going on across our union and with brothers and sisters across our nation to help all of us fight this terrible virus.

FCA announced today that they are in the process of converting their first plant to produce face masks for donation to first responders and health care workers. They are also working to help provide more than 1 million meals to school age children in the communities around their principal manufacturing plants in Illinois; Indiana; Michigan and Ohio. The program begins immediately and will be expanded nationwide in the U.S. and to Canada and Mexico.

Please know that your UAW leaders continue to work around the clock to protect our members and our communities during this global crisis. As always, I want to urge us all to stay safe, stay calm and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

You can find updates for members and submit questions that you might have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/).

Brothers and sisters, please be safe. Please support one another. My prayers, every day, are with my UAW family. We are in this together.

In solidarity,

Rory L. Gamble

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Statement of UAW Vice President Terry Dittes Director of the UAW GM Department on Efforts to Produce Ventilators During the Nationwide Coronavirus Pandemic https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-vice-president-terry-dittes-director-uaw-gm-department-efforts-produce-ventilators-nationwide-coronavirus-pandemic/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 17:49:48 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28378 DETROIT — “We are happy to work with GM during this pandemic for the health and safety and good of our Nation as we collaborate towards the production of ventilators. The UAW has a proud history of stepping up in times of national emergency. General Motors should be commended for stepping up at a crucial

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DETROIT — “We are happy to work with GM during this pandemic for the health and safety and good of our Nation as we collaborate towards the production of ventilators. The UAW has a proud history of stepping up in times of national emergency. General Motors should be commended for stepping up at a crucial moment in our history. At the UAW we are – all in – to find ways to partner together to flatten this curve and save lives.”

 

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COVID19 Update – 3/26/2020 https://uaw.org/covid19-update-3-26-2020/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 21:50:07 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28368 My Brothers and Sisters, As this crisis continues, each day we get news of another brother or sister who has fallen to this terrible virus. Today, I am so sorry to report that one of our members at FCA Transport in Sterling Heights, Michigan, has died from the virus. I, along with Vice President Cindy

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My Brothers and Sisters,

As this crisis continues, each day we get news of another brother or sister who has fallen to this terrible virus. Today, I am so sorry to report that one of our members at FCA Transport in Sterling Heights, Michigan, has died from the virus. I, along with Vice President Cindy Estrada and the entire International Executive Board extend our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to our dear brother’s family and friends.

This is truly a time for us all to come together and help one another. We are living in an unprecedented situation and working every day to do the right thing. Today, Ford Motor Company announced that they plan to reopen U.S. production in some plants
on April 14.

Here is what we had to say about that: “The UAW continues to review, with great caution and concern, decisions being made about restarting workplaces, especially at advanced dates. These decisions should be informed by data and where each state is on the contagion curve. The UAW maintains that strict CDC guidelines need to be adhered to at all worksites, and that prior to reopening, sufficient data and protections are in place to ensure the safety of our members, their families and the public. The
only guideline in a boardroom should be management asking themselves, ‘Would I send my family — my own son or daughter — into that plant and be 100% certain they are safe?’

As we all know, this situation is changing hour by hour, day by day.  We will continue to work around the clock to ensure that everything in our power is being done to safeguard our members, and we will keep you updated.

Additionally, General Motors announced today that Arlington Assembly in Texas is soliciting volunteers from its workforce to finish the build out of its current model truck for its customers and to maintain critical business priorities. As employee safety is our priority, Arlington Assembly is putting in numerous safeguards including, but not limited to, thermal temperature scanning, individual questionnaires, additional personal protective equipment and cleaning crews and limiting work to one shift per day for social distance. This work is expected to last one week or less after which all volunteers would return to layoff status. This voluntary temporary restart of work to finish the build out of current models is only at Arlington Assembly, other GM locations are not affected.

On Capitol Hill, the legislation unanimously passed in the Senate last night takes important steps for the nation as we battle the public health and economic crisis stemming from this tragic pandemic.

One of the main things that concerns us is the package fails to provide frontline workers with the health and safety protections necessary to keep them from contracting COVID-19.  It includes no enforceable workplace standards and does not provide enough resources to frontline workers who are the first line of defense. We need all of our leaders to put science and health and safety before short-term economics. We are working diligently with our legislators to do more for working Americans during this global crisis. More details can be found at: https://uaw.org/senate-passes-cv3-heres-means/.

I want to urge us all to stay safe, stay calm and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

You can also find updates for members and submit questions that you might have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/). We are working diligently to provide you with the most up to date information.

To all my brothers and sisters, please be safe. We are in this together.

In solidarity,

Rory L. Gamble

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UAW President Rory L. Gamble Statement on Federal Stimulus Legislation https://uaw.org/uaw-president-rory-l-gamble-statement-federal-stimulus-legislation/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 19:29:41 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28366 DETROIT — The legislation unanimously passed in the Senate last night takes important steps for the Nation as we battle the public health and economic crisis stemming from this tragic pandemic. One of the main things that concerns UAW members is the package fails to provide front line workers with the health and safety protections

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DETROIT — The legislation unanimously passed in the Senate last night takes important steps for the Nation as we battle the public health and economic crisis stemming from this tragic pandemic.

One of the main things that concerns UAW members is the package fails to provide front line workers with the health and safety protections necessary to keep them from contracting Covid-19. It includes no enforceable workplace standards and does not provide enough resources to frontline workers who are the first line of defense.

Every day this week, the UAW has had to report to members on the deaths of a colleague and friend, and the impact of the illness in all our sectors that have had positive test results.

We are thankful that this stimulus package can help workers, our workplaces, and economy during this crisis. And Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi helped improve this package significantly so that it reaches directly into the hands of those desperately in need of assistance. For these reasons, we urge that this Bill be passed by the House and signed into law quickly.

But we must measure our concern for the economy with the health, safety and well-being of our members, their families and the community. To speed up a return to the workplace too soon without relying on scientific data, CDC guidelines and adequate protections could spike the curve of those infected. Haste in this instance can lead to greater infection, more deaths and a disastrous impact on our economy over the long haul.

We ask the Administration and Congress to enact workplace protections. And we ask all those making policy decisions and in corporate boardrooms to be guided by one simple question: “Would you send your family, your son or daughter, into the workplace and be 100% certain they will be safe?”

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Unemployment Resources https://uaw.org/unemployment-resources/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 18:40:50 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28361 In some states (maybe all states but the information is not updated) COVID-related UI claims are processed faster and can be more generous than unemployment insurance (for example, Rhode Island) but many state UI websites may not reflect this information as of March 23, 2020. State Unemployment Website Alabama https://www.labor.alabama.gov/   Alaska https://labor.alaska.gov/unemployment/COVID-19.htm   Arizona

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In some states (maybe all states but the information is not updated) COVID-related UI claims are processed faster and can be more generous than unemployment insurance (for example, Rhode Island) but many state UI websites may not reflect this information as of March 23, 2020.

State Unemployment Website
Alabama https://www.labor.alabama.gov/

 

Alaska https://labor.alaska.gov/unemployment/COVID-19.htm

 

Arizona https://des.az.gov/services/employment/unemployment-individual

 

Arkansas https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/unemployment/ezarc/

 

California https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

 

Colorado https://www.colorado.gov/cdle/unemployment

 

Connecticut http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/UI-online/index.htm

 

Delaware https://ui.delawareworks.com/

 

Florida http://www.floridajobs.org/

 

Georgia https://dol.georgia.gov/online-services

 

Hawaii https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/

 

Idaho https://labor.idaho.gov/dnn/COVID-19

 

Illinois https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/COVID-19-and-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx

 

Indiana https://www.in.gov/dwd/19.htm

 

Iowa https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/updates-and-resources-about-covid-19

 

Kansas https://www.getkansasbenefits.gov/Home.aspx

 

Kentucky https://kcc.ky.gov/career/Pages/default.aspx

 

Louisiana https://www.louisianaworks.net/hire/vosnet/Default.aspx

Or call:  Claim Center at 866-783-5567

 

 

 

Maine https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/

 

Maryland https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/unemployment.shtml

 

Massachusetts https://www.mass.gov/unemployment-insurance-ui-online

 

Michigan https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-78421_97241_89980—,00.html

 

Minnesota https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/news-updates/covid-19.jsp

 

Mississippi MDES: https://www.meds.ms.gov/ (website is down)

Or call the MDES Contact Center at 888-844-3577

 

Missouri https://labor.mo.gov/coronavirus

 

Montana http://uid.dli.mt.gov/

 

Nebraska https://neworks.nebraska.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx

 

Nevada http://ui.nv.gov/css.html

 

New Hampshire https://www.nhes.nh.gov/services/claimants/file.htm

 

New Jersey https://myunemployment.nj.gov/labor/myunemployment/covidinstructions.shtml

 

New Mexico https://www.dws.state.nm.us/MyWorkforceConnection

 

New York https://labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm

 

North Carolina https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information

 

North Dakota https://www.jobsnd.com/unemployment-individuals/file-claim

 

Ohio http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

 

Oklahoma https://unemployment.state.ok.us/

 

Oregon  https://www.oregon.gov/employ/Pages/COVID-19.aspx

 

Pennsylvania https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx

 

Rhode Island http://www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/

 

 

 

South Carolina https://dew.sc.gov/

and

https://dew.sc.gov/docs/default-source/covid-19/coronavirus-and-unemployement-benefits.pdf?sfvrsn=9e21cba5_4

 

South Dakota https://dlr.sd.gov/ra/default.aspx

 

Tennessee https://www.tn.gov/workforce/covid-19/employees.html

 

Texas https://twc.texas.gov/news/unemployment-news

 

Utah https://jobs.utah.gov/ui/home

 

Vermont https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance

 

Virginia http://www.vec.virginia.gov/node/11699

 

Washington https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment

 

West Virginia https://www.workforcewv.org/

 

Wisconsin https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/

and

https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui.htm

 

Wyoming http://www.wyomingworkforce.org/workers/ui/

 

Puerto Rico https://www.unemploymentofficelocations.net/puerto-rico-unemployment-department-ud52

and

https://www.trabajo.pr.gov/

 

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CV3 signed into law. Here’s what it means. https://uaw.org/senate-passes-cv3-heres-means/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 17:43:06 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28354 This afternoon (March 27, 2020), CV3, a $2-trillion stimulus package to lessen the effects of COVID-19 on our economy and citizen’s health, was signed into law. This package is the largest in U.S. history. The legislation provides more than $500 billion for emergency relief and taxpayer protections to help get the economy moving again. This

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This afternoon (March 27, 2020), CV3, a $2-trillion stimulus package to lessen the effects of COVID-19 on our economy and citizen’s health, was signed into law. This package is the largest in U.S. history.

