Latest Solidarity Issue

More workers vote to join the UAW

ORGANIZING ROUNDUP


Region 1

• Workers at Calvert’s Roll-Off Containers in Ann Arbor, Mich., became UAW members by card-check recognition. Calvert's is a construction and demolition recycler, recently purchased by Recycle Ann Arbor, a nonprofit environmental group where drivers and service staff are members of UAW Local l74.

• Workers at Dana Long Mfg. in St. Clair, Mich., who produce transmission cooler and power steering components for the Big Three, joined the UAW. Also in St. Clair, workers at Blue Water Automotive (Range Road) joined the UAW in a card check. They produce plastic products.

• Workers at Faurecia Interiors in Warren, Mich., voted to join the UAW. They produce interior seating for the automotive industry. Also in Warren, workers at Plastech Engineered Products Inc. joined the UAW via card check. They assemble front-end auto components for Chrysler.

• Workers at Mahar Tool Supply in Dundee, Mich., joined the UAW via card check. The company supplies tool management services for Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance, a joint venture between Chrysler, Hyundai Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

• Workers at various Michigan locations of Public Credit Union reaffirmed UAW membership with a majority voting against decertification.

Region 2B

• Workers at Gibraltar Strip Steel Inc. in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio, voted for the UAW. The company produces strip steel for the Big Three, Toyota and TRW.

• In a card check, workers at Kurtz Brothers Inc. in Independence, Ohio, joined the union. They provide maintenance services for Ford Motor Co.
• Workers at Source Providers Inc. in Austintown, Ohio, who produce hi-lo drivers, joined via card check.

Region 5

• In Kirksville, Mo., workers at Yuhshin USA Ltd (Ortech) voted to join the UAW. They produce lock sets and mechanical steering lock assembly for the automotive industry.

Region 8

• In Covington, Ga., workers at Standard Refrigeration Co. who produce refrigeration tanks joined the UAW.

Bargaining opens for Michigan state workers

17,000 MEMBERS REPRESENTE


UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, left, and Scott Bowen of
Michigan’s Office of the State Employer in the customary handshake to open negotiations.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, left, and Scott Bowen of Michigan’s Office of the State Employer in the customary handshake to open negotiations.

Services and support — that’s what UAW Local 6000 members are all about.

They’re social workers, clericals, parole and probation officers and teachers in the prison system.

Since 1985 the Lansing-based local — with 17,000 members — has represented more than one-third of Michigan’s state employees, including human services and administrative support workers in all areas of the state.

The UAW bargaining team, led by Local 6000 President Sandra Parker, opened negotiations Aug. 9. Their current three-year agreement expires Dec. 31.

“UAW Local 6000 members have sacrificed and saved the state of Michigan hundreds of millions of dollars,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger after the opening handshake. “We look forward to negotiating an equitable and fair agreement that recognizes the dedication and hard work of Michigan state employees.”

“State employees continue to provide valuable and necessary services to the citizens of the state of Michigan despite budget cuts which have caused them to work short staffed.”

“Our negotiating team is prepared to bargain an agreement which provides job and income security for our members,” said UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, who directs servicing for the union’s Technical, Office and Professional Department.

Caesars workers are first to open negotiations

ATLANTIC CITY CASINO JOINED UAW IN MARCH


Photo: LAUREN FARRELLS
Photo: LAUREN FARRELLS


When dealers at Caesars Atlantic City casino voted to become part of the UAW on March 17, Sharon Masino knew immediately what she wanted. “I knew that I wanted to sit across the table from management and have them look at me and not down at me,” Masino said.

With support from her co-workers, Masino will now get her chance.

A Caesar’s dealer for 23 years, Masino was elected as a member of the UAW bargaining committee. She’s now sitting eye to eye with company negotiators, as she represents more than 800 casino workers bargaining for a first contract.

Negotiations began Aug. 9 for the full- and part-time dealers, keno and simulcast employees who were the first Atlantic City casino workers to join the UAW.

“We have heard from other dealers thanking us for being first,” Masino said. “We won’t let them down. We will sit at the table until we get a fair contract.”

“The momentum that is catching on all over Atlantic City began with these determined dealers at Caesars,” said UAW Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn, who directs the union’s Technical, Office and Professional Department. “They are negotiating for a contract that benefits them as well as other casino workers and the gaming industry in New Jersey.”

“The enthusiasm and determination are exciting,” said Joe Ashton, who directs UAW Region 9, which includes New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. “Everyone has been buoyed by the enormous support from community leaders, legislators and dealers across Atlantic City, from Detroit and all over.”

