Table of Contents
President's Report - pg. 2
Vice President's Report - pg. 3
Financial Report - pg. 4
Committee Reports - pg. 5
Black History Month - pg. 12
In Memoriam - pg. 15
Politically Speaking - pg. 17
Labor Daze - pg. 20
Local 163 President, Ralph Morris Jr.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
The 40-day GM National Strike made 2019 a historic year for our Local. Our membership stood strong and persevered throughout the strike. Each striking member grew a deeper appreciation for his Brothers and Sisters that stood shoulder to shoulder with them. The strike will be burned into our memories for the rest of our lives.
In 2015, we set a goal to reach 3,000 active members. I am pleased to report that we were able to achieve that goal during the last half of the year. Starting off this year, we laid out a goal to increase our active membership to 4,000 members. We acknowledge this will not be easy to accomplish in fact we know that it is going to be extremely tough. To reach this mark, we will need to organize workers outside of our existing bargaining units.
Our Local Union has a very talented organizing team. The organizing team has been through extensive organizing training: AFL-CIO organizing Institute and training from UAW International staff members. Most of our organizing team have experience on organizing drives having volunteered on previous drives. Al Byrd, our Education Committee Chair, has been on multiple organizing drives some successful and some that fell short. I believe this is a very talented team that will give us a tremendous opportunity for our Local Union to help workers improve their wages, benefits and working conditions through collective action and collective bargaining.
We now have a new International President, Rory L. Gamble. Rory was appointed by the International Executive Board in December to replace Gary Jones. Gary resigned as President on November 20, 2019. Gary was facing Article 30 charges filed by our International Executive Board for filing false expense reports and a Federal Corruption investigation for embezzling union funds. The ongoing federal investigation of our International leadership is extremely troubling. Our membership must be led by leaders that have impeccable integrity. You deserve no less than that!
Rory scheduled a Town Hall Meeting at our Region for Tuesday, January 28th. He planned to have an open dialogue with the membership and give details of the initiatives, actions, and goals that he has put in place since becoming our President. This meeting has been postponed and will be moved to a later date. This will be an excellent opportunity to ask any questions that you may have directly to our International President. We will make sure to let you know when the new date is scheduled.
President Emeritus, Bob King, will be working with our Education Committee on conducting more union training this year at our Union Hall. We are scheduled to meet with Bob to go over our next planned workshop which covers having difficult conversations. We believe this is an important workshop especially when engaging in political discourse. Beyond this workshop, we plan on having another one during the year. We will keep you posted when the workshop dates are set.
In closing, our Local Union will be holding its General Election this year. Information will be posted on our website and Union Bulletin Boards concerning the details of it in the near future. The Local’s annual picnic date has been set. It will be on Saturday, August 8th from noon to 6 pm, so, be sure to mark your calendars for this fun filled event. Fortunately, this winter has been unseasonably warm, but you never know what February will hold. So, stay safe and warm!
Happy 2020 Brothers and Sisters,
Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King’s impact on the Labor Movement
Dr. King was a powerful advocate for Unions and Workers Rights. Dr. King warned that enemies of racial justice were also enemies of Unions. He denounced Right to Work Laws as a scam: “ In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans such as Right to Work. It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. It’s purpose is to destroy labor Unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which Unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone. Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer, and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote.”
Dr. Kings focus on economic issues intensified in the latter part of his life with the launch of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1967. His very last campaign was a labor action. Dr. King traveled to Memphis in early 1968 to stand with 1,300 African American sanitation workers represented by AFSCME Local 1731, who had gone on strike to protest poverty wages and degrading, deplorable working conditions. They asserted their humanity with a simple, proud slogan, I AM A MAN. On March 18, Dr. King addressed sanitation workers and community members at Mason Temple in Memphis. “You are demanding that this city will respect the dignity of labor. So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs. Those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity, it has dignity and it has worth. All labor has dignity.”
In Dr. King’s name, we keep fighting for the idea that all labor has dignity and that the Union difference can lift up more working families, invigorating our communities and strengthening the entire nation.
Dr.King understood the Union difference: the way that a voice on the job and a seat at the table empowers workers of all races.
Financial Secretary's Report
Community Service Report
Vice-President Alfreada Wallace
The 2019 year-end financial report for UAW Local 163 paints a rosy picture. After paying off the cumbersome mortgage on our Union Hall earlier in 2019, the costs associated with the 41-day strike of General Motors, and the paving costs of the front parking lot,our Local is on its most solid financial footing in decades.
