Meet John Doe: Labor unions play a vital role in our local economy today

By Paul Gorski

Organized labor has been critical to the Rockford-area economy for decades. Families, local businesses and the local economy have all benefited from living-wage jobs in a variety of areas: education, government, building trades and manufacturing, just to name a few.

Before the union-naysayers start rebelling: if we didn’t have living-wage jobs, we wouldn’t have the variety of stores and businesses we have. Retail follows the money — it follows disposable income.

Furthermore, local unions contribute to a variety of local charitable organizations, supporting the community and furthering the missions of nonprofit groups.

So, when Chrysler adds a new car to its line-up or UTC Aerospace Systems gets a new government contract, we benefit locally from that good fortune. Good wages, put back into the local economy, have ripple effects that have direct and indirect benefits for all of us.
The jobs that come with manufacturing and engineering industries are key to revitalizing our current economy. That’s my focus here.

UAW Local 592 represents nearly 1,000 active and retired members. Many of 592’s retirees worked for the former Sundstrand Corp., but through a series of mergers, Sundstrand became Hamilton Sundstrand and in 2012 became United Technology Corporation Aerospace Systems (UTAS). UTAS is, as was Sundstrand, a major aerospace technology supplier...