Newly elected UAW President Gary Jones addressed delegates on the closing day of the convention with a message of facing challenges with a clear vision, drawing from the strengths of the past and moving forward with “values that embrace education, health care, time for families, fraternity, a fair living wage and equality for all.”
Jones expressed gratitude for the support of his family, staff, mentors, the International Executive Board, supporters and UAW members who paved the way for the path that led to his inauguration today as the union’s new leader.
And, his values, he explained, are a reflection of his strong upbringing, his faith and his commitment to the core values of the UAW.
“We are going to work hard to ensure that our UAW values are represented in everything that we do. Our team and this UAW will always look for the opportunities hidden in our challenges …and always do so with the clear vision of where we came from and who we are as a union,” Jones said.
He shared a poignant reminder of one of the union’s most famous victories. “When faced with bridges, we will remember standing on the overpass on Miller Road, Gate 4, in the Ford River Rouge complex,” he said. “If we are told to sit down, we will quietly remind them, as we pull on our white shirts, of how we once sat for a spell in Flint and in doing so, changed the world with the strength of our solidarity.”
“And when one of us is under attack, an army of red-shirted brothers and sisters will rise and say proudly, ‘what you do to one of us, you do to all of us.’ We are UAW … yesterday, today and tomorrow. Knowing who we are and knowing what the UAW is about could not be more important than it is today,” he emphasized.
In his final comments, Jones stressed the union’s unwavering core values.
“The UAW’s idea of a middle class has meant organized opposition to anti-union interests, wherever they may be. We will fight for our retirees, for our active members and for members to come. We will stand up for civil rights, for gender equality, and for families and workers everywhere. We have a history of right on our side.”
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