As we begin the New Year, I would first off like to welcome everyone back from the Christmas break. I hope that the time off with your families was a good one. Time goes by so fast. The older you get the faster time goes by. Here we go into the new decade, 2020. Be thy Brothers Keeper.
Last year was one for the history books. The six week strike was an experience I will never forget. As a child my parents went through long strikes with General Motors. It was odd thinking that we stayed out of work for 6 weeks and still can't gain back some of the things that we lost during the bankruptcy contract. The Union was founded on the thought that we should all be treated the same, as One. Equal pay for equal work. The company still divides us in many ways. Getting rid of the tiers was our desire, and in four years we will all be at the same pay. We still have to fight for the temporary employees to be treated the same, and managements use of them continues to cause us to be divided.
The labor movement and the Civil Rights movement went hand in hand in the demand that we all be treated as equals. We are all one, and that is our strength. The inspiring fact that Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and Walter Reuther marched together for equality, cannot be lost in these times. As we look to our contractual day off in remembrance of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., please remember what it all means. We all must learn to Coexist. As One, we can achieve anything, but, divided we are too easily controlled by others.
Over the last five years, I have been at the door greeting over 700 new UAW employees to our home from all over the country. With many looking for a new home and a chance to get a new start. Many coming from plants that was losing work. Not long ago this facility was posted as one to be closed. It took some changes and a huge amount of hard work to rise to the top and be given over a billion and a half worth of new product to extend our life expectancy, and we must strive to remain the best.
As some union members try to fracture our members against each other, remember that our strength is in not allowing it to happen. As the company goes through the continuous changes, it challenges us all. We will get through this change by treating each others with respect. Re-rates and continuous improvement have been a way of life for my entire career at General Motors. We get through the change by acting as a family and not allowing us to be divided.
As I prepare to close, I feel a need to give a shout out to all the people that unselfishly put in the long hours to make our Unit, UAW 163 the best during the Strike. The way our President Ralph Morris, Gibby, our unit and the other units pitched in to allow us to be successful during the strike was appreciated. The sense of giving was outstanding. All the help we received from the local businesses and many other UAW units from Ford and Chrysler was mind blowing. I was thankful for the outpouring, especially Local 600 Ford Rough\e Jay Makled and his Team, as well as Local 3000 Flat Rock and Local 900 Wayne Assembly, Burkie Morris and his team. There are too many to mention them all. Remember how much we were taken care of by people who did not even know us before the strike. We are blessed.
Romulus GPS Shop Chairman
Shop Chairman - GM Powertrain
Retired Chapter Chairperson
Happy New Year Brothers and Sisters. I hope this year is going well and you’re still working on the New Year’s resolution. I’m honored to be asked to be a part of the UAW Fellowship program to become a Local Union Discussion Leader (LUDL). This program is for members who are active and interested in teaching in the UAW. LUDL’s teach for the union across the country and are the teachers you would have at Black Lake. There are only thirty LUDL’s. The training program is very rigorous and challenging. It is a great honor for me and our Local to be considered for this opportunity. The training lasts five weeks. I was also asked to teach at Wayne State’s Labor Studies program as well as their Workers In Solidarity and Education(WISE) Conference on March 26-28th. Please sign up for Wayne State's Labor Studies Program and The WISE Conference to continue your education about unions and the labor movement. As a former graduate and instructor, I highly recommend Wayne States program for all of our members who want to educate themselves on our labor movement. If you have any questions we have flyers at the hall and in your facilities.
Yours in Solidarity
By the time you read this, the news of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowing witnesses to testify in the impeachment of president Trump will already be known. McConnell has made it clear that he does not want any witnesses at the impeachment trial, and most if not all Republican senators will happily go along with the no witnesses plan because they know if even one witness like John Bolton were to testify, Trump would be impeached and removed from office. Allowing our constitution to supersede the outrageous wishes of the would be dictator, Donald Trump.
In high school we were told that the “Tea Pot Dome” case was the biggest corruption case in American history. You can bet that if the true facts about Putin’s puppet Trump is ever revealed, it will absolutely be the most far reaching, monumental corruption case in our nation's history.
You may recall when Trump was chosen as the republican candidate for president he said he would release his tax returns if he was elected president. Well, it’s three years later and he uses every trick possible to keep six years of his tax returns from being turned over to congress and eight years of returns from being turned over to the Southern District of New York. Yeah, he has nothing to hide, and we’re living on a flat planet. Take care and be well!
