UAW Solidarity House | 8000 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48214 | p. (313) 926-5000
© Copyright 2013 UAW. All Rights Reserved.
Now Available: New videos describe the historic events that transpired from 2007 – 2011 that changed the way medical benefits are provided for UAW auto retirees. Click to view these videos, which are on the Trust's website at uawtrust.org.
Structure, History and Funding of the Trust Video
You know the Trust provides health care benefits for retired UAW members of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, along with their eligible dependents. But, how did we move from company-paid benefits to a Trust fund and how does the fund work? And, more importantly, what does the future look like?
This video will give you a better understanding of how the Trust fund came into existence, what purpose it serves, how it helped protect your benefits during the financial crisis of 2009 and why that crisis – as well as long-term economic realities in health care – have created funding challenges for the Trust that we all need to work together to address in the coming years.
Click to view videos – there is an overview and summary as well as a detailed history and chronology.
As progressives, the familiar question of whether we work on electoral politics or on movement politics is not really a question. Frances Fox Piven and Lorraine C. Minnite of The Nation expertly examine this issue and conclude both are needed and without both, neither is effective.
By Bob King
A great Republican woman, Margaret Chase Smith, once summed up the dilemma facing candidates for public office this way: "The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character."
Her words echo through the decades and reverberate in the 2012 presidential race.
Just a few years ago, our country was facing its most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression. President George W. Bush had bailed out the banks, but the American people were still hurting. Jobs were disappearing by the hundreds of thousands each month. Millions of homeowners were underwater or facing foreclosure. Businesses were cut off from credit. Auto sales were tanking. And the domestic auto industry was teetering on the brink of collapse.
The bailout of Wall Street by the last administration left a bad taste for much of the American public, and the idea of rescuing the car companies was wildly unpopular. Playing to that sentiment, Mitt Romney penned an op-ed advocating, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."
President Barack Obama, newly elected, knew that much of the public was skeptical — even hostile — to an auto industry rescue. But he also knew that allowing General Motors and Chrysler to collapse would have been devastating for auto and parts workers, the local businesses that depend on them and the country as a whole. More than a million jobs were hanging in the balance.
He knew the right thing to do, and he did it: not a bailout, but a lifeline, with real change and shared sacrifice from all stakeholders.
Obama's leadership saved more than a million jobs. Today, the auto industry is thriving once again. Plants are humming and adding new shifts. Since June 2009, auto and parts manufacturers and dealers have grown employment by nearly a quarter of a million jobs. These are good, middle-class jobs, making things for an economy built to last.
And now that the auto rescue has succeeded, Mitt Romney — who opposed it when that was the easy and popular position to take — is trying to claim credit for it.
But that's not surprising. At Bain Capital, the corporate buyout firm he founded, Romney and his partners too often made their money taking companies apart and laying off workers. Instead of doing what was right — building companies up and securing good jobs for American workers — they did what was easy … and profitable.
America's working men and women know about hard work, because that's what we do every day. We know about doing what's right, even at personal cost, because that's the legacy of the brave men and women who built our unions and the great American middle class. And that's who built every social movement that has made our democracy stronger and more inclusive.
No surprise, then, that Margaret Chase Smith's test of moral character resonates for us. It's not about what's easy, and it's not about what's popular. It's about doing the right thing even when it's neither.
Barack Obama has passed that test. And that's why we're proud to be supporting his re-election as president of the United States.
Bob King is president of the UAW. This opinion piece originally appeared in the Oct. 3, 2012 edition of the Detroit News.
The campaign for Yes on Proposal 2 to protect collective bargaining released a 30-second ad today that demonstrates how collective bargaining helps firefighters do their jobs.
Collective bargaining gives firefighters a voice to negotiate for life-saving equipment, input on appropriate staffing levels and a say on training requirements.
“Collective bargaining prevents Lansing politicians from arbitrarily making cuts to public safety. Without it, corporate special interests can pressure elected officials to do things that make communities less safe,” according to Bay City firefighter Chris Reynolds.
In the new ad, Lincoln Park firefighter Mike Hendricks wears gear he received through collective bargaining and talks about the importance of that gear in keeping him safe while he saves others.
The ad says:
“The air pack I’m wearing gives me 30 minutes to look inside your burning house and find you.
Having the most modern, dependable equipment? When the clock is ticking, that counts.
