Chairman's Report - Sunday Feb. 9, 2014
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Chairman's Report - Sunday Feb. 9, 2014

Vacation Planning Period Approaching

      The National Agreement requires the GM Corporation to notify each local union during the month of February as to what the Summer Vacation Period will be for that year.  While GM has not yet notified local 1853 of this year's plan for Spring Hill Manufacturing, we expect that to occur before the months end. Consequently, the vacation planning process will start in the first two weeks in March immediately following formal notification. The shop committee will publish a formal letter at that time which will outline the specific details for each area.

Largest Profit Sharing Checks Ever for UAW-GM Hourly Employees

    On Thursday February 6th, 2014, General Motors held it's 2013 4th Quarter business and financial review. While the 4th quarter results were less than the financial analysts on Wall Street estimated, the overall news was good with another profitable quarter for GM in North America. That profitability pushed the Profit Sharing payment for the UAW-GM workforce to a record high amount of $7500.00 for all 48,000 plus hourly employees. 
In a letter to both UAW and Management Leaders in each GM North American facility, Joe Ashton, UAW VP and Director of the GM Dept. and Jim Glynn, GM VP and Director NA Manufacturing and Labor Relations, announced the Profit Sharing Payout as part of the National Agreement Language. They also announced that the payment would be made on the Feb 28, 2014 paycheck deposit. 
I would like to recognize our members of UAW 1853 for their efforts in helping make this payout happen.
While we produce the Chevrolet Equinox in General Assembly, we also produce engines and components for 19 other GM facilities. What you do everyday, ensuring the highest quality, while maintaining the throughput required, helped 19 other plants meet their goals and targets of the BEST Quality and meeting their schedule requirements. Another benefit to this is helping the other facilities meet or beat their budgets. All of this added up to GM being able to perform at the levels that helped them attain another profitable quarter. 
Thank you for what you do everyday, it does make a difference. There is no single plant that has more of a collective impact on other GM plants as the Spring Hill facility does. 
The $7500 payout equates to $3.91 per hour, based on 40 hours a week for 52 weeks. Add in the $1000 Performance Bonus paid in 2013 and the $250 Quality Bonus the hourly workforce received, and that equates to $4.56 per hour received under the UAW/GM National Agreement. This shows the positive influence of collective bargaining. 

 Uniform and Athletic Club Allowances To Be Available Starting in March

     The uniform and athletic club allowances that have been negotiated as part of the local collective bargaining process will be available starting in March. There have been numerous obstacles in finalizing the specific processes with GM required to comply with the language. General Motors has been required to create a process that complies with all legal and accounting standards which are completely different than our previous clothing program. In addition, adding the capability to utilize a portion of this money for a Athletic Club Membership has made the process more complex. Lastly, our clothing supplier, Impressions has been working diligently to stock the store with all new American Made, Union Made clothing and shoes to serve our union members. This has been no small feat due to the sheer magnitude of the newly negotiated program. There will be a $600 allowance in 2014 and $300 allowance in 2015 that has been negotiated for each of our eligible members to use. I will be providing further updates as progress is made and as March nears.  

Hurry Only 3 Days Left to Put Profit Sharing In Your Personal Savings Plan

Under the terms of the Profit Sharing Plan for Hourly-Rate Employees in the United States (Profit Sharing Plan), you will have the opportunity to contribute all or a portion of that payout on a pre-tax basis to your Personal Savings Plan (PSP) account, subject to tax law limitations. You may elect to contribute your Profit Sharing payout in 1% increments, up to 100%, to your PSP account. As a result of 2011 UAW-GM Negotiations, each year, all prior Profit Sharing contribution elections are re-set to zero. Therefore, if you do not take any action, no contribution to the PSP will be made on your behalf, and your entire Profit Sharing payout will be included with your regular wages. If you wish to make a contribution of all or a portion of your Profit Sharing Plan payout to the PSP, you must affirmatively make such election between January 30, 2014 and 4 p.m. EST on February 13, 2014. Please go to or call 1-931-489-4646 to elect to make these contributions to your PSP.

2010 Unpaid Vacation & 2011 Signing Bonus

In an effort to ensure UAW 1853 members who were eligible for either being paid for UNUSED Vacation time from calendar year 2010, or for those members who were contractually eligible, but have not received the signing bonus for the 2011 National Agreement, we have been collecting APPEAL forms from our members. We have been doing this since the beginning of December 2013 as a result of the agreements made during local negotiations. 
We need any member who has not turned in an APPEAL form yet for either the 2010 UNUSED VACATION, or 2011 NATIONAL AGREEMENT Signing Bonus, that believes they are eligible for this, to submit their APPEAL forms by 4 p.m. on Friday Feb 14th, 2014.
If you have already submitted your forms and info to either your committeemen, or directly to my office in GA, you do not need to submit another one. 
After we get any remaining forms turned in by Feb 14th, we will create our database and begin to review and work on each appeal submitted. As we work the appeals, updates will be given to the members who turned forms in, as we work through your individual case. I would ask for your patience with this process, as we have a high number of forms and will need to investigate each one on a case by case basis.
Again, we need any remaining 2010 UNPAID VACATION Appeal forms and /or 2011 NATIONAL AGREEMENT Bonus Payment appeal forms turned in by Friday, February 14, 2014 by 4 p.m. 