Education Committee Chairman
Taking the proper steps to grow and improve our union base requires a good team. Thanks to our Region 1A Local 163 organizing drive team, and our President Ralph Morris, we are headed in the right direction. I was impressed by the diversity of the group that attended the eight hour, highly engaging meeting we had at Local 163’s union hall, where we used the SWOT(Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis method for brainstorming. The efforts that are taking place to build trust within and outside of the union is nothing short of incredible, especially considering the media’s attempts to portray the union as being corrupt and harmful for workers, which is untrue. No union member or non-union member should be uncomfortable and afraid of the employer. The main objective is to educate and empower future members by helping them to understand the benefits of being unionized. The added density of the union members will allow a stronger position in the work force especially against the politics of anti-union efforts across the nation which hinders the security of jobs in the United States. There are goals set in place and actions being taken to identify problems within mismanaged facilities that threaten the livelihood of employees. The local 163 organizing drive team is going over and beyond to insure that the information is relevant and education is being offered while developing new concepts and ideas to evolve our union and I’m happy to be a part of the team.
Greetings Brothers and Sisters. Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable holiday season, and I pray it was a safe one. Now that we are into this new year with a new contract, I am looking forward to the new opportunities this year will bring. This is also the time of year to set goals and visualize what needs to be achieved in the year ahead. For some of us, that may include taking a class or two, using our union negotiated T.A.P. (Tuition Assistance Program) funds to work towards a degree goal, or just taking a self improvement class. Active employees with one year of seniority are eligible for up to $5,000/yr., and up to $6,400., with 1-3 years of seniority, if laid off or inactive. We can also access up to $2200.00/yr for job related courses or $1450.00/yr for personal enhancement. It is an important note to know that T.A.P. no longer will reimburse employees for payments made for classes. They will only pay for classes up front and directly to the licensed or accredited school. Anyone who needs more information can contact me, Darryl Stephens @ 734-351-2537. All information and pamphlets are available in the training building on the east end of the plant outside of the GRX area.
UAW Local 163 Organizing Drive Team
JTR / Strike Kitchen Captain
"You do not make progress by standing on the sidelines whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas" - Shirley Chisholm
Greetings Brothers and Sisters!
Happy new year! I hope you were able to spend some time with your family over the holidays. It's a great time to look back and reflect on what you've accomplished in 2019. It's an even better time to make new goals for the year to come. If becoming more active with your union is on your list of things you'd like to accomplish, don't hesitate to get in contact with your leadership and ask about what committees and/or classes might be beneficial to you.
We had a great time at our annual Christmas party. We were pleased to see so many of you there. We also got the pleasure of welcoming the children of Samaratis house to our Christmas party. We hope you enjoyed the magic show and got to get a picture with Santa.
We are currently planning for 2020. We've got a lot of great ideas from all of the ladies on the committee that we're looking forward to implementing. If you're interested in being apart of the process, please let us know. Stay on the lookout for whats to come!
Women's Committee Chairman
Happy New Year Brothers & Sisters of Local 163,
I hope all is well with you and your families. I would like to say welcome back from your holiday break, I hope it was a festive and memorable time shared with your family and friends. Now that New Year brings us back to the familiar work schedules and family routines, and with Old Man Winter making his yearly appearance, please remember to try to make the best of this time of year. The cold gray and dreary days of winter can be a trying time for all of us, and some will feel it’s in brace more then others. For those of you that may be overwhelmed this time of year, please remember to talk to your heath professional about how you are feeling. Because “Seasonal Depression” is a real ailment this time of year. You can find information on making this a more bearable and manageable malady. In closing, I would like to say the EAP office is here when things may seem a bit overwhelming. I am here to help in any way I can, to help lead you to the right professionals, to ease the stress you may be feeling. Remember, your visit to the EAP office is Strictly Confidential, between you and the EAP. You don’t have to go it alone!
Laurence E Dietz
Employee Assistance Program Coordinator
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
As you are well aware, we are going through a slow period in the Heavy Duty Truck market. I encourage you to use this slowdown as a time to prepare for the Apprenticeship test! There is only one more college semester (Spring/Summer) before our next test. The test is tentatively scheduled for the Fall of 2020.
Suggested Courses at Henry Ford College:
·TAMA 110 (Basic Math), TAFD 150 (Applied Tech), ELEC 103 (Basic Elec.), TAEL 103 (AC/DC Elec.)
Suggestion for Online Math Class at Mott College:
·https://www.ed2go.com/mottce/online-courses/ged-math-test-prep?tab=detail (Course #WBP175).
