Wednesday, May 20, 2015

State of the Union May 20, 2015

There will be Community Services meetings Thursday, May 21 in the cafeteria. Times are 1:30 pm for 2nd shift, 3:15 pm for 1st shift and 9:30 pm for 3rd shift. All are welcome to attend.

· It has been decided that the VAP (overnight drive) program will be run the following way: All 3 shifts will have one vehicle each month, rotating them from one shift to another. For example, in May 1st shift will have the Canyon, 2nd shift will have the Colorado and 3rd shift will have the Cadillac ATS. In July the vehicles will rotate to the next shift, and then again in August. So ALL shifts should be submitting entry forms (please indicate your preference, if you have one, by marking the vehicles 1 through 3). The deadline for entries is Thursday May 28. You can submit your entries in the drop box in the cafeteria. Entry forms are located there as well. In addition, we will raffle off the vehicles on the weekends to raise money for charities such as Habitat for Humanity. Details will be communicated as soon as they are finalized. We encourage everyone to participate as this is a great chance for you to drive our product and show it off to family and friends.

· We hope everyone got a chance to see the great coverage the plant got from KSDK on May 7. Great job by everyone involved in this project, and a special thanks to the Local 2250 members who agreed to be featured in this broadcast. You represented all of us well. We were told that the coverage, during the crucial May sweeps time period, had great ratings. We would also like to give a shout out to reporters Pat McGonigle and Ryan Dean, who kept the stories positive and the focus on the workers.

None of this happened by accident. The behind the scenes work was handled by craftsmen represented by IBEW Local 4. Like many of us, you may have heard their advertising while listening to the Cardinal baseball games on KMOX recently. A quick look at their website, tells what our brothers and sisters at Local 4 are up against. They have been without a contract since November 2013. Prior to that, in 2009, they had taken a 10% pay cut and had gotten no raises since. Recent efforts at reaching an agreement have proved fruitless. In fact, Gannett recently issued their “last, best offer” which proposed an ongoing pay freeze and elimination of all job assignments (we would call them classifications). This offer was unanimously rejected by the membership. Mediation awaits.

We mention all of this because, as fellow Union brothers and sisters, they deserve any help we can offer. Specifically, we can write letters to the station or call on their behalf and explain to them that we stand in solidarity with the IBEW and our loyalty as viewers will change if their bargaining approach does not.
If you wish to show your support you can write to:
Marv Danielski
1000 Market Street
St. Louis, MO 63101

You can also call 314-421-5055 and ask for Mr. Danielski (he is the station manager). You probably won’t get connected but take the opportunity and tell them that you will be switching local stations if Gannett/KSDK does not bargain in good faith with these skilled men and women that make their broadcasts possible.

