Tag Archive for: Shawn Fain

UAW Local 1112 has reached a historic tentative agreement at Ultium Cells in Lordstown, Ohio, where workers build electric vehicle batteries for GM vehicles. The agreement marks a historic breakthrough for electric vehicle workers and a path forward that ends the race to the bottom pursued by corporate America throughout the EV transition.

The local agreement builds on the successes of the national contract that Ultium workers joined as a major win of the Stand Up Strike.

“Eighteen months ago, this company was on a low road path to poverty wages, unsafe conditions, and a dark future for battery workers in America,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “Ultium workers said, ‘Hell no,’ got organized, and fought back. Now they’ve more than doubled their wages by the end of this contract, won record health and safety language, and showed the world what it means to win a just transition.”

“We were told at the beginning of bargaining that Ultium workers would never be allowed to join the UAW’s national agreement at GM,” said UAW Vice President Mike Booth. “Not only did we prove them wrong, but we did them one better, winning a major local agreement that sets the standard for the EV battery industry.”

“Five years ago, when they closed Lordstown Assembly, it was a major gut punch – I know, I lived it,” said UAW Region 2B Director David Green. “They wrote Lordstown off for dead. They thought we’d settle for low wages and unsafe jobs. They thought wrong, and now Ultium workers are leading the way.”

“Organizing to win our union took relentless persistence on behalf of hundreds of my coworkers at Ultium. Negotiating this contract was no different,” said UAW Local 1112 Shop Chairman Josh Ayers. “We want this agreement to become a cornerstone for current and future battery plants across the nation. First we planned. Then we took action. And now we have a tentative agreement to be proud of.”

Now, the 1,600 UAW members at Ultium Cells will review the details of the agreement and hold a ratification vote in the coming days. If ratified, the agreement will set a new standard for electric vehicle battery workers everywhere and mark a major milestone in the just transition to EVs.

For more on the fight for justice at Ultium, visit UAW.org/Ultium.

“These courageous workers at Mercedes reached out to the UAW because they wanted justice. They led us. And they lead us. What happens next is up to them. 

Justice isn’t about one vote or one campaign. It’s about getting a voice, getting your fair share. And let’s be clear: workers won serious gains in this campaign. They raised their wages, with the “UAW bump.” They killed wage tiers. They got rid of a CEO who had no interest in improving conditions in the workplace. Mercedes is a better place to work thanks to this campaign, and thanks to these courageous workers.  

The company told the workers to give the new CEO a chance. That’s exactly what Volkswagen told its workers in 2019. And in 2024, Volkswagen workers realized it’s not about a CEO. It’s about a voice on the job, it’s about getting our lives back, and getting our time back. The only path to do that is through a union contract. 

Mercedes engaged in egregious illegal behavior. The federal government as well as the German government are currently investigating Mercedes for the intimidation and harassment they inflicted on their own workers. We intend to follow that process through. 

This is a David and Goliath fight. Sometimes Goliath wins a battle. But David wins the war.  

These workers will win their fair share. And we will be there every step of the way to support them. 

We’ve been here before. We know what we’re taking on. This company, like most corporations, operated off the same old playbook of fear, threats and intimidation. 

Our fight is also in the halls of the legislatures of this country. Sixty million Americans say they’d join a union if given the option. Polling here in Alabama and in Tennessee show people supported the UAW by a two to one margin. But with weak labor laws in place, sometimes the companies are able to turn those numbers around. 

The UAW will continue to lead the fight against corporate greed and runaway inequality. And through that fight we’ll change the nation and the world for the better. 

While this loss stings, these workers keep their heads held high. We fight the good fight and continue forward. 

And the workers here ultimately will win. Most of us have lost elections in our lives and I know I’ve always learned from it. What matters is what you do with that experience. 

We put everything we had in this fight, we left nothing on the table. I look at John Wooden’s definition of success: “Success is the peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you’re capable. Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” 

There are more than 2,000 workers at Mercedes in Alabama who want to join our union. They aren’t going away. The sun will rise, and the sun will set, and our fight for justice for the working class will continue. 

