December 21, 2020

Christmas 2020: Making A Better Life By What We Give

Christmas means different things to people. For some, Christmas is time spent with the people you love. For others, Christmas can be twinkling lights and trees decorated with memories. Others see Christmas as the light in their children’s eyes as they scramble to see what Santa left under the tree. Some view Christmas as a baby in a manager, the savior for mankind. We all know what Christmas means to us personally.

The year 2020 has been challenging for us all. Covid-19 has ravaged the world, including the United States. As of this writing 300,000 plus Americans have lost their lives to the pandemic, with 16.6 million cases reported. The amount of pain and suffering caused by the virus is immeasurable in both our lives and livelihoods.

In our economy, current job losses this year are at 3,700,000 while a total of 12,000,000 Americans are currently drawing unemployment benefits. Last Spring, Congress passed the CARES Act that provided an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits for workers impacted by the economic fallout from the virus. While this helped, literally millions of workers are left decimated in the wake of the virus struggling to make ends meet. In July, the Senate allowed this extra benefit to expire, so working class Americans were squeezed further from the pandemic. Workers in the service industry such as restaurant workers and hotel staff have been particularly hit hard by the economic fallout from the virus. Workers have been forced on strikes due to the economic fallout as well and our own Local 1872 remains on the picket line in York, Pennsylvania.

Another area Covid-19 has affected us, is in charitable giving. All workers who have lost their jobs now do not have many resources. In a period where donations have decreased, demands on charitable agencies have skyrocketed. As a result, most relief agencies have seen their resources dwindle. All of this has built up to make this holiday season a difficult one for millions of Americans. This year our CAP donations have touched many communities.

In our holiday giving, we should all think about our neighbors this year. Maybe we all give a little to help those whose holiday season looks bleak. Sitting aside a small portion of what we have been blessed with could go a long way to changing the Christmas conditions of those around us. As Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Charles Dickens put it this way, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.” Never have these sentiments been truer. Brothers and Sisters, this year our extended family needs our help, we should do all we can to answer the call.

While the introduction of a vaccine hopefully will see 2021 having more promise than 2020. The first part of the year will still be impacted as the virus continues to spread; we should follow recommended guidelines to do our part in stemming and controlling Covid-19. Hopefully, if things go well, we can start to see a slow return to normal activities later in the year. Once the situation improves, I look forward to meeting more of our UAW family.

In closing, I want to thank you all for the support during this difficult year. It is indeed an honor and privilege to serve you all. On behalf of the entire Region 8 leadership and staff, we wish you all a safe and happy holiday. Please remember the families impacted this year, and please consider lightening the burden of those around you if at all possible. Also, let’s make a special effort to reach out to those who lost loved ones. A call, a letter or email to let them know we are thinking about them would be greatly appreciated. Make your life and your Christmas by what you give this year to others.

Mitchell Smith
UAW Region 8 Director





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