State of the Union Address
Day 3 Report
By UAW Region 8 Webmaster John Davis
Day 3 began with opening remarks from Secretary Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn as she welcomed the delegates back and reconvened the convention. President Ron Gettelfinger then approached the podium and introduced Sharon Woodcock, wife of former UAW President Leonard Woodcock who addressed the conference. “I thank you all for being here today and for continuing the work that Leonard and others before him began. The men and women of the UAW are great people and I am honored to be with you here today.”
Next Region 5 Director Jim Wells introduced Nevada Congressional Representative Shelly Berkley who addressed the delegates via satellite link from Washington D.C. “I wish I were with there in my home town of Las Vegas but congressional matters preventing me from being there in person,” Representative Berkley stated. “I am proud to tell you that I come from a union household, for my Father was a member of the Culinary Workers Union here in Las Vegas. I know the benefits of growing up in a union household. My father put two children through college and then law school because he had a good union job.
Today we face huge challenges in Washington. Last year President Bush toured the country and tried to sell the idea of privatizing Social Security to our citizens. They answered with a resounding no. However, the 2007 Budget that he presented to Congress once again has provisions for turning Social Security over the Wall Street. If you own stocks I don’t have to tell you the danger in playing the stock market. If you are a working class American then you understand about the flawed Medicare Prescription Drug plan that was passed under this President that included a provision that prevented the Federal Government from negotiating cheaper prices from the pharmaceutical companies. The provision alone will mean over a 100 billion dollar windfall to drug companies.
The Republican Agenda is very detrimental to working families. If they retain control of both the House and Senate this fall, we are in for two very difficult years. Too much is at stake to continue the failed policies of the past. We are losing our Middle Class and we must protect America’s working families. We need your help – politics is not a spectator sport. We all must participate to insure that all families are represented in Congress and not just the rich.”
President Ron Gettelfinger returned to the podium then to pay tribute to the retiring International Executive Board members. Vice-President Gerald Bantom, Vice-President Nate Gooden and Vice-President Richard Shoemaker are all retiring and we recognized for their service to the membership through the years.
Following the recognitions, a motion was made to open the floor for nominations for the International Executive Board members for the next four years. President Ron Gettelfinger was nominated for President and Elizabeth Bunn was nominated for Secretary/Treasurer of the UAW. Each accepted the nomination and the floor was opened for additional nomination. No were submitted, so they were elected by acclamation. Then nominations were opened for the five Vice-President positions. Cal Rapson, Bob King, General Holifield, Jimmy Settles and Terry Thurmon were nominated for the office of Vice-President. Each accepted their nomination and the floor was opened for additional nominations. None were made, so the International Executive Board was elected then by acclamation.
Each Region then broke to their respective groups to hold elections for Regional Director. Region 8 Director Gary Casteel was nominated for reelection to the post. Four years ago at the 33rd Constitutional Convention Gary Casteel was elected to succeed retiring Region 8 Director Bobby Lee Thompson. In the past four years, Region 8 has seen a tremendous amount of growth and has led the UAW in organizing victories for the past two years. Under Director Casteel leadership, the Region has moved forwarding utilizing the latest technology to spread the union’s message. The UAW Region 8 website was the first regional website in the UAW and continues to provide information to both the membership and the general public on issues concerning America’s working families.
Director Casteel was once again nominated for Director and was reelected unanimously by the delegates of Region 8. Director Casteel has been a UAW member since 1988, being a member of Local 737 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was appointed to the International Staff by President Steven Yokich in 1997 and served as a Servicing Representative before being elected Region 8 Director in 2002. He and wife Penny have three children and make their home in Ashland City, Tennessee.
“Anytime you reflect you also have to look forward,” Director Casteel stated. “Over the past four years we have seen a lot of success in Region 8, with organizing victories in the face of hostile opposition in many places. It was the grass roots efforts of our membership in Region 8 that led to these victories. Then, with the stroke of a pen close to 10,000 members in our Region are placed in jeopardy as the Big Three work toward downsizing. This union was founded primarily to represent the Big Three, but today we have to look further. There are over 50,000 unorganized auto assemblers in our region we need to being into the fold. We are there for those workers and together we can find a way to offer them the protection that comes with being a part of the labor movement. We thank you for the past four years and look forward to four more as together we build the UAW in Region 8.”
Following the Regional Elections, the convention
was adjourned until June 15, 2006 at 9:00AM.
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