Holiday Message from UAW International Vice-President Cindy Estrada

As we begin this holiday season and close out 2016, I want to thank you for the hard work and dedication you have shown throughout this year to our union. I also want to thank you for the kind words and compassion you gave me and my children after my husband died. While I could not respond to every message of support I received, please know that each one brought us comfort and held us up during very difficult days.

This time of year is certainly one of celebration. But it’s also a time for reflection. When I look back on 2016, I recognize that in our union and our country, voices rose against complacency and the status quo. We all wanted something different in our leaders and for ourselves, our union, our children, and our country. I believe that the various events of 2016 have changed us forever and have created an important opportunity for all of us to give more of ourselves to our union and community than ever before.

I don’t have all the answers for where we go from here, but I am inspired by these words of Walter Reuther written almost 60 years ago:

What we need to do is to keep the faith. Keep the faith in ourselves. And when the going is rough, as it will be, let us remember that the test of one’s convictions is not how did you behave, how did you stand up when it was convenient and comfortable. The test of one’s convictions is do you stand up for the things that you believe when it takes courage? Do you stand up in the face of adversity, in the face of controversy?

Let’s commit to challenging each other and growing in 2017, knowing that we can build an even stronger union and community – always together, always in solidarity.

Cindy

 

 

GM Investments and Legal Services Statment

Earlier this week General Motors announced investments of $552 million for key U.S. manufacturing facilities located in Tonawanda, Local 774, Lockport, Local 686, and Rochester, N.Y., Local 1097, and Parma, Ohio Local 1005.
 
UAW GM Vice President Cindy Estrada noted, “the UAW’s negotiations with GM to reinvest in the Tonawanda, Rochester, Lockport and Parma plants have paid off not only for our members but also for those communities. Our strategic bargaining efforts will keep and grow great American auto manufacturing jobs in places that have seen too much manufacturing disappear and will solidify the job security our members deserve.”
 
“We here in UAW Region 9 want to thank the General Motors Company for their confidence to invest in our 3 New York facilities in Tonawanda, Rochester and Lockport. This investment will benefit the communities of these Upstate New York GM facilities and are reflections of the local Leadership of the UAW and General Motors and our great UAW membership at these locations,” said UAW Region 9 Director Terry Dittes.
 
UAW Region 2B Director Ken Lortz agrees, “for Parma and Ft. Wayne today’s investment news continues to create good, stable jobs for our family and communities’ economic future. Through the collective bargaining process UAW members at Parma stamping and in Ft. Wayne have secured long term commitments to continue to produce world class products for General Motors.”
 
These investments include:
·         UAW Local 774, Tonawanda Engine – $295.9 million for future engine production
·         857 retained and 67 new jobs
·         UAW Local 686, Lockport – $31.86 million for components
·         320 retained jobs (incl. 13 salaried)
·         UAW Local 1097, Rochester – $5.9 million components
·         20 retained jobs
·         UAW Local 1005, Parma Metal Center – $218 million for new presses, dies and sub-assemblies
·         140 retained jobs
 
Also, this week the UAW President Dennis Williams gave a statement on the Legal Service Plan.
 
“I am pleased to announce that the UAW has finalized the documents with GM, Ford and FCA that establish the new Legal Services Plan that was bargained during the most recent round of negotiations with the Big 3. Benefits covered under this plan will include a variety of office legal services as outlined in the collective bargaining agreements and are available to all eligible active members, retirees and surviving spouses.
I would like to commend Vice Presidents Settles, Vice President Estrada and Vice President Jewell along with their respective national negotiating teams on their hard work at the bargaining table on behalf of our well deserving members.
The Legal Services Plan is expected to begin operations as early as January of 2017.  The specific dates and details of the plan will be communicated as the implementation begins.”
 
See a previous post on UAW GM Talks concerning the tax on the Legal Service Plan.

How much will I be taxed for the Legal Services Plan benefit and why am I taxed to begin with?

