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James Hoffa Address
Derrick Johnson Address

 

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Heather McGhee Address
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2018 International UAW 37th Constitutional Convention Day Two Report
by UAW Region 8 Webmaster John Davis

Day two of the 37th Constitutional Convention began with UAW President Dennis Williams calling the convention to order and introducing the first speaker of the day Teamsters President James Hoffa.

“I am proud to be here with you today as the Teamsters join with the UAW together to work for America’s working families,” President Hoffa stated. “Many years ago Walter Reuther and my Father Jimmy Hoffa worked together to help workers in Michigan and beyond, and today the Teamsters and the UAW still work together in the cause of labor. Together we work to bring jobs back. NAFTA cost American workers a million jobs, many of those jobs belonged to Teamsters and UAW members.

The wealthy attacks us still today. They gave us right to work to weaken our power, but I can tell you today in Michigan we have more members than we did before right to work. They push us down and we organize. Those in power give us right to work and try to spread it across the country. Those in power fear us because they know we organize, we educate. Unions do the right thing for workers, the right thing for America.

Unions have always worked together because it was the right thing to do. I am proud to call Dennis Williams a friend. It is more than just a professional courtesy. We understand the struggles that our members have and we work together to build a better American for all.” (Click here for more of President Hoffa's Address)

Following President Hoffa’s address, the day continued with debate on the first resolution of the day “An Economy That Works For Working Families.” A great deal of our political discourse and daily struggles revolve around competing visions of who our economy should work for- working people or the extremely wealthy and multinational corporations. The UAW feels the United States should build and economy that:

  • Has full employment with good jobs that provide economic security for ourselves and our families.
  • A great emphasis on job and wage growth.
  • A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
  • A safety net for misplaced workers.
  • Education and training for all workers.
  • Investment in tomorrow, through investments in communities hit hard by changes in technology so they are positioned for new industry.

Following much debate on the floor, the resolution was passed.

The next resolution was for Industrial Policy: Creating a Roadmap to Lead. Industrial policy helps shape the economy to achieve stronger growth, complete globally and deliver higher standards for its citizens. These policies cover tax, trade, labor law, livable wages, research and development, education, health care, infrastructure, monetary policy, and a host of other items.

To achieve these goals, we propose these action items:

  • Affordable, quality education.
  • Infrastructure investment to create an economy that works for everyone.
  • Funding research and development for new technologies in our industries.
  • Using incentive to create good corporate citizens.
  • Trade that supports U.S. Jobs.

After much debating the resolutions the resolutions passed.

Next UAW Region 8 Director Ray Curry came forth and introduced NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “Labor and the NAACP have a long history of working together,” President Derrick Johnson stated. “We believe that workers should have the rights to organize and bargain collectively. We will continue to work with our friends in labor for the advancement for all.” (Click here for more of President Johnson's Address)

The next proposed resolution concerned changes to Article 16 which pertains to dues collection. In 2014 the delegates voted to increase dues from two hours a month to two and a half hours a month, with the purpose if placing the additional funds in the International Union Strike Fund. The amendment this convention is designed to propose a path to return the dues structure to the original language.

The 2014 resolution did not change the original dues structure. The two hours a month dues structure remained in tack with the dues being allocated the same way they have since the last dues change over twenty years ago. The 2014 change added a half hour a month dues that went into the strike fund. The proposed change would eliminate this additional half an hour dues provided the strike fund reaches $850,000,000. In addition, language is included that would reinstate the half hour a month dues should the strike fund fall below $650,000,000. The proposed amendment provides a path to eliminate the extra half hour once maximum funding levels for the strike fund are met.

The debate on the resolution went on for an extended period of time. Many valid points were made during the debate. At the conclusion of the debate, the resolution passed overwhelmingly.

The morning continued with a group of housekeeping type resolutions, including pay for international staff, commitment to human and civil rights, elections and member trials. All of these issues were debated and passed.

Governor of Montana Steve Bullock addressed then convention. Born in Missoula, Montana, Governor Bullock was educated in the public school system, earned his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College, before receiving his law degree from Columbia University. After receiving his law degree he served as chief legal counsel to Montana Secretary of State Mike Cooney and then opened his own law practice specializing in labor law. In 2008 he was elected as Montana Attorney General and then governor in 2012 and reelected as governor in 2016. “We are stronger when we stand together,” stated Governor Bullock. “When I was practicing law, I saw over and over examples of workers who had to fight the system for fair treatment. There are those who seek to divide us by pointing out our differences. I believe we are stronger when we find what unites us rather than divides us. Working families shouldn’t have to struggle to own a home, to have health care, they should have a job that pays and living wage and education should be accessible. I thank the UAW for their support of America’s working families.”

The day returned to resolutions including two that are vital to our working families. One was Toward National Health Care for All and the second being Protect and Strengthen Social Security.

National Health Care for All
For decades the UAW has taken a lead role in the fight for a comprehensive national health care system that works for all Americans. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took a step toward providing health care for more Americans. With the passage of the ACA, 19 million more Americans had the opportunity for affordable health care. Over the past 18 months the ACA has been under attack. Proposals that shift more of the cost of health care to our working families have been passed in Congress. In addition there have been attacks on Medicare and Medicaid. The UAW feels strongly about the following action items:

  • Continue to work to protect the gains made by the ACA.
  • Keep defending Medicare and Medicaid from structural changes and benefit cuts.
  • Support reforms that strengthen the finances of the Medicare Program.
  • Advocate for policies that aim to control spending without denying access or care.

Following debate the resolution was passed.

Protect and Strengthen Social Security
Since its inception in the 1930s, Social Security has served to ensure that American workers and their families are able to maintain a dignified quality of life after their employment ends. Attacks on worker’s pensions and collecting bargaining have made Social Security more important than ever. To protect Social Security we propose the following:

  • Improve benefits for all beneficiaries.
  • Improve the solvency of Social Security by expanding or eliminating the cap on taxable wages.
  • Insure that Social Security benefits adequately reflect the living expense of retirees by fairly calculating the cost of living adjustments.
  • Fight proposals that would weaken Social Security by continuing to increase the full retirement age, changing the cost of living index or privatizing Social Security.

Following debate the resolution passed soundly.

The convention was recessed for the day.

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