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UAW members at Daimler Truck turned out in record numbers to ratify their new historic common contract by 94.5%. The four-year agreement delivers major economic gains for 7,300 workers who build Freightliner and Western Star trucks and Thomas Built Buses in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. The deal includes raises of more than 25%, and the introduction of profit-sharing and Cost-of-Living (COLA) for the first time at Daimler. The agreement will end the tiered wage system at Daimler, ensuring that workers who make trucks and workers who make buses get equal pay for equal work by the end of the contract.

“Daimler Truck workers just showed the world that Southern workers have the power to Stand Up and win big in heavy truck and beyond,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “Knowing that Daimler had made record profits year after year from their hard work, members used every tool – including the potent threat of a strike – to win. Daimler workers and UAW members are not only setting the standard but raising it. Workers are fed up and ready to fight for a better way of life, and the UAW is ready to go all-out in that fight.” 

“The membership at Daimler Truck was fired up and unified. That energy fueled the bargaining team’s push for a record contract – and they made great gains on the issues our members said were most important to them,” said Tim Smith, Region 8 Director. “Across Region 8, workers are standing up for justice and a better way of life. Whether they’re just forming their union, like the brave workers in Chattanooga and Tuscaloosa, or bargaining a new contract at Daimler, Southern workers continue to push for a voice and a fair deal in this economy.” 

“The UAW will never support the mass arrest or intimidation of those exercising their right to protest, strike, or speak out against injustice. Our union has been calling for a ceasefire for six months. This war is wrong, and this response against students and academic workers, many of them UAW members, is wrong. We call on the powers that be to release the students and employees who have been arrested, and if you can’t take the outcry, stop supporting this war.”

The UAW has reached a historic tentative agreement with Daimler Truck ahead of the contract’s expiration at midnight on Friday, April 26, after mounting a massive campaign and strike threat against the multibillion-dollar manufacturer.  

The four-year agreement delivers major economic gains for 7,300 workers, including raises of more than 25%, the end of wage tiers, and the introduction profit-sharing and Cost-of-Living (COLA) for the first time since Daimler workers first organized with the UAW. The deal delivers on the union’s pledge that record profits mean record contracts. 

In a direct address to membership, UAW President Shawn Fain outlined the top lines of the deals, and reflected on the historic nature of the fight for justice at Daimler Truck. 

To view President Fain’s remarks in full, head to UAW’s Facebook page, and read Fain’s prepared remarks below. The media is invited to use these materials. 

Tomorrow, President Fain and UAW Daimler members will hold a victory rally at 12pm, at UAW Local 3520 in Statesville, NC. To attend, RSVP to team@feldmanstrategies.com

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UAW President Shawn Fain Prepared Remarks on Daimler Truck Negotiations, April 26, 2024 

Good evening, UAW family!  

Tonight, I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I am honored to be joined by the badass bargaining committee representing over 7,000 members at Daimler Truck North America.  

We’re here tonight to announce a major victory for the members who build Freightliner and Western Star trucks and Thomas Built buses.  

Today, we reached a tentative agreement with Daimler.  

What started thirty-two years ago this month at the Mt. Holly plant, when the courageous 17-day strikers stood up and won a historic, first of its kind agreement, has come full circle.   

For months, we said that record profits should mean a record contract. And, UAW family, our determination and solidarity has delivered.  

We said: It shouldn’t matter if you build a heavy truck or a bus for Daimler, you should get paid the same for the same work. And we won equal pay for equal work, ending wage tiers at Daimler.  

ALL Daimler workers will receive a MINIMUM of a 25% general wage increase over the next four years.

When this deal is ratified, you’ll get a 10% raise. Six months later, another 3%. Six months after that, another 3%. That’s a 16% raise in the first year of the deal, alone.   

But that’s just the starting point.  

Because we killed wage tiers at Daimler Truck, many members’ lives will change dramatically upon ratification.  

And by the end of this contract, workers who make trucks and workers who make buses will get equal pay for equal work. 