· From the Detroit Free Press: Cindy Estrada's journey has taken her from the dusty tomato fields of central California to the bargaining table where the UAW and General Motors will forge the future of about 48,500 U.S. workers. Estrada is a daughter of southwest Detroit and Dearborn. She traces her fervor for workplace issues to conversations of former Cadillac Fleetwood workers she overheard at her father's Michigan Avenue bar. "It was a big part of my life," she said when asked about Leroy's U.S. Star Bar. "I heard many stories of how hard work was in those plants. My uncles worked in some of them."
"We just had a good middle-class life. We didn't have an extravagant life," Cindy Estrada said. "I remember my mom and dad being pretty happy. They helped us do things we wanted to do."
Two experiences shaped her pride in being a young Latina. Next door to the bar was the United Farm Workers' grape boycott office that connected her to her grandparents' experience. She would learn her early organizing lessons at the side of two of Cesar Chavez's closest disciples.
But Mexican Industries is where her UAW career began. The UAW launched what would become a futile organizing campaign. In June 1995, workers who were then making an average of $7 an hour, rejected the UAW by a 623-265 vote. "We lost plain and simple," Estrada said. It was the third failed attempt to organize.
In late 2013 and 2014, Estrada engaged in difficult negotiations covering 17,000 UAW-represented state workers. The talks came less than a year after the Republican Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Snyder signed Michigan's right-to-work law.
Bargaining broke down, primarily over terms of state workers' health care coverage. In January 2014 the state civil service commission forced both sides to accept a two-year contract with 2% raises each year, a 0.5% lump-sum payment in year one, and a standardized health care plan that raised some workers' copays and deductibles.
Estrada acknowledges there was tension during those talks, but she said the UAW tried to emphasize that it was interested in finding more efficient ways to deliver state services without slashing jobs, wages and benefits.
"I've never seen Cindy lose her temper, but she'll get angry about what she perceives as workplace injustice," said former UAW President Bob King. "She's open and flexible about finding creative solutions, but if a company is dishonest or abusive, they've got a real fight on their hands with her."
Marty Bryant, a former Dana executive who is now CEO of a North Carolina-based maker of waste handling and recycling equipment, sat across the table from Estrada during a 2010 negotiation that ended in a contract covering more than 3,000 Dana workers.
"Cindy's maybe 5 feet 2, but she can hold her own," Bryant said. "She was committed to her mission that working people deserve to make enough money to live on. At the same time she never gave the impression she was out to injure the company.
"When no one was watching or in heat of bargaining she was always the same person."
She is now on a bigger stage. Last June, UAW President Dennis Williams assigned her to lead negotiations with GM. Her success ultimately will be measured by the 48,500 UAW members at the nation's largest automaker.
Her counterpart across the table will be Rex Blackwell, a 31-year veteran of GM labor relations staff. But don't underestimate the relationship evolving between Estrada and GM CEO Barra. They meet at least once every month or six weeks, Estrada said.
Estrada spoke highly of the CEO's management style and vision. "She really does want to work on changing the culture," Estrada said. "She's a problem solver and a very smart woman. So far, my experience with her has been nothing but positive."
Estrada who lives in Whitmore Lake with her husband, retired UAW official Frank White, and twin 11-year-old sons Jason and Jesse, draws a parallel between her job as mother and her role with the UAW.
"Every time I make a decision in my house without involving my family, yes, it's easier in the short run, but in the long run it doesn't lead to building of a strong healthy family," she said. "It's the same thing in a workplace. If management is always making decisions absent workers, they're not always the best decision and it doesn't promote a healthy environment."

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Thursday, May 14, 2015

State of the Union May 14, 2015

May 14, 2015 online at

· The annual Annie Malone Parade will be held this Sunday, May 17 at 1 pm. For those who wish to participate, we will be meeting at Gateway St. Louis Buick (previously Behlmann) at 10:30 am (820 McDonnell Blvd., St. Louis MO 63042). We will depart for the parade staging area no later than 10:45 am. For those wishing to help decorate the vehicles, you can go to the staging area which is located on Market Street between Compton Ave and Jefferson Ave at 12:00 noon. Remember admittance to the staging area is by entry sticker only. There is street parking in the downtown area and some near the staging area. For questions or detailed directions call Dan Williams at 314-616-2271 or Fred Jamison at 314-497-3067.

· The UAW Local 2250 golf tournament will be held Saturday, June 20 at Country Lake golf course in Warrenton. Check in is noon with a 1:00 pm shotgun start. It is a 4-person scramble and the cost is $75 per person/ $300 per team and includes dinner, prizes and contests. There will also be a skin game, 50/50 raffle and silent auction. Proceeds go to Bridgeway, 5 Game Changers and CAP (community action program). ·

April was the strongest sales month yet for both the van and the pickups. Here are the results for both segments.

Field supplies remain tight on both products. Colorado supplies edged up to a 12 day supply from 10 while the Canyon stands at 29 days supply. Van supply as measured in days plummeted from 52 to 36 days as cutaway sales surged. Cargo van supplies stood at 27 days while Chevy passenger vans numbered 501 total for a 13 day supply. The plant will be taking orders for 2016 vans soon, marking the first time customers can order a van since last October.

