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Photo by Detroit News Archives Originally posted on DetroitNews.com By Rory L. Gamble With images of an insurrection at our nation’s Capitol this month, we all are experiencing a nation divided like none of us has ever seen. We are divided by politics. By opinions. By economics. By beliefs. The cause? Well, that is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is that this is a time to look to — and take heart in — the words of President John F. Kennedy and heed the warning of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that healing our nation starts with us. Each of us must personally seek to find what unites us and foster that, bond with it, build upon it, so that we can move forward to a better place for us all.

Detroit - “Hand on Bible, in the seat of the world’s longest democratic republic, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took an oath that carries the hopes and dream

Sisters and Brothers,

This week we will see a new Administration sworn into office in Washington, D.C.

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.

“We could not be prouder of the UAW members that have volunteered to make such a difference at this critical time in our history. These UAW Ford Members have sacrificed beyond themselves for all of us.”

UAW Local 245 member Robert Nader gets antsy sitting still. Instead of going stir-crazy, he signed up for a job that would keep him busy and hopefully save lives. He is making face shields to help fight the spread of the devastating COVID-19 virus. “It’s not just me. It’s a lot of different people in here coming together to help,” said Nader. “The medical community really needs these masks and other personal protection equipment right now.”
My Brothers and Sisters, Today brought more news of members and hard-working men and women stepping up to help our first line responders and their families and communities during these difficult days. We have members who have courageously volunteered their time, going through rigorous safety training at the GM Kokomo, Indiana, facility as they begin their work to make ventilators that will save lives. One of the first UAW workers to volunteer there said that she thought of her elderly mom as someone who might need this life-saving equipment.
UAW Local 95 member Sandy Welch is a five-year cancer survivor. She has high blood pressure, too. That means her immune system is not 100%. But, while others in Wisconsin are told to stay home, she heads to work every day as a medical transcriptionist at a medical clinic in Janesville. “I have a compromised immune system and sometimes I think about that, but I don’t let that take over my thoughts,” she said.
Sisters and Brothers, A short message today to recognize the courageous men and women stepping up to help all of us during these difficult days. As you all know, we have many members on the front lines of this crisis, who report to work every day and put their lives at risk to keep our communities safe and functioning. And we have members who are stepping up and volunteering to help save lives in so many ways.

“As our Nation struggles with the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteer UAW-GM members are doing a tremendous service for our country by volunteering to come to work to make ventilators in Kokomo.