As a reminder, employees that participated in any of the past Apprenticeship Tests (2013, 2015, 2017 and/or 2018) are required to attend a college level class to participate in any future Apprenticeship test opportunities. Tuition Assistance is available to active employees with 180 days seniority. Employees with less than one-year seniority as of the last day worked prior to layoff are eligible for a one-time benefit of up to $3000 of tuition assistance. Tuition Assistance is available through http://daimler.scholarsapply.org/. If you use tuition assistance, you are required to submit a final grade to Scholarship America within 30 days of completing the class.
Members on Indefinite Layoff will be able to participate in the 2020 Apprenticeship test. Participants that successfully pass the test will be placed on the Selection List. Employees with less than 180 days seniority on indefinite layoff will be unable to accept an Apprenticeship offer until returning to work to acquire 180 days of seniority.
Side Note: Due to the recent update with Scholarship America, many members have had problems receiving Tuition Assistance payments in a timely manner. Please start your application as soon as possible after registering for a class. Login to your Scholarship account to see the status of your application. If you are still having problems, send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact the Apprenticeship Department if you have any questions.
Doug Szydlowski or Dan Palm: Office: 1-313-592-7229, Cell: 1-313-492-1515
DDC Apprenticeship Coordinator
Work and Family Representative
Happy New Year Sisters and Brothers, another year has passed and 2020 is here. I want to thank everyone who has utilized the resources of Work & Family, and thanks to all the Brother’s and Sister’s who have helped direct people to Work & Family. The Work & Family Program has helped so many Romulus employees get back on track with life. I know 2020 will be a very good year for everyone. Work & Family will still provide the same services, and more, for this New Year. Work & Family Hours are very flexible. Contact your Committeeman, or Group leader, and ask for a medical pass if you need assistance from Work & Family, or just call my office (734-595-5360) and leave a message, and you will get an appointment ASAP. In Work & Family, General Motors and the Union have provided you with a variety of resources. The services include Stress, Depression, Domestic Violence facts, Grief Loss, Adolescents and Substance abuse, Child Care, Elder Care, School-Age Services, Anger and Addictive Patterns of Behavior, Drug Abuse, Alcoholism, Financial, Marital Counseling, and many more services. Also in Work & Family, I provide Doc 8 consultations, and FMLA basic information, if needed. There are many services here for you in Work & Family. Don’t wait if you need help, call or let someone know. Everything is completely confidential. Have a Great Positive Year. It is up to you!
Marijuana and Work Injuries
Now that marijuana is readily obtainable in Michigan, employees may feel free to use it before or during work. It is important that you know your employer’s policy on marijuana before you use it. If your employer has a safety rule against being under the influence of marijuana during working hours and you are injured during the course of your employment and are under the influence of marijuana at the time of the injury, your claim could be denied based on the misconduct statute. Specifically, your behavior could be considered to be “intentional and willful misconduct”, if you violate a safety rule in place by your employer, preventing you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits, including wage loss and medical treatment for the injury.
Miller Cohen, PLC
7700 Second Avenue, Suite 335
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 964-4490 (fax)
But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
Amos 5:24 KJV
But let justice run down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream [flowing abundantly].
Amos 5:24 AMP
But let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry.
Amos 5:24 CEVUK
“ I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.
Amos 5:21-24 MSG
Biblical references to the word “justice” mean “to make right.” ... From a scriptural point of view, justice means loving our neighbor as we love ourselves and is rooted in the character and nature of God. As God is just and loving, so we are called to do justice and live in love.
TRUE PEACE IS NOT MERELY THE ABSENCE OF TENSION; IT'S THE PRESENCE OF JUSTICE. MLK
Roger A. Marion Jr,
CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
"Unsung Hero" By: Rashida Davis
"For his sacrifices and bravery during his time in battle, Mr. Marion received the Purple Heart."
Often times when speaking about Black History and the different people that have contributed to our country’s liberties, freedoms, and progress, we think of those leaders that are and or were in the middle of it all. Martin, Malcolm, and Edgar for example. In more recent times, you have others that have made great impacts on our culture as well such as Oprah, The Obamas and Auntie Maxine (as she is affectionately called in the black community). From entertainers to entrepreneurs, authors to actors, athletes to activists, many African Americans have contributed to the growth of our nation. But there are many unsung heroes of our time as well. There are those heroes that contributions are not always seen nor heard, but the impact of their diligence, sacrifices,and hard work,not only affect our daily lives, but our way of life. I speak of none other than our brave and courageous men and women of the Armed Forces. In this article, I’d like to speak about one of those unsung super heroes of our time. Someone who not only contributed and sacrificed on the battlefield but who also contributed his time to our auto industry. I speak of the honorable Mr. Roger Marion Jr.