Our lowest paid workers at Thomas Built Bus will see raises of over $8 an hour. Some TBB skilled trades members will get an over $17 an hour raise. That’s an over 60% raise.  

We said we needed protection against inflation, so workers aren’t left behind. And we won COLA — cost-of-living for the first time in Daimler history.

We said the company doesn’t get to keep all the profits while the workers who build the product get crumbs. So we won profit-sharing for the first time in Daimler history, to get our share of that so-called “leftover money” from their “red hot” profits.  

We said the company shouldn’t be able to ship work overseas on a whim. And we won increased job security and increased the “build rates.” This guarantees a certain minimum number of vehicles will be built at each plant, so workers can know their work will be there tomorrow.  

And we won major improvements to health and safety at Daimler.  

All told, this deal is worth dramatically more than any past Daimler contract.  

So when we say record profits mean record contracts, we mean it.  

When we kicked off negotiations three weeks ago, we knew time was of the essence. We told the company: tick tock. Members were going to need to turn up the heat to get Daimler to move.  

 UAW family – you got LOUD.   

You held practice pickets, hundreds of members strong.  

You wrote your own slogans and songs — “mother trucker” was my favorite —  

I saw the Tick Tock signs, t-shirts, videos.  

All in service of one goal: making sure everyone knows that we are a united membership, ready to fight, and ready to win what we deserve.  

Tonight, it’s clear the company, and the world, heard your message:  

WE build the product.  

WE make the profits.  

WE deserve a deal that reflects our hard work.  

But you did more than just that.  

With this agreement, you said: a rising tide needs to lift every single boat. No one gets left behind.   

UAW Family, that is solidarity at its best. We win more when we stick together.    

They tried to stonewall us. But – we kept our eye on the clock. And when that deadline came closer, the company was suddenly ready to talk.  

 So tonight, we celebrate.   

Tomorrow we’ll join our UAW Daimler family at Local 3520 for a victory rally where we’ll lay out some of the details of what we won.  

And in the coming days and weeks we will hold local roll-out meetings so you can hear everything we won in this deal.  

As always, the members are the highest authority in our union, and the 7,000 UAW Daimler members will decide what happens next.  

And to the rest of our union, and workers across the South, stay ready to Stand Up and keep winning big.  

Thank you.  

VIRTUAL – On Friday, April 26 at 10pm ET, UAW President Shawn Fain, alongside the UAW Daimler Truck North America Bargaining Committee, will address Daimler workers and allies on Facebook Live just hours before the contract for the over 7,000 UAW workers expires at midnight.

Contract negotiations kicked off earlier this month, with the Daimler workers – who work in plants across North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia – demanding an agreement that reflects the record profits Daimler Truck has garnered and includes the long overdue fair wages and working conditions workers deserve.

The workers who build Freightliner trucks, Western Star trucks, and Thomas Built Buses are facing declining real wages and job security against a backdrop of rising cost of living and massive profits and shareholder payouts by Daimler Truck. Over the past six years, Daimler’s profits have increased by 90% while workers’ buying power has fallen 13%.

Tonight’s contract expiration comes just days after the UAW filed four separate unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Daimler Truck, citing violations of workers’ rights and federal labor laws amid ongoing contract negotiations.

Coming on the heels of the historic Stand Up Strike, and just one week after Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, TN, made history in the South voting to join the UAW, the Daimler workers’ fight is once again shining a light on the momentum of workers in the South and showing how this is not just about one worker or one industry. This fight is about all workers standing up and fighting for what they deserve.

Everywhere across the country, the story is the same: corporations, shareholders, and executives are lining their own pockets, while workers are going backwards. Daimler Truck workers have made it clear from day one – and from their resounding 96% strike authorization vote – they are united and ready to do what is necessary for their record contract.

