Disgruntled Autoworker
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Disgruntled Autoworkers #8
September 2002

UAW 33rd Constitutional Convention Report

A couple weeks before the June 2002 UAW 33rd Constitutional Convention, I got a call from a friend who is the founder of a Union Watchdog group in Michigan. My friend read a few of my articles about the corruption in my UAW Local and asked me to attend the Convention and write an article based on my observations.

I told coworkers through Local Newsletters, that if elected, unlike previous Delegates, I would write a report of my observations and offer possible solutions to fix what I think is wrong with our UAW. However, my bid for Delegate wasn't successful, due in part to the Good Ole Boy Democracy that had a 15-year stranglehold on elections. So I thought, why not go as a visitor? My friend would furnish a room; all I had to do was get the time off and fly out to Las Vegas. I told my friend, "Absolutely," and below is my report.

During the four days that I sat through the Convention, I can't begin to count the number of times I found myself shaking my head in disgust. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. From the opening ceremonies on Monday June 3rd, to President-select Ron Gettelfingers' rousing foot stomping speech that got the Delegates all fired up during the closing ceremonies the following Thursday afternoon, I felt like I was watching a well scripted and rehearsed play. I expected to see Stephen Spielberg or John Waters come out on stage and take a bow for directing this spectacle. Someone deserves an Oscar or a Tony Award.

Monday; UAW President Yokich and VP Gettelfinger, and the Presidents of the AFL-CIO, and Hotel and Restaurant International Union, and a variety of guest speakers stroked each other's egos for what seemed like hours. They wasted valuable time that would have been better put to use debating more important matters like the pros and cons of why this or that resolution should be adopted, or not.

It was mid-afternoon when resolutions were finally proposed. They were for Organizing, Social Security, Civil and Human Rights, and 5 were bundled together; the Political Arena, Labor Law Reform, Minimum Wage, Ergonomics, and Social Security Privatization. I couldn't believe it; all of these resolutions should have been adopted years ago. Especially Organizing, since our membership is half of what it was in 1979.

The presentation of the resolutions was very well thought out, as a member of the Resolution Committee read them, the words and graphics were put up on the big screen. There was no time limit on their presentation, however, the Delegates had only 5 minutes to speak in favor of, or in opposition to said resolutions.

Some resolutions were interrupted so a Senator, a Congressman or a Guest, could speak about something, some via satellite from somewhere, then they would stroke Yokich and Gettelfingers egos for a few minutes and ramble on for a few more minutes about something else.

No Delegate would speak in opposition to any of the proposed resolutions today. Although, when they spoke in favor of them, there was no spontaneity, not one spoke from the heart or the head. They were reading from a prepared script that was written days or weeks beforehand. I say this; because there is no way they had time to write the detailed speeches they were reading.

It was then that I understood why the International Executive Board (IEB) requires all Locals to submit their resolutions 3 weeks before the Convention. So they have time to pick and choose the resolutions they want to adopt. What happens to the ones they don't want to adopt? And who writes the Delegates scripts? Are they faxed advanced copies of the chosen resolutions so they can write them, or does the IEB's staff write them?

I find this line of thinking troubling. Its only the first day, this can't be the Dog and Pony Show that I think it is. I'll give the IEB the benefit of doubt and see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday; An hour and a half was wasted introducing retired Executive Board members, Regional Reps and 25 Guest from foreign countries. Then Union leaders from the International Metalworkers Federation, the United Steelworkers President and the Co-Director of the Campaign for Americas' Future were introduced and spoke briefly about whatever. Judging by the noise level rising up from the convention floor, the Delegates weren't paying any attention to what was being said, and who was saying it, anymore than I was.

The first two resolution of the day were for International Affairs, and Trade. A total of seventeen Delegates spoke in favor of both resolutions and VP Gooden, who Chaired the resolutions, didn't even ask if anyone opposed either of them, go figure.

Like yesterday, most of the Delegates read from a prepared script. However, I noticed something odd when a couple Delegates began to read. Normally they would state their name, the Local and Region they were from, and then read the script. But they hesitated when they said their names. It was as if they were reading a script that was meant for someone else and they had to think twice before saying their name. I wasn't surprised.

The next resolution called for a change in the wording of Article 2, Section 6(B) of the UAW Constitution. The IEB wanted to change 20th Century to read 21st Century. While a member of the Resolutions Committee read the resolution, 6 Carts approximately 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep by 7 feet high that appeared to have a curtain around them were wheeled in. Two were placed on the left side of the Convention Center, two on the right and two in the back.

At first I thought they were part of some kind of magic act, after all this is Las Vegas. They were the kind of Carts that a Magician would step into, his assistance would draw the curtain, wave a wand and poof, the curtain would drop and the Magician would be gone. Be forewarned, a disappearing act is about to take place.

Four Delegates spoke in favor of the resolution to change the wording of Article 2, Section 6(B). This is my first Convention, so I had no idea what the fifth Delegate meant when he said, "I call for The Question." I soon learned it means when a resolution looks as if it will be adopted, the question is called for and without any further debate, whoever is Chairing the resolution will ask for a show of hands from those in favor of adopting it. That's convenient, where was "The Question" yesterday when all of the common sense resolutions were proposed? The resolution in question was adopted.

