On March 11, more than 900 delegates converged in Cobo Center in Detroit to set the union’s bargaining priorities for the next four years at the UAW Special Bargaining Convention.
The convention, which closes Wednesday, is a critical part of the union’s preparations for Big Three bargaining this summer and fall. The work of this convention will set the standards for bargaining for the Big Three, as well as other industries and workplaces.
“During individual negotiations over the next several years, we will use this standard as a guide,” UAW President Gary Jones told delegates. “When sitting at the bargaining table, looking at contract provisions, we will remind ourselves of this convention, remind ourselves of the bar we set, and remind ourselves that we are one.”
Jones announced that the International Executive Board (IEB) is raising strike pay from $200 a week to $250 a week effective this month, and then to $275 per week in January.
“You know that we provide health insurance to workers and their families during strikes but raising the strike pay is an important signal – our members need to know that the IEB has their backs,” Jones said.
Delegates began work on an extensive resolution that sets the union’s’ bargaining priorities. The resolution, which states the union’s bargaining philosophy, touches on a variety of issues critical to working people including wage disparity; temporary workers; outsourcing; new investment; training; health care and retirement security; health and safety; inclusive workplaces; organizing; and political action; among others.
Jones presented Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Mich), the widow of the late Congressman John Dingell, the Douglas A. Fraser Community Services Swift Award in recognition of the late Michigan congressman’s service to working people. Jones said the nation lost a legend when Dingell passed away on Feb. 7.
“We are forever grateful for his service to working families, his support and his friendship,” Jones said.
Dingell said UAW members were alongside her husband in every battle for working people.
“To my brothers and sisters of the UAW, you truly are my and John’s brothers and sisters and you have been our entire lives.”
Jones also presented the UAW V-CAP Award, which recognizes the UAW region with the most participation and funds raised for the union’s voluntary political action program. The winner was Region 5, which covers 17 states in the western and southwestern United States. Region 5 has won the V-CAP award 19 out of the last 20 years. Jones, a former Region 5 director, said the region has topped $1 million in contributions six times, and $2 million twice.
Region 5 Director Vance Pearson said it is no secret why the region is so successful. Region 5 Community Action Program (CAP) activists are not afraid to ask for contributions from fellow members. “They will give, but they want to be asked,” Pearson said.
Photos from Monday:
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