May 18, 2022
Day Four of the 2022 CAP Conference
By Region 8 Webmaster John Davis
Day Four of the 2022 CAP Conference was filled with speakers representing Congressional and Senators from across the UAW as well as Cabinet Officials.
The morning began with the Odessa Komer Memorial Breakfast for all delegates. The UAW Women’s Brigade were recognized, with the Michigan Representative Debbie Dingle delivering the keynote address. Representative Dingle emphasized the importance of the House passing the Chip Bill to promote building facilities inside the United States to manufacture the chips needed for automotive and agricultural applications. “It is time to bring the supply chain home so we don’t have to depend on foreign interest,” Representative Dingle stated.
The morning plenary session began with Representative Benny Thompson from Mississippi addressing the delegates. Following an introduction from Region 8 Director Mitch Smith, Representative Thompson discussed the need to pass the PRO Act and the importance organizing workers across the country. He also serves as the Chair of the Select Committee On the January 6 Attack. The Representative spoke about the need to protect democracy and the taking steps to prevent this from happening again.
Next President Ray Curry came forward to introduce Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The Representative from California addressed the conference concerning issues we are facing. “At the moment we are concentrating on trying to get a bill passed that would bring the manufacturing of chips used in automotive and agricultural vehicles back to the United States,” Speaker Pelosi stated. “Over the past year we have been able to pass the Infrastructure Act that will be providing much needed improvement to our highways and bridges, as well has creating thousands of jobs. The House also passed the PRO act to level the playing field in organizing drives. Hopefully the Senate will soon take it up. Currently, more people in this country would prefer to belong to a union than anytime in recent memory. We need to pass this bill into law to remove the tactics being used to undermine organizing drives.” Following her speech, President Ray Curry presented Speaker Pelosi with the Walter Reuther Distinguished Service Award from the IEB. “I will proudly display this in my office on the Hill,” Speaker Pelosi stated.
Next was Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow who thanked the UAW for their past support and the need to continue our efforts to support legislation that promotes manufacturing in the United States and protects workers.
Iowa 3rd District Representative Cindy Axne spoke next. Representative Axne just introduced legislation to help address the baby formula shortage in the country. The shortage has been made worse by the temporary closing of the Abbott factory in Sturgis, Michigan. An outbreak of infection among infants was traced to the company, resulting in the shutdown due to unsafe conditions.
Hakeem Jeffries who represents the 8th District of New York spoke next, concentrating on the importance of fair union elections. “My parents were both members of public sector unions,” Representative Jeffries recalled. “Growing up in the Bronx, my family was able to afford housing and food because my parents had a union job. My mother borrowed against her union pension to afford to send my sister and myself to college. We need to make sure all families have the opportunity to have these benefits.”
Region 8 Director Mitchell Smith came back to the stage to introduce Katie Porter of the 45th District of California. Representative Porter talked about oil companies bragging about restricting production while price gouging.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge spoke next followed by Labor and Political Strategist Steve Rosenthal. The importance of voting and the consequences of not voting were discussed.
The issue over the next generation of postal service vehicles has been in the news lately. For years postal delivery trucks have been built Local 578 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After the post office placed an order for electric trucks, the Oskosh Corporation announced they were placing that work in a new facility in South Carolina. The UAW and many members of Congress have been demanding Oskosh placed that work in their current facility in Oshkosh. Local 578 Chief Steward Tim Jacobson and President Bob Lynk gave the conference an update on their issue.
UAW Assistant Legislative Director Desiree Hoffman moderated a panel discuss on Elections Matter. The panel included:
- Ben Lazarus – Director of Research Solutions at TargetSmart
- Abby Curran Horrell – Executive Director, House Majority PAC
- Wendy Wallace- Deputy Executive Director, Democratic Governors Association
- Michael Podhorzer – Assistant to the President of Strategic Research, AFL-CIO
The final speaker of the morning was NCAAP President Derrick Johnson. President Johnson spoke on the need for all working people to stand together and not allow corporate interest to separate us. He also spoke on the importance of voting and protecting the rights of all people to vote.
The conference ended with everyone joining hands and singing “Solidarity Forever.”