On June 7, 2012 at the regular meeting of the Local 72 Executive board I tendered my resignation as president effective June 30, 2012. In compliance with the UAW constitution the Vice President Richard Popovich will assume the office of President and an election will be held for Vice President of Local 72.
The decision to resign did not come easily or without many, many hours of thought and apprehension. I have been a part of Local 72 since I transferred from Milwaukee Body in 1976. I’ve been in a leadership role from 1977 and as most of you know I live in Green Lake County. I enjoy being active in my union and have always had a desire to help all my brothers and sisters, any way I could. That’s why the decision came so hard.
The President of this Local needs to be close at hand to help guide and resolve things that come up almost daily. I am a hands on person and just felt like I was not doing my job the way it should be done. I’ve been very fortunate to have a very good executive board that works very well together. They are all volunteers and don’t get the credit they deserve. Since none of us are paid it’s very hard to get people who are willing to donate their time and talents to help any organization, much less a labor union. Every one of them deserves the utmost respect and appreciation for the efforts they contribute.
For me being 272 miles away, the round trip was a killer. More than five hours in the car on a good day was just more than I could handle. Some of the retirees said, it’s easy to solve just move back here. Well, when I retired from the plant in 2004 my wife Kathy and I built our home here in Green Lake County and here we want to stay. I can say I hate the politics up here but the area is beautiful and peaceful.
The other problem is my health. I have a severe problem with staying awake while driving. That along with driving at night on the return trip to my home after 10 pm led to several close calls with deer and the unmarked Amish horse drawn buggies that are in my area. Almost 50% of my travel is on county and township unmarked two lane roads. So the decision to resign was based more on common sense and a rational realization that I just couldn’t keep doing what I was doing without having a car accident.
So, in closing I want to say this, it has been an honor and privilege to serve this great local for many years. I’m humbled by the fact that so many people had the confidence in me throughout the years to elect me as a representative of Local 72. I will never forget all this great union has done for me and my family. Keep hope alive!
Thanks to all the Volunteers
Local 72 has always been involved in social justice and we will continue to be a vocal supporter of workers’ rights in Wisconsin. We always follow the endorsements our C.A.P. Councils and customarily have a small army of volunteers doing all the heavy lifting. (phone calls, leafleting, helping people to the polls, stuffing envelopes, helping get people registered for voting, doing surveys and all the things that go unnoticed). This election on June 5th was very different than almost all other elections. The volunteers from our retired workers chapter put their hearts and souls into the re-call effort. From the entire leadership of Local 72 we can’t thank you enough. You truly are the salt of the earth and without your active and spirited contributions we would not be where we are today. Thanks again.
President Obama talks about Social Security
Social Security is not in an immediate crisis. It's not the driver of our deficits, the way Medicare and our health care programs are. We can easily tweak the Social Security program while protecting current beneficiaries, ensuring that it's there for future generations. There are ways that involve, for example, slightly raising the [payroll] cap. I think it's a pretty sensible thing to do. What I've said to [Republicans] is, "I am prepared to sit down with you, the way Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill sat down together. And make very modest adjustments that extend the life of Social Security for 75 years." We can do that again. But it's going to require us not playing politics with Social Security. All of us must understand that millions of Americans have been lifted out of poverty because of Social Security. It is the linchpin of our social safety net. We can't privatize it. We don't want it to be subject to the winds in the stock market. We want it there for people over the long run.
No Pension buys outs at Chrysler
The chief executive of Chrysler Group LLC said there was "no need" for the No. 3 U.S. automaker to follow its larger U.S. rivals in offering white-collar pension buyouts.
"There's no need for us to do it," CEO Sergio Marchionne said of the buyouts during a visit to a Fiat dealership in Austin on Monday. He did not expand on his comments. A growing concern for decades as U.S. automakers lost market share to foreign-based automakers in their home country, pension costs became an albatross for the U.S. industry with the sector's downturn five years ago.
Chrysler ended 2011 with a nearly $32 billion pension obligation and its pension plans were underfunded by $6.5 billion, according to its annual filing. The company's market value was around $7.5 billion at the end of 2011. Chrysler has just over 130,000 retirees. About 30,000 are former employees who were paid an annual salary while the rest are retired hourly workers represented by the United Auto Workers union.
Marchionne, who is also CEO of Italian automaker Fiat SpA (MIL:F), has been at the helm of Chrysler since the U.S. automaker emerged from the brink of collapse before its U.S.-funded bankruptcy in 2009. At that time, analysts said Chrysler would hold Fiat back, but in the last three years; the U.S. automaker has been Fiat's main source of strength as Europe's auto market weakens. Chrysler sales in the United States have jumped about 30 percent while the overall U.S. auto market has risen 13.4 percent during the first five months of the year.
