Rockford UAW activists get political

Workers’ Correspondence

Jobs Campaign activists met with UAW-endorsed congressional candidate Richard Auman at our weekly meeting June 5. The Jobs Campaign began 16 months ago when still-working, laid-off and retired UAW rank-and-filers first gathered at our union hall to combat what we call “plant closing by the installment plan.”

Since United Technologies Corp. purchased the old Sundstrand Corp. in 1999, hundreds of union jobs have been moved from its Rockford plant sites. Although Jobs Campaigners are facing an uphill battle, we have managed to capture newspaper headlines, and television and radio time, including a 25-minute TV spot produced by a local church. The spot aired on the congregation’s regular Sunday morning program.

Auman is running against the incumbent Republican Don Manzullo in Illinois’ 16th Congressional District. Campaigners say they are fed up with Manzullo’s enthusiastic support for so-called free trade deals, such as the job-killing U.S. agreement with Singapore.

Hamilton Sundstrand workers in Rockford, who machine, assemble and test aerospace products for commercial and military customers, stand to lose about 130 good jobs when the company completes its move of the Plant 1 manufacturing unit and the Plant 6 actuation assembly and test operations to Singapore.

Prior to the Auman endorsement, UAW representatives discussed the dire situation at Hamilton Sundstrand with Congressman Manzullo, but Manzullo remains steadfast in his blind attraction to unfettered corporate power. Since the June 5 get-together, a member of the Auman-for-Congress staff has been attending the regular Jobs Campaign meetings in order to keep abreast of the Campaign’s activities. Both groups say they want to flesh out a common approach to putting a Jobs Campaign candidate in the U.S. House of Representatives.



Tim Mills (timmillsgp@aol.com) chairs the Jobs Campaign Committee of UAW Local 592 in Rockford, Ill.