WHAT: UAW President Shawn Fain & UAW Daimler Bargaining Committee to Announce Major Updates Ahead of Midnight Contract Expiration at Daimler Truck

WHO: 
UAW President Shawn Fain 
UAW Daimler Bargaining Committee
Daimler NC, TN, GA Workers
Allies

WHERE:  VIRTUAL UAW Facebook Live

WHEN: Friday, April 26 at 10pm ET

New York, New York – Seeking to strengthen high-quality free legal services for New Yorkers and fight high turnover, union members of Mobilization for Justice (MFJ), a nonprofit legal services organization, hit a historic landmark this week as their strike enters its seventh week. The strike is the longest legal services walk-out in New York City history since 2003, when unionized MFJ staffers held a nine-week long strike.

The Union is fighting for a fair and dignified contract to maintain its quality of free legal services to New Yorkers by addressing MFJ’s unprecedented staff attrition rate. The strike has garnered support from state and national elected officials, such as U.S. Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who joined the picket line last week. Labor leaders have also joined the strikers in their demands that MFJ offer a fair contract. In a rally in North Carolina last week, UAW International President Shawn Fain issued a stern rebuke against MFJ Management’s union busting: “the management at MFJ is a disgrace and they are betraying the values that they claim to hold dear. But I know one thing: our members are strong, that the community’s behind them, and that they are going to win!”

In 2003, Mobilization for Justice (then known as MFY Legal Services) staffers struck for nine weeks when Management offered a contract which would eliminate spousal/partner health coverage. Chaumtoli Huq, an Associate Professor at CUNY School of Law and former MFJ staff attorney, was part of the 2003 strike. Professor Huq said that the proposed healthcare cuts would have disproportionately affected lower-paid, BIPOC workers. “I was pregnant with my son during the 2003 strike. Cutting my spousal health care would have meant that I would have had to pay more out-of-pocket expenses for family care. Legal services workers should have a right to support our loved ones, especially when we make so little money.” Professor Huq said that she “absolutely” supports the ongoing strike and Union members’ demands for a fair contract. “MFJ’s corporate board has forgotten an important lesson from the 2003 strike. You cannot strip frontline workers’ healthcare benefits and pay and expect them to take it without a fight.”

The current strike comes in the context of the worst homelessness crisis in modern New York City history, increasing evictions of poor and working-class tenants, and the unprecedented need for legal services for immigrants given recent waves of mass migration of asylum-seekers and refugees. Striking workers from MFJ include attorneys, paralegals, and social workers who advocate and represent these individuals in courts and in front of city, state, and federal agencies every day when working. “MFJ Union members are at the courts multiple days each week as part of our strike-focused Court Watch. We’re watching, with heartbreak for our clients, as MFJ managers clearly cannot handle the caseloads,” said Craig Hughes, social worker at MFJ’s Bronx office. “Executive Director Tiffany Liston has prolonged a strike on the backs of the clients MFJ is sworn to support. She is clearly indifferent to what happens to our clients, frontline staff, middle management, and the sustainability of the organization as a result.” He continued, “seven weeks in and MFJ is falling apart. Where is the leadership?”

Union members say that MFJ Management has delayed resolution of their contract negotiations, engaged in unfair labor practices, and mounted an aggressive union busting campaign. MFJ Management terminated staff healthcare without notice to staff hours after the Union declared a strike. This sudden, unannounced interruption in benefits caused Union members significant problems, including a Senior Staff Attorney whose three-year-old child was hospitalized with Leukemia. MFJ Management did not return to the bargaining table until the fourth week of the strike. MFJ Management also hired temporary strikebreakers to cover the labor shortage. Union members say that the untrained strike breakers are unable to adequately cover the organization’s caseload, which reached over 15,000 last year. Members expressed concerns that MFJ Management’s prolonged refusal to bargain in good faith will negatively impact their clients.


The MFJ Union will be picketing at the following locations this week:

– Wednesday, April 10, 1pm to 3pm: Bronx Housing Court (1118 Grand Concourse)
– Friday, April 12, 9:30am to 11:30am: MFJ Manhattan office (100 William Street)





New Jersey – For 18 years casino workers in Atlantic City have been excluded from New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act – in violation of their Constitutional rights. New Jersey has allowed casinos to knowingly force employees to work in toxic conditions that have caused life-threatening illness and death.

