UAW Local 848

Organizing Is Topic of Leadership Meeting

Ms. TzintzĂșn and the Marshall Street Committee

Organizing Is Topic of Leadership Meeting

By Gene Lantz

President James Ducker thanked our International Rep, David Barker, for inviting Cristina Tzintzún (pronounced “see soon”) to speak with our grievance handlers and negotiators on August 15. All three units were at the hall for the meeting.

Tzintzún said that she was from the International President’s office on a mission to explore organizing opportunities and ideas to improve union density (number of members in an area) and political clout. She asked several questions, and our guys flooded her with information and ideas. It turns out that we know a lot about the aerospace industry in Texas and many of us have been thinking of ways to improve UAW membership.

Tzintzún indicated that unions are learning to stop relying on traditional methods. We need to stop placing all our hopes on the National Labor Relations Board and precedents in labor law. Instead, we need to focus the powers of our members and all the friends we can find to accomplish our goals. She said we should turn toward “communities, solidarity with other unions, and political people.”

Corey Gregg jumped on that occasion to invite the rest of the leadership to attend the monthly AFL-CIO meetings at 7:30 on Third Thursdays at 1408 N Washington in Dallas. He said that a lot of veteran organizers from different unions could help Local 848.

Tzintzún also encouraged unionists to try “coalitions with churches.” She specifically suggested that union members should be involved in organizing, rather than leaving everything to the already-overworked UAW staff. She said, “You guys should do the organizing!”

Our members asked if they could expect some real change here. Tzintzún replied, “There is a real commitment to this state and a real commitment to building power for unions in Texas.” She spoke very highly of our International President: “I haven’t seen anybody as thoughtful and creative as our current president is.” She went on, “Dennis is thinking long term for the union.”

President Ducker asked if she could come back to Local 848 and help with training. She said she would definitely be back before finishing her report to International President Dennis Williams on December 13.

Ms. TzintzĂșn with the Red Oak Bargaining Committee

After the meeting, some of us Googled Tzintzún on the internet. It turns out that she is well-known in Texas labor. Her former organization, Workers Defense Project, recovered millions of dollars in stolen wages for workers in Austin. They organized thousands of construction workers in very difficult circumstances. If the UAW adopts her ideas, we may see some dynamite organizing in the near future!

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