UAW Solidarity House | 8000 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48214 | p. (313) 926-5000
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Face it, if you’re a woman golfer, you know what it’s like to tee off from “the ladies tees” that often appear to be an after-thought when it comes to course design.
If you’ve played Black Lake Golf Club, you already know it’s a woman-friendly course. And now it’s official: Golf for Women magazine has named it one of the Top 50 Courses for Women.
Factors included golf course design, impeccable conditions and a welcoming atmosphere. Black Lake Golf Club ranked No. 44.
In addition, courses must have at least one set of
tees under 5,300 yards and at least two under 6,000. A minimum of two tees must be rated for women. The course should have few forced carries from the forward tees, be in top condition and present a women-friendly environment.
Here are some women-friendly facts about Black Lake Golf Club:
• Tees (yards): 5,058, 5,831 and 6,401
• Golf professionals: Director of Golf Pam Phipps and Marketing Consultant LPGA Touring Pro Debbie Massey
• Programs: Women-only golf schools are held during the season; also women in golf are celebrated during National Women’s Golf Week when the course hosts a fashion show, a golf tournament and free clinics.
Pam Phipps is director of golf at Black Lake Golf Club in Onaway, Mich.
For additional information, visit www.blacklakegolf.com. For tee times, fall rates and general golf information, call (989) 733-GOLF (4653). For lodging, call (866) UAW-GOLF.
Bill Piekutowski says if needed, he is ready for just about any emergency.
The UAW Local 163 retiree has a green safety vest, a green hard hat and a bag loaded with necessities such as a blanket, flashlight, bandages, goggles and more. He can wrap wounds, set bones and comfort victims.
“I might not be able to do what a doctor or a trained medical professional would do in an emergency, said Piekutowski, “but with the training I’ve had, I’ll sure be able to help out.”
Piekutowski is one of more than 200 UAW retirees who have completed Community Emergency Response Team Training (CERT) run in Michigan’s Wayne County. He and his wife, Rita, took the class together with about 10 other retirees from the local.
The program, administered by the Wayne County Department of Homeland Security, teaches basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. Participants become certified in community emergency response.
Classroom instruction and mock disaster training prepares them to take an active role in assisting in case of emergencies including flood, fire, hurricane and terrorism.
‘I might not be able to do what a doctor or a trained medical professional would do in an emergency, but with the training I’ve had, I’ll sure be able to help out.’
More than 800 UAW retirees have signed up to take the classes. At some locals, spouses and other family members also get involved.
Piekutowski said when he heard about CERT through his local union, he didn’t hesitate to sign up.
“I never would have known about this if it wasn’t for the UAW,” said Piekutowski, the local’s retiree chairman. “This turned out to be so much more than I expected it to be.”
“I know some things that I didn’t know before,” said Mike Lang of UAW Local 182. “I know not to just run into a building. I know to look around first and to take someone with me,” said Lang, chairman of his local’s retiree chapter.
Lang, who teamed up in CERT training with his wife, Edna, says they were among 22 trainees from Local 182.
“In our group, (age) 13 was the youngest and the oldest was 86,” Lang said. Another bonus, he said was “that I got to see retirees that I had not seen for years.”
Lang, who retired from Ford Motor Co. in 1997, said, “I never even thought about anything like this. It just goes to show you that no matter what age you are, you can always do something to help somebody.”
Nestled southwest of Gettysburg and about three miles above the Mason-Dixon Line, Waynesboro, Pa., is a quiet town with a rich industrial history.
George Frick became part of that history when he started Frick Mfg. in 1853. Back then the company manufactured steam engines, boilers and saw mills. Thirty years later the first Frick ammonia refrigeration unit was installed in Baltimore.
The family-owned business was sold to York International in 1988, and Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) bought it from York in 2005.
More than 150 years after Frick started the company, the JCI facility in south-central Pennsylvania is an industry leader, shipping and installing refrigeration units worldwide.
And the 300 members of UAW Local 1296 are part of that longevity.
You may not be aware of their handiwork: Cooling systems built for the English Chunnel, the tunnel from England to France. Icemakers that drop ice down African diamond mine shafts to cool off workers. Units that cool down oily pellets used to make those ubiquitous plastic patio chairs.