This coming Monday, May 18 is the 27th Annual Run for the Wall. You are invited to come and welcome more than 500 motorcycles making their way across the heartland of America to the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington D. C. to honor the men and women still unaccounted for, from all of our wars. You can come to the VFW Post 5327, located on Hwy. Z ½ mile south I-70 in Wentzville at 5:00 pm. Once again riders will stopping by the plant to use the restrooms and showers before they head to the VFW.

· The Annual Blessing of the Bikes will be this coming Tuesday, May 19 in the visitors parking lot beginning at 5:00 am.

· recently did a midsize pickup challenge pitting the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon against each other and the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. All trucks were 4x4 crew cabs with V6 engines. The judging covered these categories: Performance, seating and ergonomics, tech and entertainment, ride quality, overall visibility, overall value and off-road aptitude. We’ll cut to the chase and give you the results, starting with last place. That distinction was claimed by the Tacoma, which tallied 1634 points. Comments included: “Although the judges liked the way the truck looked, the Tacoma TRD Pro was one of the most expensive players in the test, was usually the slowest in acceleration tests, got the worst fuel economy and stopped longer than anything we've tested in a long time….there was a lot of chassis and interior noise, far more than the other trucks.” Third place belonged to the Frontier, which scored 1673 points. Here’s what they had to say about it: “In the end, the dated interior, limited cargo storage and average fuel-economy numbers held it back from scoring more points.”

Second place went to the…..Colorado, which had 1775 points. About the Colorado: “What impressed us most with both of the GM trucks is how much they can carry, and how comfortable and confident they are doing it. During brake testing and when carrying a max payload during our fuel-economy runs, brake control and chassis dynamics were smooth and predictable, comforting even. With all that said, the Chevy is packed with value and showed great composure in every situation.” And that leaves the winner, the Canyon at 1808 points. The summary said: “No matter how you look at this comparison test, the win by the GMC was impressive. Of the 14 empirical challenges we set up for these midsize trucks, the GMC came in first or second place in 11 of them….In the end, the Canyon scored well throughout our test, and offered a capable and luxurious ride and feel that clearly separated the GMC from the rest of the field. We were especially impressed with its road manners and performance with a full load in the bed, scoring a first- or second-place finish in all of our max-payload testing (which for this truck meant carrying a stunning 1,440 pounds).” This sibling rivalry can only get better.

· Yesterday the Missouri state legislature passed a right-to-work bill and sent it to Governor Jay Nixon. The Governor has our back and will veto this bill, which will set up a vote to override his veto. Based on the vote counts, there is not enough support to override his veto, but you can bet that lobbying groups like the Chamber of Commerce will put a full court press on legislators who opposed this bill. Stay in touch with your state representative and senator and let them know that this veto must stand. You can find your legislator by using the lookup box on the and websites.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

