September 22, 2022

Day Five 2022 UAW Region 8 Summer School 

Photos by Region 8 Webmaster John Davis

The final day of the 2022 UAW Region 8 Summer School began with Assistant Director recognizing the staff at Sirata Resort and Conference Staff for the service they have provided through the week.

Next, Assistant Director Tim Smith recognized the teenagers that had attended the teenage class this week. Teen class instructor Tom Savage talked about the dedication this group made to attend their own class while their parents attend UAW classes.

Region 8 Director Mitchell Smith will be retiring at the end of the year. The Summer School delegates recognized Director Smith’s service. Ray Davis from the Retired Workers Council presented the Director with a recognition award from the retirees. Then people around the room made personal accounts of their local’s support from the Director.

Director Smith then came forward to address the delegates concerning the state of the Region. “You cant stand without someone to life you up and God has blessed me to put on the right place, at that right time with the right people,” Director Smith stated. “It was good to see the young people in class here. I learned at home the importance of a union. My 95 year old mother draws a pension today because three women in the dairy she worked in had the courage to organize and take on the owners to bargaining for the workers.”

“In the past four years we have had many strikes in this region and we spent millions of dollars supporting those members and it was money well spent. We turned back a decertification effort at one local. Our members stood strong. I hired in at Ford in Atlanta, Georgia at Local 882 in January. They told me our contract expires in May and you better have a month’s wages in the bank by then. Came May we went out on strike and stayed out a month. Next year we have Detroit Three contracts coming up next year and we have big issues and we have to be ready.”

“We are in unique times. Experience tells us we can win wages in this labor market. But, we have to do more protect the work we have. Negotiating is more than just money. When I look at the young people, I think about our responsibility to them. I believe in the idea of leave it better shape than you found it.”

“We have to stand together. We all heard of May Day. Adolph Hitler on May Day made unions illegal, he dissolved them and took all the money. He used that money and started Volkswagen. Hitler went through each group with the last group being the Church. Martin Niemöller was a prominent Lutheran pastor in Germany. He was imprisoned by Hitler. When he was released he made the famous quote:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

—Martin Niemöller

We have to stand together. Walter Reuther said There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow man. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well. My fellow members, have to serve our fellow man, we have to protect the weak and we have to do it well.”

Following the Director’s Report, Assistant Director Tim covered the important dates on the International Executive Board elections this fall and the importance of voting.

Drawings were held for the VCAP raffles for the week before the delegates broke for lunch. After lunch the final classroom sessions were held.

 

 

 

 

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