Together the UAW and C.E.A.S.E. (Casino Employees Against Smoking’s (Harmful) Effects) represent workers at every casino in Atlantic City. They ask the Court to void the exemption in a lawsuit which seeks immediate injunctive relief, filed today by Nancy Erika Smith, Esq., of Montclair’s Smith Mullin.

“For almost two decades casino workers have been fighting for the same legal protections that other New Jersey workers have, the right to work in a place free of toxic smoke,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “UAW and C.E.A.S.E. members have fought tirelessly to get lawmakers to do the right thing, but politicians have chosen to protect corporate profits over workers’ health. Today, we put an end to that and ask the court to respect the right of workers to breathe clean air on the job.”

Today’s lawsuit argues that the current exemption for casino workers from the Smoke-Free Air Act violates the New Jersey State Constitution on three grounds:

First, the New Jersey Constitution guarantees that “all persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are… pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.” Casino workers have been denied their right to safety.

Second, the Constitution also makes clear that the “Legislature shall not pass any special laws… or grant to any corporation … any exclusive privilege [or] immunity…” In this case, rich corporate casinos are excluded from the Smoke-Free Air Act, giving them the exclusive right to endanger the lives of their workers.

Third, this exemption from a law designed to protect workers from smoke also denies casino workers their right to equal protection.

“The CDC has found that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that the harmful effects are felt within 60 minutes of exposure. Casino workers have been sickened and died as a result of that exposure while other workers in New Jersey are protected against being poisoned at work,” said the workers’ lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith Esq. “We have taken this fight out of back room ‘money talks’ politics and put it in the courts where we are confident that the judge will find that casinos cannot knowingly poison their employees in the pursuit of profits. It’s immoral and legally indefensible.

“Attorney General Matt Platkin bravely refused to defend an unconstitutional law recently – we ask him to do the same here. We also ask Governor Murphy to restore these workers’ right to safety, which he can do today. Finally, Acting Commissioner of Health Baston enforces the Smoke-Free Air Act and, as the Commissioner of Health, she can refuse to enforce a law that endangers the health of workers.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure, with harmful, inflammatory and respiratory effects produced within 60 minutes

“For casino executives, if you put on the uniform of a dealer, slot tech, bartender, server, maintenance person or housekeeper, the bosses are fine with you getting cancer and dying. It’s the cost of doing business,” said Daniel Vicente, Director of U.A.W Region 9. “The UAW will never be able to out-spend these executives, some making more than 10 million dollars a year. We can, however, take the fight for working people’s health and safety to a fairer playing field – one unbeholden to campaign donations or big money PACs. We are proud to stand with C.E.A.S.E. NJ and bring this fight out of the legislature and into the judiciary. We look forward to seeing all of you coming out publicly and telling the people of New Jersey why our lives don’t matter as much as yours.”

Statement of support from Senator Joseph Vitale can be found here.

Related economic materials proving there is no financial excuse for casinos to poison their workers can be found here.

STATESVILLE, N.C. — On Tuesday, April 2, UAW President Shawn Fain will rally in North Carolina with Daimler Truck workers as contract negotiations covering 7,000 UAW members get underway. The workers are demanding an agreement that includes the long overdue fair wages and working conditions they deserve.

Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET rally will be livestreamed at the UAW’s Facebook page. It can also be viewed at the UAW’s YouTube Channel. (Media are invited to use the footage.)

Bargaining with Daimler Truck management begins on Tuesday morning and the workers’ contract expires on April 26. Fain and UAW members at Daimler are standing up and speaking out against the workers’ unfair pay and worsening working conditions.

The workers who build Freightliner trucks, Western Star trucks, and Thomas Built Buses are facing declining real wages and job security even as Daimler Truck tallies record profits and makes massive payouts to shareholders. Over the past six years, Daimler’s profits have increased by 90% while workers’ buying power has fallen 13%.

Tuesday’s rally with Fain comes just weeks after 7,000 Daimler Truck North America workers voted by 96% to authorize a strike if necessary. This overwhelming support shows the workers are determined to secure the record contract they’ve earned.

