June 22, 2003 was a sobering and heart wrenching day for the members of UAW Local 1832. They were forced to make a decision that would have an effect on their lives for the next 5 years.

The Company had given the bargaining committee their “Last, Best, and Final Proposal” on June 19, 2003. At this point, the bargaining committee had an obligation to bring the proposal back to the membership for a vote. The committee was not happy with the proposal, since it still contained a number of concessions and takeaways, but it was much better than what the Company had previously proposed. Realizing that 10 months is a very long time to be without a paycheck, the bargaining committee felt that this was a decision that must be made by the membership. Whether the membership decided to accept the proposal or reject it, the bargaining committee was committed to uphold their decision. Had the decision been to reject it, they were prepared to continue working hard with this greedy company to get a fair contract for the membership.

After going through the “highlights” or “lowlights”, whichever way you may look at them, and answering questions from the membership, they voted on the proposal. On this day, the membership, after a long struggle with Peterbilt and looking at their own situation, decided to ratify the proposal by a vote of 417 to 96.

When talking to the membership after the vote, there were comments like “I did not vote for the proposal, I just voted to go back to work” and “I am pleased to go back to work, but I am not happy with how the company has treated us in the past 10 months.” There were also the comments of those members who voted for ratification that are not included in the 250 members who are to return to work on July 1 stating “Well, we have to get someone back to work before I can get back.”

UAW Local 1832 President Mike Pardue stated after the meeting,”This is a bitter-sweet victory. We did not get what we think the members deserve, but this has been a long, hard struggle for the past 10 months. The members have spoken. The victory comes from how these members have stuck together in solidarity and stood united. Just as important, is the fact that while in this struggle, other UAW brothers and sisters came to the aid of the members of UAW Local 1832 showing that if a corporation takes on one, it takes on all. Not only did the UAW come to our aid, but other Unions such as PACE, AFL-CIO, Steelworkers, SEIU, IBEW, and many others took a stand for the American worker. There were also people from the private sector that joined in our struggle.”

President Mike Pardue went on to add, “If it had not been for this great International Union and their help through strike assistance, it would have been even more difficult than it was. Also, the International Union gave us guidance in our corporate campaign, which I feel had a lot to do with the resolution in the last days of the negotiations. Considering all that has occurred, I say this struggle was a victory. Not only were we able to prevent the Company from securing the major reductions in seniority, benefits, etc. it sought, it showed corporate America that we stand united and in solidarity.






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