Mr. Roger A. Marion Jr. was born on April 4th,1948 in Romulus, MI, to the late Roger and Travistine Marion. On November 25th, 1966, at the tender age of 18 years old, Mr. Marion volunteered for the United States Draft and entered basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and then on to advanced training at Fort Polk Louisiana. On May 7th, 1967, he married the love of his life, Ms. Willie Mae Morris and just a mere ten days later, he arrived in Vietnam to fight and uphold the sacred oath he had taken for his country, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. How brave of this 18 year old young son and now husband to voluntarily commit to such a feat. However, he did so with unwavering faith, courage and the hope that he would return home to his loved ones that he’d left behind. While defending our country our freedoms, Mr. Marion was shot in combat on the battlefield on December 10th, 1967. Four days later, due to his extensive injuries he was sent to Yokohama, Japan for advanced surgery, where his right arm was amputated to the elbow. No longer capable of combat, he was sent back to the United States on February 24th, 1968 to the Valley Forge Pennsylvania Military hospital. He was then medically discharged on August 31, 1968, and traveled back to be with his family. For his sacrifices and bravery during his time in battle, Mr. Marion received the Purple Heart.
After coming home and settling in to his new way of living, Mr. Marion knew he had to find a way to take care of his now growing family. Even with his so called“disability”, he did not allow that to stop him from doing what he needed to do to support them. He was often turned away because of having only one arm. Still not deterred from these minor set backs in any way, Mr. Marion applied for General Motors and was subsequently hired on October 2, 1978. He worked for Romulus Engine Operations(now Powertrain), for 31 years. He also has a brother and sister in-law that would work for the company as well, Mr. and Mrs. Emery and Kimberly Long. Mr. Marion retired on July 9th, 2009.
In addition to Mr. Long, Mr. Marion has another brother, the late Anthony Marion. He has three children; Katrina Marion (Hargress), Yolanda Marion (Rusan) and Roger Ameer Marion, of which now he enjoys his time with, along with his 8 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He still resides in Romulus.
I would like to thank Mr. Marion for his contribution to this nation and the enormous sacrifices that he made back then that contribute to my way of life today. I thank him for courageously defending the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. There are many unsung heroes such as Mr. Roger Marion Jr., whose stories will forever be untold. However, I would like to thank Mr. Marion, and also his family, for giving me the opportunity to shine a little light on his.
Health and Safety Trainer
I wanted to share with my Local 163 brothers and sisters an article about the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) more specifically the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. The (WAC) was created by a law signed by president Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 1, 1943. New WAC recruits went through four to six weeks of basic training followed by twelve weeks of specialist training. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights leader Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, one of the co-founders of the UNCF and she also helped form the Federal Council of Negro Affairs known as the Black Cabinet, advocated for the admittance of African American women. Segregation prevailed throughout the WAC. Several units of white women were sent to Europe to serve. African American organizations pressed the war department to extend the same opportunity to African American WAC’s to serve overseas. A battalion of 817 enlisted personnel and 31 officers, all African American women drawn from the WAC, the Army Service Forces and the Air Forces, was created and designated as the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion nicknamed the “Six Triple Eight”.
On February 3, 1945 the battalion sailed for Britain and then traveled by train to Birmingham, England. The women of the Six Triple Eight confronted a warehouse stacked to the ceiling with letters and packages. These buildings were unheated, dimly lit, and rat infested. They were given the task to track individual serviceman by maintaining about seven million information cards including serial numbers to distinguish different individuals with the same name. They dealt with undeliverable mail sent to their location for redirection, also investigating insufficiently addressed mail for clues to determine the intended recipient. They also handled the sad duty of returning mail addressed to servicemen who had died.
The women of the 6888th found that they were the subject of some hostility from male soldiers who resented the fact that black women were allowed in the Army. Despite such treatment, the 6888th produced great results in Birmingham with the new tracking system they created. The women processed over 65,000 pieces of mail per 8-hour shift and cleared the backlog of mail in three months. The women adhered to the motto of “No Mail No Moral” providing essential support for the U.S. military in Europe by linking servicemen to their loved ones back home. They achieved unprecedented success and efficiency in solving the military’s postal problems.
