This holiday season as I look back over the past year and all that we have accomplished together, I find myself profoundly grateful and proud to be a part of UAW Local 249. Nothing has come easy for us this year, but by working together we have accomplished so much, not just as a union, but within our communities as well.
First and foremost, I want to thank the membership for your support, your strength, and your ability to adapt and overcome even the most difficult of situations. This year has been rough, and the short-sightedness of the company has not helped to ease that burden. Our members have struggled through parts shortages, schedule changes, layoffs, and daily quality disputes with management.
Our membership is strong and despite the company’s failures to address our member’s needs, Local 249’s members always rise to the challenge. I urge all members to continue fighting for our quality and taking a stand against management’s willingness to trade inconsistent quality for higher production numbers, as well as to lean on the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the power it gives you to protect ourselves and our products going into 2022.
The ability of our membership to adapt and overcome can be seen both on the shop floor and out in our communities. The amount of work accomplished by our 12 standing committees this year was astounding and a testament to the dedication of our standing committees and volunteers. We supported brothers and sisters near and far, provided aid to our communities, stood in solidarity at rallies, protests, and picket lines all while working together to show everyone what it means to be a UAW member.
The UAW as a whole has seen significant changes this year as well. The membership has authorized direct elections of the International Executive Board moving forward. While this is a significant change in how our union will function, it is critically important that members realize this is not an all-encompassing solution to the challenges we face as an organization.
It is our duty and responsibility to engage at every level and on every issue so that we can collectively make decisions for every member from every perspective. We must be engaged and knowledgeable about candidates, both inside and outside of the union, and the issues the UAW is facing, so we can take on those who seek to attack our way of life head-on.
This year there has brought an awakening around the country among the working class, an uprising and outcry for better working conditions, fair wages, and a workplace free of harassment and unfair labor practices. This has led to rallies and protests as workers fight for their right to unionize as well as strikes and picket lines at locations that are already members of a union. Too long has the working class felt the boots of greedy corporations on their necks and they have begun to fight back.
2022 will bring more of the same with continued attacks on working people, with Missouri legislators already drawing up attacks on prevailing wages, implementation of Right to Work, and even moving to disable the citizen’s referendum that was utilized to fight Right to Work last time. These greedy corporations and the politicians they own are coming for our way of life, our community, and our values, and they will not stop unless we stop them.
We need to take this UAW negotiated time off with our families and use it to rest and recharge, and to come back invigorated and ready to take on whatever challenges 2022 brings our way. We have proven time and again that when we work together, we can accomplish anything. Let’s put our focus going forward towards building the best communities and top-notch quality vehicles out there and let’s prove that no one builds better quality trucks and vans than UAW Local 249.
Again, I thank you for your continued support and for allowing me to serve you in the role of President of this great Local. I want to wish every one of you a joy-filled holiday season with your families and a Happy New Year with peace, prosperity, and the strength of our brotherhood in the year ahead.