Day 2 Photo Gallery

President Gettelfinger State of the Union Address

Remarks of Senator
Barack Obama

Nancy Peliso Speech

International Metalworker’s Federation (IMF) Marcello Malentacchi Speech

NAACP Chair Julian Bond Speech

Representative Marcy Kaptur Speech

- Vice-President General Holiefield Bio

- Vice-President James Settles Bio

- Vice-President Terry Thurman Bio

Day 2 Report
By UAW Region 8 Webmaster John Davis

Day two of the UAW 34th Constitutional Convention was called to order by Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn at promptly 9:00AM Pacific time. The day’s activities began with an introduction of our brothers and sisters from labor unions around the world. The UAW understands that international solidarity is essential to the fight for economic and social justice around the world. General Secretary of the International Metalworker’s Federation (IMF) Marcello Malentacchi, who represents 25,000,000 workers at 200 affiliated unions in 100 countries, addressed the conference.

“It is my honor to be here with you today, in solidarity with our members around the world,” Brother Malentacchi stated. “Multinational corporations around the world have tried to exploit workers in different countries by dividing and pitting workers against each other. The UAW has been at the forefront of fighting the battle to protect workers and their families from these greedy corporations. A perfect example of this is the current attempt by Delphi CEO Steve Miller to undermine the rights and lively hood of the members there. The UAW is fighting the good fight at Delphi and other places to protect these workers from these merchants of greed. The IMF stands with the UAW in this fight to protect workers world wide against these corporate raiders.” (click here for the fill text of the speech)

Next NAACP Chair Julian Bond addressed the conference. “We are greatly appreciative of the help and support the civil rights movement has received from the UAW through the years,” Chairman Bond stated. “Since the early days of the Civil Rights movement the UAW has been there supporting equal rights for all workers. I remember standing there listening to the speakers during the March on Washington in 1963 as UAW President Walter Reuther addressed the crowd. President Reuther asked how could we fight for equal rights around the world why denying those same rights to people here at home. These are troubling and trying days but we know that everything that has been won as come with a struggle. We must keep that fight up today. The Voting Rights Act must be renewed in 2007 and the current administration sees no need for the extension of the act. However these are the same folks who have displayed such an indifference to other issues that working Americans of all races face. Our struggle is far from over as is yours, and together we will fight to insure the rights and respect of all Americans.” (click here for full complete text of speech)

Another guest speaker of the morning was California Congressperson and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who spoke via satellite. Rep. Pelosi has been a long time friend of labor and spoke on the need to raise the minimum wage, pass legislation that recognizes card checks for union organizing drives, the importance of supporting the automotive sector and restoring the voice for working class Americans in Washington. (Click here for complete text of speech)

The convention then turned its attention toward resolutions submitted by local unions across the country. Proceeding is information concerning those resolutions:

- Amendment to Article 16 of the Constitution Concerning Fees and Dues. Each month local unions collect dues from members and remits 32% of those dues to the International Union and 30% to the International Union’s Strike Insurance Fund. The local union retains 38%. The International then returns a portion of the dues allocation to the Strike Fund to local unions. The resolution was submitted to increase the amount of the rebate to local unions from the strike fund to place more dues back to the local unions. After much debate on the floor, the resolution was passed.

- Resolution to Article 11 of the Constitution. This section of the constitution covers the salary of the International Executive Board members. A resolution to present a 3% raise to the IEB passed the floor.

- Amendment to change the wording of Section 2, 6, 11 and 14 of the Language on Initiation Fees and Dues to read strike assistance from the current term strike insurance.

- Amend Section 1, 3 and 5 of the Civil Rights Department language to read Civil and Human Rights.

- Amended Section 11 of the Local Union Officers language. Current language stated that election protest must be made at membership meetings. The language was changed to add a provision that if membership meetings had been suspended by affirmative membership action the protest could be submitted to the local union recording secretary within seven days of the polls closing.

Later in the afternoon the floor of the convention came alive as the International Executive Board lead the convention in a demonstration of solidarity as delegates paraded around the floor of the hall waving signs that stressed stronger unions, teamwork in the leadership, solidarity in the ranks, safety in the workplace and security for pensions. The energy level reached great spikes as the delegates found themselves caught up in the moment. Just a day earlier in his State of the Union address President Gettelfinger had declared that times are tough, but the UAW is tougher. The display on the convention reinforced this point as delegates danced to the pop song “We Are Family” as the music pounded. In the UAW we are a family – a family of working class Americans who are determined to survive. Let the bought and paid politicians in Washington look to our demise; let the captains of industry pray for our death; let the right winged media boast of our twilight; let the robber barons of Wall Street wish us gone; let the multinational corporations try to stamp us out. We have news for the Steve Millers of the world – this union is still strong and our heart still beats. It was in adversity we were born and we thrive in conflict. As President Fraser said at our 1980 convention: “If there’s one thing we know how to do, we know how to fight, we know how to survive.” So if it is a fight the corporate giant wants, then it is a fight that we will give them.

The demonstration was followed by an address by Farm Labor Organizing Committee President Baldemar Velasquez. “I am so proud to be here today with my union brothers and sisters,” President Velasquez stated. “I am here today to tell you that labor is alive. I have been organizing farm workers for over 38 years. We are all together and I see you here today, white, black, yellow, brown and red. I remember Walter Reuther standing with Dr. King and fighting for civil rights. I remember Walter Reuther standing with Cesar Chavez for farm workers. The scripture doesn’t say love you neighbor if he looks like you. The scripture says love you neighbor as yourself. The book of Numbers says govern aliens with the same law you govern yourself. I tell you brothers and sisters that God is in charge here today. And, if we do his will then he will see us through. He knows our struggles and he knows our woe.

I hear these people talk about the “the need to have elections for a democratic process for allowing a union to enter the workplace.” I tell you brothers and sisters that joining a union in the workplace is democracy, not having to work against these anti-worker organizations to win union representation. The Bible tells us the story about the first organizer who was sent down into Egypt to organize a group of slave brick makers. Moses didn’t ask Pharaoh to let those slaves vote to see if they wanted freedom. No, he told Pharaoh that God said to “Let My People Go.”

You have a calling and you have a role to play- you got to carry the spirit of organizing – you got to carry that love your brothers and sisters – you got to carry the fight. Thank you UAW.”

The conference was adjourned at 5:00PM and reception was held for the retiring International Executive Board. The convention will reconvene at 9:00AM on July 14, 2006 with the election of the International Executive Board and Regional Directors being the main event on the agenda.

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