UAW chief readies union for reforms, contract talks

March 13, 2019 01:18 PM UPDATED 16 HOURS AGO
UAW chief readies union for reforms, contract talks

UAW President Gary Jones, right, and UAW Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry raise their arms during Wednesday’s bargaining convention in Detroit. Jones will preside over contract talks with the Detroit 3 automakers this fall.

DETROIT — UAW President Gary Jones on Wednesday rallied membership around a “we are one” message, as he told hundreds of union members at a bargaining convention that he is reforming the union and they are ready to fight in upcoming contract talks with automakers.

Jones, who was elected president of the union in June, said reform isn’t easy, but it is important to “strengthen your trust in us.” He didn’t offer details but said more would be shared in upcoming months.

The UAW has been embroiled in a scandal over the misuse of funds from a training center jointly operated by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the union dating back several years. So far, seven people including two former FCA employees and five people affiliated with the union have been charged and pleaded guilty in the case, but more charges are expected as the government’s investigation continues.

The union approved a bargaining resolution at the convention that includes provisions for “health care, job security, better wages, better working conditions, a retirement that you can live on, pensions that you can count on and some new things as well,” Jones said. One new thing will be a battle over automakers’ use of temporary workers instead of hiring permanent workers.

Bargaining for new contracts for Ford Motor Co., General Motors and FCA auto workers will begin this summer, and contracts are set to expire in mid-September. Talks aren’t expected to be easy, as GM and Ford are restructuring and GM has announced plans to not allocate future products to five plants.

On Monday, the union announced it has boosted the weekly strike pay for members by $50 to $250, effective immediately, and will raise it to $275 beginning in January. UAW members also receive health care coverage if there is a strike.

Jones on Wednesday indicated a strike is possible.
“We are gearing up,” he said. “We are preparing for a conflict.”

But he said that battle may not come if automakers see how serious and ready the union is to fight.

“We are one, we are one,” Jones and members chanted.

The last significant UAW strike took place in 2007 when about 73,000 workers walked out at GM for two days over health care. At the time, it was the union’s first national strike against GM since 1970. but said more would be shared in upcoming months.

Gary Jones: “We are gearing up … We are preparing for a conflict.”

Seniority Lists
Bargaining Committee

Mike Herron
Tim Stannard
Zone at Large – 1st
Danny Taylor
Zone at Large – 2nd
Mark Wilkerson
Joe McClure
Chad Poynor
Steve Roberts
Derek Lewis
Bill Cundiff
Dedrick Wells
Chris Potts
Jay Minella
Danny Bragg
Daniel Wray
Dominic Perez
Chris Brown

1853 Officers

Tim Stannard
Mike Herron
Vice President
Darrell DeJean
Financial Secretary
Mark Wunderlin
Recording Secretary
Peggy Mullins
Trustee (3)
Jay Lowe
Dave Clements
Dave Spare
Sgt. at Arms
David C Spare
Ashley Holloway
E-Board at Large (2)
David Ryder
Steve Roberts

GM Unit Chair
Mike Herron
Leadec Unit Chair
Larry Poole
Ryder Unit Chair
Patrick Linck
AFV Unit Chair
Katherine McGaw
Retiree Chair
Mike Martinez