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Telephone Town Hall with UAW President Bob King and Region 1C Director Norwood Jewell

04/05/11

On March 17, UAW President Bob King and Region 1C Director Norwood Jewell hosted a tele-town hall with the region's leadership and activists.  The call covered ongoing legislative issues in Michigan and the UAW's plans to defend the middle class.  Participants posted questions to the hosts.  If you missed the call, here is the recording of it.

Wayne County Commissioner Martha Scott and labor-faith coalition call for moratorium on foreclosure sales, investigation of bank fraud

04/05/11

Leaders of the People Before Banks Coalition -- an alliance of labor, faith and community groups -- will speak April 6 in support of the Homeowner Protection and Neighborhood Preservation Act that Wayne County Commissioner Martha Scott plans to submit to the County Commission on April 7. 

Citing the economic and social devastation of the foreclosure crisis, Scott is calling for a one-year moratorium on sheriff sales of occupied foreclosed homes, as well as an investigation of the "extent to which the county and its citizens have been victimized and economically harmed by the fraudulent practices of banks and mortgage servicers." 

UAW President Bob King will join the call for action to "deal with the foreclosure problem and give Americans a hand up -- not a hand out."

More than 100,000 Michigan homes were foreclosed in 2010, according to the Center for Responsible lending. Wayne County alone accounted for one-quarter of that total and more than 400 foreclosure auctions a week, according to RealtyTrac. 

The call for action at the local level is spurred by mounting evidence of fraud, as cited in Scott's bill, "from the predatory lending practices of subprime mortgage companies, to the deceptive practices of Wall Street underwriters, to the misrepresentation of security valuations by ratings agencies, to the improper recording of mortgage assignments and evasion of county fees, to the counterfeiting of mortgage documents and robo-signing of affidavits at foreclosure." 

"Federal efforts to aid distressed homeowners have been a disappointment," said the Rev. D. Alexander Bullock, whose church will host the press conference in the commissioner's home district. "The Making Home Affordable Program promised to modify three million to four million mortgages to keep people in their homes, but the actual number of permanent modifications is a fraction of that."

The most recent report indicates only 540,000 permanent modifications nationally and only 11,000 in the metro-Detroit area.

Scott will formally submit the bill to the full commission at its regular meeting Thursday morning in the ground-floor auditorium of the Guardian Building at 500 Griswold St. in Detroit. 

Who:  UAW President Bob King, Wayne County Commissioner Martha Scott, Pastor D. Alexander Bullock, president, Rainbow PUSH Detroit Chapter and Saundra Williams, president, Metro Detroit AFL-CIO. 

When:  Wednesday, April 6, 5 p.m.

Where:  Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, 396 Labelle St., Highland Park 

(Directions: Exit the Lodge Freeway at Linwood and follow Linwood south a half-mile. Turn left on Oakman Boulevard and go one mile to Hamilton and turn right. Go two blocks to Labelle and turn right.)

 

Snyder budget takes aim at seniors, children, the unemployed

04/05/11

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is taking advantage of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression to impose new taxes on seniors, cut unemployment insurance for laid-off workers and gut education funding by nearly $800 million.

And, thanks to the governor and Republican state legislators, Michigan is now the only state in the union that will provide fewer than 26 weeks of benefits to workers who are unemployed. On March 28, Snyder signed into law a bill that cuts the maximum number of weeks Michigan’s laid-off workers can receive unemployment insurance from 26 weeks to 20 weeks.

“Governor Snyder and Republicans in Lansing should be working to create jobs and revive our state’s economy, but that clearly is not their agenda,” said UAW President Bob King. “At the very least they should keep in place protections for people who are out of work through no fault of their own.”

King also said the governor’s proposed budget will cause deep hardship for working and middle class families.
 
“Gov. Snyder should require CEOs to share in the sacrifice to move Michigan forward,” said King. “Instead, he is giving them a $1.8 billion tax cut at the expense of our seniors, children and working families.”

Snyder’s proposed budget will:

  • Cut $564 million from K-12 schools.
  • Slash $220 million from Michigan colleges and universities.
  • Impose taxes on pensions.
  • Take away workers’ rights to collective bargaining.

 

All to pay for a massive $1.8 billion in tax breaks for corporations.

No surprise then that these budget cuts are backed by big energy companies and the secretive billionaire Koch brothers.  They are the same forces that pushed the union-busting efforts in Wisconsin. Koch Enterprises has spent more than $1 billion lobbying politicians in Lansing. In fact, the head of their Michigan group said their group’s goal was to “take the unions out at their knees.”

"This is not what we the people of Michigan need,” said King. “It’s just more political payback and partisan games. It’s time to work together to stop the power struggles in Lansing, focus on improving our economy and creating quality jobs for working and middle class families.”

Michigan residents are delivering that message at “People’s Town Halls” this week and next, highlighting the fact that the GOP legislature is out of town and out of touch.

And a rally is planned for April 13 at the state Capitol. Watch for e-mails from UAWire and GimmeFIVE, and check back here for more details.
 