On the heels of the UAW’s historic Stand Up Strike and record contracts with the Big Three automakers, and as tens of thousands of workers across the country continue organizing to join the UAW, Fain will stand with Daimler workers in their fight for fair pay, cost of living adjustments (COLA), job security and a better future for working families. 

WHAT:   
UAW President Shawn Fain to Rally with Hundreds of Daimler Truck Workers as Contract Talks Begin

WHEN:   
Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. ET 
*Press should arrive by 5:45 p.m. ET

WHERE:  
UAW Local 3520
2290 Salisbury Hwy.
Statesville, NC 28677 

WHO:    
UAW President Shawn Fain 
UAW Region 8 Director Tim Smith
UAW Local 3520 President Corey Hill 
UAW Local 5285 President Ricky McDowell 
North Carolina State AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan
Daimler Truck workers and Allies

Autoworkers at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama have been organizing to win their union. Today they met with UAW President Shawn Fain and Region 8 Director Tim Smith to talk about their path to victory. Here are remarks that President Fain shared with them:

Good afternoon, Union Family.

It’s my honor to be here, to be with so many badass, fed up autoworkers who are ready to stand up.

Today I’m here to talk about the path to victory. It’s a powerful idea. The path to victory. Because first things first — there is a path.

 
Before we can even talk about what we need to do to get what we deserve, we have to acknowledge one thing. Working class people, like all of you here today, have the power to change the world. You have the power to change your circumstances. You have the power to take back your time. To take back your life. To win real time off the job. A fair wage. Good healthcare you can afford. A better life for your family. For all of Alabama.

The first thing you need to do to win is to believe that you can win. That this job can be better. That your life can be better. And that those things are worth fighting for. That is why we stand up. That’s why you’re here today. Because deep down, you believe it’s possible.

There is a path. But here’s the other thing about the path to victory. It’s only a path. You have to walk it. Nobody can walk it for you. I didn’t come down here to tell you what all I’m going to do for you as the President of the UAW. That’s not what this is about. Everything you win in this fight will be because you won it.

You are in spitting distance of a life-changing victory. That’s because all of you are coming together with your coworkers to do the work of organizing your workplace. And the company knows it too. That’s why Mercedes is pulling out every trick in the book to instill fear, uncertainty, and division. To scare people off of standing up for a better life.

I’ve been meeting with UAW staff and with some of you. And what’s clear to me is we are doing things differently this time. This time, we are going to make sure we have leaders on each line, on each shift, talking to each other about building their union. That is the path to victory.

And it’s not just about the vote. True victory is not just winning a vote. We want to win big on the day of the election – but we also need to build that organizing muscle, that unity, and that determination to win big in a union contract. That’s what changes lives. That’s what this is all about.

But you have to walk that path to victory. You have to say – I’m ready to talk to my coworkers. I’m ready to have my name be public on a vote yes petition. I’m ready to go to work every day and proudly wear my UAW hat for everyone to see. I’m ready to stand up, strong and loud, and proud about this fight. I can’t win that for you. Our staff can’t win that for you. Only you can walk that path to victory.

Let me be clear, that doesn’t mean you’re walking alone. Our staff, our union, and hundreds of thousands of UAW members are behind you. Across this country, there are working-class people looking to you. For inspiration. For hope. And we’ve all got your back.

I opened these remarks with “union family,” because we are a family. But here in Alabama, it hits close to home. Many of you may not know this but my family’s roots are in the South. I have family from Alabama. And three of my grandparents were from Tennessee, one from Kentucky, and after the Great Depression, all of my grandparents had to move north. And they were blessed to hire in at GM and Chrysler in the early days of the UAW. They stood up for themselves and went and got a better life.

But the real meaning of union is not having to leave for greener pastures. Not having to leave your family and your life behind just to be able to live. The real meaning of union is fighting for a better life where you are. Because it’s your job. It’s your body. It’s your time. It’s your family. It’s your community.

