I would like to begin my report by extending my hopes that everyone is safe and healthy during these trying times. Over the past several months, our union, along with our nation, has been faced with the challenges of functioning and trying to provide for our families during a health pandemic. We have joined the fight against the racial discrimination that exists in our country, which has been long overdue. We have also had to deal with the economic repercussions that have adversely affected our members as a result of Covid-19. All of these challenges have been added to the battles and issues that already existed.
I cannot express how thankful and proud I am of our members who worked during the “Stay at Home” executive order time period, allowing our country’s essential operations to continue in order to provide our health and sustenance during our darkest hours. Many of our members remained working due to the nature of the services that they provide or products that they manufacture, while hundreds more volunteered to work in order to manufacture desperately needed medical equipment that saved lives and protected our frontline medical service providers. Our members, as those that came before us, once again put the needs of a nation before their own well-being and will forever be remembered for their courageous deeds.
I would also like to recognize all of our members for their perseverance and assistance in continuously providing guidance to their employers, as well as the UAW, in identifying items that need to be addressed to provide the very safest work environment possible. As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, these efforts must be an ongoing practice.
UAW Region 1A, along with our local union leadership, continued to work and represent our members throughout this pandemic. Beyond the daily interactions that always take place, we also communicated formally on a weekly basis by conducting conference calls, some of which lasted up to four hours, that allowed all of the leadership to share issues, share implementation of safety protocols, communicate benefit and pay issues and other needs of our members that resulted in the ability to quickly put in place best practices and resolve contractual and safety issues in a more expedited manner in all of the worksites. I would like to personally thank everyone involved in these efforts for the extremely long hours and the commitment that was made, and is ongoing, on behalf of our members.
The final topic that I would like to touch on involves the efforts that are currently being made to implement real change in order to eliminate the racial discrimination that exists in our country. The strongest pillar that our union was founded on is the acknowledgement and insistence that all working people should be treated with respect and dignity regardless of a person’s race, gender, religious belief, sexual orientation or any other reason that someone can be singled out for and be discriminated against. The UAW has been able to accomplish great things over time because of the fact that we celebrate the diversity of our members and the unity of our common goals as workers. It is our legacy to fight and defend this principle.
The recent events that began with the nation witnessing the senseless and horrific murder of George Floyd have catapulted into a movement to eliminate the systemic racial discrimination that exists in our country. Our country promises equality and opportunity for all of our citizens yet still fails to ensure it for so many. The UAW supports the efforts and joins the fight to ensure equity for everyone in our country and embraces the premise that discrimination of any kind should be eradicated. The time for change has been long overdue and we must seize the moment to help create a better world for all of us.
Director, UAW Region 1A