“We are very happy about getting to the table,” said Aneil Patel, a Caesars dealer for 13 years, who added he wants a contract that will end the company’s unfair practice of downgrading full-time jobs to part time with no benefits.

Working no more than two or three days a week, he said, has meant that some dealers must work multiple jobs to make ends meet and still not have benefits such as health care.

“It has been a very hard thing for the newer workers. You can’t support yourself or your family like that,” Patel said.

Before negotiations started, Patel, other Caesars dealers and supporters cheered union negotiators and chanted, “What do we want? A contract! When do we want it? Now!”

“We will do our very best to set an example for the other casino workers,” said Patel.

The UAW has represented dealers, cage cashiers and slot technicians at Detroit’s three casinos since 1999.

In more casino-related news:

• Earlier this year, a majority of workers at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino voted for the UAW. At Trump Plaza, a week after dealers voted 324-149 for union representation, the company filed objections to the election. The National Labor Relations Board found no merit to those charges and tossed out the complaint.

• Dealers at Bally's Atlantic City voted 628-255 in June for the UAW and recently elected a bargaining team in anticipation of negotiating a first contract.

• At press time, among the growing list of Atlantic City casino workers who want the join the UAW, 50 slot technicians at Caesars casino were expected to hold an election Aug. 23, and about 200 cashiers were expected to vote Sept. 1.

An election for about 1,000 workers at Tropicana Casino and Resort Atlantic City was set for Aug. 25.

Dana deal protects wages, health care

UAW, USW WORKERS IN 6 STATES OK CONTRACT


Members of the UAW and the United Steelworkers (USW) have overwhelmingly ratified an agreement with Dana Corp. for workers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Kentucky and Indiana.

Members approved the four-year agreement by 86 percent on July 24.

The deal, approved July 27 by a U.S. bankruptcy court, protects wages and health care for active workers and pensions and health care for retired workers. Also, it helps Dana emerge from bankruptcy with the potential for future success while preserving jobs and defending the standard of living for UAW and USW workers.

“We went from being closed to gaining 130 new jobs,” said Scott Williams, president of UAW Delphi Local 1765 in Lima, Ohio. “It wasn’t without sacrifice, but we gained protections that we would not have if there was no union.”

The agreement covers more than 2,300 UAW members and 6,200 UAW retirees. belonging to UAW locals in Lima; Pottstown, Pa.; Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills, Mich.; Longview, Texas; and Elizabethtown, Ky.; and for USW locals in Fort Wayne and Marion, Ind., and Henderson, Ky.

“This agreement will prove to be an important victory snatched from the jaws of a failed bankruptcy system. It is an example of the UAW using a combination of tried and tested bargaining strategies along with innovative new capital strategies,” said UAW Vice President Bob King, who directs the union’s Independents, Parts and Suppliers Department. “These strategies, along with great solidarity from our local union leadership and membership, made this victory for our UAW Dana members and all UAW members possible.”

Also, the contract provides requirements for the increased likelihood of future profitability for both Dana and union workers. The requirements include limitations on debt, minimum liquidity and a cap on new cash investment.

Centerbridge Capital Partners, an investment company recruited and recommended by the UAW and USW, will invest $500 million in Dana and sponsor the plan to help Dana exit bankruptcy.

“Our members at Dana did a tremendous job under difficult circumstances,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, “and we were able negotiate an agreement that protects workers and their families.

“But this fight doesn’t stop at the bargaining table. We also need political change in Washington, D.C., to prevent companies from attempting to manipulate the bankruptcy laws in order to evade their responsibilities to workers and communities.”

Also in the contract, Dana will pay more than $750 million to Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) trust funds for payment of health care to UAW and USW current and future retirees. This represents more than 70 percent of the projected cost of health care benefits for retirees. Other agreement highlights include:

• Voluntary buyouts of up to $45,000 for eligible employees.

• A new defined-benefit pension plan for all UAW and USW Dana workers, administered by the Steelworkers Pension Trust.

• Post-bankruptcy emergence bonus of common stock valued at approximately $6,000 for each active member with at least one year of seniority.

• A moratorium on moving work out of UAW and USW plants to nonunionized facilities.

• A commitment to source new product lines to UAW- and USW-represented worksites.

UAW auto bargaining facts

Workers’ index


721,025: Number of workers, retirees and surviving spouses covered by negotiations at Chrysler, Ford and GM.

$27.81 per hour: Straight-time wages earned by a typical GM assembly worker in 2006.