The legislation provides more than $500 billion for emergency relief and taxpayer protections to help get the economy moving again. This includes industries hit by the drastic downturns in business due to the virus shutdowns, with $50 billion going to passenger airlines, $8 billion to cargo airlines, $17 billion for companies deemed important to national security, and $425 billion for businesses, cities and states. Auto manufacturers and supplier companies would be able to tap into these funds.

More important, here’s a look at how it directly affects workers:

  • Supplemental payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, with $500 added for every child, will be made. The amounts will be based on 2019 tax returns (for those who filed them) and 2018 information (for those who have not). Specifics include:
    • Individuals with an adjusted gross annual income of less than $75,000, and $150,000 for joint filers, would receive the full payment. 
    • People earning over that amount would see their payments reduced by $5 for each $100 in income over that amount. 
    • Individuals earning over $99,000 and married couples making more than $198,000 will not receive a payment.
    • People with incomes under $2,500 are eligible for $600, or $1,200 for a married couple.
  • Individuals receiving unemployment insurance will receive an additional $600 per week for up to four months. You should reference your state’s unemployment rules for details as several states have already expanded their unemployment eligibility and benefits that may be in addition to the new federal expansions. This supplemental benefit will last for four months. For most workers this, as with normal unemployment benefits, will be equal to full wage replacement. Learn more >>>
Additional increases to unemployment include:
  • Expanding Access: Through the end of the year, part-time, self-employed, and gig workers will have access to unemployment benefits.
  • Waiving Waiting Weeks: Federal monies will incentivize states to eliminate waiting weeks.
  • Extension of Benefits: An additional 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment is available.

Other provisions included in the bill to help businesses continue to pay wages are:

  • The availability of $25 billion in grants to airlines and $4 billion to cargo carriers to be used exclusively to pay employee wages, salaries and benefits.
  • A small business loan fund of $350 billion to cover salary, wages and benefits, worth 250% of an employer’s monthly payroll, with a maximum loan of $10 million.
  • Tax credits for retaining employees, worth up to 50% of wages paid during the crisis, for businesses forced to suspend operations or that have seen gross receipts fall by 50% from the previous year.
  • Delaying payroll taxes for employers. Half of the deferred tax must be paid by the end of 2021 and the other half by the end of 2022.
Key points assisting in health care are:
  • An earmarked $117 billion for hospitals and veterans’ health care.
  • $16 billion for the strategic national stockpiling of pharmaceutical and medical supplies.
  • Requiring group health plans and insurance providers to cover preventive services related to coronavirus without cost sharing.

Restrictions are also in place for large corporations who receive a bailout:
  • No stock buybacks or dividends for the length of any loan provided by the Treasury plus 1 year.
  • Restrictions on any increases to executive compensation.
  • Protecting collective bargaining agreements.
  • Prohibiting businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments getting loans or investments from Treasury programs.
  • The creation of the Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to provide oversight of Treasury loans and investments and a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to protect taxpayer dollars.

Two previous bills were signed into law earlier in the month. CV2 was passed March 6 and CV1 was passed on March 18.

The details of these are as follows:
  • The first bill to address the COVID-19 pandemic (CV1) was signed into law on March 6. It provided emergency funding to educate the public, prepare health care facilities, develop vaccines and therapies, and purchase necessary medical supplies. It also provided a temporary waiver to allow Medicare recipients to use tele-healthcare services.
  • The second bill (CV2) was signed into law on March 18. It ensured Americans would receive cost-free testing. In addition, it shored up the social safety net by providing additional monies to states’ unemployment programs, as well as food assistance programs like WIC, food banks, school lunches, and senior nutrition programs. It also provided emergency paid sick leave and paid medical leave to workers who worked for an employer with more than 50 workers, but less than 500.

As COVID-19 legislation changes, we will keep you updated on progress and how it affects our UAW brothers and sisters. 

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NY TIMES: F.A.Q. on Stimulus Checks, Unemployment and the Coronavirus Bill https://uaw.org/ny-times-f-q-stimulus-checks-unemployment-coronavirus-bill/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 16:29:20 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28352 The Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion economic rescue plan on Wednesday that will offer assistance to tens of millions of American households affected by the coronavirus. Its components include stimulus payments to individuals, expanded unemployment coverage that includes the self-employed, student loan changes and much more. Here are the answers to common questions about

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The Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion economic rescue plan on Wednesday that will offer assistance to tens of millions of American households affected by the coronavirus. Its components include stimulus payments to individuals, expanded unemployment coverage that includes the self-employed, student loan changes and much more.

Here are the answers to common questions about what’s in the bill. We’ll update this article as we have more answers or if the plan changes as it moves through the legislative process.

Read more on nytimes.com >>>

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UAW Statement of President Rory L. Gamble on Health and Safety Standards Regarding the Reopening of Worksites https://uaw.org/uaw-statement-president-rory-l-gamble-health-safety-standards-regarding-reopening-worksites/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 15:58:09 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28350 “The UAW continues to review with great caution and concern decisions being made about restarting workplaces, especially at advanced dates.” These decisions should be informed by data and where each state is on the contagion curve. The UAW maintains that strict CDC guidelines need to be adhered to at all worksites and that prior to

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“The UAW continues to review with great caution and concern decisions being made about restarting workplaces, especially at advanced dates.”

These decisions should be informed by data and where each state is on the contagion curve. The UAW maintains that strict CDC guidelines need to be adhered to at all worksites and that prior to reopening sufficient data and protections are in place to ensure the safety of our members, their families and the public. The only guideline in a boardroom should be management asking themselves, “Would I send my family — my own son or daughter — into that plant and be 100% certain they are safe?”

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UAW Statement on Ford’s Announcement Resuming Production at Some Plants April 14 https://uaw.org/uaw-statement-fords-announcement-resuming-production-plants-april-14/ Thu, 26 Mar 2020 13:12:49 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28348 “We are reviewing with great concern and caution today’s announcement. Our priority is the health and safety of our members, their families and the American public.”

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“We are reviewing with great concern and caution today’s announcement. Our priority is the health and safety of our members, their families and the American public.”

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COVID-19 Update from UAW President Rory Gamble https://uaw.org/covid-19-update-uaw-president-rory-gamble/ Wed, 25 Mar 2020 22:41:13 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28345 My Sisters and Brothers, My update today, once again, includes some very sad news. One of our members at FCA Warren Truck in Michigan passed away today due to the Coronavirus. On behalf of myself and the entire International Executive Board, I want to extend our sincerest sympathies to the family and friends of our

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My Sisters and Brothers,

My update today, once again, includes some very sad news. One of our members at FCA Warren Truck in Michigan passed away today due to the Coronavirus. On behalf of myself and the entire International Executive Board, I want to extend our sincerest sympathies to the family and friends of our dear member.

Also, today FCA officials sent home the few remaining MOPAR workers at the parts distribution center in Center Line, Michigan, after at least one employee tested positive for the virus. The center had been open with paid volunteers only as it is an essential business. They are currently deep cleaning the facility and following the proper protocols. We expect results soon on others who were tested.

I want all my brothers and sisters to know that we are working continuously with companies in all sectors and with health officials and government agencies to keep our members and communities safe.

I want to again recognize those brave Americans on the front lines of this crisis, who show up every day, putting their own lives and health at risk, to keep us all safe and the nation’s critical services running.

We must all support one another through this crisis. Please follow the stay-at-home precautions in your area and adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on protecting yourself and others from this virus. CDC guidelines here:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

You can also find updates for members and submit questions that you might have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/). We are working diligently to provide you with the most up to date information.

In solidarity,

Rory L. Gamble

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Labor Voices: Unions protect members, communities https://uaw.org/labor-voices-unions-protect-members-communities/ Wed, 25 Mar 2020 15:08:31 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28338 Last week, as all of you know FCA, Ford and GM announced their intention to cease production at plants across North America through the end of March in order to ensure the health and safety of employees during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. The UAW fully supports this action. But I do want to take some time to

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Last week, as all of you know FCA, Ford and GM announced their intention to cease production at plants across North America through the end of March in order to ensure the health and safety of employees during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

The UAW fully supports this action.

But I do want to take some time to recognize the many heroes among us, many UAW members, who soldier on despite the dangers because of the essential role we all play.

UAW nurses, social workers, government workers, public safety officers and our factory workers keep our economy afloat. These are American heroes.

