UAW Elects St. Louis’ Gary Jones as New International President

By on June 28, 2018

From Labor Tribune:  With a rousing call-to-arms to his members to fight for the rights of all workers, their families and protect the values the UAW and other unions have won to create the middle class, St. Louis based UAW Region 5 Director Gary Jones recently was elected as general president of the United Auto Workers at its 37th Constitutional Convention here.

“We’re in for a battle,” Jones said. “A battle for unions, for the UAW and the existence of the middle class. I’m here to fight for you, and you have come here with me to fight. Fighting is in our blood. We are here to win!”

Paying tribute to past leadership, his family, UAW members everywhere and his own members of Broken Arrow, OK Local 1895 –– where he began his UAW career as a furnace operator in 1975 –– Jones outlined a broad range of goals, among them:

  • Jobs – Pledging that the UAW will meet anti-union forces “on every front… like efforts to pass more so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws and… gerrymandering legislative districts,” he stressed that the union has an all-out effort nationally to organize the unorganized and create more good paying jobs for workers. “This effort will use the strength of solidarity to win solid contracts for our members,” Jones said, stressing the need for “making sure everyone’s basic needs are met. A rising tide lifts all boats.”
  • Politics – In this critical period of the mid-term elections that could well determine the fate of workers for years to come, Jones made it clear: “Our politics will be Labor first… We will no longer be asking why our union does not support our representatives, we will be asking why our representatives do not support our union….”
  • Militancy – Reminding the delegates of the famous sit-down strikes in the Flint auto plants that “changed the world with the strength of our solidarity,” and the 1932 march of over 5,000 workers at the Ford plant in Dearborn to win decent working conditions and pay enjoyed by members today, Jones stressed, “When one of us is under attack, an army of red-shirted brothers and sisters will rise and say proudly ‘What you do to one of us, you do to all of us…’ and we will prevail.

    “When faced with challenges, we will remember standing on the overpass on Miller Road, Gate 4, in the Ford River Rouge complex,” he said, citing a historic confrontation with Ford Motor Co. goons in 1937.

  • Social justice – Noting that the UAW, like the rest of the Labor Movement, recognizes “Values are color blind, values are gender neutral,” he pledged that the UAW will support “…values that embrace education, health care, time for families, fraternity, a fair living wage and equality for all.”
  • Community support – He noted that across America, UAW members have a heart that always reaches out when help is needed, and will continue that effort. As examples, he noted UAW members bringing food and other supplies to Hurricane Harvey and Irma victims in Texas and Florida and helping in Puerto Rico with everything from medical staff to electricians.

    Jones said his personal values are a reflection of his strong upbringing, his faith and his commitment to the core values of the UAW.

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