$32.32 per hour: Straight-time wages earned by a typical GM skilled-trades worker in 2006.

$206 per hour: Value added by each auto worker for his or her employer, as measured by output of vehicles produced.

8.4%: Portion of the total price of a new vehicle that is accounted for by direct and indirect labor costs at engine, stamping and assembly plants.

Six: Number of UAW and CAW-made vehicles that ranked “best-in-class,” with fewest defects per vehicle, in 2006 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.

11 out of 12: Number of UAW and CAW plants that were rated most productive, in terms of hours-per-vehicle, when compared to nonunion facilities making similar products.

100%, 100%, 99%: Amount of funding, respectively, in Chrysler, GM and Ford pension plans.

For more background information about 2007 negotiations, see the UAW 2007 Fact Book.

Source: Workers covered by negotiations: UAW; Typical wages: UAW; Value-added per hour: Annual Survey of Manufacturers, U.S. Bureau of the Census; Labor costs as a portion of new vehicle price: UAW Research Department and National Automobile Dealers Association; Vehicle quality: J.D. Power; Productivity: Harbour and Associates; Pension funding: UAW Social Security Department, based on company data.

UAW opens talks with Ford, Chrysler and GM

FIGHTING FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE


The UAW bargaining teams, led by President Ron Gettelfinger, opened 2007 contract talks with Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC in July.

Gettelfinger and Vice President General Holiefield, who directs the union’s Chrysler Department, kicked off talks July 20 by stressing the commitment of UAW members to safety, quality and future job security for Chrysler workers and their families.

UAW Vice President Cal Rapson, who directs the union’s GM Department, and UAW Vice President Bob King, who directs the National Ford Department, opened talks with automakers July 23.

“We’re going into these negotiations as we do every set of negotiations, which is to look out for the best interests of our active and retired membership,” Gettelfinger said.

Current contracts with all three automakers, which cover more than 720,000 active and retired members and surviving spouses, expire at midnight on Sept. 14.

The union’s overall bargaining program was determined by UAW members at the Special Convention on Collective Bargaining this March in Detroit, and specific proposals to the auto companies will reflect the UAW’s democratic decision-making process. “The demands we present to the company originate at the local union level,” said Gettelfinger. “They went through the various subcouncils into the national councils.”

But the issues at stake in auto talks, he said, reach beyond the ranks of union members.

“There are a lot of people who benefit from what we do, whether they’re union members or not,” he said. “We’re fighting for the middle class. We’re fighting for good jobs for America. It’s not just about us — these negotiations are about everybody.”

Delphi agreement brings hope for future

17,000 WORKERS APPROVE NEW PACT


On June 29, some 17,000 UAW-represented workers at 20 Delphi plants voted to ratify an agreement with General Motors’ former parts operation by a majority of 68-32 percent.

The vote, along with court approval of the deal on July 20, moved Delphi closer to emerging out of bankruptcy.

“The UAW never believed that bankruptcy was necessary for GM's former parts operation to succeed as a successful parts supplier,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger.

“However, we had an obligation to our membership to make a serious effort to achieve a negotiated settlement.”

For the thousands of Delphi new hires like Brandon Bellinger, a job setter at the Delphi Flint (Mich.) East plant, the agreement brought hope for the future.

“I had faith in my union and certainly the agreement was far better than the original offer the company made last year when they were demanding $9 an hour,” said Bellinger, a 29-year-old member of UAW Local 651. “I’m glad I took the risk to hire in here last May.”

Under the agreement, four of the supplier’s plants will remain owned and operated by Delphi in Rochester N.Y., Grand Rapids, Mich., Lockport, N.Y., and Kokomo, Ind. Four plants in Adrian and Saginaw, Mich.; Sandusky, Ohio, and Cottondale, Ala., will be sold with GM agreeing to retain business at three of the sites.

Three other Delphi plants, including Flint East, Dayton, Ohio, and Saginaw (Mich.) Mfg. will be guaranteed work although managed by a third-party firm until 2015.

Delphi will proceed with the closure of 10 plants.

Although Delphi initially demanded steep wage cuts, the agreement provides for wage increases for production workers like Bellinger, and also skilled-trades workers.

The agreement gives UAW members unprecedented protections and options in the face of Delphi’s bankruptcy filing, such as:

• Buy Down payments of up to $105,000 for traditional production workers who remain at Delphi on Oct. 1, 2007.

• Incentive options for retirement.