Carlex Glass America's acquisition saves 600 UAW jobs

04/01/11

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The acquisition of a glass production plant by Carlex Glass America will protect the jobs of about 600 UAW members. Carlex and the UAW worked together to save the Nashville plant and the distribution center in Lebanon, Tenn., when Zeledyne put the plant up for sale.

"Our members are very excited and supportive of this acquisition," said Gary Casteel, director of UAW Region 8, which covers Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware, and Franklin, Cumberland, Adams and York counties in Pennsylvania.

"The cooperation between Carlex and the UAW is an example of the positive results that can be achieved when companies and unions work together. Without that cooperation, there is a good chance the plant would have closed," Casteel added.

"Our members understand the importance of the long-term viability of this company and keeping jobs in the community and their input will aid in the success of Carlex and the production of quality products in Tennessee," said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who directs the union's Competitive Shop/Independents, Parts and Suppliers (IPS) Department.

UAW Local 737 members ratified a collective bargaining agreement with Carlex that left wages, benefits, and working conditions intact while at the same time positioning Carlex to be very competitive in the glass industry.

The plant manufactures float glass and fabricates automotive glass. Zeledyne purchased the plant in April 2008 from Ford Motor Co.'s Automotive Components Holdings LLC.

"With Carlex's diversified customer base and the partnership we are developing, it is our goal that they will become the No. 1 glass manufacturer in the United States," said Casteel.

"This agreement with the UAW and Carlex has not only saved these jobs, but also allows these hard-working union members to continue supporting their families and contributing to their communities," said Casteel.

For more information, please contact Michele Martin, director, UAW Public Relations Department.

UAW workers recalled to Volvo Trucks

04/01/11

Newly ratified contract paves way for return of approximately 700 workers

DETROIT -- A new union contract has paved the way for approximately 700 members of UAW Local 2069 at Volvo Trucks North America to be recalled from layoff.

About 100 workers will return May 2; more than 250 are scheduled to report back May 9, and more than 350 will return May 16.

The return means truck production at Volvo's Dublin, Va., plant will increase from a rate of 78 trucks per day to 123 per day. The recall will also include adding a second shift at the plant.

The new agreement, which UAW members ratified on March 27, also allows Volvo to be more competitive with other manufacturers that produce heavy-duty Class 8 trucks in the United States and Mexico.

"Volvo's ramp up in production is a direct result of the new UAW contract that made it possible for workers to return and for the company to increase its truck production," said UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who directs the union's Heavy Truck Department.

"If it was not for the new collective bargaining agreement, the company would have taken a different approach to reaching their goals to produce the trucks. Other measures could have included increasing scheduled overtime for the current work force. Some workers might have been recalled, but not nearly the amount that is possible now," Holiefield added.

"We are proud that UAW members and a union contract played a major role in paving the way for these positive developments," said Gary Casteel, director of UAW Region 8, which covers the Southeast, including Virginia.

"This certainly is a case in which a contract makes a difference, not just for the workers, but for their families, their communities and our region," Casteel added. "This achievement is possible because UAW members negotiated a contract that would open the door for increased job security for active workers and increased production for Volvo."

For more information, please contact Michele Martin, director, UAW Public Relations Department.
 

UAW membership increases

03/31/11

DETROIT -- The UAW filed its Labor Organization Annual Report, Form LM-2, with the U.S. Department of Labor today.

The LM-2 contains the union's membership numbers for the prior year.

The UAW's 2010 LM-2 report shows UAW membership increasing from 355,191 in 2009 to 376,612 in 2010.

"We are pleased that our membership increased in 2010 by 21,000. This increase is a reflection of new organizing by the UAW, the recovery of the domestic auto industry and UAW members who won a first contract during the year," said UAW President Bob King. "We hope to continue this growth in 2011 and beyond, as we fight to win a more fair and democratic process for workers to organize unions in the United States."

Earlier this year, the union released its UAW Principles for Fair Union Elections, which embody common sense principles inherent in any democratic election. The underlying principle is that the right to organize a union is a fundamental human right and that workers should be able to exercise this right in an atmosphere free from threats, intimidation or coercion.

The UAW is urging employers to agree to the principles to have fair union elections.

For more information, please contact Michele Martin, director, UAW Public Relations Department.
 

UAW members ratify new contract with Volvo Trucks North America

03/30/11

Labor agreement covers more than 1,300 workers

DETROIT – UAW-represented employees at Volvo Trucks North America have ratified a new five-year labor agreement. The contract was approved by a majority of UAW Local 2069 members at Volvo Trucks’ New River Valley plant in Virginia. Voting took place March 27.

The new contract covers health care benefits for all active workers, provides a yearly lump sum for retirees, and includes wage and pension increases.

“This contract moves our members forward while protecting jobs and benefits in this competitive industry, and makes way for the return of 862 UAW Local 2069 members who will be recalled from layoff,” said UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who directs the union’s Heavy Truck Department.

“Our members negotiated a contract that gives them well-earned benefits for their work at Volvo, and addresses the company’s concerns about viability and future growth,” said Gary Casteel, director of UAW Region 8, which covers the Southeast including Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware and Franklin, Cumberland, Adams and York counties in Pennsylvania.

The contract will expire March 16, 2016.

Letter to Senate -- McConnell Amendment

Letter to House -- FAA