Read more at The Detroit News >>>

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COVID-19 Update https://uaw.org/covid-19-update-2/ Wed, 25 Mar 2020 00:13:46 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28336 My Brothers and Sisters, I have much to update you on today as we all work through this very difficult time. First of all, I want to extend sincere sympathies from myself and the entire International Executive Board for the families of two of our members, one at FCA Kokomo, IN, and one at FCA

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My Brothers and Sisters,

I have much to update you on today as we all work through this very difficult time. First of all, I want to extend sincere sympathies from myself and the entire International Executive Board for the families of two of our members, one at FCA Kokomo, IN, and one at FCA Sterling Heights, MI, who have lost their lives to this virus. This is a terrible tragedy for our entire UAW family.

I want you to know that we are working around the clock with companies in every sector, health officials and governmental agencies across this nation to keep our members and our communities safe. This week, as of March 23, 2020, we succeeded in finally getting American Axle and Manufacturing to close the Fraser, MI, facility after a worker tested positive at that location. I’m sorry to say there was a great deal of resistance from the company. I want to recognize the tireless work of our plant chairperson, Trent DeSenglau; our Region 1 Director Frank Stuglin; and our other brothers and sisters at this location in helping us get the company to close this plant.

We had some other positive news today. Working with the Ford Motor Company, we got the announcement that they will not be reopening plants on March 30, as was originally planned, due to numerous stay-at-home orders from government officials. We commend Ford for this action. FCA has told us that they intend to comply with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order and have no plans to reopen on March 30. We are waiting to hear from GM and are demanding that they put our members’ safety first and adhere to government and health officials’ recommendations to stay-at-home. We will keep you updated.

In another positive development, the UAW and Ford Motor Company will be collaborating to find ways to help improve and protect lives across the country during this crisis. And, news from the UAW GM department announced a collaboration with the company to produce much needed ventilators to help save lives.

I know so many of our friends and family members are scared and experiencing tremendous difficulties and challenges during this unprecedented time. The UAW is doing everything in our power to keep everyone safe and move forward in the best possible way to stem the spread of this terrible virus.

I also want to, once again, thank those brave Americans on the front lines of this crisis, our health care workers, health and safety workers, essential workers, firefighters, police and security — everyone who is so courageously showing up to work to keep us safe and keep the nation going.

I must ask again that we all try to remain calm, we all support one another and please, follow the stay-at-home precautions in your area to the extent that you are able. Please adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on protecting yourself and others from the virus.

For more information, please see the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV) and UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/). The UAW landing page includes an email for our members to ask questions. We are working diligently to provide you with the most up to date information.

Again, we truly are in this together. Please support one another.

In solidarity,

Rory L. Gamble

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Detroit Free Press: UAW plant leader’s emotional day: Pleas to management and dread from the line https://uaw.org/detroit-free-press-uaw-plant-leaders-emotional-day-pleas-management-dread-line/ Tue, 24 Mar 2020 17:38:57 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28331 Trent DeSenglau, the son of two factory workers, struggled to select his words as he fought back tears. “I’m sorry,” he said over the phone early Monday from his home in Chesterfield. “I’m on quarantine. Everybody is scared for people they work with, their friends, their families. People are getting sick in my plant.” It’s a scene playing out at manufacturing

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Trent DeSenglau, the son of two factory workers, struggled to select his words as he fought back tears.

“I’m sorry,” he said over the phone early Monday from his home in Chesterfield. “I’m on quarantine. Everybody is scared for people they work with, their friends, their families. People are getting sick in my plant.”

It’s a scene playing out at manufacturing plants around the country, especially so in places like Michigan, where in just over two weeks, positive tests for coronavirus have gone from single digits to four figures in the general population. Many people, including white-collar auto industry workers, have been dispatched to do their jobs from the safety of home. But then there are the manufacturing plants, where workers toil over the assembly of cars and their parts, often in tight spaces near others, in places where the now-pervasive six-foot-rule can hardly be observed.

Read more on freep.com >>>

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TELL CONGRESS: make workers well-being and economic security your top priority https://uaw.org/tell-congress-make-workers-well-economic-security-top-priority/ Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:27:31 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28323 As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the world, people coming down with the virus is skyrocketing, and it is uncertain when this pandemic will end. What is clear is we are not taking all the necessary steps to fight this virus.. Millions of the brave nurses, doctors, firefighters, policemen, and other first responders do not even

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As COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the world, people coming down with the virus is skyrocketing, and it is uncertain when this pandemic will end. What is clear is we are not taking all the necessary steps to fight this virus..

Millions of the brave nurses, doctors, firefighters, policemen, and other first responders do not even have basic protective gear they need to not get infected themselves. Millions of Americans have been laid off , or seen their hours cut as business are ordered to shut down and people ordered to stay at home.

We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of this virus, but we cannot do it alone. We need our elected leaders to rise to the occasion. Right now, Congress is working on legislation to address this public health and economic crisis, and we need to make sure they hear our voice.

We are asking all UAW leaders, members, retirees, and their family members to call Congress and demand workers’ well-being and economic security is their top priority rather than Wall St and the well connected . Conversation with them should focus on two critical issues:

  1. Frontline workers addressing this crisis must be protected as much as possible. Right now they are not. Without workplace protections, we run the risk of more frontline workers getting sick and hollowing out everyone’s ability to fight this virus. Legislation must require Occupation Safety Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard to ensure that health care workers and other high-risk workers receive protection from the spread of the coronavirus.
  2. People are losing their jobs through no fault of their own. Right now, unemployment benefits are not nearly enough to keep families afloat and are difficult to access. Unemployment benefits and other financial assistance must provide full wage replacement to laid off and quarantined workers. Workers should not be punished for the outbreak of the virus.

Call your Representative’s office right now at 1-866-287-6350, and call your Senator’s office at 1-888-329-5096. Make sure you let them know who you are, where you live, and that any federal legislation dealing with this pandemic protects frontline workers and working families across America.

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Statement of UAW Vice President Gerald Kariem Director of the UAW Ford Department on Efforts to Help Produce Protective Equipment https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-vice-president-gerald-kariem-director-uaw-ford-department-efforts-help-produce-protective-equipment/ Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:15:22 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28325 “UAW Ford members have a history of working together for the good of our Nation. We look forward to collaborating with Ford so that once again UAW members can find ways to improve the health and safety of all Americans during this national emergency.”

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“UAW Ford members have a history of working together for the good of our Nation. We look forward to collaborating with Ford so that once again UAW members can find ways to improve the health and safety of all Americans during this national emergency.”

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UAW leader Liz Jackson, a woman of firsts, leaves powerful legacy https://uaw.org/uaw-leader-liz-jackson-woman-firsts-leaves-powerful-legacy/ Tue, 24 Mar 2020 02:17:09 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28295 Elizabeth “Liz” Jackson was born Jan 18, 1918, long before the UAW’s founding in 1935. Yet once she joined the union, it seemed to be a role crafted especially for her. She was a devoted trade unionist and member of Local 600. She was an African American woman with a voice that captivated audiences and

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Elizabeth “Liz” Jackson was born Jan 18, 1918, long before the UAW’s founding in 1935. Yet once she joined the union, it seemed to be a role crafted especially for her.

She was a devoted trade unionist and member of Local 600. She was an African American woman with a voice that captivated audiences and analytical skills that made negotiators pay attention. She was the first African American woman appointed to an International staff position and the first to be appointed an administrative assistant.

She earned a berth in history books as a leader for the labor movement, African Americans and for women. She was also a woman, who up to the last seven years, marched in high heels during Detroit Labor Day parades, leaving spectators in awe and cheering her on.

Detroiter Liz Jackson passed away on March 2, 2020 at age 102.

A mentor and a friend

“I am one of the many who called her Mama Liz,” said UAW President Rory L. Gamble. “She was a true leader and someone who readily shared her knowledge with everyone around her. She believed in empowerment and she had a huge vision that encompassed the entire community. Not just what labor needed. Not just what Detroit needed, but what would bring all of us together everywhere.”

“She inspired a lot of women to go further in leadership at the UAW,” said Peaches Anderson, one of Jackson’s ‘UAW daughters,’ a close friend and president of the Local 600 Retiree Chapter. “She was humble and a powerhouse at the same time. She never stopped being committed to the union or Detroit. She never stopped showing her concern about the labor movement or what was happening on all levels of American politics. She definitely kept us all on our toes.”

Jackson was hired at the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge Aluminum Foundry March 11, 1943. She joined Local 600 and quickly found others looking to her for leadership. Over the next 20 years, she served in numerous elected local union positions.

By 1957, Liz Jackson joined other leaders in forming the Trade Union Leaders Council (TULC). The TULC became a nationally recognized organization credited with advancing black political development within the UAW, the labor movement and the African American community. 

Commitment to union and community

In August 1966, UAW President Walter P. Reuther appointed Jackson to serve as an International representative assigned to the union’s National Ford Department. She was instrumental in negotiating national Ford contracts.

Her community activism included a period as vice president of the Michigan Black Caucus, a member of the Michigan Democratic Party and the Detroit Branch of the NAACP. Also, she served on the Detroit Fire Commission.

Retirement didn’t stop her

After retiring in 1983, she remained active mentoring future leaders and engaging in politics on all levels. She was active in UAW Region 1A events and doted on her beloved Local 600 active and retired friends.

In 2012, Jackson attended the Democratic National Convention as part of the Michigan delegation where she cast her vote to nominate President Barack Obama to a second term. Jackson was said to describe that event as a moment in her life that she would always remember.

On March 7, 2013, Rep. Gary Peters recognized Jackson in the Michigan House of Representatives for her lifelong achievements and contributions to the labor movement.

“Her dedication to the greater Detroit region and her brothers and sisters in organized labor have undoubtedly been an inspiration for many that have sought to serve their communities,” Rep. Peters read in the resolution he presented as a representative from Michigan’s 9th Congressional District. “Liz has made such a profound impact on the community she calls home and I wish her continued success in all of her future endeavors,” Peters, now a U.S. senator, said at the time.