State of the Union April 9, 2015

April 9, 2015 online at

From Chairman Mike Bullock:
The weekly job postings were submitted after 1st shift went home on 4/2. The intent of posting job transfers over a two week period Thursday through Tuesday is so employees who are on vacation will have the opportunity to bid. Because the job postings were submitted late and 1st shift had gone home for the week, this week’s postings will run through 4/13th. The posting includes 69 assembler openings in Body. The openings have been created because of the re-rate of the van body shop. These openings are available to all seniority employees and those employees who were converted to permanent and don’t have their 90 days in. Currently all 69 openings have been not been bid on. This is the 2nd time management has attempted to re-rate van body. The last time was 3/12 and 21 jobs were added.
A requisition for 62 permanent openings has been submitted to the National Parties. These openings will be filled by GM employees who have signed up to come to Wentzville. If all the openings are not filled by National Hire, temporaries will be converted to permanent from the 2/11 and the 2/16 group.
Notices have been posted at the front door for the hiring of up to 1000 employees for the Flex shift. Employees will be hired for both Production and Skilled Trades. These employees will be dues paying members of UAW Local 2250. Employees can have friends and family go to this website to apply:
All the details of a flex schedule are still being fine-tuned but the “broad brush” picture of what a “flex” schedule would look like is this: All 3 shifts will continue to operate Monday to Friday 8 hours, up to 9. Each shift will work every 3rd Saturday 8 to 10 hours on their respective shift. Another Saturday shift will operate on Saturdays. This shift will be staffed by “flex” employees (to be hired).
Those employees whose shift worked on Saturday will be able to volunteer for one Sunday shift. A signup for Sundays will be conducted. “Flex” employees will backfill any open jobs that are not signed up for. Traditional employees may work on flex shifts to cover absences. This is a general outline of a “flex” schedule.
Many, many details will still need to be negotiated. Fidelity Investments will be in the plant April 29 through June 2 for 8 sessions. Topics will include Budgeting/Debt management, Building a Portfolio, Preparing your Savings for Retirement. Keep in mind that General Motors is putting money into a 401K for your retirement. One of these sessions will assist you in investing your money correctly. Sessions will be both one on one or group workshops.
I encourage everyone to sign up for one of the sessions. Class sizes are limited, sign up early (form is on back – you can drop them in the Suggestion boxes at the entrances). Resolutions for the Local Contract will be accepted April 15th through May 15th. Forms are available from your committeeman, or at the Union Hall and can be returned to the same. Local Demand 190: Relief, Emergency – Management will continue to provide relief to employees for emergency restroom needs without undue delay to employees who have requested such emergency relief. The respective parties involved will discuss any abuse of this procedure. If you have any questions about the above Local Demand in our Local Agreement, ask your committeeman.

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Employee Schedule Notice - April 2, 2015

Full production will not be scheduled over the upcoming holiday weekend. Employees scheduled to work will be notified by their respective departments.
Full production is scheduled Saturday, April 11, 2015 and Sunday, April 12, 2015.

Effective April 13, 2015 the regular 8 hour schedule for Division 1 employees will be modified and normally scheduled as follows:
1st shift
Start time 6:30 am
1st break 8:54 am – 9:10 am (16 minutes paid relief)
2nd break 11:36 am – 12:00 pm (24 minutes paid relief)
Lunch 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm (may be taken out of the plant)
Employee work span ends at 3:00 pm
Employees may clock out and leave at 2:30 pm – paid 8 hours

2nd shift
Start time 2:30 pm
1st break 4:54 pm – 5:10 pm (16 minutes paid relief)
2nd break 7:36 pm – 8:00 pm (24 minutes paid relief)
Lunch 10:30 pm – 11:00 pm (may be taken out of the plant)
Employee work span ends at 11:00 pm
Employees may clock out and leave at 10:30 pm – paid 8 hours

3rd shift
Start time 10:30 pm (9:30 pm start on Sunday nights for a 9 hour shift)
1st break 12:54 am – 1:10 am (16 minutes paid relief)
2nd break 3:36 am – 4:00 am (24 minutes paid relief)
Lunch 6:30 am – 7:00 am (may be taken out of the plant)
Employee work span ends at 7:00 am
Employees may clock out and leave at 6:30 am – paid 8 hours

Skilled Trades (Division 2) employees shift start and end times will remain as they are today. Also, effective April 13, 2015 we will no longer be considered to be under Critical Plant Status and will revert to the provisions of Plan A under the National Agreement Memorandum of Understanding on Overtime.

Shelley Hart
Personnel Director
Wentzville Assembly

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

State of the Union March 31, 2015

March 31, 2015 online at

• There will be a Civil Rights Committee meeting on Monday, April 6 between shifts in the cafeteria. As always, anyone interested in attending or becoming a member is welcome.

• From the Women’s Committee: The deadline for buying raffle tickets for the Colorado jacket, created and donated by Pat Wyse, is Friday, April 10. Tickets are $5 apiece or 3 for $10 and available from committee members. Proceeds are for this year’s Habitat for Humanity project.

• When we first read about the upcoming Mercedes midsize pickup, we had our doubts that, despite proclamations from Mercedes to the contrary, this pickup would not be sold in the U.S. We are not alone in those doubts. From the self-styled AutoExtremist Peter DeLorenzo: “As far as whether or not a Mercedes-Benz pickup will show up here in the U.S. market? Count on it. In fact you can bet that some sort of "Texan" edition aimed at the hottest state for pickup sales here in the U.S. is right around the corner.”

