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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.

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.

The latest issue of Solidarity magazine is now online!

In this issue, Solidarity takes a look at some of the critical issues ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. From fighting the never-ending attacks on the Affordable Care Act to workers; rights, immigration, investing in our infrastructure and fair trade, we need lawmaker who understand Main Street concerns.

As the German autoworkers’ union IG Metall continued to negotiate with German carmakers, 20,000 workers at Volkswagen’s main plant in Wolfsburg walked away from production lines for two hours to express their determination for a fair collective bargaining agreement. In all, a half million workers have participated in three days of strikes at German assembly plants, parts suppliers and other metal shops.

What have we learned from our first year under Republican control of all branches of government? Elections matter. The mid-term election is critically important. And when we vote, we must not be taken in by hollow promises. We must not be distracted or deterred from our course by the peculiar distractions of this government. We must insist on something better from Washington. We do not want more politicians who forget about working families after Election Day.

This weekend, 300 UAW members and allies protested outside the North American International Auto Show in support of members being laid off by Fiat Chrysler. The workers, members of Local 12 in Toledo, Ohio, are drivers and mechanics who service and deliver parts to Chrysler plants. Their jobs will be replaced by non-union contractors. Bruce Baumhower, President of Local 12 said, "The company has decided to send that work out to a non-union company, without bargaining it with us. We've had two meetings with the company on this.

Each year, Union Plus awards scholarships to students from union families across the country. Scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. Scholarships are awarded in amounts of $500 to $4,000, and students may reapply each year.

Last year, UAW members and their children were awarded thousands of dollars to help them continue their education through the Union Plus Scholarship program.

Today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an icon of the civil rights movement and a champion for the rights of workers. Locals and members across the country will be participating in a day of service to honor his legacy and serve their communities.