Local 249 accomplished a lot in 2022

By Tony Renfro

It’s around this time of year I always find myself reflecting on the past year. What have we done well, what could we have done better and what can we work on next year. As a union we have done so many good things that have gone unsung, I would like to give you just a small recap of all we have done over the past year.

Our CAP Committee put in countless hours in helping campaigns for local politicians that are on our side and help fight for us and our way of life as workers.

Our Veterans Committee did many things through the year helping service the needs of vets. They worked with local organizations to aid homeless veterans as well as selling challenge coins to raise funds for different programs, but what they are most proud of was the Thanksgiving dinner at St. Michaels Veterans Center.

The Women’s Committee put on many successful events for kids; the Easter celebration, the father-daughter dance and Halloween Trunk or Treat. They will end the year with the Breakfast with Santa and Whoville at the Hall on December 17. The amount of candy and treats that have been given out to hundreds of little smiling faces is astounding. They worked on the Habitat for Humanity’s Women’s build, Community LINC and Kaye’s corner, and Journey to New Life. They did all this as well as working with local women’s organizations around the
area, making this committee one we should all be proud of as UAW Local 249 members.

The Recreation Committee got back to normal after two years of COVID restrictions and hosted many events. Just a few events were: an amazing BBQ contest, a corn hole tournament, a float trip, Family Day at the K, and a Stay and Play golf trip at lake of the Ozarks. We are looking forward to next year’s events already.

The Education Committee hosted union classes – providing a good base of knowledge for many members – ran the UAW Local 249 Podcast “Solidarity Academy,” and educated members with gate actions. They also sponsored the Charlie Suffridge Scholarship Contest which provides scholarships to the children of three UAW Local 249 members each year, so be on the lookout for that again in the spring.

The Motorcycle Committee hosted the Spring Fling, Wings for Water charity event, Roses for Widows, many charity motorcycle rides. They’ve spent countless hours helping those in need in our local communities and other committees as well. They will end the year with the Santa ride visiting TNC community on December 8, and Wreaths Across America December 17.

The Member-to-Member Committee has been canvassing the plant, conducting member surveys and recruiting communicators trying to figure out more ways to strengthen our membership and find new and innovative ways to communicate.

The Community Service Committee was involved with Habitat for Humanity, Pawportunities, held a Back-to-School event with community partners including MO-Chip, delivered Blessing Bags to homeless women on Mother’s day, and most recently oversaw the Thanksgiving turkey and meal drive, which was a huge success.

The Human and Civil Rights Committee held a MLK Day of Action partnered with Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, held a Cinco de Mayo celebration, sponsored the Ethnic Enrichment Festival, participated in the Juneteenth parade and Juneteenth Memorial in Clay County, and supported PrideFest.

The Consumer Affairs Committee has been scouring the local business scene, recognizing business that support us and our families, as well as negotiating discounts for our members. You can see a list of the participating business at UAW Local 249 Consumer Affairs Committee Facebook page or the Local 249 website.

The Chaplaincy Committee held the first UAW Gospel Night at the hall and volunteers monthly with Avenue for Life. They are constantly on the lookout for people in need and have helped many members this year. Whether it be a situation that needs professional counseling or a helping hand, or just a sympathetic ear in someone’s time of need this is a special group of people capable of a level of compassion that is very rare.

Union label has been putting together lists of union made and American made goods and will have them ready for display once the tunnel renovation is completed. They also have been eagerly helping with the other committees’ events.

All the standing committees came together to fully support union wide events such as the St. Patrick’s Day float and parade, helping staff donation drives at Swope Park for families in need, providing Thanksgiving turkeys and dinners, and attending countless rallies, strike lines, pickets and more in support of the poor and working class fighting for a better life.

The thing I am most proud of is the way all the members of all the standing committees will jump at the opportunity to volunteer for all events being put on by another committee. The standing committees are many times the first impression of UAW Local 249 the public sees, and our face in the community. These members represent the best of us. I want to personally thank everyone of them for all their hard work and dedication.