• From Automotive News: Honda is ready to get back into the pickup segment, with a redesigned Ridgeline that Honda expects to outperform its first effort. "We sold 40,000 Ridgelines at one point, and we think we can certainly go up from there with a new one," says Jeff Conrad, Honda Division general manager. "Truck buyers are not just people at construction sites," he said. "Some people simply want a truck body for lifestyle or for recreation, and we think there's a lot of white space out there for us." Like the original Ridgeline, the new version will use a car-chassis construction. "Admittedly, the Ridgeline was our first truck, and we learned a lot," Conrad said. "We learned that people do like a more traditional look to their truck, and the next Ridgeline will have more traditional trucklike proportions from a styling perspective. But we're not going to forget to bring more of those innovations that we brought to the segment before, like in-bed storage and ride comfort." The new truck will appear in 2016. ( Below are a couple of images of the Ridgeline. The illustration on the left was shown by Honda and the image on the right is based on that illustration and other information gleened from sources. What you see is a pretty generic pickup design, although the Honda sourced illustration appears to have a split in the center of the tailgate that could indicate a “french door” setup where the tailgate would come down in one piece or open to the sides.)

• From According to sources close to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a new Ram midsize pickup truck is likely headed our way; however, whether it will be a badged a Ram, a Dodge or something new (a Fiat?) remains to be seen. FCA has been working with several cobbled-together mules in Europe and the U.S., but this is our best look to date of what may be ahead. We were able to see under the rear of the vehicle, so we know there is a fairly light-duty independent suspension. Some reports suggest the platform for the prototype is actually a modified version of the Dodge Journey, which uses a similar rearend. The popularity of the midsize pickup segment has grown recently with the spotlight shining brightly on GM's Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Interestingly, all the players in this segment use a live rear axle setup to produce competent towing and payload ratings. Whether anything similar could be done with an independent rear suspension is doubtful but not impossible. This strategy suggests Ram is deciding to offer a crossover-type pickup truck similar to the Honda Ridgeline, likely giving Jeep the opportunity to produce a capability-biased midsize pickup. It also has been suggested that this test truck is likely a disguise intentionally made to look like a more traditional crossover or minivan and camouflaged to look like there's a pickup hiding underneath. We should know more in the next six months.

• From the Detroit News: Cori Lortz’s father, an American union worker, opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s. Now, more than 20 years later, she finds herself fighting against another trade policy: the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “I saw how NAFTA destroyed my dad’s livelihood and I don’t want it to happen to me,” she said Monday at UAW Local 12 in Toledo. Lortz said her father, Larry Middlebrooks, lost his job at a packaging company after operations moved to Mexico as a result of NAFTA. Lortz, who works at the Toledo Assembly Complex producing the Jeep Cherokee, was one of hundreds of union members and others to attend an anti-TPP forum featuring U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, and local UAW leaders.
The event aimed to rally those in attendance to write and call public officials to encourage them to stop a so-called “fast track” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP — a free trade policy that has been under negotiation since the mid-2000s. Under “fast-track,” Congress can set the terms under which the U.S. negotiates but it does not allow the legislative branch to amend the trade agreement. It also allows Congress an up-or-down vote on trade deals without amendments. Supporters of TPP have said it will open new markets for U.S. products, helping bolster U.S. manufacturing and job growth. Opponents have argued that there should be no fast track process and that the government should openly debate the matter, fearing that the partnership could encourage job outsourcing and unfair working conditions.
“The individuals who advise presidents have forgotten to look inside the borders of the United States as aggressively as they look outside of the borders of the United States on trade,” Kaptur said after the event. “They have failed to recognize the impact that unfair trade agreements have on the American worker.” The economies of the 12 countries involved in the TPP — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam — comprise 40 percent of the global economy. At the UAW’s 2015 Special Bargaining Convention in Detroit last week President Dennis Williams said foreign governments that manipulate currency and put up barriers to imports in their own countries present new challenges to the economy. “No one can afford to get this one wrong,” he said. “Our government cannot negotiate another bad trade agreement.”

