Blog

Every year, as I think about the Thanksgiving holiday, I always try to concentrate on the things that we as a union, and our sisters and brothers in solidarity everywhere, have to be thankful for. And, as always, there is much to be thankful for. But what to say about 2020?
Local 163 President Ralph Morris Jr. talks about the importance of certifying November's election results and making sure that every vote is counted.
Yesterday, UAW Local 292 workers at GM in Kokomo, Indiana sent off the first boxes of ventilators. Not only have UAW members jumped into action to help their fellow community members, but they signed the boxes to help give hope to the hospital workers and people suffering from COVID-19. Check out the boxes and the heartfelt post, here.
My Sisters and Brothers, In today’s message, I’m happy to report an update on the extraordinary efforts of our UAW family members who are producing ventilators at the GM facility in Kokomo, Indiana. When the call came in March, our members stepped up immediately to courageously volunteer their time, going through rigorous safety training at the GM facility so they could begin work producing the critically needed ventilators that will save lives. This month will see the first delivery of more than 600 ventilators with thousands more to come over the next several months. A total of 30,000 ventilators are expected to be produced by this August.
The UAW International Executive Board is saddened by the passing today of our brother and former UAW Vice President Cal Rapson. Rapson’s career as a trade unionist and community leader began in 1965 when he joined UAW Local 659 while working at the General Motors Chevrolet Engine Plant in Flint, Michigan. A Michigan State University (MSU) student at the time, Rapson intended only to work one summer shift at GM. Instead, he committed a lifetime to helping advance the UAW’s fight for social and economic justice. In 2008 MSU recognized Rapson with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for his life’s work and dedication to labor.
My Brothers and Sisters, I am very pleased to share some positive news today that, once again, speaks to how our UAW family is stepping up to help out during this worldwide crisis. As we all know, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical to keeping our frontline health care workers and others safe from infection as they care for others and keep our communities functioning. Yesterday, we announced that the UAW, working with Ford Motor Company, has taken another step in responding to the COVID-19 crisis by shifting more production to face masks for medical use, PPE and respirators. Our UAW Ford members continue to volunteer to report to work during this difficult time as we expand at the facility across from Flat Rock, Michigan to make respirators. And UAW Ford members are continuing to make face masks for medical use at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant.

Together with Ford, the UAW continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by shifting production to face masks for medical use, personal protective equipment and respirators. UAW Ford members continue to step up and volunteer to work during this difficult time as we expand at the facility across from Flat Rock to make respirators and at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant to make face masks for medical use.

My Sisters and Brothers, Just a short message today on behalf of myself and the entire International Executive Board, to wish our UAW family all the best on this holiday weekend. Many of us are observing religious holidays; and while our celebrations may be different this year, we are still with one another in spirit and in faith. And it is that commonality that will see us through this terrible worldwide crisis.
The day COVID-19 shutdown the Warren (Michigan) Technical Center is the day Travis Fick jumped wholeheartedly into the fight against the virus. “It was a Friday. I believe March 20. I had been paying attention, so I knew there was a shortage of personal protection equipment, so I started a Facebook group to see what we could do,” says the Local 160 member. Immediately, he posted information about the need to get protection gear to medical professionals. He called businesses like dentist offices that had closed because they were not essential, but might have N95 masks, gloves, medical gowns and caps, or anything that could be used on the front lines.

Yesterday, UAW Local 434 members at John Deere in Moline, Illinois began producing face shields for health care workers battling COVID-19 in their communities. The original run will produce 25,000 face shields with materials on order to produce another 200,000. The shields will be distributed to local health care facilities, as well as being used by production workers to ensure they’re safe while producing the equipment.