December 13, 2022

Leave It Better Than You Found It:

Parting Thoughts from Region 8 Director Mitchell Smith

Chief Seattle was a great Native American leader of the Suquamish tribe. He was known for his words of wisdom with his most famous quote being “We don’t inherit the earth; we borrow it from our children.”

What a profound statement this is and can be applied to many things. Take our union for example, we are simply borrowing it from our children. Every day we are shaping the movement for the future and our actions now have a direct impact on the union our future members will join. I truly believe we should leave it in better shape than we found it.

I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve you for several years. From service in Local 882, to UAW staff and finally Region 8 director. I have been blessed to be able to work with many good stewards.

Region 8 has a top-notch staff, the best in the UAW. Dedication is the adjective that comes to mind when I think of the staff, as they are definitely shaping a stronger future for union.

Another group that I can’t say enough about is the Region 8 clerical staff. This group keep up with everything from CAP donations, grievances, invoices and reimbursements, all conferences, phone calls, emails, and many other needs, our clerical staff keeps the Region 8 offices running while the staff is out training, servicing, and assisting retirees. My BMS I, assistant Shannon Patrick is amazing, always being able to read my mind and always having what I need before I ask for it.

Our new director, Tim Smith, is more than ready to step into the Region 8 Director’s role and will do us a fantastic job. I want to thank Tim for his assistance, his knowledge, his work ethic, his encouragement, and his dedication.

I have had the utmost support from my wife Charmaine, our children, and grandchildren, who have walked this walk with me. Standing beside me walking picket lines, holding up campaign signs and sacrificing much family time, while we fulfilled UAW stewardship obligations of the job that kept me away so much

During my time as Region 8 director, there were many challenges, complications, and trials. Those who compromised our trust and cast a bad light had to be removed. With the help of President Curry and others, they were removed, and new safeguards were installed to keep this from happening again.

Lastly, I want to thank the membership for granting me the opportunity to serve. As I enter the next chapter of my life, I encourage you to keep your eye on the future and never lose sight of the fact you are borrowing the UAW from your children. The needs and challenges will always change as we go forward, we must adapt and plan for it. It is my hope that in your own stewardship journey, that you leave your union better than you found it.


In Solidarity,

Retired Region 8 Director Mitchell Smith







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