Key 4 Sends Formal Apprentice Letter to Detroit

       The Key 4 sent a formal letter to the National Parties in Detroit to file a "request for information".  This is a prerequisite for being able to set up our apprentice program for the Spring Hill site. I will be keeping the membership updated on all of the specific information regarding the formation of this process as soon as we get a response from the National Parties.

Labor History in the Making This Week

    This week will mark a historical chapter in labor history of the United States and especially in the future of organized labor in the south. The Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga Tennessee will make a historical decision this week which will determine whether they will have co-determination in the workplace or not. This Tennessee VW Plant with a German heritage and its American  workforce  however have defied all of the traditional norms in the United States when it comes to the question of unionization. Typically a company fights with all of its resources to keep the union from gaining a foothold in their company instead opting to threaten workers with job loss 
and discharge if they support a union. The parent company usually flies their top brass in to hold captive meetings with the workers telling them that their plants will be closed and they will be jobless if they choose to join a union. But not in Volkswagen's Case where German Law gives the union a set on their supervisory board. The leadership of Volkswagen has publicly stated, we want a union in our plant to create a works council. We want to have the workers be a part of our leadership team and the union on our supervisory board just like all of the rest of the plants that we operate throughout the world but it is the workers choice. 
  This pronouncement has left anti-union leaders like Tennessee's Senator Bob Corker and Governor Bill Haslam crying foul. Corker told the press that Volkswagen will be the laughing stock of the business world if it allows the UAW to represent workers in their plant. "For management to invite the UAW in is almost beyond belief," Corker said. "They will become the object of many business school studies — and I'm a little worried could become a laughingstock in many ways — if they inflict this wound."  Corker became an outspoken opponent of the UAW and public enemy number one during the Automotive Bridge Loan hearings, when he urged the bankruptcy of the General Motors and suggested that the union workers needed a "haircut" meaning that they would suffer from wage cuts and pension reductions. Since then his anti union rhetoric has been non-stop. Corker, who has taken credit for bringing  VW to his hometown of Chattanooga has done everything short of threatening VW for ever considering letting the workers have a voice in the form of a union.  
Bernd Osterloh, the head of the Volkswagen's global works council and a member of the company's supervisory board, was among a delegation of company leaders who visited the plant recently and later met with Governor Haslam and fellow Republican U.S. Senator Corker in Nashville.

In his only U.S. interview, Osterloh told The Associated Press that the pending decision about union representation for workers at the automaker's lone U.S. plant will have no bearing on whether the company will decide to add the production of a new SUV in Tennessee or in Mexico.

"Those two things have nothing to do with each other," Osterloh said during the interview, which was conducted in German. "The decision about a vehicle will always be made along economic and employment policy lines. It has absolutely nothing to do with the whole topic about whether there is a union there or not." 

     These comments were in opposition to the statements made by Haslam in which the Governor stated that the "UAW's entry in Tennessee would be a negative impact on the decision of where Volkswagen would build their new sports utility vehicle.  Clearly the senior Volkswagen Manager responsible for Volkswagen Operations Worldwide refuted Haslam's anti union fear campaign.  Haslam had previously been trying to convince the public and VW workers that by having a union at Volkswagen, it would hurt their future prospects and suppliers would be reluctant to locate by the plant.  This is completely false and was designed to spread fear in the business community that unionization would hurt the future job prospects in Tennessee.

This is a letter that I sent to the Nashville Tennessean and Chattanooga Free Press after the recent articles from Governor Haslem appeared in the Press.

  I respectfully disagree with the recent comments made by Governor Haslam about to attracting new automotive suppliers to Tennessee. Most suppliers want major automotive contracts to supply parts and components. They are run by business people who understand the financial benefits of doing business, whether its customers are unionized or not.  There has been absolutely no difficulty in getting suppliers to supply the unionized automotive plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. 
 Haslam’s comments were another attempt to try to sway the vote at Volkswagen in Chattanooga. Why are these millionaires trying to prevent Chattanooga Volkswagen workers from having representation like every other VW plant in the world? The message from Haslam, Corker, Norquist and others is clear, "we don’t want you to have a voice in the workplace so that we can attract other companies that would like to come and exploit Tennessee workers.” The working families of Tennessee deserve much better leadership from their elected representatives. 
   When the people of Tennessee and the greater South are allowed to choose to join a union free from employer threats and external political coercion, most workers choose to have a union to advocate on their behalf. Unions of today, like the UAW,  are cooperative and assist the businesses in making a profit while helping to develop safe, secure workplaces that pay workers fair wages and benefits.
 Union members are your neighbors, church deacons, teachers, little league coaches, Kiwanis & Rotary Club members, scout leaders, post office workers, firefighters, and police officers and yes- car builders. They are proud Tennesseans. 

                                                                 Michael Herron
                                                                 UAW Chairman
                                                                 Local 1853
                                                                 Spring Hill, Tennessee
     The VW workers will vote this week starting February 12th to determine whether they will have the right to create their own union and have co-determination.  It has been along time since there has been a bigger week for organized labor in the south. Big money is flowing in, negative billboards are going up and millionaire politicians that have been making money at the expense of workers are all coming to the battlefield in Chattanooga. The stage is set, yet, at the end of the day it is the workers in the VW Plant that must choose whether they want co-determination to insure a voice in their own workplace, not these external anti-union politicians that want to set the rules for the VW workers. It will be an interesting week in Tennessee.
UAW-VW Social Media Links:
In Solidarity,
Mike Herron
UAW Local 1853 Chairman
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