The 6888th Central Battalion Directory was the only African American women’s unit to serve overseas during World War II. In February 1946, the unit returned to the United States with no public recognition for their service until February 25, 2009, when the Battalion was honored at the Women in Military Service for American Memorial by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. On November 30, 2018, Fort Leavenworth dedicated a monument to the women of the 6888th. Five women from the battalion were present at the dedication; Maybeel Campbell 96, Elizabeth Johnson 79, Lena King 97, Anna Robertson 96, and Deloris Ruddock 96.
Just before Christmas, the UAW Local 163 Community Service Committee, chaired by Local 163 Vice-President Alfreada Wallace, adopted four families through a joint effort with the Westland chapter of the Goodfellows, for the 2nd year in a row. The Community Service members purchased, and wrapped enough toys to provide a very, Merry Christmas for the four grateful families, and their children. Pictured below are the members of the Community Service Committee delivering the toys, at the Westland Community Center.
Following the completion of the Winter edition of the UAW Local 163 Newsletter, UAW Local 163 President Ralph Morris, Jr. invited the Newsletter staff to accompany him, and Vice-President Alfreada Wallace, to visit the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University, in downtown Detroit. We were met there by UAW archivist William LeFevre, who gave us a memorable tour through the extensive documents and artwork contributed by UAW members and International Executive Board members that are now housed at the Reuther Library, and have been used by political writers, biographers, and all forms of Union publications. Brother LeFevre also suggested several books on the history of the UAW, and the city of Detroit, that may hold future benefits in the continued publication of our Newsletter, such as “The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit”, a biography of Walter Reuther by Nelson Lichtenstein, and “Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story”, by David Mariness, that talks about the 1960’s in Detroit, and the rise of the UAW during that turbulent time. An informative and eye-opening experience that is highly recommended for all members of the Labor Movement!
GM-Romulus Retiree Daryl Tindale 8/16/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Ronald Roe 9/7/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Aubrey Hodges 9/8/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Richard Sharp 9/11/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Robert Swenders 9/12/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Roseann Wurster 9/12/19
GM-Romulus Retiree William Yarmyn, Jr. 9/14/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Ronald Kraft 9/19/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Robert Lanning 9/20/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Sheila Bell 9/28/19
GM-Romulus Retiree James Marusak 10/9/19
Mrs. Lina Cekale, wife of DDC Retiree Robert Cekale 10/15/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Vernon Phillips 10/23/19
GM-Romulus Retiree Cleveland Byous 10/27/19
DDC Retiree Jerry Taylor 10/27/19
Mr. Cameron Moore, grandson of Lakeland Shop Chairperson Nicole Buffington 11/29/19
Mr. Willie Norman, brother of DDC Retiree Leonard “Boo” Norman 12/11/19
DDC Retiree Kenneth Holt 1/14/20
DDC Retiree Joseph Hollaman 1/23/20
Detroit Diesel and UAW Local 163 Retiree Tom Zielke, who is one of our longest-standing retirees that spent his career at DDC while it was still a part of GM, speaks with UAW Local 163 Communications Chair Ryan Martin about his work life, and his feelings about his Union.
Additional newsletter video content is available for preview at:
www.uawlocal163.org CHECK IT OUT!
Membership Spotlight: DDC Shop Chairman
Mark "Gibby" Gibson
UAW Local 163/Detroit Diesel Corp. Shop Chair Mark “Gibby” Gibson speaks about several issues at Detroit Diesel, including the record-setting production year of 2019; the lower sales expectations of 2020, necessitating a layoff; the efforts of the Shop Committee to secure an inverse layoff; excess vacation and PAA time payout date; and possible gain-sharing for this year, among other topics.
Membership Spotlight: Willie Wyatt
UAW Local 163 Retiree
UAW Local 163 Retiree Willie Wyatt, who worked at both of the large units that comprise the membership at Local 163, Detroit Diesel Corp. and GM-Powertrain/Romulus, speaks passionately about his Union, while attending the Local 163 Retiree’s Chapter annual Christmas party.
