Erik Villar for UAW Chair

Brothers and Sisters of Oberlin College UAW Local 2192:

I’m writing to you today to go on the record that I fully support Erik Villar’s candidacy for Chair of Oberlin College UAW Local 2192.

Erik is uniquely qualified for this leadership position because he has worked in more than one department at Oberlin College, and therefore has a unique understanding of the school’s concerns. Erik began his career at Oberlin on the custodial staff as a part-time employee before securing a full-time position in Kitchen Maintenance. After five years, he transferred to the Transportation Department for a more stable work schedule. In 2016, Erik successfully bid on an open position in HVAC where he is currently a UAW Union Apprentice. This ability for upward mobility within our ranks is an important part of Erik’s union experience and has contributed to his genuine gratitude. Erik has served in Local 2192 leadership both as a steward and as bargaining representative. These combined experiences make him our best candidate.

Erik and I have worked closely over the last year on the We Are Oberlin Too campaign. Together, we attended meetings and social events with students, campus organizations, professors, Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees, Campus Safety officers, Carpenters, and other unions in the Oberlin community. We have worked together with others to organize and plan events for UAW members and their families. The UAW Women’s Committee is grateful for Erik’s full support in our many projects and charitable works. All of these things have required time and dedication. Erik has been invaluable to our local union’s mission and recent necessary activism. His dedication to this UAW is apparent with all of the effort and time he puts into it.

For Erik, Oberlin UAW is a wonderful second family, and Oberlin College is a part of his real family, too! His mom, Blanche Villar — an OCOPE member — has worked at the College for nearly 30 years. Erik’s personal history has intertwined with Oberlin’s for as far back as he can remember. He wants to protect that history as well as our union’s future here at Oberlin. He will ensure that the opportunities he has been afforded are here for our UAW union families for many years to come.

The benefits our national UAW has bargained for in our contracts over the last 80 years, have given UAW members a better life. It wasn’t just about pay raises; it was about quality of life and ensuring future members had a seat at the table. This is why we fought for paid holidays, vacation time, and health benefits in contracts. We will continue to support or challenge policies or strategic plans at Oberlin that affect any of this. We oppose any policies that are cruel and leave people to fend for themselves.

Erik wants the things we all want. Education! Fair wages! Health benefits! Retirement! Security! Dignity! Respect!

Please join me on May 16 for UAW elections day. Wilder Hall, Room 112 from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Cast your ballot for Erik Villar. I will!