It’s why I support collective bargaining. It means we negotiate for gear and the people we need to protect our lives – and yours.
If it comes from collective bargaining, the politicians can’t cut it without our say so.
It’s why I’m voting Yes on 2.”
Public safety personnel continue to dispel myths spread by shadowy front groups for corporate special interests that lie about the impacts of collective bargaining. These front groups have spent more than $20 million on false ads about Proposal 2.
Research shows that firefighters use collective bargaining to improve public safety. Input on staffing levels is important because it affects how quickly firefighters can put out a blaze. A 2010 study by the U.S Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology found that the size of a firefighting crew affects how quickly firefighters could complete 22 essential firefighting tasks. Four-person teams were 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 25 percent faster than three-person crews.
Proposal 2 would protect the basic right of firefighters to negotiate for the tools they need to keep us safe. Collective bargaining also gives working families a voice to negotiate for fair wages, benefits and working conditions that are good for us all.
Today, the Protect Working Families campaign released its newest ad in support of Proposal 2, showing how collective bargaining keeps our children safe. The 30-second ad features a police officer setting the record straight about Prop 2’s impact on public safety.
The ad says:
“Protecting families and kids is our sworn duty.
So take it from us: The no on 2 campaign is lying about collective bargaining. The Truth Squad calls the claims “questionable” and “foul.”
Yes on 2 doesn’t change any laws that protect kids. It’s the opposite. Yes on 2 protects kids, in schools … on our streets, by allowing those who care for them to negotiate for training and tools they need to keep kids safe.
Yes on 2.”
Corporate special interests falsely claim that Proposal 2 would keep school employees with criminal records on the job and eliminate safety standards for school bus drivers. These lies have been exposed by independent fact checkers, based on current state and federal law.
Criminal background checks are conducted by Michigan State Police and the FBI, as required by state law for all new and current teachers. Federal law requires school bus drivers to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. These laws are outside of the collective bargaining process and would not change with Proposal 2.Collective bargaining allows firefighters and police officers a voice to negotiate for life-saving equipment and ensures adequate staffing to keep communities safe.
But corporate bosses are spending millions with lies about Proposal 2. They hide behind shadowy front groups – like Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution and Protecting Michigan Taxpayers – having spent or planning to spend more than $20.2 million on ads with false statements about collective bargaining without worry of their identities being discovered.
Michigan’s working families deserve to know who is attacking their basic right to collectively bargain and for the lies to stop. Proposal 2 protects the basic rights of working families to negotiate for fair wages, benefits and working conditions that are good for us all.
For more information, visit www.protectworkingfamilies.com.
The Central Albuquerque New Mexico Retiree Council in conjuction with the New Mexico Labor Council held a Labor Day picnic on Sept. 3. Hundreds of retirees from across New Mexico came out for food, fun and fellowship.
The Central Albuquerque Councils Chair, John Santos, sold VCAP tickets and educated retirees on where their VCAP dollars are spent.
The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights yesterday released a new report about the Global-Tech factory in China, a true sweatshop, in which Mitt Romney and his investment company, Bain Capital, invested some $23 million. According to the report, Romney said this about the sweatshop:
"And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room. Three bunk beds on top of each other. You’ve seen, you’ve seen them? (Oh…yeah, yeah!) And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I can’t believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in. Because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out. Or they will just come in here and start working and, and try and get compensated. So we, this is to keep people out.”
Does Romney seriously believe that young men and women in China are racing to climb over fortress-like walls topped with barbed wire, just to get a poorly paid job at Global-Tech?
Or is it possible that the barbed wire and armed guards are meant to lock the Chinese workers in and strip them of their legal rights?
Read the report.
An energetic celebration of why we need to re-elect President Barack Obama for a second term. Edited with footage from the 2012 Democratic National Convention and official Barack Obama campaign YouTube videos, along with footage we shot during the DNC.
Don't let anyone mess with your right to vote.
Believe it or not, there are people out there who seek to deny eligible voters the right to cast their ballots in November. These people have targeted minorities, the poor and students as Americans they would deny the right to participate in our democracy in its most elemental form.
Don't allow them to do it. Know your voting status. Know the registration deadlines. Know the requirements on Election Day, including some of the more restrictive measures that were put in place in Republican-dominated state legislatures and signed by GOP governors.
Exercise your right to vote!