Looking back and looking forward

By Jim Fisher

It’s hard to imagine that the end of 2022 is now here. For just a quick look back there were several significant accomplishments during the past year. Local 249 was successful in bringing in new members as full-time direct hires and for those members being able to skip past the temporary status as outlined in the National Agreement.

Local 249 added an additional 35 members as apprentices to our Skilled Trades Program. And, as we worked through the COVID-19 protocols, members were finally able to work inside the facility without wearing a mask, there were additional investments added to our facility, and our Local 249 reps fought around the clock to hold the company accountable for pay errors and make sure members pay was corrected when an error had occurred, and finally, Local 249 members had the opportunity for the first time to take part in the election process for the International UAW Executive Board positions.

Now on to the next year. In 2023, there will be several important topics for our members and the leadership team to be involved with. First off, Ford has already committed to invest $2 million dollars in upgrades to new lighting inside the plant. There is also a commitment to upgrade the Main Plant tunnel with new painting, and upgrades to the cafeteria including new tables and chairs. In addition, Ford has committed a $4.3 million dollar investment into makeovers in the plant bathrooms. In a separate topic pertaining to the restrooms, we have announced that KCAP will not renew the Team Solutions contract and will be bringing in a new cleanup company in mid-December of 2022.

In 2023, we expect to continue to see parts supply chain issues for most if not all the year. Therefore, schedule changes will most likely be an issue next year as well.

Next year, KCAP also plans to launch a C-Crew for the Transit System. KCAP has notified Local 249 that the tentative launch date will be April 3, 2023. Obviously, there is a lot that goes into the additional shift. The tasks of getting manpower into position, making facility adjustments, and getting the suppliers ready are still large projects that will need to be completed for a successful launch. In 2023, members will go through the process of both a new National Agreement and a new Local Agreement. It would have been easy over the past three years to just look the other way and blame COVID and microchips on a hard time and bad luck. Instead, Local 249 experienced growth in membership, plant expansions, and investments in both our plant and our community.

Local 249 works as a team. From our elected reps to our appointed reps, and our great members I can’t say enough how proud I am to be a Local 249 member. Next year will be very challenging. We have a lot of expectations to meet, and goals to accomplish. It will take all 8,000 of us working together next year to meet all these challenges. As you’re making your New Year’s resolutions for 2023, I challenge all of you to make a resolution to make an extra effort to support each other as union brothers and sisters next year. 2023 will be very challenging for all of us. When 8,000 of us move in one direction and with the same goals we become very powerful.

Finally, on behalf of the entire leadership team of Local 249, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Be safe and enjoy the time away with your family and friends.