Scholarship contest winners announced
By Pat Hayes
The $5,000 first place award in Local 249’s annual Charlie Suffridge Scholarship Contest was won by Sophia Zorich for her essay on the National Labor Relations Act. She is the daughter of UAW member Bret Zorich. The $2,500 second place award went to Brady Lisec, the son of Mike Lisec. Haden Long took the $1,500 third place prize. He is the son of UAW member Frank Long. Micah Trevino’s essay won the $1,000 fourth place prize. He is the son of Michael Trevino.
“The history of American labor is rarely taught in public schools,” said Gary Thomas, chair of Local 249’s Education Committee.
“Our essay contest is an effort to redress this shortcoming. With union membership declining and the middle class shrinking, we think it’s critical for young people to learn the history of the union movement which we think is the key to reversing the trend toward declining wages and job insecurity,” he said.
“We also hope that helping students who enter the contest will help UAW parents cope with the rising cost of a college or trade school education,” said Thomas.
The contest is open to the dependents of UAW Local 249 members in good standing who are juniors or seniors in high school during the year the enter the contest.
Contestants must be planning to attend a college, university or trade school the following school year after graduation. They must not be winners of a previous contest.
The annual contest is sponsored by Local 249’s Education Committee. It is named after Charlie Suffridge, an outstanding union educator and Education Committee Chair who proposed the contest. Suffridge pioneered many local education initiatives that focused on educating new members and the wider community about labor issues.
UAW Education Committees are responsible for building the power of the movement through educating and training members of their local union.
“Members of the committee identify the training needs of their local union membership and, with their leadership’s approval, provide classes, materials, and information based on those needs,” said Local 249 Education Committee Chair Gary Thomas.
The UAW provides training in effective education to new members of the committee to help them fulfill their role in the union.
Workshops are also available on a variety of subjects including labor history, multicultural awareness and globalization. A wide variety of printed material is also available through the International.
“One of the biggest jobs of the Education Committee is to reach out to new members,” said Local 249 President Jason Starr. “A membership that knows its history is a strong membership that can’t be pushed around by the company.
The committee also sponsors the James “Frog” Moran Solidarity award presented at each month’s membership meeting to members who demonstrate outstanding solidarity.