His remarks were a moving tribute to Jackson shortly after her 95th birthday.

“Everyone knew who she was and what she had accomplished,” said UAW Region 1A Director Chuck Browning. “Even members who did not know her personally called her Mama Liz, because they knew about her accomplishments and saw her come around, still involved and still loving her union sisters and brothers.”

“She left us a great gift,” President Gamble said. “Elizabeth Liz Jackson will never be forgotten. Her monumental legacy will forever be a part of what makes the UAW great.”

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COVID-19 Update https://uaw.org/covid-19-update/ Mon, 23 Mar 2020 20:33:03 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28318 My Sisters and Brothers, As we all deal with this unprecedented crisis together, I want my UAW family to know that your union, this office and the entire International Executive Board is working around the clock to keep our members and our communities safe. I am deeply concerned for all of us during this unpredictable

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My Sisters and Brothers,

As we all deal with this unprecedented crisis together, I want my UAW family to know that your union, this office and the entire International Executive Board is working around the clock to keep our members and our communities safe. I am deeply concerned for all of us during this unpredictable situation, and my prayers especially go out to any one of my brothers and sisters, family, community and friends who may be sick or facing especially difficult hardships as a result of this pandemic.

I want you to know that for our members who are still in the workforce, we are working with health officials, government officials and the companies in all sectors to diligently monitor this virus to keep our members safe. I want to thank you for the work you are doing. For those companies whose services or products are non-essential, we are demanding that they put our members first and send them home to their families. We are using every means in our power to make those companies who have refused to heed health officials and governmental warnings do the right thing and send our people home. And I pledge to you that we will not stop making this demand and fighting for our members.

For those brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis — health care workers, firefighters, police — we are working to do everything possible to keep you safe. I want to thank you for the absolutely critical work you’re doing and for the courage to report to work. I know it is a terrible strain on you and your families and we are all indebted to you. I pray for your safety.

For those members at home, and for all of us, please follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The difficult decision by governors across this nation, including today’s announcement by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, to issue stay-at-home orders are essential in stemming the spread of this virus and saving lives. I urge everyone, please heed these orders and the CDC precautions.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people — at least 6 feet.

For more, please see the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV) and UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/) sites. We must support one another through these difficult days. I urge everyone to please try to stay calm and informed. We will continue updating our members as new developments occur. My prayers are with my entire UAW family. We are all in this together.

In solidarity,

Rory L. Gamble

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Statement by UAW President Rory Gamble on Gov. Whitmer’s stay at home order https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-president-rory-gamble-gov-whitmers-stay-home-order/ Mon, 23 Mar 2020 15:24:39 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28311 “The difficult decision by Governor Whitmer, and other Governors to issue stay at home orders will in fact not only save lives but speed up the timetable to get our workforce back up and running at capacity. The sooner we can limit exposure and ‘flatten the curve’, the sooner all American’s can go back to

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“The difficult decision by Governor Whitmer, and other Governors to issue stay at home orders will in fact not only save lives but speed up the timetable to get our workforce back up and running at capacity. The sooner we can limit exposure and ‘flatten the curve’, the sooner all American’s can go back to work, school and our daily normal routines. It’s a tough decision, but a necessary one.”

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Your Guide to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act https://uaw.org/guide-families-first-coronavirus-response-act/ Mon, 23 Mar 2020 00:29:31 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28309 Last week, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The bill will provide support for workers during the Coronavirus pandemic as well as providing additional funding for social safety net programs. Read some of the highlights of the bill below: What does the Families First

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Last week, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The bill will provide support for workers during the Coronavirus pandemic as well as providing additional funding for social safety net programs. Read some of the highlights of the bill below:

What does the Families First Coronavirus Response Act do?

  • Free COVID-19 Testing: The bill ensures patients have access to cost-free COVID-19 testing.
  • Paid Sick Leave: Employers with over 50 employees and under 500 employees are required to grant two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave for workers dealing with the coronavirus.
    • Requires employers to grant two weeks (80 hours) paid sick leave immediately
    • Covers COVID-19 related issues, such as workers experiencing symptoms, seeking medical diagnosis, quarantine, caring for quarantined family members, or caring for children due to school or daycare closures due to coronavirus.
    • Exempts large employers with over 500 workers
    • Exempts small employers with under 50 workers
    • Includes part-time workers, who receive pay based on average weekly hours worked.
  • Paid Medical Leave for Childcare: The bill expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by providing 10 weeks of paid leave at two-thirds pay to workers caring for a child. Like the paid sick leave, this only applies to employers with over 50 and under 500 employees.
    • Following the first two weeks (10 days) of unpaid leave, employers must provide paid leave at two-thirds an employee’s regular pay, up to 10 weeks.
    • Exempts large employers with over 500 workers
    • Exempts small employers with under 50 workers
    • Part-time employees eligible, based on average weekly hours
    • Only applies to workers unable to work because they must care for a child under 18 years of age due to COVID-19 related school or childcare closures.
  • Expands Food Assistance Programs: The bill provides funding for food assistance programs, including WIC, local food banks, and senior nutrition programs, and waives regulations making it easier for schools to provide student lunches.
  • Unemployment Support to States: The bill provides $1 billion in grants to states for unemployment programs.

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Statement from FCA: Ceasing production at plants in North America https://uaw.org/statement-fca-ceasing-production-plants-north-america/ Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:26:30 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28286 Working with the UAW and listening to the concerns of our people, we have agreed to cease production at our plants across North America, starting progressively from today through the end of March. While production is paused, the Company will put actions into place to facilitate the steps agreed to through the joint task-force set

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Working with the UAW and listening to the concerns of our people, we have agreed to cease production at our plants across North America, starting progressively from today through the end of March. While production is paused, the Company will put actions into place to facilitate the steps agreed to through the joint task-force set up between the UAW and the automakers. Through this period, which we will re-evaluate at the end of this month, FCA will work to enhance its manufacturing operations to facilitate the changes agreed with the UAW including shift timings, structures and enhanced cleaning protocols.

Commenting on this action, FCA CEO, Mike Manley said: “Working with the UAW, and having visited many of our plants yesterday, we need to ensure employees feel safe at work and that we are taking every step possible to protect them. We will continue to do what is right for our people through this period of uncertainty.”

“We’ve been working very closely with the FCA leadership and are very pleased that they have taken this step to help us protect the hard-working men and women and our communities across the nation,” said UAW President Rory Gamble. “We will now have the time to review best practices to prepare for when the plants reopen, so we can continue working to prevent the possible spread of this pandemic. We commend FCA for working with us and taking this bold step.”

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General Motors to Temporarily Suspend Production https://uaw.org/general-motors-temporarily-suspend-production/ Wed, 18 Mar 2020 18:09:13 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28247 DETROIT – Today, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) confirmed it will begin a systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America due to market conditions and to deep clean facilities and continue to protect people. The suspension will last until at least March 30. Production status will be reevaluated week-to-week after that. “GM and the UAW have

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DETROIT – Today, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) confirmed it will begin a systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America due to market conditions and to deep clean facilities and continue to protect people. The suspension will last until at least March 30. Production status will be reevaluated week-to-week after that.

“GM and the UAW have always put the health and safety of the people entering GM plants first, and we have agreed to a systematic, orderly suspension of production to aid in fighting COVID-19/coronavirus,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We have been taking extraordinary precautions around the world to keep our plant environments safe and recent developments in North America make it clear this is the right thing to do now. I appreciate the teamwork of UAW President Rory Gamble, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes and local leadership as we take this unprecedented step.”

“UAW members, their families and our communities will benefit from today’s announcement with the certainty that we are doing all that we can to protect our health and safety during this pandemic,” said UAW President Rory Gamble. “This will give us time to review best practices and to prevent the spread of this disease. We appreciate General Motors’ actions today and will continue to work with them on health and safety plans to be implemented when we resume production.”

To ensure that production stops in a safe and orderly fashion, plants will suspend operations in a cadence, with each facility receiving specific instructions from manufacturing leadership.

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Ford Reduces North America Production to Help Keep Workforce Safe, Boosting Coronavirus Containment Efforts https://uaw.org/ford-reduces-north-america-production-help-keep-workforce-safe-boosting-coronavirus-containment-efforts/ Wed, 18 Mar 2020 18:01:18 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28245 Production at Ford’s U.S., Canadian and Mexican manufacturing facilities will be halted after Thursday evening’s shifts through March 30 to thoroughly clean and sanitize the company’s plants UAW and Ford leaders will work together on how to best structure plant restart plans – along with health and safety procedures aimed at helping keep the workforce

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  • Production at Ford’s U.S., Canadian and Mexican manufacturing facilities will be halted after Thursday evening’s shifts through March 30 to thoroughly clean and sanitize the company’s plants
  • UAW and Ford leaders will work together on how to best structure plant restart plans – along with health and safety procedures aimed at helping keep the workforce safe
  • Ford is taking additional production-related actions as the American government restricts travel and personal contact, affecting vehicle sales and component suppliers throughout the country. Pandemic conditions, national restrictions, supplier constraints and dealer stock requirements will be continually re-evaluated
  • DEARBORN, Mich., March 18, 2020 – Following Thursday evening shifts, Ford is temporarily suspending production at its manufacturing sites in North America through March 30 to thoroughly clean its facilities to protect its workforce and boost containment efforts for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

    “We’re continuing to work closely with union leaders, especially the United Auto Workers, to find ways to help keep our workforce healthy and safe – even as we look at solutions for continuing to provide the vehicles customers really want and need,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of North America. “In these unprecedented times, we’re exploring unique and creative solutions to support our workforce, customers, dealers, suppliers and communities.”

