UAW Local 2308

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.
My Sisters and Brothers, I’m pleased to bring you some more stories today of the good works of our UAW family during this terrible crisis. I’ve shared stories in the past weeks of our brave members on the front lines of this pandemic, but we have many members helping out in so many different ways across the nation. I’d like to share a different type of story today.

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Call your Representative’s office right now at 1-866-287-6350, and call your Senator’s office at 1-888-329-5096. Make sure you let them know who you are, where you live, and that any federal legislation dealing with this pandemic protects frontline workers and working families across America.

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On March 13, Penni Cox was laid off from her job at the General Motors plant in Kokomo, Indiana. “Business wasn’t good, and the company was downsizing. We prayed for more work. We were willing to build anything. We just wanted to work,” says Cox. “And now, here we are building ventilators.” Cox, a mother and grandmother, is a third-generation autoworker and member of UAW Local 292, and is proud and excited to contribute to the COVID-19 fight.

The UAW International Executive Board is deeply saddened by the passing today of beloved former UAW Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks.

“It is never easy losing a member of the UAW family, and it is especially hard when it is someone like my union brother Ruben Burks, who gave so much to members and the union that he loved,” said UAW President Rory L. Gamble. “He was a gentleman, and a fighter for what is right and just. I am forever thankful for his leadership and his friendship.”

My Brothers and Sisters, Just a short message on this Monday afternoon as we move into another week of this worldwide crisis. Today, I’d like to start with the news of an amazing milestone. I’ve spoken before of our brave UAW men and women who are working tirelessly at the Ford Plymouth, Michigan plant producing much needed face shields to protect those on the front lines of this pandemic. In just 13 days, since this effort began, our UAW members have produced 1 million face shields. This vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been shipped to numerous health care facilities in several states, one of the hardest hit being New York.