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Saturday, March 28, 2015

State of the Union March 28, 2015

From the Wall Street Journal: With a tug, Volker Mornhinweg pulled a covering off a life-size clay model of the pickup truck that Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz intends to enter the global market for midsize haulers. Before him stands a sporty double-cab vehicle with the tapered lines typical of Mercedes-Benz sedans and sport-utility vehicles. But this vehicle has a loading space big enough for any craftsmen’s tools or gear for an outdoorsy family’s weekend outing. “Years ago, SUVs used to be, well, rough,” Mr. Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said in an interview. “Then they became prettier. Now, we see the same trend in pickup trucks. We see opportunities to enter this market as the first premium brand.”

Daimler plans to build the truck in cooperation with Nissan Motor Co. using the basic framework of Nissan’s Navara and using Nissan factories to produce the vehicle, two people familiar with the situation said. The talks, which are at an advanced stage, involve using the basic architecture of Nissan’s Navara pickup truck for the new vehicle and producing it in Nissan factories, the people said. Nissan was not immediately available for comment. The Navara is called the Frontier in some markets. “The details are still being worked out,” one of the people said.

Mercedes-Benz would use the Navara framework, but would provide “everything with which the customer comes in contact,” the person added. That would include the powertrain, the interior, the design and other elements. Mercedes-Benz declined to disclose any details of production plans, a specific launch date or pricing, but said it is making preparations to produce the vehicle “in large numbers” in various regions of the world within the next five years. The truck will carry a payload of about one metric ton (2,200 pounds) and come with four- or six-cylinder engines. Mercedes-Benz is targeting Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe for its debut. It says there are no current plans for a U.S. launch.

Global sales of such midsize trucks were 2.34 million vehicles last year, according to IHS Automotive, a research group. The market is growing, but it isn’t booming. Sales are expected to rise to 2.83 million by 2020, says IHS. Mr. Mornhinweg dismissed speculation that Mercedes-Benz also is planning to launch a full-size truck in the U.S. market against such popular trucks as Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 and General Motors Co.’s Silverado and Chrysler’s Ram. “The full-size segment is too specific for the U.S. It’s not a global market,” he said. “And it’s dominated by the Big Three. It makes no sense to go there.”

Dennis Williams: UAW ready to fight to restore the middle class
In the dark days of the Great Recession, UAW members from all sectors accepted concessions as many companies were threatened with bankruptcy and profits evaporated.
Six years later, the outlook has improved, UAW President Dennis Williams told delegates on the final day of the 2015 UAW Special Bargaining Convention in Detroit.
Now, “It’s Our Time” to share in the prosperity that our sacrifices have brought.
“I truly believe that the companies we deal with know that we can be creative and thoughtful,” Williams said. “But they also know that sharing in bad times must be equally shared in good times.”

Despite the prosperity, rewards are not getting to the people who need them the most. A free market society cannot thrive unless working men and women have disposable incomes. It was true in 1958 when Walter Reuther said it, and it remains true today.

“A society built on low-wage jobs does not deliver purchasing power,” therefore slowing economic growth and shrinking the middle class. That puts more working people in jeopardy and more in poverty, Williams said.

The United States now has the highest percentage of low-wage jobs among developed nations. The purchasing power to buy consumer goods, such as the vehicles they build, a house, or to send a child to college doesn’t exist, even with a recovering economy.
“I say there is something wrong with this country,” Williams said.

To fix it, America needs a strong union movement. But we’re under attack on so many fronts that are designed to diminish workers’ rights and collective bargaining. Both are based on fundamental democratic principles our nation was founded on.

In one such despicable attack, anti-union extremist Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker compared union members to terrorists. President Williams asked all veterans, men and women who have honorably served our country in peacetime and in war, to stand and be recognized.

“Shame on Walker! Shame on the Republican Party and shame on anybody who has that kind of attitude about the working men and women of America,” Williams said to thunderous applause.

