Democracy Keeps Our Union Strong

    

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Every three years during the spring, many of our local unions in Region 1A go through their elections. It’s a cornerstone of our great union’s democracy where members in good standing decide who they want to represent them. The process can be lively, to say the least, as candidates campaign on their records or for change.

I want to personally congratulate all those who won their elections – from presidents to trustees, you represent the front line of UAW’s leadership. Whether you were re-elected or newly elected, your success means that your members are putting their faith in you to continue the fight to represent them fairly and with dedication. And while you should feel a sense of accomplishment, that pause should be brief because there are so many challenges before us in the next few years.

In too many of our worksites, we still fight for justice and fairness each and every day. Bargaining strong contracts and then holding our employers accountable to honor those contracts is the primary function of a labor union. It’s rarely easy, but it’s a fundamental expectation of your members. Our union has resources available to help you and I encourage you to work with your regional servicing representative to learn more.

Politically, labor unions continue to be under attack on all fronts. In the Michigan legislature, our teachers’ pensions are being cut. Our job is to communicate honestly with members about what is at stake and encourage them to hold our elected officials accountable.

Our union is also changing. Tens of thousands of new members have joined the UAW since the auto crisis of 2009 and for many of them, this is their first experience belonging to a union. To keep the UAW strong, our job is to embrace each new member and mentor him or her the same way each of us had someone else bring us along in our union experience. It might have been your father or aunt, or even a family friend. But each one of us has a story of the first time someone talked to us about the importance of going to union meetings and keeping our local strong.

For all of our leaders, I encourage you to continue to listen to those who elected you. That means being visible and accessible to them, being prompt with responses and above all respecting that members are the highest authority of our union.

For all of our leaders, I encourage you to continue to listen to those who elected you. That means being visible and accessible to them, being prompt with responses and above all respecting that members are the highest authority of our union.

For newly elected leaders, I encourage you to seek out the wisdom of those who know the great history in our union. Retirees are a great resource for explaining the context of why something happened in the past. They are also an integral  part of how we fight for our future.

For our re-elected leaders, we will continue to count on your steady leadership. I encourage you to reach out to newly elected leaders and share your best practices with them. There is so much innovation taking place in Region 1A, especially when it comes to Standing Committees. Recently the Veteran’s Committee purchased care packages for the 101st Airborne Army unit that was deployed to Afghanistan. Sharing your successes and insights with other locals only makes all of us stronger.

And for our members who now have their leadership team in place for the next three years, I say keep your union strong by participating. Participate in the spirit of making our union stronger. You may not always agree, but I know you will remember that our union is built by what unites us.

Our Region looks forward to working with everyone to build a stronger UAW today and tomorrow.


UAW Region 1A Telegraph Rory L. Gamble, director Darryl Goodwin, assistant director Regional office: 9650 South Telegraph Road, Taylor, MI 48180 Phone (313) 291-2750 FAX (313) 291-2269 uawregion1A.org • Twitter: @uawregion1a Facebook: UAW Region 1A Facebook group “Official UAW Region 1A Members Only” Michael Joseph, editor


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