The creativity of autoworkers was in the spotlight last week as the United Auto Workers (UAW) and DaimlerChrysler Corp. unveiled a new showing of employee art that ranges from metal sculpture to pastel painting. The 2003-2004 Artists at Work Exhibition reveals the diverse talents of UAW-represented and non-bargaining unit employees who design, engineer and build Chrysler Group vehicles. Hosted by the UAW-DaimlerChrysler National Training Center (NTC), the show featured 130 pieces of art by 52 employees from facilities across the United States. UAW and DaimlerChrysler officials joined other guests in recognizing the employee/artists at an evening reception and ribbon cutting at the National Training Center. More than 700 employees submitted entries in hopes of being in this year's Artists at Work Exhibition, the fourth such event sponsored by the NTC. Three judges from the professional art community chose art for the exhibition, then awarded "best of show" prizes to three employees, William J. Thomas, Dorothy Jett-Carter and Ken Brendle. Thirteen other employees received honorable mentions. Thirty-six participants are UAW members from 19 locals. Including the artists from management, 24 DaimlerChrysler locations are represented in the exhibition, from the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit to the West Business Center in Irvine, Calif. UAW Vice President Nate Gooden, director of the union’s DaimlerChrysler Department, said Artists at Work is an extension of the long-standing UAW-DaimlerChrysler partnership. "This program helps to bring us all closer together and break down barriers that sometimes exists between union and management," said Gooden. "We believe it is one of the most successful employee recognition programs in the country." John S. Franciosi, DaimlerChrysler senior vice president of employee relations, said Artists at Work has had a positive impact on employee morale since it began in 1999. "The corporation is pleased to again join with the UAW in providing this creative outlet for these aspiring artists," said Franciosi. "They represent the best of our company and the entire automotive industry." Since its inception, the Artists at Work program has exhibited 456 pieces of art by 219 DaimlerChrysler employees. This year's first-place award winner, William J. Thomas, is a senior engineer from Advance Vehicle Engineering at the DaimlerChrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Mich. He won with his Vizer entry, a boldly designed tall-case clock that reflects his woodworking craftsmanship and artistic vision. Dorothy Jett-Carter, the second-place award winner, is a joint skill and development specialist at the National Training Center. Titled African Amber Necklace, her winning entry is a contemporary piece with a traditional African accent. She has a national reputation for creating ethnically-inspired art with a unique style. The third-place award went to Ken Brendle, a UAW Local 412 member and metal model maker at the DaimlerChrysler Technology Center. His winning entry, Union Necessity, Then and Now, is an intricately detailed metal sculpture of a tanker truck. It serves as a metaphor for Brendle’s message about the contributions of union members to the nation’s economy. The 13 employees who received honorable mentions are:
  • Ronnie M. Bonello, maintenance, Marysville (Mich.) Parts Distribution Center, UAW Local 375, woodwork

  • Paul Brnak, stock handler, Kenosha (Wis.) Engine Plant, UAW Local 72, two photographs

  • James Donnellon, product engineer, DaimlerChrysler Technology Center, four blown glass pieces

  • Stan Giles, millwright, Kokomo (Ind.) Casting Plant, UAW Local 1166, hand metal engraving

  • Elizabeth V. Jordan, welder, Toledo (Ohio) Machining Plant, UAW Local 1435, pencil drawing

  • Ronald Krug, inventory controller, Jefferson North Assembly Plant, Detroit, UAW Local 7, metal sculpture

  • Norman (Monte) Landis, inventory controller, St. Louis North Assembly Plant, UAW Local 136, mixed media

  • Mark Levine, senior technical specialist, Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Affairs, DaimlerChrysler Technology Center, ceramic

  • Bill Pasharikovski, electrician, DaimlerChrysler Technology Center, UAW Local 412, photograph

  • Dennis Sabatowich, weld inspector, Warren (Mich.) Truck Assembly Plant, UAW Local 140, welded sculpture

  • Herman Spaeth, release analyst, Jeep and Truck Engineering, Detroit, two turned wood bowls

  • Louis J. Stavale, district sales manager, Dayton, Ohio, Great Lakes Business Center, two photographs

  • Ron Wilson, clay sculptor, DaimlerChrysler Technology Center, UAW Local 412, sculpture

    Art chosen for the exhibition will be displayed at the National Training Center, located near downtown Detroit, for the next year. The first-, second- and third-place award winners will receive special recognition at the 2004 UAW-DaimlerChrysler Annual Meeting and Joint Conferences next March in Las Vegas. The Artists at Work Exhibition may be viewed online at Artists at Work is one of 30 joint union-management programs administered by the National Training Center. Programs provide job-related training, work-life services and other educational opportunities for more than 60,000 UAW-represented DaimlerChrysler workers, as well as family members and retirees. Non-bargaining unit employees also benefit from NTC programs.