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Early History of Local 387

  It was early in 1965 that the Ford Motor Company set up an employment office. It was located in an empty market building on Fort Street in Trenton, Michigan.

  Early hired workers consisted of skilled trades and receiving material control checkers. There were new hires from all walks of life. They came here from all parts of the country and even from foreign lands. There were many U.A.W. members transferred to Woodhaven from other Ford facilities. With this opportunity they received July 1, 1965 seniority.

  The plant, located on West Road, was still under construction. The south end of the facility was covered, but the north end was wide open. There were machines set up in the tool and die room and only two production lines. A gaping hole was located on the west side of the plant where a crane was used to bring hi-los and tow trucks up out of the basement.

  In July of 1965 the International U.A.W. chartered Local 387. Ed Plawecki of the Star plant was sent here as an administrator. The job was not easy; problems had to be resolved without the aid of any local agreement. Woodhaven Stamping Plant was a new plant, 387 was a new local, our committee had to negotiate every grievance out of a common sense attitude. We did go by the International Agreement as it concerned wages, benefits and holidays.

  Our first membership meeting was held at the Flat Rock High School. Region 1E director, Bard Young, explained the procedures involved in establishing our new Local Union. Ken Bannon, U.A.W. Vice-President and Director of National Ford Department, was introduced. He explained that it would take time to get Local 387 on the road to its own identity. The fact is that there were members transferred here that had worked under different local agreements. There were also selected supervisors sent here from other Ford Plants that were implementing new ideas.

  The first election of Local 387 officers was held with Ed Plawecki being chosen as the President and Plant Chairman. Along with the collective bargaining unit, he had to negotiate a local agreement. It was not easy, even though Ford Motor Company had agreements with other stamping plants. Our Local began to come together with the membership attending meetings at the Flat Rock High School. Committees were formed and began to function with writing a local constitution, education for the membership and having sports and social activities. Our Local rented office space in Flat Rock for its headquarters.

  Subsequently, we held meetings in the Trenton High School and in the K. of C. Hall on Dix Road in Southgate, Michigan. Our first election was held in the plant parking lot on February 24, 1966 with the following results:
  • President - Eddie Plawecki
  • Vice-President - John Noble
  • Recording Secretary - David L. Smith
  • Financial Secretary - Doyle Williams
  • Guide - Dick Tuszynski
  • Sergeant-At-Arms - Joe King
  • Trustees - "Toledo" Art Harris, Bill Chaney, George Splan
  • Non-Skilled Bargaining Committeeman - Rich Haynes
  • Skilled Trades Bargaining Committeeman - Frank C. Kastl
  • Non-Skilled District Committeemen - Ken Brown, Tom Igielski
  • Skilled Trades Committeemen - David "Smitty" Smith, Earl Smith
  There were 1,072 members who participated in the first election. We held our first Local meeting in our new hall on Telegraph Road, Flat Rock, on Sunday, August 24, 1969, with an Open House.

  When the Local 387 hall was opened, the leadership was as follows:
  • President - Robert Daniels
  • Vice-President - Robert Johnson
  • Recording Secretary - Frank Sablowski Jr.
  • Financial Secretary - Doyle Williams
  • Trustee Chairman - Robert Muse
  • Trustee - Theodore Varady
  • Trustee - Philip Kuspa
  • Sergeant-At-Arms - Arnold Foster
  • Guide - Joseph Behers
  • Bargaining Committeeperson - Albert Divincenzo
  • Bargaining Committeeperson - Alfred "Pops" Nudi
  The Building Project Committee consisted of:
  • Doyle Williams
  • Philip Kuspa
  • Samuel Carrier
  • Robert Muse
  • David Lavigne
  Over the years Local 387 has established itself in the U.A.W. We have been chosen in many pilot programs that were negotiated. We have had three of our former Presidents on the Region 1E Staff, Eddie Plawecki, Jesse Gregory, and Al Suemnick (Region 1A & 1E).

  Our Local was involved in strikes against FordŽ Motor Company in 1967 and 1976. There was also a D-2 (Health and Safety violations) situation that was resolved in 1976. Many health and safety gains were made preventing our Local going on strike.

  Our first leadership programs were held at the Geo. Burt U.A.W. Educational Center in Canada.

  Every year members are sent to the Walter and Mae Reuther Education Center in Onaway, Michigan. This consists of many educational, social, living quarters, library, and eating facilities. The center is located on Black Lake near Cheboygan.

  A Retiree Chapter was chartered and instituted in the early 70's. The membership has increased over the years to a total over 800 members.

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Official Site Developed & Maintained By Gary Bostick, UAW Local #387 Network Administrator & Retiree Member.

Revised: Thursday, 26-Jan-2012 8:07 PM  EDT
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