    UAW and Ford leaders will work together in the coming weeks on plant restart plans as well as exploring additional protocols and procedures for helping prevent the spread of the virus. Chief among them: finding ways to maximize social distancing among plant workers – both during work hours and at shift change, when large numbers of people typically gather at entry and exit points and maximizing cleaning times between shift changes.

    “Today’s action is the prudent thing to do. By taking a shutdown and working through next steps, we protect UAW members, their families and the community,” said Rory Gamble, president of the UAW. “We have time to review best practices when the plants reopen, and we prevent the possible spread of this pandemic. We commend Ford for working with us and taking this bold step.”

    Ford temporarily closed Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) final assembly building this morning after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus and is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the building, as promised as part of the company’s coronavirus emergency response protocol. MAP will halt production through March 30.

    In addition, the company will instruct people who have had direct contact with that infected employee to self-quarantine and get medical attention. Those who have had close contact to those who have had direct contact are asked watch for symptoms and seek medical attention if they feel unwell.

    The move to temporarily close plants follows Sunday’s news that Ford leaders are forming a Coronavirus Task Force along with UAW, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler leaders to implement enhanced protections for manufacturing and warehouse employees at all three companies. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and President and CEO Jim Hackett, UAW President Rory Gamble, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, and FCA CEO Michael Manley are leading the task force. The three companies formed a similar task force in Canada.

    “Together, we’ll continue finding solutions and best practices that help keep workers at our plants and parts distribution centers healthy and safe throughout our operations,” said Gary Johnson, chief manufacturing and labor affairs officer.

    In addition, Ford vehicle manufacturing sites in Cologne and Saarlouis in Germany, together with the Craiova facility in Romania, will temporarily halt production starting Thursday. Ford’s Valencia assembly and engine facility in Spain already temporarily halted production from Monday, after three workers were confirmed with coronavirus over the past weekend.

    On Monday, Ford asked all salaried employees – except those performing business critical roles that can’t be done off site – to work remotely until further notice.

    “Especially in these challenging times, we must continue working together and putting people first,” Galhotra said.

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    Follow-Up on Big 3 Discussions https://uaw.org/follow-big-3-discussions/ Wed, 18 Mar 2020 01:39:04 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28241 As you know, the UAW has strongly requested that the Big 3 automakers cease production for the next two weeks to safeguard our members, the workforce that makes their products and our communities. We spent hours tonight in talks with the leadership of the Big 3, demanding that they do the right thing for our

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    As you know, the UAW has strongly requested that the Big 3 automakers cease production for the next two weeks to safeguard our members, the workforce that makes their products and our communities.

    We spent hours tonight in talks with the leadership of the Big 3, demanding that they do the right thing for our members. All three companies have agreed to new measures that will increase adherence to CDC recommendations on social distancing in the workplace. Most importantly, all three companies have agreed to review and implement the rotating partial shutdown of facilities, extensive deep cleaning of facility and equipment between shifts, extended periods between shifts, and extensive plans to avoid member contact. They will be working on shift rotation to minimize risk. The companies have also agreed to work with us in Washington, D.C., on behalf of our members as we manage the disruption in the industry.

    In order to enact these changes, each company will be working with UAW Vice Presidents to implement these improvements and most importantly arranging shifts to be set to adhere to CDC required social distancing and protection of members.

    We expect more detailed information to be released in the next 24 hours. I thank you all for your strength during these difficult days.

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    Message to all members re: COVID-19 — All sectors https://uaw.org/message-members-re-covid-19-sectors/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 23:12:11 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28238 To my UAW Sisters and Brothers, I want to send a message to my entire UAW family, all of our active members and our retirees. First of all, I want you to know that during this time of crisis, our UAW leadership is absolutely focused on protecting our membership in every way we can. We

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    To my UAW Sisters and Brothers,

    I want to send a message to my entire UAW family, all of our active members and our retirees. First of all, I want you to know that during this time of crisis, our UAW leadership is absolutely focused on protecting our membership in every way we can. We are facing the most significant health crisis in memory and I know that our families and members — and all working men and women — are worried, unsure of what tomorrow will bring and facing hardships and extremely difficult challenges and decisions.

    I’m not going to pretend that there’s an easy roadmap here. I want you to know that we are working tirelessly to protect our members in every sector of the workplace and society. We have members in plants, in hospitals, in casinos, in schools, in law enforcement and many, many other worksites. Now, a great deal of the media coverage has centered around the Big 3 automotive companies in Detroit, Michigan. And we are certainly in intense talks with these companies, but we are also working with all of our employers and all of our sectors — heavy truck, agricultural implement and defense, casinos, suppliers, etc. — to make sure we do everything we can to safeguard our members and their families. These companies are hearing from us loud and clear.

    Our message is simple: You put our members first in this global crisis. These are the very people who make your profits possible, who build your products and who provide your services.

    We must all work together in this very difficult time. I will continue to provide updates as we know more. I want to thank you for your patience and your strength as we face this together.

    For more information  copy and past the following link to your browser:  https://uaw.org/coronavirus/

    In solidarity,

    Rory L. Gamble

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    Our message to Big 3: Put our members first https://uaw.org/message-big-3-put-members-first/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 18:49:46 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28234 Brothers and Sisters, I’m going to get right to the point. I want you to know exactly where we are with our discussions with the Big 3 leadership and protecting our members and their facilities during this international crisis. I announced this past Sunday that the International UAW had formed a COVID-19/Coronavirus task force with

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    Brothers and Sisters,

    I’m going to get right to the point. I want you to know exactly where we are with our discussions with the Big 3 leadership and protecting our members and their facilities during this international crisis.

    I announced this past Sunday that the International UAW had formed a COVID-19/Coronavirus task force with GM, Ford and FCA to implement enhanced protections for manufacturing and warehouse employees at all three companies.

    I want to be very transparent about what happened during our conversation Sunday with the Big 3. The UAW leadership, based on the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on how to protect ourselves and our communities, requested a two-week shutdown of operations to safeguard our members, our families and our communities. Your UAW leadership feels very strongly, and argued very strongly, that this is the most responsible course of action.

    The companies, however, were not willing to implement this request. They asked for 48 hours to put together plans to safeguard workers in their facilities. (Ford Motor Company has indicated this week that they are willing to rotate down shifts and are planning to shut down all European operations next week.)

    The 48-hour window is up this afternoon. We will be evaluating what the companies submit today and there will be a meeting this evening at 6 p.m., where the Task Force will review plans for the safety and health of all members, their families and our communities.

    I want to be very clear here: If the UAW leadership on the task force, myself and Vice Presidents Cindy Estrada, Terry Dittes and Gerald Kariem, are not satisfied that our members will be protected, we will take this conversation to the next level.

    These companies will be put on notice that the UAW will use any and all measures to protect our brothers and sisters who are working in their facilities. And make no mistake, we have powerful allies who have stepped up to help us. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, despite what you might have heard in some recent erroneous reports, was instrumental in assisting us in bringing the Big 3 to the table, as was U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell.

    I know these are very difficult days for all of us. Please know that my #1 priority, and the #1 priority of the entire UAW leadership, is the safety and well-being of our UAW family and our communities.

    I will be sending another update very soon on what we see from the Big 3 today.

    I’d like to ask that we all remember that we are all in this together.

    In Solidarity,

    Rory

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    Statement by UAW Vice President Terry Dittes Director of the UAW GM Department on a positive ID of Coronavirus at Warren Technical Center https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-vice-president-terry-dittes-director-uaw-gm-department-positive-id-coronavirus-warren-technical-center/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 15:00:27 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28219 “Our thoughts are with our member and their family, coworkers and friends at GM’s Warren Technical Center, who rightfully are worried about their loved one’s health and their exposure to Coronavirus. It is important that our members are quarantined in accordance with U.S. Government Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The UAW is

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    “Our thoughts are with our member and their family, coworkers and friends at GM’s Warren Technical Center, who rightfully are worried about their loved one’s health and their exposure to Coronavirus. It is important that our members are quarantined in accordance with U.S. Government Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The UAW is working with GM to inform any members who should be in quarantine.

    Since mid-February, the UAW has been actively monitoring and reacting to issues related to the spread of Coronavirus. We are working with GM on the precautions and measures necessary to protect our UAW GM members and everyone who works in our facilities.

    The UAW feels strongly that no member should be disadvantaged in response to doing the right thing regarding the Coronavirus exposure. Our first priority is to ensure the health and welfare of our members. That includes instances of quarantine which are in the best interest of our members, the public and the company operation.

    As a reminder to help do our part in this pandemic, we encourage all UAW members and others to wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer frequently, avoid touching the face and avoid contact with others within 2 to 3 feet, if possible. Anyone experiencing symptoms of a high fever, dry cough or illness, should take precaution.

    We are in this together in Solidarity.”

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    UAW, GM, Ford and FCA to Enhance COVID-19/ Coronavirus Protections for Manufacturing and Warehouse Workers https://uaw.org/uaw-gm-ford-fca-enhance-covid-19-coronavirus-protections-manufacturing-warehouse-workers/ Sun, 15 Mar 2020 21:20:27 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28164 DETROIT – The United Auto Workers (UAW), General Motors Co., Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced today they are forming a COVID-19/Coronavirus Task Force to implement enhanced protections for manufacturing and warehouse employees at all three companies. UAW President Rory Gamble, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford,

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    DETROIT – The United Auto Workers (UAW), General Motors Co., Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced today they are forming a COVID-19/Coronavirus Task Force to implement enhanced protections for manufacturing and warehouse employees at all three companies.

    UAW President Rory Gamble, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett and FCA CEO Michael Manley will lead the task force.