• Buy Out options of $140,000 to UAW-Delphi workers with 10 years or more seniority and $70,000 for those with fewer than 10 years.

• Transfer rights back to GM for UAW-Delphi workers hired after Oct. 18, 1999, and before Oct. 8, 2005.

The wage gains and contract protections, said UAW Vice President Cal Rapson, were made possible because workers came together to beat back extreme demands from a company that used a mechanical bankruptcy filing to inflict pain on workers, families and communities.

“We’re proud of the persistent and visible opposition to Delphi’s actions by UAW members at Delphi locations across the country,” said Rapson, who directs the union’s GM Department, which also oversees Delphi.

Honorable Mentions


Eight UAW members who entered the 2007-2008 Artists at Work competition received honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

Mike Workman – pen and ink
Assembler, Indiana Transmission I, UAW Local 685, Kokomo, Ind.

April Shipp – textile
Stockroom coordinator, Chrysler Technology Center, UAW Local 412, Warren, Mich.

John Cruz - photography
Team member, Global Engine
Manufacturing Alliance, UAW Local 723, Monroe, Mich.

Norman (Monte) Landis – image transfer and hand-colored assemblage
Inventory controller, St. Louis North Assembly, UAW Local 136, St. Louis, Mo.

Kenneth A. Borkin – photography
Photographer, Chrysler Technology Center, UAW Local 412, Warren, Mich.

Robert W. Rawlings – stainless steel sculpture
Millwright, Chrysler Technology Center, UAW Local 412, Warren, Mich.

Elizabeth V. Jordan – pencil/graphite drawing
(Invited artist and first-place winner in 2005-2006 competition), Welder, Toledo Machining, UAW Local 1435, Perrysburg, Ohio

Christina Haylett – pastel on sand paper
Process engineer, Chrysler Technology Center, UAW Local 212, Sterling Heights, Mich.

 

Conjure up that inspiration

2nd place: Terence Malosh


Eye of the Chicken

The chicken was at the right place at the right time. So was UAW member Terence Malosh.

Thanks to the good timing, great lighting and an eye-catching stance, Malosh created a third-place winning photograph in the Artists at Work competition.

Malosh is a member of UAW Local 12 and a production operator at Toledo (Ohio) North Assembly. He used a Canon EOS 20D digital camera to snap “Eye of the Chicken” while visiting his brother-in-law in southern Ohio.

No one knows what the chicken thinks, but Malosh is delighted.
“I just like taking pictures of things that most people don’t really get a close-up of,” said Malosh. “Sometimes if I’m shooting a landscape, I’ll wait hours until the sun is right or the colors in the sky are just right. I just love doing that,” he said.

Malosh, who has six other photographs in the exhibit, said he shot the photo while standing about 20 feet from the bird.

His interest in photography began when he was a youngster. “My mom took a lot of pictures of us kids, and that influenced me,” said Malosh.
Since then, his work has been displayed at the Toledo Museum of Art and other exhibits in the area.

Malosh, who has entered the Artists at Work competition several times, said he was first encouraged by a co-worker. Now, he too encourages others to “conjure up that inspiration deep inside,” Malosh said. “It only costs your time.”

 

Painting brings 'sense of joy'

First place: Christina Haylett


Christina Haylett Photographs of artists and artwork 
by<br />R.H. Hensleigh
Christina Haylett Photographs of artists and artwork by
R.H. Hensleigh

Her co-workers don’t know it, but Christina Haylett started as a crayon junkie and progressed to pen, pencil, paint brush or just about anything she could find.

What they know now is that Haylett, a UAW Local 212 member, impressed the Artists at Work judges and walked away with top honors for her “Courtney Sleeping,” a pastel on paper.

“As a child, I loved playing with crayons,” said Haylett, who holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. “Art is something I was always pretty good at and something I have always enjoyed,” she said.

Haylett is a process engineer at the Chrysler Technology Center.
Her winning work warmly captures an artist’s model napping.
“It was a challenge to draw her and capture her essence. When I draw a person, I really think about them,” she said.

Also known for her landscapes, Haylett entered three other pieces in this year’s Artists at Work Exhibition and also won an honorable mention.

“Art is a part of me that’s not always seen at work. The artistic process gives me a sense of joy and accomplishment I cannot duplicate anywhere else. If someone else likes what I do, that is a bonus,” Haylett said.

Often, she said, she will encourage others to do pursue their creativity.
Sometimes people will tell me that they can’t even draw a straight line, Haylett said. “I tell them, desire is 90 percent of the battle.”