Labor Day Breakfast Features Dave Chapman, President of UAW 974


Dave Chapman, President of UAW 974 at podium during PALM Labor Day Salute Breakfast

Ginger Johnson, Executive Director of PALM

Peoria Area Labor-Management Council (PALM) has hosted the Labor Day Salute Breakfast for 26 years. PALM began in 1984 as an organization to promote cooperation and collaboration between all types of management and labor unions in the tri-county area to support economic growth. The event features keynote speakers covering a wide range of topics, all contributing to our local economy or worker well being.

This year’s breakfast focused on the power of “We” and the success story of United Auto Workers Local 974. PALM’s Executive Director, Ginger Johnson, spoke of accomplishments “we” can make through cooperation rather than what “I” can accomplish. Those celebrating Labor Day know the accomplishments of a group. “The Labor Day Salute Breakfast is one PALM event at which we are reminded that working together we can do greater good.” said Johnson. All attendees were assigned homework; to replace “I” with “We” for just one task either at home or at work to discover what success can come of it.

The keynote speaker for PALM’s Labor Day Salute Breakfast was Dave Chapman, President of United Auto Workers Local 974. Dave sent salutes from the podium to all the UAW staff and Board members, thanking them for their cooperation and progressive thinking during his tenure as President. Focusing on the “We”, Mr. Chapman noted UAW 974 would not have success stories without them. Dave entertained the audience with several funny stories about contract negotiations with companies other than Caterpillar. When his attention turned to Caterpillar, Dave spoke of relationships he has built with members of CAT staff that will live on longer than his job, as they are now personal friends. He highlighted the role PALM played in supporting his relations with Caterpillar by providing neutral networking environments. Dave told the audience that many decisions he makes are based on feelings from his heart rather than his head. Heartfelt decisions are affected by relationships built through cooperation while serving on community boards and committees.

Dave related good labor-management relations now held between UAW 974 and Caterpillar are due to the success in changing the negativity of that relationship. The health and progress of both organizations required leaders who replaced “I” with “We.”

Dave Chapman has been President of United Auto Workers Local 974 for five terms, minus a one-year absence in 2009. No other president has served so long in UAW 974 history. He and his administration have negotiated two, consecutive, six-year contracts with CAT without a strike, something that has not happened before in UAW 974 history. In the last seven years, Dave and his administration have negotiated at least 15 contracts with other companies with no strikes. All of this to support the 14,000 plus members and retirees of UAW 974.

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