    They will be supported by:

    • Terry Dittes, vice president, UAW-GM Department
    • Gerald Kariem, vice president, UAW-Ford Department
    • Cindy Estrada, vice president, UAW-FCA Department
    • The medical staffs, and the manufacturing and labor leadership teams at all three companies

    “Workplace health and safety is a priority for us every day, all three companies have been taking steps to keep the COVID-19/coronavirus out of their facilities and during this national emergency, we will do even more working together,” said Gamble, who convened the leaders of all three companies. “We are focused on doing the right thing for our people, their families, our communities and the country. All options related to protecting against exposure to the virus are on the table.”

    In a joint statement, the CEOs of GM, Ford and FCA said, “This is a fluid and unprecedented situation, and the task force will move quickly to build on the wide-ranging preventive measures we have put in place. We are all coming together to help keep our workforces safe and healthy.”
    All three companies and the UAW are working to coordinate action to prevent the spread of COVID-19/coronavirus, including enhanced visitor screening, increased cleaning and sanitizing of common areas and touch points, and implementing safety protocols for people with potential exposure, as well as those who exhibit flu-like symptoms.

    The joint task force’s areas of focus will include vehicle production plans, additional social distancing, break and cleaning schedules, health and safety education, health screening, food service and any other areas that have the potential to improve protections for employees. As the joint task force identifies enhancements, each company, together with the UAW, will provide regular updates to the workers in their facilities.

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    UAW President Rory Gamble Letter to membership on Coronavirus https://uaw.org/uaw-president-rory-gamble-letter-membership-coronavirus/ Fri, 13 Mar 2020 15:02:16 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28126 Brothers and Sisters: As the United States is faced with the concern of the new Coronavirus known as COVID-19, I feel it is important to speak to this topic with all our UAW membership. I want to be very clear that we do not take this matter lightly. In detailing some important actions that our

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    Brothers and Sisters:

    As the United States is faced with the concern of the new Coronavirus known as COVID-19, I feel it is important to speak to this topic with all our UAW membership.

    I want to be very clear that we do not take this matter lightly. In detailing some important actions that our UAW is taking relative to the virus; I want to assure our brothers and sisters that we continue discussions daily to ensure the necessary steps are being taken to maintain a state of preparedness.

    In addition to focusing on preparedness, our leadership is asked to be diligent in maintaining a constant watch on the potential spread of COVID-19 to ensure any new challenges are recognized and reacted to accordingly.

    The direction given to businesses and the American public are predominantly derived from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and the World Health Organization (WHO).

    As our UAW staff and leadership monitor and assess the situation there have already been several steps taken to limit exposure potentials.

    This includes travel bans and restrictions according to potential threat levels geographically.

    This also includes restrictions on modes of transportation, such as airlines both domestically and internationally.

    We are working with companies to ensure that vendors traveling internationally into the U.S. have restrictions depending on geographic point of origin and potential for exposures, including quarantine protocols.

    The internal UAW Health and Safety Department protocols have been updated and shared with Health and Safety Committees and companies.

    In addition to these steps, there have been leadership communications sent to all leaders, including this correspondence, to share the most current information with our members.

    Our UAW Health and Safety Department back in February began to track best practices and impacts on our worksites and that work continues. Our UAW Nationally appointed Health and Safety representatives locally to actively engage our membership and help answer questions to address concerns appropriately.

    I also want to spend a moment to talk about basic and simple hygiene practices that, according to the CDC, we can all practice to help each other maintain a level of potential protection against the spread of any and all viruses, including COVID-19:

    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap is not available with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or cloth when you sneeze or cough
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

    Finally, a note of caution as Spring and Easter Break approaches to keep in mind these protocols when looking at family travel and these best practices.

    We will continue to press for the utmost preparedness and response capabilities from senior leadership at all levels. I want to thank all of you for the caution and preparedness you display at home and in the workplace regarding this matter.

    Through Solidarity we will protect our families and keep our economy flowing.

    In Solidarity,

    Rory L. Gamble
    President

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    Statement of UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada on Coronavirus Identified at Kokomo FCA Facility https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-vice-president-cindy-estrada-coronavirus-identified-kokomo-fca-facility/ Thu, 12 Mar 2020 18:39:39 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28123 “Our thoughts and support are with our UAW member and their family, friends and community in Kokomo, Indiana. The UAW has been actively monitoring and reacting to issues related to the spread of COVID-19. We are working with FCA on this first discovery of the virus at one of their facilities as well as on

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    “Our thoughts and support are with our UAW member and their family, friends and community in Kokomo, Indiana. The UAW has been actively monitoring and reacting to issues related to the spread of COVID-19. We are working with FCA on this first discovery of the virus at one of their facilities as well as on the precautions and measures necessary to protect our UAW FCA members and everyone who works in our facilities.

    Earlier this week, FCA issued communications to all employees on the company process for dealing with this pandemic. The UAW FCA department will continue communications with FCA on measures that may need to be taken as this very serious situation changes daily and hourly.

    As a reminder to help do our part in this pandemic, we encourage all UAW members and others to wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer frequently, avoid touching the face and avoid contact with others within 2 to 3 feet, if possible. Anyone experiencing symptoms of a high fever, dry cough or illness, should take precaution and stay home.

    We are in this in together in Solidarity.”

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    Election 2020: We must protect health care https://uaw.org/election-2020-must-protect-health-care/ Wed, 11 Mar 2020 15:29:49 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28085 I’d like to begin this blog with a couple of comments about an issue that I feel very passionate about. In my more than 40 years with the UAW, I have had the benefit of very good health care coverage. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for so many Americans across this nation.  Our national

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    President Rory Gamble

    I’d like to begin this blog with a couple of comments about an issue that I feel very passionate about. In my more than 40 years with the UAW, I have had the benefit of very good health care coverage. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for so many Americans across this nation.  Our national health care crisis is truly a disgrace and something we are compelled to remedy. When hard working men and women can’t afford to go to the doctor or are making decisions between buying food and filling life-saving prescriptions, we know something is very wrong.

    That’s why in this election year, we must protect the Affordable Care Act (ACT).  Since its inception in 2010, the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare, has provided quality health care for millions of Americans. As of 2018, more than 20 million Americans have gained health care coverage as a result of Obamacare. With the ACA in place, we have seen the largest decline in the uninsured rate in decades — the lowest level on record.

    This is an accomplishment that we can all be very proud of. But I am sorry to say that our opponents in Congress are hell bent on tearing down the protections of the ACA.

    What they’re trying to take

    So, let’s take a look at what we lose if they succeed. ACA protections include preventing insurance companies from discriminating against people who have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, cancer or asthma. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid estimate that pre-existing conditions could affect one in two Americans. Before the ACA, Americans were at the whim of insurance companies that could deny or take away health insurance based on pre-existing conditions.

    Doing so now is illegal.

    But the gains of the ACA are under attack. Republicans in Congress have steadfastly opposed the ACA and have attempted to eliminate, weaken or repeal it more than 100 times. In addition, the ACA’s navigator programs — which raise awareness about the availability of marketplace plans, help people apply for federal subsidies, and provide information about plan options — have been cut by nearly 84%. Medicare and Medicaid are also being whittled away by Republicans in Congress and wealthy special interests.

    And they are not bringing better alternative ideas to the table. They are simply chipping away at what we’ve gained.

    And the rich get richer

    In 2017, House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), providing hundreds of billions in tax cuts to the rich by taking away health coverage from over 24 million people. This bill would have raised health care costs for seniors and discriminated against individuals with pre-existing conditions. Following the House vote on the AHCA, the Senate made attempts to pass the bill. The UAW fought against the AHCA in Washington, D.C, and around the country as tens of thousands of UAW members called on their elected leaders to oppose the bill. We were victorious and it did not pass.

    However, since that time, it has become clear that the AHCA was a precursor of things to come. And the lack of success in efforts to repeal the ACA should not leave us unconcerned. The assault continues and in this election year, it is critical we support candidates that support the protections afforded by ACA.
    >We must look closely and make sure we are well informed when choosing a candidate in regards to health care coverage. The conservatives in D.C. are trying to chip away at the ACA — lessening individual and employer mandates; encouraging health insurance plans that do not conform to ACA rules; and cutting back on Medicaid spending while promoting the use of health savings accounts.

    Our battle lines

    Access to health care coverage has improved under the ACA. Yet too many people remain uninsured. The UAW’s ultimate goal continues to be a comprehensive, universal health care plan that will provide quality coverage for every person in the United States, which will bring down the cost of UAW negotiated health benefits. 

    Just ask the AARP, which lists key benefits of the ACA to include requiring insurers to provide: ambulatory patient services, prescription drug coverage, emergency care, mental health services, hospitalization coverage as well as pediatric and maternity care among other benefits.

    The UAW has long supported various approaches to ensure working families have access to affordable health care.  Preserving the ACA and access to health insurance and quality care ensures that health care costs remain under control. We need the right to negotiate strong health care coverage and Universal Health Care — it is not an either/or situation.

    Please support your brothers and sisters in the UAW community,  as well as our external communities, by educating yourself on the ACA. Share the facts with friends and family. Get the word out that health care and insurance for all is primary to our coming election and critical for the hard working men and women of this country.

    No one in this great nation of ours should be making decisions between filling prescriptions for insulin and buying groceries. This is not the America I know and certainly note the America I want to know.

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    Senator Brown Stands With Oberlin Workers https://uaw.org/senator-brown-stands-oberlin-workers/ Thu, 05 Mar 2020 21:32:13 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28097 On Thursday, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown released a letter calling on Oberlin College to do the right thing and maintain 108 UAW member jobs. The college has announced plans to outsource the dining and custodial jobs in a cost-saving measure. In February, over 800 members of the Oberlin community protested the plan and called on

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    On Thursday, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown released a letter calling on Oberlin College to do the right thing and maintain 108 UAW member jobs. The college has announced plans to outsource the dining and custodial jobs in a cost-saving measure. In February, over 800 members of the Oberlin community protested the plan and called on college administrators to make quality, good-paying jobs a priority.