Operating off blueprints and schematics, highly skilled welders build industrial refrigeration units for pharmaceutical and petrochemical companies, to cold storage containers, natural gas production and breweries. These vessels, as they’re known, vary in length and can weigh up to 20 tons.
“I worked on one recently that was 12 feet wide and 23 feet long and weighed 30,000 pounds,” said Roy Shaffer, an assembler-welder for 15 years.
The fabricators weld a wide range of metals, including carbon steel to stainless steel pipe and soldering copper pipe to carbon pipe. Then they lay out, cut and fit the parts to meet product specifications.
“It’s a challenging job,” said Ioan “John” Grigore, a 17-year welder who immigrated to the United States from Romania in 1979. “When you work on one project at a time, it’s a good feeling to finish it and move on to the next one.”
They also pressure-test units for leaks and any necessary repairs, evacuate moisture from inside the units and perform tests to make sure the pump is functional. Once they clean the piping of any contaminants, it’s ready for the paint booth.
With an overhead crane, the journeyman rigs, weighs and moves the unit to the wash and paint booth. When units are ready for shipment, they rig and load them onto flat-bed trucks.
“It’s essential that the journeymen understand the operation of the valves, fittings and controls of the unit,” said Charlie Plank, a veteran 20-year skilled tradesman who builds them and is also Local 1296 president.
Plank said with the recent retirement of two veteran tradesmen — each with more than 40 years of service — it’s important to continue the cycle of learning.
“These are skills that get passed down, and we learn from the senior guys as we come in. They teach us, and we build on that,” he said.
Fortunately, business is booming, and over the next two years Plank said more skilled tradesmen are expected to be hired.
“It takes all of us to make the company a success and keep work here in the United States,” added Plank.
When it comes to health and safety, workers in nonunion manufacturing facilities are covered by federal regulations and their company’s policies.
But sometimes, there are no federal standards, or the standards are outdated, not enforced or resistant to meaningful change due to the lobbying efforts of business groups.
Diesel particulates are an example. The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) doesn’t have a standard for an acceptable level of airborne diesel exhaust particulates. Some industries rely on an ineffective standard set by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
Diesel particulates can cause cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a chronic bronchitis that leads to emphysema. In the short term, it causes workers severe irritation of the nose, throat and respiratory system.
“It’s not a killer on the spot,” said Mike Longval, the shop chair for Local 1596, which represents bus mechanics at First Student in Boston. “It’s a long-term killer.”
Before they joined the UAW, he and other bus mechanics had little or no protection from diesel particulates. Irritation, headaches and nausea were common when the workers finished their shift. With aid from the union’s Health and Safety Department, they now have a ventilation system that works.
UAW members don’t rely solely on the federal government to safeguard their health in the workplace. Diesel particulates need to be strictly monitored and controlled, and workers with a union contract have the ability to negotiate standards that reduce workplace hazards.
That’s what happened when UAW bargainers won significant improvements in diesel particulate levels at International Truck and Engine in 2004.
The UAW used that requirement as the basis of its contract language on diesel particulates reached at Freightliner in Cleveland, N.C., in May of this year. That contract calls for tracking the “best practice” within the heavy truck industry.
The best practice in the industry? That would be International Truck and Engine. It is expected that the result of the Freightliner contract will lead to a tenfold reduction in airborne diesel particulates.
Another value of having a union is that studies can be made at companies where there is a contract, like the UAW did with Mack Truck in 2004. In that agreement, workers negotiated language that calls on the company to track diesel particulates and seek better ways to ventilate the workplace.
Language in that contract calls for company-funded research on diesel particulates and investigate better ways to vent diesel exhaust.
Longval said a UAW contract is the best way to ensure workers receive adequate protection from diesel particulates, whether it’s through added ventilation equipment, stricter standards, or both.
“What’s the outcome 25 years from now?” he said. “We didn’t start getting answers until we joined the UAW.”
He noted that even with “cleaner” low-sulfur diesel fuel, workers must still fight for strict standards and ventilation because no studies have been done on the effects of the low-sulfur fuel.
If past experience is any indicator, you can bet UAW members will be pushing for a study of this, too.
