State employees by law can not be political on the job. We can however be political off work and actively support people who support Labor. We also can write to our Legislators and respectfully voice our concerns.
We are under Civil Service whose original purpose was to be a shield between Civil Servants and the whims of partisan politics. Now days the Commission has become just another tool for those anti-Labor politicians whose main purpose appears to be to eliminate our voice.
To counter this we have a Legislative Liaison who monitors what is happening in Lansing and D.C. Maria Enriquez is that person and can be reached at 1 800 243-1985 and reports will be here on this page.
UAW NATIONAL CAP 2020 CONFERENCE
Caroline Ross, Chair – UAW Local 6000 Statewide Retired Workers
The UAW National CAP Conference, ‘Fighting for Tomorrow-Preparing Today” was held February 2-5 in Washington D.C. The conference was emceed by UAW CAP Director, Melvin Coleman. He stated this conference will highlight the UAW’s legislative and political priorities for 2020, focusing on the 2020 elections, international trade, job creation and other issues of importance to working families.
UAW Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry delivered the keynote address. His message emphasized the union’s strengths and advised us to never forget the monumental achievements the UAW has accomplished for all working families. He stated that “We all know that we’ve got a big job ahead of us this election year. We will not let anything distract us from the important goals.” Solidarity! “When we stand together, WE WIN!”
Josh Nassar, the UAW’s legislative director, gave delegates an overview of what happened in the first session of the 116th Congress and what the union will be fighting for this year. He stated that there are more than 400 bills, passed by the House and held up by the Senate GOP leadership, Mitch McConnell.
One speaker, Victor Reuther, brought the convention to tears. There was an audible gasp when he came to the stage. His resemblance to his grandfather, Walter Reuther was astounding. He was visibly honored to stand in front of the UAW members. Victor was present to announce that the Walter Reuther Humanitarian Award recipient is Congressman John Lewis, D-Georgia, a civil rights icon.
During the conference, two video tributes were presented; one to recognize Black History Month, and the other to recognize the impact of UAW women in the Labor force.
Region 9A Director Beverley Brakeman, advised the attendees that Puerto Rico is a part of Region 9A and has 5,000 UAW members. The island is still suffering from two recent major earthquakes and 2017’s Hurricane Maria. In the best tradition of the UAW, members took up a collection to help those in need. Delegates raised $6,100 for UAW members in Puerto Rico.
On Tuesday, we spent the day on the Hill attempting to speak with our elected officials. Most were gracious (to name a few; Stabenow, Peters, Kildee, Dingell) and welcomed members in to discuss our concerns. As in the past, our congressman from the 4th district, Moolenaar, refused to talk with us even though we had an appointment. We were told that our group (12 members) was to large …we were sent to the hall to confer with an intern. who admitted he had not heard of several of the bills we asked about. In the meantime, our congressman met with 2 donors to his campaign and a contingent of approximately 30 Oriental visitors who were ushered in as we stood there. (Not constituents – I asked.)
Nikki Ware, U.S. Census Bureau’s National Partnership Program, urged CAP delegates to make sure their fellow union brothers and sisters know how important it is for the bureau to have an accurate count in the 2020 census. Many segments of the population are undercounted, which could mean the loss of federal programs in their state. Labor unions are a trusted voice, and are able to relay the message about the importance of the census to all communities.
UAW Vice President, Cindy Estrada hosted the Women’s Breakfast featuring Congresswoman, Debbie Dingell, and UAW Region 9A Director, Beverley Brakeman. The breakfast focused on the power of women in the union, the challenges they face, and the importance of women and men making the union stronger through collaboration and mutual understanding. Congresswoman Dingell is a very passionate advocate for her constituents and the U.S. Constitution. She is a force to be reckoned with! Michigan is fortunate to have her fighting for us!!
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the keynote speaker on the final day gave a very inspiring speech with the message that we are at a crossroad in history and as Walter Reuther said, “We can make America the image of what it really stands for.” UAW members must help make that a reality in the 2020 elections. She spoke on The PRO Act, which was expected to be voted on Thursday, and would go a long way to punish employers who act illegally during organizing drives. (This Act was passed- but will probably reside in the stack of other bills in McConnell’s room.)
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, cautioned that some groups will use the tool of race to divide people during this election and allowing race to divide during this election. “The tool of race is targeted directly at the labor movement,” Johnson said. “Don’t allow the tools of race to cause us to turn on each other.” Stay strong. Stay together. Stay focused. If we stick with those stays, we can make democracy work for us all.”
This conference was very inspiring and gave us insight to the tough challenges we face in the election of 2020. All four days were packed with excellent speakers with valuable information, classes, sharing of ideas, and union fellowship! At your worksites, talk to your fellow workers, to your friends and family. Encourage them to become educated on the issues and the candidates. Encourage them to vote for their future and their children’s future!! Michigan has same day registration and the Absentee Ballots are available for everyone. Some contracts give workers election day off. If anyone needs a ride, offer to take them to the polls. Get out the VOTE! Your Vote is your Voice!
Some of the other speakers were: Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown; Ohio Congresssman, Tim Ryan;
Pennsylvania Representative, Connor Lamb; Liz Watson, Director of Congressional Progressive Caucus Center; Iowa Representative, Abby Finkenauer; Jon E. Cawthorne, dean of the Library System and School of Information Services at Wayne State University and most of the UAW International Executive Board and Regional Directors.
Do you attend the meetings of UAW CAP? Actives, Check with President Mitchell to verify if there are available positions in your regions and request an appointment. If you are not an appointed delegate, you can still attend the meetings and participate, with no vote. Retirees can also be appointed as a delegate by President Mitchell. Retirees are an integral part of the Union and are encouraged to participate.