November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Message from UAW Region 8 Director Ray Curry

Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner - a time of reflection and taking stock in the blessings in our lives. With the events of the past few days, it is easy to get depressed with the terrorist attacks in Paris. Our sense of security is shaken every time one of these attacks occurs and rightly so. It is important to remember that with all the problems we have, the United States is still the greatest nation on Earth.

Here in Region 8, we are very thankful on this Thanksgiving. The contributions of our membership have been paramount in the turnaround of many companies.  As the companies have prospered so have the communities in which they are located. Louisville, Kentucky Ford Plants of Local 862 and General Motors - Spring Hill, Tennessee Local 1853 have been adding jobs and see growth opportunities in their futures. Additionally, our Heavy Truck employers - Daimler Trucks / Thomas Built Bus Locals 10, 2406, 3520, 5285, 5286, and 5287 and Volvo Trucks Locals 171, 2069, 2406 and 2420 have seen increased hiring opportunities as demand has increased for their trucks, buses and component parts.  Smart managers recognize the advantage of an organized workplace.

In the past year Region 8 has seen victories for working families. In Piedmont, Alabama, workers voted yes for representation at Commercial Vehicle Group Seating, CVG, and have begun bargaining for their first agreement.  In Baltimore, Maryland, the dealers at the Horse Shoe Casino voted for UAW Representation and have begun bargaining for their first agreement. Additionally, workers at the Faurecia Seat Frame plant, Local 1941, Cleveland, Mississippi voted for Union Representation and have also ratified a first agreement.  Workers at these three locations now have a voice and stand together in solidarity and we welcome them as new UAW Members.  At the end of the day, it is all about providing the best representation possible for our members and insuring a stable future for them and their families.

While we have seen improvement this year, there is always new work for today. Every day we have to keep the fight up against the anti-worker forces out there. They use anything they can to divide us and we cannot let them win.  We must stand firm today, just as those who fought the battles before us.  In the late 1800s union workers fought the robber barons of the day to build a foundation for modern labor. From the early days of the labor movement, organizing brought workers together for the betterment of all. Great leaders of labor have paved the way for us. Mother Jones, Walter Reuther, Eugene Debs, A. Philip Randolph and many others have stood in the gap for America’s workers. While it is important to remember these great leaders, we should also remember the regular workers who do their job every day.

This Thanksgiving, let us concentrate on the blessing of our lives, our families, our friends and our communities. We in labor understand about caring for others and taking a stand for justice. This Thanksgiving, it is my prayer that we all consider the plight of others and do our part to reach out to our fellow man and woman. To those who much is given, much is required. My, Brothers and Sisters, “we are indeed blessed.”  This Thanksgiving may we be thankful for the blessings that we have received and share those blessings with others.

From the Leadership, Clerical and Staff of Region 8, Happy Thanksgiving,

In Solidarity,

Ray Curry

Region 8 Director

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Ron Hendrix