June 14, 2010---The United Auto Workers union opened its 35th Constitutional Convention at Detroit's Cobo Center today, where an estimated 1,200 delegates will elect a new president and other officers, and plot the union's future. The UAW represents workers in the auto industry as well as aircraft manufacture and other industries in the US.
David Guralnick / The Detroit News
The convention kicked off with about a dozen United Auto Workers protesting outside of the convention (Above). Al Benchich, a General Motors retiree and ex-president of Local 909 in Warren, attracts the attention of a Detroit Police officer after handing out flyers announcing a planned rally outside of Cobo Hall. (Below).David Guralnick / The Detroit News
Sources quote Governor Jennifer Granholm during the opening of the session, "If we had a hands-off policy, GM and Chrysler would have been gone," Granholm was referring to the government bailout of two of the Detroit Three automakers."Your jobs would have been gone. We would be a nation making nothing."
Detroit News reports that Ford Motor Co. made $2 billion in the first three months this year, its fourth consecutive quarter in the black. General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, although still in debt to the federal government, are stronger financially after short bankruptcies last year. GM made $865 million in the first quarter; Chrysler reported an operating profit, which excludes interest and taxes, of $143 million.
The problem many UAW delegates are seeking solutions for is how to regain some pay and fringe benefits they have sacrificed to help Detroit automakers survive. UAW delegates aired beliefs that the country’s economic crisis has unfairly burdened working Michigan families and that the City of Detroit needs massive programs of public investment, more state and federal aid and labor reform that respects the right to organize and bargain collectively. Several resolutions have been passed since Day 1 of the convention on Sunday, June 13, 2010.
Urban Agenda – A resolution approved, on Tuesday, June 15, supporting the UAW’s commitment to strong and vital urban centers. The union’s vision includes a strong safety net, quality educational institutions and access to high-wage jobs to lift urban residents out of poverty. “This issue is near and dear to our hearts because one in four children lives in poverty. They are not around the corner from us, they are next door to us,” said delegate John Anthony (Left) of UAW Local 602.
Photo by Rebecca Cook (UAW.org).
1. The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100614/AUTO01/6140382/Granholm-defends-autos-bailout-at-Detroit-UAW-meeting#ixzz0r2FheLEL
2. United Auto Workers: http://www.uaw.org/convention, http://www.uaw.org/convention/articles/economy-international-labor-solidarity-resolutions-pass