Blog

“Outside the bubble of Washington, D.C. our families continue to struggle with an economy devastated by this pandemic.

Today in Boston, Mass., a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and MIT challenging Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) new directive on student visas was heard.

Students say the outsourcing issue cuts to the heart of what the institution’s values are. EVENTS SHOW HOW WE CAN ALL HELP EACH OTHER The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of solidarity is “unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on community of interests, objectives, and standards.” With the UAW, that is always the case, but three recent situations involving UAW members clearly show what the word is in action.
The UAW International Executive Board is saddened by the passing today of our brother and former UAW Vice President Cal Rapson. Rapson’s career as a trade unionist and community leader began in 1965 when he joined UAW Local 659 while working at the General Motors Chevrolet Engine Plant in Flint, Michigan. A Michigan State University (MSU) student at the time, Rapson intended only to work one summer shift at GM. Instead, he committed a lifetime to helping advance the UAW’s fight for social and economic justice. In 2008 MSU recognized Rapson with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for his life’s work and dedication to labor.
My Brothers and Sisters, I am very pleased to share some positive news today that, once again, speaks to how our UAW family is stepping up to help out during this worldwide crisis. As we all know, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical to keeping our frontline health care workers and others safe from infection as they care for others and keep our communities functioning. Yesterday, we announced that the UAW, working with Ford Motor Company, has taken another step in responding to the COVID-19 crisis by shifting more production to face masks for medical use, PPE and respirators. Our UAW Ford members continue to volunteer to report to work during this difficult time as we expand at the facility across from Flat Rock, Michigan to make respirators. And UAW Ford members are continuing to make face masks for medical use at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant.

Together with Ford, the UAW continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by shifting production to face masks for medical use, personal protective equipment and respirators. UAW Ford members continue to step up and volunteer to work during this difficult time as we expand at the facility across from Flat Rock to make respirators and at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant to make face masks for medical use.

My Sisters and Brothers, Just a short message today on behalf of myself and the entire International Executive Board, to wish our UAW family all the best on this holiday weekend. Many of us are observing religious holidays; and while our celebrations may be different this year, we are still with one another in spirit and in faith. And it is that commonality that will see us through this terrible worldwide crisis.
Brothers and Sisters: I’d like to start this message by extending my thanks to you as the leadership in our facilities for your continued dedication to this membership as we work together during these difficult times. The UAW-Ford Coronavirus Task Force continues to meet every day and our top priority remains focused on the health and safety of our members. Everything remains fluid as we move forward, but here are a few of the important topics discussed since the last update:
The day COVID-19 shutdown the Warren (Michigan) Technical Center is the day Travis Fick jumped wholeheartedly into the fight against the virus. “It was a Friday. I believe March 20. I had been paying attention, so I knew there was a shortage of personal protection equipment, so I started a Facebook group to see what we could do,” says the Local 160 member. Immediately, he posted information about the need to get protection gear to medical professionals. He called businesses like dentist offices that had closed because they were not essential, but might have N95 masks, gloves, medical gowns and caps, or anything that could be used on the front lines.

Tune in 2 p.m. (EDT) Friday, April 10, for a free webinar that offers expert information for those still working outside the home during the coronavirus pandemic. The event, Workplace Safety in a Pandemic: Slowing the Spread of Coronavirus and Communicable Diseases, is sponsored by Cornell University ILR Worker Institute. Register now at https://bit.ly/2JR2MFb.

My Brothers and Sisters, I’d like to talk a little today about the loss of my good friend and former UAW Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks. Ruben passed on Monday, another casualty in this terrible pandemic. He was truly a gentleman and a tireless fighter for working men and women, for our members and for what is right and just. He served this union tirelessly for decades, starting at the GM Fisher Body Plant 2 in Flint, Michigan. He quickly rose through the UAW ranks, serving as committee person, executive board member and director of Region 1C. I will be forever grateful for his leadership and his friendship. And in thinking about my dear union brother and his contributions, I take strength in the fact that Ruben was one of so many dedicated individuals who have served this union.