December 19, 2019

Christmas 2019: Remembering What Is Important

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” as the city squares are adorned with Christmas decorations, radios are filled with Christmas music, and we all have busy schedules and family gatherings. British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill once said “Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but also reflection.”

As we look back on 2019, it is safe to say it was a challenging year. The big three and others having contract negotiations, much of our time was spent in bargaining. Our union brothers and sisters lead the way with the support of communities, other unions, and families to support the GM union members longest strike in over 40 years. In the end it was the membership who held the line and won a contract that would provide security over the next four years.

The UAW made headlines this year due to the actions of a few who betrayed the trust of their oath. President Gamble and Secretary Treasurer Curry have announced an ethics reform to prevent such actions and allow us to move forward. Moving forward we can make sure our focus is on our members. There is a proverb that states “the darker the night, the brighter the stars” and our stars are indeed our members. Our strength lives within the members. In times such as these I am reminded of the words of Labor’s Anthem Solidarity Forever:

In our hands is placed a power
Greater than their hoarded gold
Greater than the might of atoms
Magnified a thousand-fold
We can bring to birth a new world
From the ashes of the old
For the union makes us strong

The merging of Region 5 with Region 8 will be a challenge, but our folks are up to the challenge. This will significantly increase the size of Region 8 as we will run from coast to coast. We welcome these new members and staff to Region 8 and look forward to representing them.

The charity of members is unequaled as they come together to help the less fortunate for the holidays. Our people understand the struggle working class Americans have and never forget the plight of others. This is what the true meaning of Christmas is all about. Ruth Carter Stapleton, sister of President, Jimmy Carter once said “Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.”Our members understand this as well as anyone.

As we close the year, I would like to thank the membership for giving me the opportunity to serve you. For me, this time of year also focuses on the birth of Christ and the grace he has provided mankind. Every time I visit a local or an event, I am reminded just how graced I am to work with and represent the great membership of Region 8.

On behalf of the entire Region 8 staff and leadership, I wish each of you a joyous holiday filled with friends, family, and hope. May the holiday season end this year on a cheerful note and make way for a fresh and bright New Year. Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas!

In solidarity,

Mitchell Smith

Region 8 Director


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Ron Hendrix