Membership Spotlight: Tom Zielke
UAW Local 163 Retiree
TRUMP, TRUCKS AND TARIFFS: A MARRIAGE MADE IN ECONOMIC HELL
The cacophony of silence you hear is the idling of assembly lines throughout the country, and specifically at Daimler Trucks-North America truck assembly and engine assembly plants. President Trump has signed an agreement with China that imposes a supposed “cease-fire” in a trade war that has achieved virtually nothing for Americans, except for the imposition of enormous economic costs on U.S. consumers, farmers, and manufacturers. Though many in the Trump administration keep repeating the mantra that the cost of the tariffs is being borne by the Chinese, virtually every trade expert is concluding that they’ve been paid entirely by Americans. As a result, according to the Federal Reserve’s research, the prices on consumer products have risen exponentially, manufacturing growth has slowed to a crawl, and agricultural exports have cratered. The trucking industry catches hell, across the board, as less products are coming in from China, Europe and Mexico, less drivers are needed to deliver them across the country, and less fleets ordering new trucks. Most fleet used the proceeds of the Trump tax cuts to purchase new trucks in 2018 and 2019, while the economic future looked robust, only to see the impact of the tariffs put a damper on their ill-gotten gains.
At the two DTNA-Freightliner truck-manufacturing facilities in North Carolina, they have laid off nearly 20% of their hourly workforce, idling nearly 900 of our Brothers and Sisters, and Detroit Diesel has cut heavy-duty engine production on the midnight shift by 50%, while laying off 100 members, and the anticipation of another cut back in February. In 2019, the heavy-duty assembly line produced over 100,000 new engines, but the orders for 2020 are considerably lower, at 77,000.
In the final quarter of 2019, heavy-duty trucks sales dropped by 81%, when compared with the 2018 metrics. This decline now marks the lowest level of orders for the trucks moving most of America’s freight since 2010. Not only will truck companies face the possible loss of business shipping this freight, but they are also vulnerable to a broader economic downturn. Even with the partial “cease fire” in the China trade war, there are still nearly a 20% tariff on Chinese imports, such as the steel and aluminum needed to produce new truck chassis and heavy-duty engine parts, and is still 6 times more than the tariffs prior to President Trump’s trade war.
Many of the long-time veterans of the diesel engine manufacturing business have seen this extremely cyclical business go through severe market corrections, most of which are anticipated long in advance. This extreme downturn in the market wasn’t as easily anticipated, as it wasn’t caused mainly by economic issues, but by political winds. President Trump, as always, is guilty of playing to his political base, by appearing to take a hard line on the trade imbalances between the U.S. and China, but has only succeeded in imposing more hardships on the working class Americans. If the tariffs stay in place at current and intended levels, Mark Zandi, the chief economist for non-partisan economic development group, Moody’s Analytics has reported that 300,000 less jobs have been created in 2019, and that nearly 900,000 jobs will be lost by the end of 2020. In July of 2019 alone, when the Moody’s report dropped, tariffs cost American manufacturing businesses over $7 Billion, and rising uncertainty in the trade forecast will hurt companies’ ability to plan, or hold back, spending, further slowing the economy.
President Trump, and other Republicans running for national offices, are quick to trumpet the great state of our U.S. economy, by pointing to the continuing bull market on the U.S. Stock Exchange. This supercilious attempt to deceive the working class of Americans fails to mention that the bottom 80% of American earners hold only 8% of the wealth that keeps pouring out of the Stock Market, while the top 10% hold nearly 81% of the stock boom. This economic madness will prevail, as more and more of our nation’s wealth will pass to the top of the food chain, while those of us that rely on manufacturing jobs will be left scratching our heads at our once-prosperous nation that seems to be in an awful big hurry to drive them away!
Looks Like We Are Going to Have To "Deal With It"
The NAFTA replacing USMCA trade deal is expected to be ratified by all three member countries by the end of January/early February.
The deal which has seen significant changes since trump’s first negotiated version, due to pressure from House Democrats, has made it “the most progressive trade deal in history” according to some, but will the changes be enough to protect American auto workers?
The first draft of the deal had provisions that would make it necessary for 75% of an autos content be made in the region. It would also eventually lead to 40-45% of workers who make auto parts being paid $16 an hour. An amount far less than traditional Big Three wages. With the ability of companies to shift where parts are made, many are skeptical if these provisions will actually improve compensation for workers in all three countries.
A new provision negotiated by House Democrats would strengthen the original deals calls for stronger labor protections in Mexico by actually making those provisions enforceable. While the agreed to terms are less than what the House Dems were calling for, they do more for enforcement than the lip service the original deal afforded by letting the US be part of an international team of inspectors that can hold Mexico accountable if they aren’t upholding their end of the deal. The language is stronger than the labor side agreement Clinton added to Bush’s NAFTA deal in 1993, but we will have to wait and see how effective it is at guaranteeing fair labor standards.