The latest stories about the tainted toothpaste and other foods made me decide never to purchase any products made in China. Not only does the Chinese government exploit its labor force by paying people low wages and making them work under unsafe conditions, now its food product safety is in question.
The pet food that killed some animals and the counterfeit drugs that have entered our pharmacy system are dangers we face as we continue to import these cheap products.
China is a government that is lacking in ethics, and we should avoid buying these exports until they play by fair international trade rules.
Frank R. Mikler
UAW Local 774 retiree
The Workers’ Words feature in Solidarity (July-August) by Dona Jean Gillespie was so touching and meaningful. Every family should realize the importance of what she conveyed.
I just had a family reunion, and we all shared memories discussing our time together. I’m sending a copy of Dona’s story to my family as a reminder of our family values.
UAW Local 889 retiree
Tumbling Shoals, Ark.
Much has been said and written about former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson entering the race for president.
As a native Tennessean, please let me inject this important thought: If you like Cowboy George and Buckshot Cheney, you’ll absolutely love Fred D. Thompson.
The professional actor and paid Washington lobbyist is lining up the same team of campaign players that helped put our present great Iraq strategists in power nearly seven years ago.
Even a hillbilly like me knows Thompson's labor voting record while in the U.S. Senate (13 percent) isn't in the best interests of working men and women. He needs to be “nipped in the bud,” as Barney Fife from Mayberry used to say, as soon as possible.
UAW Local 737
A few years ago there were radio and TV ads talking up the UAW. I think we need them back to combat all the anti-union talk in the media.
Too many people think union workers are overpaid and lazy.
UAW Local 2280 retiree
It is with great pride that I write this. At our membership meeting, we voted to pass an Executive Board recommendation to purchase a brick honoring Walter Reuther's 100th birthday and to help maintain his memorial.
There are few people of the 20th century whose resume would allow them to share the stage with President Reuther's contributions to working people.
My local celebrated its 50th anniversary, and our charter is signed by Brother Reuther. From our local members, we just wanted to say, “We did it for Walter.”
UAW Local 624
East Syracuse, N.Y.
Whether you agree or disagree with Michael Moore’s bent on health care with his latest movie, “Sicko,” it should be obvious to all that the profit in health care comes out of the care, not the profit.
Improved health should be our goal, not improved profits.
Robert P. Thibodeau
UAW Local 2500
America is imploding from the inside due to jobs being outsourced and the infrastructure collapsing before our very eyes.
Without workers contributing to local, state and government taxes and Social Security, the very fabric of our society is collapsing. Revenue that would normally be generated for the roads, schools and bridges is being outsourced, and we are operating on the cheap.
Big business and shareholders continue to make money on foreign investments, while sacrificing the middle class here at home. Corporate executives continue to rob and pillage companies with large bonuses that are not performance based but entitlement based — all the while leading the companies to virtual ruin.
We cannot tax our way out of this quagmire. It is time to hold corporate America responsible for their actions.
This used to be a government for the people and by the people not for the corporations and by the corporations.
Elections are in 2008. Get involved, read up on the candidates and let’s take our country back.
UAW Local 1248
St. Clair, Mich.
In the July-August issue of Solidarity, we said Daphne Rice was from UAW Local 848. She is from Local 898. Also, congratulations to Sister Rice, who won the national competition for Ms. Galaxy in July and is the first African-American winner.
Vol. 50, No. 9-10
International Union, UAW
President: Ron Gettelfinger
Secretary-treasurer: Elizabeth Bunn
Vice presidents: General Holiefield, Bob King, Cal Rapson, Jimmy Settles, Terry Thurman
Regional directors: Joseph Peters, 1; Rory Gamble, 1A; Duane Zuckschwerdt, 1C; Don Oetman, 1D; Lloyd Mahaffey, 2B; Maurice Davison, 3; Dennis Williams, 4; Jim Wells, 5; Gary Casteel, 8; Joe Ashton, 9; Bob Madore, 9A
Public Relations and Publications Department
Director: Roger Kerson
Assistant director: Christine Moroski
International representatives: Sandra Davis, Emily Everett, John Hammond, Gwynne Marie Cobb, Jennifer John, Vince Piscopo, Joan Silvi, Sam Stark, members of CWA/The Newspaper Guild Local 34022.