Despite the attacks, our bargaining committees know that the work they do will help lift people out of poverty.

“As an American citizen, we cannot be comfortable living in our country while children are going hungry,” Williams said. “We cannot accept that everyday people in the United States of America work 40 or 50 hours and more are living in poverty.”

Williams noted that this year there is a great deal at stake, not only in our bargaining, but in Washington where the fast track legislation is being negotiated. “No one can afford to get this wrong,” he said. “Our government cannot negotiate another bad trade agreement.”

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

State of the Union March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015 online at

• From the Women’s Committee: Thanks to everyone who helped to make this year’s Easter Egg Hunt another big success. A great time was had by everyone who attended. Also, the Women’s Committee is raffling off a Colorado jacket (donated by Pat Wyse) to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Tickets are $5 apiece or 3 for $10 and available from any committee member.

• There will be a Civil Rights Committee meeting on Monday, April 6 between shifts in the cafeteria. As always, anyone interested in attending and becoming a member of the committee is welcome.

• This week is the UAW Bargaining Convention, which is being held in Detroit. Here is a message from the UAW about the Power of Collective Bargaining:

The theme of the UAW’s 2015 Special Convention on Collective Bargaining is “The Power of Collective Bargaining Lifts Us All.” This reminds us that the historic gains members make at the bargaining table are victories that lift families into the middle class and benefit entire communities. It also reminds us that no gain we have achieved has been freely given but has come only from the power of collective bargaining, and the solidarity it creates when we come together at the negotiating table. Your activism as a member and the solidarity you create within the UAW secure working people’s gains in every contract we ratify. When we face challenges, we know we still stand together to fight another day. That bond of solidarity that creates victories for working people is never broken. We will forge ahead to create contracts that generate prosperity for our national economy, high standards in our workplaces, and a rewarding retirement for all.

More than ever, the power of collective bargaining is needed to lift working women and men and sustain this great nation’s working families who are the bedrock of our economy.

With each step forward, we carry with us the knowledge that the power of collective bargaining lifts us all.

Today at the Bargaining Convention, UAW President Dennis Williams gave a speech to the delegates. This article from the Detroit Free Press captures some of President Williams comments:
UAW President Dennis Williams, wearing a dark suit and red shirt, raised his fist and led union members through several fiery chants Wednesday as he laid out his vision for the union and its negotiating priorities with the Detroit Three and other employers.
"When I raise my fist, I am talking about unity, I am talking about solidarity," Williams told delegates gathered in Detroit for the union's bargaining convention today.
Williams said the UAW understands the pressures of globalization that employers face, but railed about an economic recovery from the worst recession in decades that has failed to deliver pay increases for many in the middle class. Williams said it has led to an America where people work more than 40 hours per week and still live in near poverty.
"I believe in a $15 an hour minimum wage," Williams said. "It makes sense for the United States of America."

When it comes to upcoming contract talks with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, Williams made it clear he would like to eliminate an entry level wage that was approved by UAW members in 2007 when the automakers were losing money and market share. The UAW's four-year contract with the Detroit Three expires in September.
"I truly believe that our companies know that we can be both creative and thoughtful," Williams said. "But make no doubt about it, they also know, that as we share in the bad times, we must equally share in the good times."
One of the prevailing themes at the UAW's two-day bargaining convention has been the idea of "bridging the gap" -- a reference to seeking a raise for the lower paid autoworkers who earn a maximum of $19.28 per hour to bring them closer to the $28 per hour, on average, that workers hired before 2008 make.
"The UAW will never abandon the principles on which we were founded," Williams said. "We believe in a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, and we believe in equal pay for equal work."
For Williams, the challenge will be not only to negotiate a contract that appeases autoworkers, but also to negotiate new contracts with workers at John Deere, the State of Michigan and a number of other employers.
"This year, we have a great responsibility, full of challenges," Williams said. "Throughout the country, we have a lot of contracts (to negotiate), and you know there is a great deal at stake. Our challenge is real."

Tom Brune
UAW Communications Coordinator
Wentzville Assembly