Another change Democrats negotiated that they say will benefit workers is eliminating provisions from trump’s original deal that would allow pharmaceutical companies to hold patents on drugs for 10 years. This helps lower the price of prescription drugs as it doesn’t allow the companies that own the patents the ability to have a monopoly on the drugs they own the rights to for an extended amount of time. It is important to note that the pharmaceutical companies can still hold patents on life saving drugs for different amounts of time in each country. Patents that keep prices high by eliminating competition.
While this deal appears to be slightly better than deals we have seen in the past, there’s plenty of room for skepticism. By protecting intellectual property rights and allowing companies to continue to shuffle their resources across a larger, unequal playing field, it would appear that the biggest winners are still the corporations and the well to do.
"The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in" - James Baldwin
The Shaffer Chronicles
*While based on actual events, this is part 1 of a 4-part fictional account of the life and times of Brother
Leo D. Shaffer, one of the founding members and past Presidents of UAW Northwest Local 163.
September, 1936… After another long day in the Trim Plating Department at Ternstedt Manufacturing, which was a subsidiary of Fisher-Body, I arrived home to find my darling wife, Delores, rapt with attention. The NBC News report, blaring out of our new Stewart-Warner radio, spoke of a violent strike at Kelsey-Hayes Wheel, led by communist firebrands. The news only identified the new President of UAW Westside Local 174, Walter Reuther, as the instigator. Now, I and several of my co-workers that had quietly discussed organizing the workers at Ternstedt into a Union, to protect ourselves from the Fisher Body management folks, who seemed bound and determined to work us to death! We had discussions with craft Unions, trade Unions, and the aforementioned Reuther, along with his brother Victor, and a big, scary guy named George Edwards, representing the nascent United Automobile Workers. After a 4-month strike, the UAW secured themselves as the only bargaining agent at Kelsey-Hayes, after winning a standard $.75/hour wage for all workers; an elected shop committee to represent them in a new grievance policy; and a strict seniority policy for future layoffs and recalls. This further emboldened the Reuther contingent to take on a bigger fish, General Motors, in the home of automobile production in the U.S., Flint, MI, leading to the famous “Sit-Down” Strike of 1936, and into 1937. Again, the UAW brought their might to bear, during an extremely contentious 44-day strike, and became the sole bargaining agent for workers throughout the massive General Motors Corporation, and set themselves as the major force for worker’s rights in America.
Soon after these historic wins for the UAW, our boys at Ternstedt were chomping at the bit to get in on that action, and made contact with Local 174. Radio reports made Local 174 President Walter Reuther out to be Bunyan-esque in stature, but in-person, he was slight of stature, with flaming red hair and a high, squeaky speaking voice that nonetheless held you engrossed in his presence, when he spoke with the passion of a General preparing his troops for combat. We held our organizing drive, and vote, in early 1937, decidedly against the wishes of our Fisher-Body overlords that threatened to fire anyone that voted to join the UAW. When the vote was nearly unanimous to join the UAW, Fisher-Body and their acolytes at Ternstedt management, quietly acquiesced, and we became the newest members of UAW Local 174, who’s numbers had swelled by nearly 50,000 members since the Kelsey-Hayes strike!
I was soon elected at the departmental Union Stewart in the Plating Department at Ternstedt, and while our pay, and working conditions improved dramatically, we were still lagging behind the gains won by the UAW at General Motors, and we were even lagging behind Ford and Chrysler, even though they had yet to be organized by the UAW. As I had always been a bit of a gypsy, bopping around from job to job, in the pre-Union years, my wanderlust for a new adventure was starting to get the best of me, when Delores had some interesting news, upon arriving home from her teaching job on Detroit’s Westside. We had always been Eastsiders, since arriving in Detroit after the crash of the stock market cost me my job in Pennsylvania, and thought the “world” of Detroit was flat, and dropped off at Telegraph Road. “Hey Honey, it looks like a new plant is going up on Telegraph…something about Diesel engine manufacturing…have you heard anything about that place?”
On December 18th 2019 Local 163 members at Detroit Diesel punched the clock for their last time before embarking on the journey we call retirement. While their familiar faces will be missed in the plant, their legacy will live on with those they worked with, and passed down by those who share their stories. We would like to thank you all for your years of service and wish you all the luck in the future. Most importantly, we hope you don’t have any bird doggers at home trying to interfere with your plans to relax! Enjoy yourselves, you’ve earned it.
(Photos by: Scott Bryson)
By: Andrew Lewis