Solidarity magazine editor: Jennifer John
Clerical staff: Shelly Restivo, Susan Fisher and Pauline Mitchell, members of OPEIU Local 494.
Benjamin Aaron, a distinguished professor of law at UCLA and a member of the UAW’ s Public Review Board (PRB) for 32 years, died Aug. 25, 2007, one week short of his 92nd birthday.
“Professor Aaron served with distinction and pride on the PRB, and he was a valuable asset to the leadership and membership of our union,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. “He will be greatly missed by everyone who had the good fortune to know him and work with him.”
Aaron was president of the National Academy of Arbitrators, the Industrial Relations Research Association and the International Society for Labor and Social Security Law.
He was called upon by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and George H. W. Bush as an adviser and to serve on several national boards and commissions, including the National War Labor Board and the National Wage Stabilization Board. Since 1946 Aaron served as an arbitrator of labor disputes in virtually every major industry, and he was a major figure in the field of comparative labor law.
Aaron was known as “the dean of labor law,” according to PRB Chair Theodore St. Antoine, professor of law emeritus at the University of Michigan Law School.
“Ben’s rare combination of intellectual excellence, genuine modesty and personal charm will long be an inspiration for all of us,” he said.
Aaron remained fully active on the PRB until he suffered a stroke in August.
The appeals board was established in 1957 by delegates to the union’s 16th Constitutional Convention to safeguard the democratic rights of UAW members. Board members are nationally recognized experts in ethics, labor law and labor-management relations. They are independent of the UAW, and their decisions are binding.
The UAW extends its heartfelt sympathy to Eleanor, Aaron’s wife of 66 years, their family, and his many friends and colleagues.
The memory and work of Walter P. Reuther – who would have turned 100 this year – come alive in an online exhibit produced by the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit.
The Web site tribute –“No Greater Calling: The Life of Walter P. Reuther” – includes hundreds of photos and actual speeches online at www.reuther.wayne.edu.
Workers and history buffs alike will enjoy the site, along with teachers who will find the lesson plans for students in the fifth through eighth grades particularly useful.
Reuther, once called “the most dangerous man in Detroit,” served as UAW president from 1946 until he died in a plane crash in 1970.
“No Greater Calling” refers to a quote by Reuther: “There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to do it well.”
It’s not surprising that the Alliance for Retired Americans gave Elmer Blankenship its President’s Award for his lifetime of public service on behalf of older Americans.
Blankenship is not only widely respected for his personal accomplishments, but also for his work benefiting the UAW and its retirees.
“I’m honored,” says Blankenship, 81, who received the award at the group’s “Building for America’s Future” national legislative meeting in Washington on Sept. 6. “I’m especially gratified to receive an award from an organization that is so well respected among senior organizations and elected officials.
“The UAW has always been about representing members in the community,” said the Indianapolis resident.
“The union involves members in politics and makes people aware about being active in the community and giving back, and supporting those who help us.”
UAW President Walter Reuther appointed Blankenship to the Region 3 staff and assigned him to education in 1957. He was named the region’s assistant director in 1972 and retired in 1991.
A delegate to several Indiana Democratic conventions, Blankenship also served as president of the Indiana Alliance for Retired Americans.
He’s taken seniors to Canada to buy affordable prescription drugs, worked with UAW retiree councils and fought to protect Social Security and provide health care for all Americans.
“Get involved in something,” he says. “Get out of the house and do something that keeps you active – that’s what keeps you healthy.”
I think UAW President Ron Gettelfinger made a good call on that. My father and grandfather worked at GM. They had to strike for jobs for the future of workers and retirees. It had to be done. The workers are better off for it, and I believe health care coverage is more secure. Just like the whole Delphi deal, the big shots keep getting richer and the middle class is always getting squeezed. The middle class is getting tired of it.
I have three kids and a wife, and when I see the cost of health care for all of us it’s staggering. I hope they can control the costs. Other countries have national health care and their economies are doing fine. It’s wrong that health care providers charge so much. Employers need help with these costs, and it seems like Washington doesn’t care at all.
We want good standards overseas because strong environmental standards and good benefits in other countries help keep environmental and worker standards high here in the United States. Lower wages in other countries means lower wages for all of us.