I look around here and I see a lot of people who remind me of myself and my roots. I know struggle. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck. I’ve been on unemployment. I’ve received government aid to get formula and diapers for my firstborn child.


Joining the union, the UAW, changed my life. It gave me a wage I could raise a family on. It gave me a job I could rely on. And it gave me hope for the future. So, I put everything I had into building this union. I walked that path. I know what it’s like to be out there at the gates, trying to get your coworkers organized. I know what it’s like to have to fight the company tooth and nail just to have a little dignity on the job. And I know if I didn’t do it, if regular autoworkers like me and you don’t stand up, nothing’s going to change. So, do it for yourself. Do it for your family. And we’ll have your back every step of the way.

You’re so close to the finish line. Some people get within inches of their goal and quit before they realize that if they’d have given one more push they would have reached it.

 
 My running for president of the UAW was very similar. If I hadn’t relied on faith and faced fear and doubt and took on the insurmountable odds of running for president of the UAW, nothing would have changed.

 
People said I was crazy for running for President. Some who were previously in power tried to make the members afraid to vote for change. But the members took a leap of faith and voted for new leaders and look what we are accomplishing.

Our Big Three contract campaign was the same. People said we were crazy for going for the things we did. Companies said they couldn’t afford it. Companies made threats. The media said we were crazy.

But guess what? We focused on facts in our Big 3 campaign and strike. The fact that the companies made a quarter of a trillion dollars in a decade. The fact that CEO pay went up 40% over the previous 4 years. And the fact that workers were being left behind, although the workers generate those massive profits through their labor. 75% of Americans sided with us in that fight. Using the power of facts and a unified membership.

We won a record contract and the companies still paid out massive stock dividends to investors. CEOs are still giving themselves massive raises, and business is fine.

It’s the same here in Alabama.

Facts: The German three made double what the Big Three made in the last decade. A half a trillion. $460 billion. Mercedes’s CEO got an 80% raise last year. The eight managers on the Mercedes management board got a collective $27 million raise last year. The average Mercedes executive makes $3,600 an hour. It would take a Mercedes production worker at the top rate two years to make what a Mercedes executive earns in one week.

The company, the Governor, and the Business Council are trying to make you afraid to stand up, because you are so close to realizing a life many thought wasn’t possible. Mercedes is using fear, uncertainty, and division because they are afraid.

Mercedes is afraid of you having a voice in your work life. Mercedes is afraid of sharing any control over your work lives. Mercedes is afraid of paying you the wages and benefits you deserve for the massive profits your work, your sacrifice, your blood, and your sweat create. You are an at-will employee, you have no rights, and management has all the control. It’s time to change that.

Years ago, my grandparents had to leave Tennessee to live the American Dream. You don’t have to leave. You can achieve it right here in Alabama.

The first thing I do when I get up every day, daily reading and pray. Recently, I thought of you when I read my daily reading, Hebrews 11:1, “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”

The only people who can organize the South are the workers in the South. And those workers who stand up are forever going to go down in history for doing what so many people said was impossible. Why not you? Why not here?

I said during our campaign at the Big Three that this is our generation’s defining moment. That faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, and we moved mountains.

Now, here in Alabama, we have another mountain to move. This is your defining moment to change your lives. To change America. And to change the world for the better. So, let’s walk down that path to victory together in Solidarity and let’s finish the job.

So, I came here not to win this thing for you. Not to tell you what to do. I came here to find out for myself the answer to one question. Are you ready to Stand Up? I believe you are, and I believe in you.

If you’re ready, the time is now. This is your defining moment. If we have public supporters in every department, on every line, on every shift, Mercedes workers will be guaranteed to win your election. Raise your hand if you can commit to being that person for your line.

Before you leave today, put your name on the public petition and join your coworkers on the path to victory. We will not let the company divide us. That’s how they win. Solidarity is our strength. That’s how we win.

This isn’t about power, It’s about control. Without a Union contract, they have all the control. You have the power. You just have to recognize it and use it. Let’s finish the job that started so long ago. Let’s walk a new path for working-class people together in solidarity.

Thank you.