Statement by Dennis Williams, President UAW
I was asked by a graduate student at Harvard to elaborate on my comments from my recent press conference in which I stated that the UAW would work with the Administration to end trade deals that have destroyed lives and have destroyed the middle class. The UAW has in the past and will continue to oppose trade agreements that lack labor and environmental standards, because they encourage a race to the bottom and hurt all workers across the globe.
I want to make clear as I did at the press conference, the UAW is a progressive organization of working people with vast differences with the president-elect and we will continue to fight for our core values. For example, the UAW has a long tradition of working toward gender equality in workplaces across the US, ranging from manufacturing facilities like Johnson Controls to institutions of higher education like the support staff union at Columbia University. Many of our organizing campaigns and local unions at universities are continuing that tradition by taking on the widespread problem of sexual harassment, one of the major obstacles to women having equal access to the academic workforce. Hillary Clinton, who the UAW endorsed and worked hard to get elected, would have been an ally in those fights. Despite the outcome of the election, the UAW will continue to work on programs as it did last year such as H1B visas and the Optional Practical Training (OPT). The union advocated to extend and strengthen the OPT program for unlimited employment-based green cards to maximize international students’ opportunities to work in the United States after graduation.
The UAW will not compromise its core progressive values on social issues. We are not going to change our social consciousness based on who is in the White House; that’s who we are. By voting yes and joining 60,000 other university workers already part of the UAW, you will strengthen your collective ability to take on these fights for fair trade, gender equity, and immigrant rights that we stand for as an organization.
Dennis D. Williams
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