Union front: Masters of the Message


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Local Union Communicators Shine at Black Lake

The Japanese Bridge at Black Lake.

UAW members turn to their local when they want news about the UAW and unions. Locals keep them informed about issues that bring them together — like who the pro-worker candidates are in the 2018 election. That’s why there’s no source they trust like their union local. Members who create that content for them work hard, usually on their own time, to keep members informed. Today’s communicators have a lot of tools to get the word out, whether it’s through social media, photography, video, newsletters, websites, email, texting and more. The UAW-Local Union Communication Association (LUCA) on Oct. 30 honored those hardworking communicators for a job well done during their communications conference at the Black Lake conference center. Delegates received awards at a special ceremony for the winners of LUCA’s Excellence in Communications Contests for work done in 2016. They also sharpened their communication skills in conference classes on writing, social media, websites, photography and video and heard from speakers about topics ranging from how to combat fake news to how to blog while covering a live event.

Instructor Don Lehman, Local 249, gives some tips.
Photo by Local 838’s
Sheryl Strohecker.

Winning the Alfred E. “Pops” Nudi Spirit Award in the Unsung Hero category, for inspiring and mentoring other union members for several years, was Local 598’s General Motors Bargaining Committee Chair Eric Welter for making communication a priority at the local through newsletter writing, emails and developing a website and app for the local. Local 862 retiree and newsletter and publication committee member Cylister Williams was the “Pops” Nudi Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, having been involved in his local since 1965. He was a charter member of the civil and human rights committees and soon became active in producing Local 862’s paper OnLine. He has written countless articles, taken photos and spent hours on newsletter layout through the years while being active in numerous union and civil rights groups in the Louisville, Kentucky, area.

Black Lake gives photography class students a great deal of subject matter possibilities.

Receiving the “Pops” Nudi Spirit Award in the New Horizon category for a communicator with less than two years’ experience was Ryan Martin, election committee chairman of Local 163, for restarting the local’s newsletter and creating a video e-magazine for the local’s website. He produced and directed the local’s first live stream of a meeting, handles a Facebook page for members, does video work for the local and even gives plant tours, in addition to other responsibilities.

Other first-place contest winners include:


  • Local 249, general excellence for a publication designed by local
  • Local 6000, general excellence for a publication designed by vendor
  • Local 900, best front page designed by local
  • Local 598, best front page designed by vendor


  • Locals 1714 and 249, best local union or regional news story
  • Local 6000, best essay or opinion piece
  • Local 685, best column or officer/ committee report
  • Local 249, best political report
  • Local 862, best series
  • Local 163, best first-time entry writing excellence


  • Local 862, best SolidWeb website
  • Local 2209, best non-SolidWeb website


  • Local 551, best use of social media


  • Local 933, best photo, winner of the Fred Taylor Photography Award


  • Local 933, best video

There were many other award winners that night at Black Lake, but all the LUCA communicators there were winners in the UAW’s book. Congratulations to all!

Joan Silvi

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