    Read Senator Brown’s letter below:

     

     

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    UAW Statement on Court Filing of Former UAW Member Gary Jones https://uaw.org/uaw-statement-court-filing-former-uaw-member-gary-jones/ Thu, 05 Mar 2020 16:15:53 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28101 “All UAW members including the UAW leadership are and should be angry about the charges of former UAW member Gary Jones and his alleged actions. This is a violation of trust, a violation of the sacred management of union dues, and goes against everything we believe in as a Union. Jones and all who betrayed

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    “All UAW members including the UAW leadership are and should be angry about the charges of former UAW member Gary Jones and his alleged actions. This is a violation of trust, a violation of the sacred management of union dues, and goes against everything we believe in as a Union. Jones and all who betrayed the trust of our union should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, with no exceptions.  The UAW – under the leadership of President Gamble and the entire IEB – moved last November to remove Jones from office and force his expulsion from the UAW.  Action has been taken against other former UAW staff and officials who have violated Union policies or laws.

    As we continue to move forward under the leadership of President Rory Gamble and the IEB, we are continuing to implement the critical reforms necessary to ensure our union is free from the type of corrosive corruption we have witnessed from those who betrayed our trust.

    The Detroit News continues to report unsubstantiated innuendo — purportedly based on unnamed, unidentified, and anonymous “sources.” The federal government has never said or even suggested that President Gamble is a target of its investigation. To be clear:  No one referred to in the Gary Jones charges, whether by name or by alias, is a current UAW official, Board member, or employee.

    In an apparent effort to settle old scores, the Detroit News has again engaged in a pattern of intentionally trying to harm the UAW and its members by publishing what is often wildly inaccurate stories and salacious innuendo, facts be damned.  Routinely, the paper fails to include the full quotes from the UAW in response to their inquiries, thereby making the cherry-picked quotes they do include misleading and incomplete.  This is unbecoming a legitimate newspaper, and demonstrates the Detroit News’ true agenda.”

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    UAW Announces Staff International and Domestic Flight Travel Ban as a Safety Precaution Over Coronavirus https://uaw.org/uaw-announces-staff-international-domestic-flight-travel-ban-safety-precaution-coronavirus/ Wed, 04 Mar 2020 14:44:25 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28090 Detroit — The UAW International Executive Board on Tuesday voted to implement a travel ban for all international and domestic travel as a precaution in regard to the Coronavirus epidemic. “This is a precautionary action not meant to elicit concern, but to help in dealing with the spread of this epidemic,” said Rory L. Gamble,

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    Detroit — The UAW International Executive Board on Tuesday voted to implement a travel ban for all international and domestic travel as a precaution in regard to the Coronavirus epidemic.

    “This is a precautionary action not meant to elicit concern, but to help in dealing with the spread of this epidemic,” said Rory L. Gamble, President of the UAW. “Road travel will be permitted, and we will provide all personnel education on best practices when on the road or in the workplace.”

    The UAW’s International Executive Board will review and monitor the policy as the epidemic subsides.

    “In the meantime, the UAW continues to review in all our sectors the supply chain and status of our workplaces,” said Gamble. “Our health and safety department will also continue to carefully monitor best practices and work with all employers to educate our members, their families and our communities on safety and prevention.”

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    UAW Provides Aid, Support to Puerto Rico’s Earthquake Victims https://uaw.org/uaw-provides-aide-support-puerto-ricos-earthquake-victims/ Mon, 02 Mar 2020 18:17:01 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28083 Puerto Rico – The UAW has come to the aid of its members in Puerto Rico, who are struggling and facing untold hardships after the earthquakes in January. On behalf of the UAW’s International Executive Board, UAW Region 9A Director Beverley Brakeman met with 45 UAW members in Ponce, Guanica, Yauco, Mayaguez, and Arecibo during

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    Puerto Rico – The UAW has come to the aid of its members in Puerto Rico, who are struggling and facing untold hardships after the earthquakes in January. On behalf of the UAW’s International Executive Board, UAW Region 9A Director Beverley Brakeman met with 45 UAW members in Ponce, Guanica, Yauco, Mayaguez, and Arecibo during the last week in February, delivering $28,000 in financial assistance to UAW members whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the earthquakes on the island.

    The UAW represents 5,000 members who work at the Department of Education, Transportation, Agriculture, ADEA, Hacienda, Lotteria, Familia, Environmental Quality Board, AEELA, Pavia Hospital and Bacardi.

    In addition to meeting with members and hearing about their challenges and perils on the island, Brakeman pledged to share their concerns and stories with the IEB and the UAW, who stand ready to help UAW members living and working in Puerto Rico who have been impacted by these natural disasters.

    UAW President Rory Gamble is deeply concerned. “Our members in Puerto Rico need their union. Their economy is in shambles, their infrastructure remains in ill repair after Hurricane Maria and now the recent earthquakes have further increased the vulnerability and instability of the lives of our brothers and sisters. We didn’t let them down after Hurricane Maria and we certainly won’t let them down now.”

    Natural disasters aren’t the only problem impacting UAW members in Puerto Rico. Due to the Commonwealth bankruptcy and imposition of the Federal Oversight and Management Board created under PROMESA, members in every local are fighting for fair contracts that reflect their hard work and toiling to ensure workplaces are safe and healthy.

    UAW Local 1850 Employees of AEELA is one of the UAW’s oldest locals on the Island. They have been fighting an uphill battle with their Administration and the powerful and ruthless Pablo Crespo, Executive Director Association of Employees of the Commonwealth (AEELA), who continues to refuse to improve employee wages, benefits and working conditions.

    “We call on Crespo to stop grandstanding, quit dodging worker’s rights and negotiate a fair contract now,” said Brakeman. “Enough is enough — we are angry, we won’t back down and we stand ready to negotiate.”

    UAW Local 2373 employees of the Treasury (Hacienda), held a press conference on February 26 to call out Hacienda Secretary Francisco Pares for refusing to share with workers a copy of the building certification ensuring that their building is safe for them and members of the public, whose traffic will increase as April 15 nears.

    “Hacienda employees deserve to know without exception that their workplace is safe and secure,” said Brakeman. “If Secretary Pares cannot produce the building certification for us to review, the UAW stands ready to do its own inspection to ensure its members’ safety.”

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    Statement of UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, Director of the UAW GM Department, on the Addition of a Shift at Lansing https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-vice-president-terry-dittes-director-uaw-gm-department-addition-shift-lansing/ Fri, 28 Feb 2020 19:27:31 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28079 “UAW members are proud that over 1,200 new members will be added at Lansing Delta Township to support the sales of the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse; and Lansing Grand River to support the sales of the Chevrolet Camaro and the launch of two new Cadillac sedans, the CT4 and CT5. Every day UAW members, under

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    “UAW members are proud that over 1,200 new members will be added at Lansing Delta Township to support the sales of the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse; and Lansing Grand River to support the sales of the Chevrolet Camaro and the launch of two new Cadillac sedans, the CT4 and CT5. Every day UAW members, under the teamwork of Region 1D Director Steve Dawes and local leadership, help bring quality and focus to making our customers proud and selling some of the finest vehicles made in the world. We look forward to many more years of success in Lansing.”

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    UAW Merges Additional States into Region 8 and Region 4 https://uaw.org/uaw-merges-additional-states-region-8-region-4/ Fri, 28 Feb 2020 15:38:45 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28062 The UAW International Executive Board (IEB) voted on December 5 to merge the states represented by UAW Region 5 between UAW Regions 4 and 8. This merger became effective today, February 28, 2020. States have been apportioned between Region 4 and 8 in the following way: UAW REGION 4 Current Region 4:  Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska,

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    The UAW International Executive Board (IEB) voted on December 5 to merge the states represented by UAW Region 5 between UAW Regions 4 and 8. This merger became effective today, February 28, 2020.

    States have been apportioned between Region 4 and 8 in the following way:

    UAW REGION 4

    • Current Region 4:  Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and  Montana
    • Added Into Region 4:  Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii

    UAW REGION 8

    • Current Region 8: Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware and four Pennsylvania counties: Franklin, Cumberland, Adams and York.
    • Added Into Region 8:  Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and California.

    “This action was taken in the interest of maintaining continuity in representing and servicing our members.  Both Regions 4 and 8 have been prudently managed, cover wide geographic territories and have proven experience effectively representing UAW members.  This will not impact any individual locals or state CAP councils or retiree councils,” said UAW President Rory Gamble. “When a vacancy occurs on the IEB – as happened with Region 5 – the UAW Constitution allows for the International Executive Board to combine regions, an action that has been taken in the past. These consolidations have no impact on regional staffing, International Union programming or the operation of local unions.”

    As in 2002 and 2012, when recent past mergers occurred, regional programming and operations remained in place through the new regional structures.

    “Whenever there is a regional director vacancy, the UAW IEB takes the opportunity to look at our structure and consider the best interests of our members and the Union,” said Ray Curry, UAW Secretary-Treasurer. “As with more recent region mergers, we have determined that this decision is prudent for the best interests of the union.”

    “It is our goal to efficiently manage the transition and respect local traditions and representation needs,” said UAW Region 4 Director Ron McInroy and UAW Region 8 Director Mitchell Smith in a joint statement.