Are you wondering if you will be taxed for the new Legal Services Plan benefit and if so, how much you will be taxed?  Under the old Legal Services Plan benefit, some members believed that they were taxed $75 to $80 per year for that benefit.  That was NOT correct.  Instead the cost of the Plan (about $75 to $80 per member per year) was added to your income and you were required to pay taxes on that.  That meant that for most people, the actual tax was between $12 and $20.
The new Plan is expected to cost approximately $28 to $38 per member per year.  You will be required to pay taxes on that amount which means that your tax may be anywhere from a few dollars to $10 depending on your own actual tax bracket. 
Prior to 1992, legal services benefits were exempt from taxes so this benefit was provided without members being required to pay taxes on it.  In 1992, this exemption was eliminated by Congress.

Apprentice and Skilled Trades Update

Recently the UAW-GM Skilled Trades and Apprentice Committee identified 205 members that will be offered an apprenticeship in one of 21 UAW-GM locals. Those that have been selected will soon be receiving an offer package from the Joint Local Apprentice Committees. This is the first group of apprentices that was negotiated during the 2015 National Bargaining. The National Committee has begun discussions on identifying the next group of apprentices that will be indentured in early 2017.

Apprentices are indentured to fulfill future needs for journeypersons in our locals. There are currently 298 openings for journeypersons or journeyperson-in-training across 25 UAW-GM locations to fill immediate skilled trade needs. The locations and trades for these openings have been posted in all the UAW-GM sites. A skilled tradesperson that holds a UAW-GM skilled trade date of entry may apply for these openings in the Employee Placement System. Those skilled trade journeypersons that do not have a date of entry or are non UAW-GM members may apply on the gm.appone.com web site for posted openings. In accordance with the National Agreement the process for hiring journeypersons without a date of entry is the sole responsibility of General Motors and those that pass the screening process will be tested and interviewed by the company.

In addition to the 205 new apprentices, 368 skilled trade positions have been filled with UAW-GM members and 193 new skilled trade journeypersons have been hired in the 2016 year.

Important Information about Your Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

Beginning January 3, 2017, WageWorks will be replacing Acclaris to service Flexible Spending Accounts. Participants will not have access to flexible spending accounts via WageWorks until that date. This communication informs you of important upcoming activities that may affect you during this transition.

Now through December 16, 2016

Your 2016 Dependent Care FSA will continue to be supported by Acclaris. The last day to manage your account and submit your FSA reimbursement requests through Acclaris is December 16, 2016.

Blackout Period: December 17, 2016 through January 2, 2017

During this time you will be unable to access your 2016 FSA funds while we transfer your account information, including your account balance, from Acclaris to WageWorks. If you incur an eligible, out-of-pocket expense during this time, you may submit your claim directly to WageWorks beginning January 3, 2017. Claims received by Acclaris after December 16, 2016 will be denied and participants will be directed to resubmit the claim(s) to WageWorks.

PLEASE NOTE: Access to your WageWorks FSA account will not be available until January 3, 2017.

Starting January 3, 2017

If you had a balance remaining in your 2016 Flexible Spending Account, your balance will be available to manage and submit reimbursement claims to WageWorks. As a reminder, your Plan has a grace period which allows you to use your 2016 FSA funds for eligible expenses incurred between January 1, 2016 and March 15, 2017. You may submit 2016 run-out claims through April 30, 2017.

If you have a remaining 2016 balance or have elected to have a 2017 FSA, you will receive a Quick Start Guide from WageWorks that will provide detailed information on how to manage your account via the secure WageWorks website or the WageWorks® EZ Receipts® mobile app. If You Have Questions Learn more about the WageWorks® Flexible Spending at www.wageworks.com and the Support & FAQs Center. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, contact the WageWorks team through your WageWorks account, social media, blog, or by phone. The WageWorks Customer Service team is available at 1-877-924-3967 to assist you between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.