We Will Continue the Fight for What We Believe In
I want to start out by thanking UAW members and retirees for their hard work during the 2016 election and not just the presidential election, but state and local elections as well.
I think a lot of people are exhausted after a year and a half of what was a very divisive election process. Democracy is never easy and sometimes the outcome is not always what you wanted. Once again we have a process that has caused further division, Donald Trump winning the Electoral College, while Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. But this is our democracy and we have a president-elect who is not the candidate we endorsed. You don’t have to agree with what has happened, but one thing I do believe is that it is time for us to unite for the common good of our country. I agree with President Obama: You’re an American first. That does not mean we shouldn’t fight for what we believe.
No matter which candidate you supported, what we have in common is that we care about good-paying jobs, collective bargaining rights and workers having a seat at the table. The UAW has and continues to push to advance the economic interests of not only the active members and retirees but the working class in general. We have high expectations that elected officials will think about working families when they make decisions about trade, jobs, education and the inequality in this country. We must vigorously commit ourselves to push them and hold those elected officials accountable when they fail to live up to the promises they made.
We have always been very critical about trade agreements that did not protect American jobs and American workers. The UAW opposes trade agreements that lack labor and environmental standards because those agreements encourage a race to the bottom and hurt all workers across the globe. We think trade reform is vital to the economy and to the future of the United States, but we’re going to do this work while also raising awareness of the labor movement in the United States and around the globe.
But being a UAW member is more than just being concerned about economic issues. The UAW has always been at the forefront of fighting for equality and human rights for all people. This is where we have a vast difference with the president-elect and we will continue to fight for our core values. We will not compromise our values on social issues. We are not going to change our social consciousness based on who is in the White House.
We know as trade unionists that there are corporations and groups in this country that find ways to divide us because they know if they can break our solidarity, they win. They also know when people join together for a common cause and a purpose, as we do in the UAW, we win.
It’s obvious there is work to be done healing our nation and our workplaces. We all want the same things — good-paying jobs so we can support our families and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. We must respect each other, respect all Americans regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation. This is what it means to be a UAW member. We must start with each other. We must listen to one another and stand up for each other in the workplace and in our communities. UAW members stick up for people’s rights, fight for the middle class, lift people out of poverty — that’s who we are, that’s what we stand for. The UAW has had a policy for many years that we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We stand by that policy. The America we all want is the one where unions are strong and working families are more than just getting by, where we have an equal opportunity in education and jobs. In order to achieve this, we have to remain true to our values and stand together in solidarity.
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