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    Statement of UAW President Rory Gamble on Molson Coors Shooting https://uaw.org/statement-uaw-president-rory-gamble-molson-coors-shooting/ Thu, 27 Feb 2020 13:13:43 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28031 Detroit – Everyday hard-working UAW members and their coworkers go to work to make this country the great place that it is. That’s why it is so shocking to all of us that some at Molson Coors will not be coming home this evening. The UAW extends our deepest sympathy to the families of those

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    Detroit – Everyday hard-working UAW members and their coworkers go to work to make this country the great place that it is. That’s why it is so shocking to all of us that some at Molson Coors will not be coming home this evening. The UAW extends our deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives in this terrible incident. We will continue to advocate for safety, mental health services, and common sense gun provisions in the workplace.

    We do not yet know what led to today’s incident. But we do know that deep down we must work to ensure that every person that goes to work in the morning will come home safe to their family in the evening. We mourn with the families today over their loss and for those who may be injured.

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    Labor Voices: Social Security is Vital for Everyone https://uaw.org/labor-voices-social-security-vital-everyone/ Wed, 26 Feb 2020 14:32:02 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28029 In 2019, more 63 million people in the United States collected Social Security benefits. That equals more than one in every six residents. Older Americans make up about four out of every five beneficiaries, however another one out of every five Social Security beneficiaries receive Disability Insurance (SSDI) or are often young survivors of deceased workers.

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    In 2019, more 63 million people in the United States collected Social Security benefits.

    That equals more than one in every six residents. Older Americans make up about four out of every five beneficiaries, however another one out of every five Social Security beneficiaries receive Disability Insurance (SSDI) or are often young survivors of deceased workers.

    For most Americans, we work all of our lives for a foundation of retirement to enjoy in their older years; people who can no longer work; or children who need support as they begin their lives.

    Because of that, Social Security insurance must remain viable, healthy and intact to give everyone a foundation for productive, healthy lives.

    For decades, the UAW has advocated for Social Security for all working Americans. We have fought for the end-of-career security earned for our brothers and sisters both at the bargaining table and in the halls of Congress, working to define pension plans, Social Security and long-term lifelines for tens of millions of American seniors.

    For the majority of America’s elderly, Social Security provides income that they have worked diligently to secure. For about one in four seniors, it provides at least 90% of income, making it the only thing keeping many seniors out of poverty. Social Security is a self-sustaining program. As it stands, if Congress does nothing, Social Security will be solvent until at least 2037. Modest changes, such as simply raising the cap on wages, affecting only high-income earners making over $132,900, would stabilize the fund for decades after 2037. The program needs common-sense solutions that can ensure that it will be solvent for much longer.

    Read more at The Detroit News >>>

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    Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry: By the Content of their Character https://uaw.org/secretary-treasurer-ray-curry-content-character/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 15:13:58 +0000 https://uaw.org/?p=28017 America’s Black History, which we celebrate this month, offers abundant examples across the centuries of how one person can make a difference, how one person can move an entire people forward. I am lucky enough to have witnessed the results of two such difference makers firsthand, both in my job and in my life. Two

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    America’s Black History, which we celebrate this month, offers abundant examples across the centuries of how one person can make a difference, how one person can move an entire people forward. I am lucky enough to have witnessed the results of two such difference makers firsthand, both in my job and in my life. Two men who found each other in their individual fight for human rights, and in doing so, helped shape the future of our nation.

    So, this February, I would like to pay tribute to that relationship, to two heavyweight champions who fought together for America’s soul, and who transcended their time and place in helping to define it forever: The Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and Walter Reuther, President of the UAW.

    A long time before these two extraordinary men teamed up, their spirits were entwined. Dr. King understood the voice that organized labor gave to workers just trying to better their lot. He once characterized it in a speech to an AFL-CIO crowd: “The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life.”

    For his part, Reuther confronted racism early on in the 1930s as a student at what is now Detroit’s Wayne State University. The incident involved a local hotel that was permitting white students to use its swimming pool but refused blacks.

    When Reuther discovered this, he took on the injustice by organizing a protest that surrounded the block where the hotel was located with his fellow classmates. The action, typical of the times, resulted in all students being banned, black and white, but Reuther made a clear statement and went on to make a history of such battles.

    Tireless fighters

    In 1946, Reuther immediately took up social injustice upon becoming the UAW’s president by declaring that beyond the battle for worker rights it was “the union’s role to fight for the public at large.” Without waiting around for the country to get on board, Reuther took on the American Bowling League, which excluded black bowlers. In 1948, he began a bowling tournament in what is now UAW Region 1A in Michigan that allowed blacks and whites to bowl together. Today, that tournament still stands, and my brothers and sisters celebrate this rich tradition every year.

    In 1949, just as the Civil Rights Movement was getting underway, he used his leverage to help bring about the first meeting in Washington, D.C., on civil rights legislation. Of his activism he once observed, “You can’t opt out of life, you have to make up your mind if you are willing to accept things the way they are.”

    Both men knew what economic gain could bring. Early on, Dr. King took on anti-union politicians who he saw standing in the way of progress for America’s people of color: “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ … Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone. Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights.”

    Reuther saw it the same way, conservative politicians ready to shut the door on equality and justice for all: “There is a direct link between ballot box and bread box,” he famously declared.

    Both men knew the significance of fair housing. Walter Reuther started pushing for legislation, both lobbying for and devising fair housing programs, first in Detroit, and then nationally soon after the second World War. In the 1960s, he helped launch Operation Breakthrough, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that used union-made manufactured housing to lessen the devastating impact the housing crisis was having on minority communities. The program helped create job opportunities in these locations, all the while encouraging racial and income integration in the larger community.

    Doctor King, who knew all too well the misery that housing segregation caused for minorities, was himself a tireless warrior on this front. A 2018 article appearing in The Atlantic captures his fearlessness and tenacity for the cause:

    “‘Kill him,’ a mob chanted as Dr. King marched across Marquette Park in the late summer of 1966. King had recently moved to Chicago, and on that August afternoon, he joined a Chicago Freedom Movement march to demand that realtors not discriminate against black residents seeking to live in white neighborhoods. A group of white counter-protesters grew violent and started hurling rocks, bottles, and bricks at the demonstrators, eventually striking Dr. King in the head. ‘I’ve been in many demonstrations all across the South, but I can say that I have never seen — even in Mississippi and Alabama — mobs as hostile and as hate-filled as I’ve seen here in Chicago,’ he said, shining light on a problem that white Northern liberals had ignored and let fester for far too long: de facto segregation.”

    Resolve that will not break

    Both men paid dearly in standing tall for all people: Reuther was confronted by Ford hired goons and beaten within an inch of his life while trying to organize workers. Would be assassins came to his door twice. Doctor King, who devoted his life to peaceful protest, was jailed repeatedly on just about every trumped-up charge imaginable. That rock thrown at him in Chicago knocked him off his feet. He stayed on the ground until he could shake off the cobwebs, get up again and keep right on marching.

    None of this even slowed either man down for a moment in their fight for justice. Reuther marched with Dr. King in Selma, Montgomery, and Jackson. When King and 800 others were jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, Reuther turned to his fellow UAW members who raised $160,000 in bail money to get those arrested out of jail.

    In the summer of 1963, Reuther teamed up with Dr. King in Detroit for The Walk to Freedom, the largest Civil Rights demonstration in U.S. history at that point, with an estimated 125,000 people attending. Led by Dr. King and President Reuther, the massive march down Woodward Avenue drew attention to matters close to the Equal Rights mission and to the UAW — racism, segregation, discrimination and inequality in hiring, wages, education and housing.

    Reuther brought supporters and provided office space at Solidarity House for Dr. King to organize the event. It was at the UAW’s Solidarity House, in fact, that Dr. King composed the first version of his,” I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave with Reuther at his side at Detroit’s Cobo Hall following the march.

    Two months later, the pair were together again, leading some 250,000 people, this time in front of the nation’s eyes, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. This seminal event, known as March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, once again linked the two leaders and their causes.

    It was here that Reverend King most fully articulated his “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he emphasized his faith that all men, someday, would be brothers. It was here too that Walter Reuther gave remarks from the podium. In his speech, Reuther urged that our nation must “… bridge the moral gap between American democracy’s noble promises and it’s ugly practices in the field of civil rights.” Following the event, President John F. Kennedy met with the two leaders to talk more on what could be done.

    A spirit that will not be crushed

    On the 25th anniversary of the UAW, King wrote a letter to Reuther, that included this passage:

    “More than anyone else in America, you stand out as the shining symbol of democratic trade unionism. Through trials, efforts and your unswerving devotion to humanitarian causes, you have made life more meaningful for millions of working people. Through moments of difficulty and strong obstacles, you have stood firm for what you believe, knowing that in the long run ‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ … One day all of America will be proud of your achievements and will record your work as one of the glowing epics of our heritage.”

    Not long after writing that, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered for his life’s work of improving the lives of people oppressed for no more than the color of their skins. Fair Housing was passed in the wake of his assassination. Two years later, UAW President, Walter Reuther, was killed along with his wife, May, in a plane crash. His life’s work was to give voice to working people.

    That struggle continues today. We still fight for voting rights and to protect the Voting Rights Act; we still struggle to protect and maintain a livable wage, we still struggle against Right-to-Work.

    Today is a reminder of how hard these two friends fought and how very much they won for the generations that have come after them.

    I think both brothers — brothers are what Dr. King envisioned we would all be to one another; and brother and sister are exactly what we as union members call each other. Dr. King would have been pleased to have heard that.

    We continue their fight and will work in this 2020 election year as tirelessly as these two noble friends did throughout their lives to stand strong for justice.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “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.

    Truly this is a reminder of the relationship of two friends, two great leaders, and most importantly about the challenges that we still face each day.

    First published by Black Press USA >>>

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