August 12, 2008 was a beautiful blue sky day in Fort Wayne, and the blue and gold USW flag flew proudly over the Fort Wayne plant for the first time in our history. Actually this was the first time anyone could remember any union flag flying along with the Dana flag, Indiana State flag, and of course the red white and blue of the United States of America.
The flag raising did not come easily. In the 2005 contract negotiations, the Local 903 Bargaining Committee had a contract proposal to have the PACE Union flag displayed alongside Dana's flag. There was a large PACE flag hung above the bargaining table, and every exchange of proposals sent to the company had the US flag and PACE included in the letterhead, courtesy of our computer technician Steve Sauers. Unfortunately this proposal was not acceptable to the company, even though the union kept it on the table until the final hour. Chris Bueter, representing Dana said that he would not allow a union flag which would be "divisive " rather than "inclusive". Several "old-timers" have said the union flag had been a proposal for decades, and that the company said, "That will never happen"!
What has changed? As painful and costly as it was, Dana's bankruptcy has forced the company and the union to commit to a new level of partnership and cooperation. This event is much more than a flag-raising. It definitely is not just "We won". It does symbolize a new beginning, a new attitude of truly being partners in making this a successful operation. Only by working together, according to our Collective Bargaining Agreement, can we continue to operate in an ever more competitive and challenging Market.
Retired Vice President/Chairman