Fiat has delayed the launch of its Bravo and Grande Punto cars to 2014. By contrast, Marchionne has not slowed spending on vehicle development in the United States.
"I have not slowed down one single dollar of spending in the United States," Marchionne said. "As a matter of fact, I've probably accelerated it in the last six months."
A sharp slowdown in jobs growth last month raised fears on Wall Street that the U.S. economic recovery may be foundering. Marchionne said the pace of the economy is slow, but there would not be an economic contraction. "If I have any concerns about the U.S. it's the potential impact coming from Europe, but it's not from internal issues," Marchionne said.
Bring jobs home
The UAW and AFL-CIO affiliates held the first of several nationwide events launching their “America Wants to Work” mobilization campaign today near Master Lock’s flagship factory, which brought back production jobs from China last year.
UAW Local 469 members at Master Lock saw a beacon of hope when newly negotiated contract language between the union and company brought jobs back from China in 2011 – something workers would like to see become a trend in American manufacturing. “The return of solid, middle-class jobs to Milwaukee was huge for us, especially in this economy,” said Ron McInroy, director of UAW Region 4, which covers Wisconsin, who spoke at the news conference held at UAW Local 9’s union hall in West Allis, Wis.
“Master Lock provides a great example of what we can achieve when we work together to invest in America and American workers,” McInroy added. “For the first time in 15 years, our plant is running at full capacity,” said Local 469 President Mike Bink, who also spoke. “While we’ve made significant progress at our plant, we recognize that we still have a ways to go to get Americans back to work.”
The mobilization will also focus on the Bring Jobs Home Act, a legislative package introduced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., that would eliminate tax breaks allowing companies to deduct expenses associated with moving operations overseas, while still encouraging them to assist displaced workers. It would also provide a tax credit to corporations that bring jobs back to the United States.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. (2nd District), who spoke at the news conference, said for decades in Wisconsin they have had too many middle-class jobs going overseas. “We need to stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas and start rebuilding American manufacturing through targeted tax cuts for companies that keep jobs here in the United States,” added Baldwin, who has represented Wisconsin since 1999 and is a 2012 candidate for the U.S. Senate. “That’s why I support Senator Stabenow’s Bring Home Jobs Act, which would end tax benefits for firms that move jobs or businesses overseas.” The Bring Home Jobs Act is expected to be voted on in early July when Congress convenes after the Independence Day recess.
Congressman Paul Ryan
So, all we hear is how Paul Ryan is going to be on Mitt Romney’s short list for Vice President for the Republican ticket. Is this the same Paul Ryan that supports drastically changing Medicare and Social Security? Is this the same Paul Ryan who stands shoulder to shoulder with millionaires? Is this the same Paul Ryan who has turned his back on the middle class? Is this the same Paul Ryan who supports Right to Work legislation? Pure and simple Paul Ryan is a career politician who claims that the national debt has been caused by entitlement programs. Guess what Ryan your views are not main stream. Without Social Security and Medicare there would not be a middle class. When John Kennedy became president in 1960 more than 80% of the senior citizens in this country were in poverty. If it weren’t for unions raising the standard of living for everyone in this county and President Lyndon Johnson getting Medicare passed there would be no middle class. Paul Ryan is an extremist and his agenda only favors the rich and powerful. Don’t be fooled this fall it’s time for a change. Let’s vote Paul Ryan out of office.
What is Governor Walker Hiding?
Eighty-Two Days and $160,000 later, still no word on who’s footing the bill for his team of criminal defense lawyers. Gov. Walker and his campaign are continuing to refuse to name the donors to the legal defense fund he is using to pay for defense lawyers in a “John Doe” criminal investigation of corruption and illegal campaigning.
One Wisconsin Now spokesperson Mike Browne commented, “It’s understandable that Gov. Walker’s criminal defense lawyers may have advised him to refuse to comment on his involvement in the growing political scandal surrounding his administration.” He continued, “But there is no reason, other than Gov. Walker’s penchant for secrecy, that prevents him from coming clean with the people of Wisconsin about who’s footing the bill for this criminal defense team.”
The latest campaign finance filings show a total of $160,000 has been transferred to his defense fund since its creation, but Gov. Walker and his campaign spokesperson have refused to reveal the names of the donors.
Browne concluded, “Gov. Walker claims he is cooperating with prosecutors in the investigation of corruption and illegal campaigning by his close aides and associates. But why won’t he cooperate with the people of Wisconsin and stop stonewalling who’s bankrolling his team of criminal defense lawyers?”