June 25, 2024
Day Three UAW Region 8 Summer School
by John Davis Region 8 Webmaster

Day three of the 2024 UAW Region 8 Summer School began with reports from the different departments of the region.

CAP Rep Mark Dowell stated “Most of us don’t like to talk about politics. But we all are impacted by politics. If you drive on streets, stop at a traffic signal, have kids in school, you are involved in politics. Many politicians are against unions and attack unions because we are a force for working people.

 

This week there was a person vacationing here with his family. Matt Wallace works at Volkswagen in Chattanooga. He saw some of our members with their UAW shirts on and told them he was a new member. Matt was invited to address the delegation. “Workers at Volkswagen thank the UAW for standing with us,” Matt Wallace states. “I see the family here at this conference and look forward to being a part of it.”

Director Tim Smith welcomed the delegates and gave them an update. “I want to start talking about Merecedes,” Director Smith stated. “We are not done there. The company interfered with our drive there and we will be back. I recently went to Germany to meet with Merecedes. I met with their CEO and looked him in the eye and told him I didn’t appreciate their scare tactics to prevent workers from joining together to form a union. They had meetings to scare workers, they used strong armed tactics. They brought a local preacher in to walk the aisles to encourage workers to vote against the UAW. I told him these are things you would not do in Germany because your laws don’t allow it. Unfortunately, my UAW family, the United States labor laws allow this kind of behavior. We are not giving up there, we will continue to fight. I ask each of you to remember the workers at Mercedes in your thoughts and prayers.

We are looking at an election this year that will have significant impact on this membership. There are candidates that have pledged to fight organizing efforts across the country. They have pledged to end federal funding for the transition to EVs that are currently helping thousands of our members maintain their jobs and futures. Who occupies the White House and leads the Congress and Senate matters- a lot. The make of the National Labor Relations Board is vital to workers having a fair say.

Allowing employers to bring in anti-union consultants should be illegal. I remember when I was organizing my local I was called up front and placed in a dark room. I was interrogated as to why I supported the union. I refused to answer. Later in I was called to HR and again asked why I supported the union. I was afraid to take a break off my fork truck in fear I would be fired. Workers shouldn’t have to live in fear because they want to exercise their voice in a union. We have watched workers fired for simply saying they want to form a union. We have seen workers intimidated and threatened workers simply for saying I support organizing a union. The people you elect have a big impact on how well that NLRB supports workers or if they support companies. ¬†¬†

The fight is real. I am asking you whether you are a big local or a small local. Stand up and demand your rights. An educated membership is an active membership. Go back to your membership, report out and tell them what you have learned. Together we can take on these companies, but it takes us all!" (View Director Smith's entire address here.)

Following the morning session, the group assembled for the annual Summer School photo. After a lunch break, delegates attended their afternoon classes.

 

 

 

 

 

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