VP Shoemaker Chaired the next resolution to add a new section to Article 16 of the UAW Constitution. The New Section, 11(F), reads as follows: No later than June 30, 2002, $75 million shall be transferred from the net resources of the Strike Insurance Fund to a newly established Emergency Operations Fund. The assets of the Emergency Operations Fund, including accrued interest and earnings on investments, shall be available to finance operations of the International Union in the event Operating Fund resources are insufficient to sustain operations due to the effects of a protracted or expensive strike, a series of strikes, or other events posing a serious threat to the economic viability of the International Union.

While the resolution was presented to the Delegates, picket signs that read, Jobs With Justice & Dignity, I.P.S. (Independent Parts Supplier) Need Job Security Too, I.P.S. Industrial Power Supply, and T.O.P. Totally Organized Power were taken out of the Magicians Carts and handed out. That explains the Carts.

Shoemaker called for the Delegates in favor of the resolution. The first Delegate approved of the resolution to take $75 Million out of the Strike Insurance Fund. The next Delegate called for the question. Wow, that was quick, in other words, end of debate, let's vote on it.

While a picket group assembling at the entrances distracted the entire Convention Center, VP Shoemaker ignored the raised hands of about a half a dozen Delegates who wanted to debate the $75 million resolution. I could clearly hear them shouting, "Point of Order, Point of Order," but Shoemaker ignored them and "Fast Tracked" it by calling for a show of hands of those who wanted to vote on it. The resolution was adapted.

Yokich and Gettelfinger could be seen high fiving each other. They were happier than pigs in shit, because in less than 12 minutes they pulled off a $75 million "Disappearing Act" that would have made the greatest Magician in the world envious.

Whoever called for the question must have been pressured or intimidated into doing it by his Regional Rep, or he was in on the scam like a ringer that sits in the audience at a magic show. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. I just learned that calling for "The Question" could also be abused.

Back to the Emergency Fund, I wonder what "Earnings on investments" means? Are they going to buy more Airlines, Radio Networks and Resorts? So far there are no earnings on any of those investments. Or will they use the money to hire Lawyers to defend them against lawsuits that were filed by fired employees of UBN, and members of Local 594? Or bribe Politicians to lobby Congress to drop or stonewall any investigations or court actions against them for years?

My guess is all of the above. That's why they added the last line about "Other events posing a serious threat." At the rate the IEB is going, their bad investments and lawsuits could bankrupt our Union before this decade is out. Rest assured that whatever they spend the money on; we won't know about it until we read about it in the Press, because it's another Secret Fund they won't have to be accountable for, like Joint Funds.

The next resolution was for The Crises in Manufacturing. While the resolution was being read, picket signs were still being handed out, by now over a couple hundred people had gathered at the entrances. VP Bunn approached the podium and said, "Let us now pause to show our support for workers in the Independent Parts Supplier sector." And for the next thirty minutes a parade of picketers marched around the Convention Center while the Band played "When the Saints go Marching in," and other happy marching tunes.

In my opinion, the parade of picketers wasn't in support of IPS, because twenty years ago they were 75% Union and today they're only 15% and shrinking. So what's to celebrate? The parade of picketers has nothing to do with IPS and everything to do with the IEB celebrating the fact that they got away with making $75 million disappear from the rank and file Strike Insurance Fund, and for thirty jubilant minutes they paraded around the Convention Center gloating over it.

After the parade was over and the picket signs were put back in the Magicians Carts, VP Bunn continued the debate for the Crises in Manufacturing resolution. Three Delegates voted in favor of the resolution and then there is another break for another Senator to say a few words. When the Senator finished whatever he was saying, six more Delegates voted in favor of the resolution and

it was adopted.

The next resolution was for Government Employees Rights. Seven Delegates voted for the resolution and then, 14 resolutions later, a Delegate finally opposes one. The Delegate says the resolution doesn’t go far enough in dealing with Corporate Terrorism. He raised the issue of Local 2036 and the corporate terrorism the membership has endured since 1998 when then Regional Director Ron Gettelfinger had authorized them to strike their company, Accuride Corporation, manufacturers of steel wheels for GM and Ford.

The Delegate said, "In the four years since being locked out by their company, members have committed suicide, marriages have been broken, and members are dying because of illnesses they have contracted from working in the dirty and dangerous environment." He was applauded when he recommended strike benefits, cut off in January, be restored to members of local 2036. He motioned for the resolution be tabled until a full discussion on the matter is conducted and a report is submitted to the IEB.

VP Bunn Chaired this resolution, but Yokich aggressively tag-teamed her, cutting off the momentum of the applause for the only dissenting Delegate thus far, he yelled, "Somewhere along the line we have to make the decision if we can win or lose. We had VP's go to the Corporations. We have put all the pressure that we usually put." Raising his voice in agitation, he goes on to say, "We don't like losing, but once in a while you lose a game. And there is a group in this Union that has taken that (loss) and run it against every damn thing we do good in this Union."

I am a member of the UAW Solidarity Coalition (UAWSC), the group that Yokich is talking about, and there is a reason we're running with the story of Local 2036. From the first day of their strike over four long years ago, and to this very day, the majority of the members who install Accuride's wheels don't have a clue they're handling scab parts.

Yokich may have sent his VP's to the Corporations like he said, but when he didn't get the desired results, why didn't he send them to the affected Locals to inform their membership? I believe they would have been more than willing to support fellow Union members by refusing to handle Accuride's scab parts. If Yokich had done what he's paid to do, the strike would have been settled within weeks.

Yokich said, "Once in a while you lose a game." That's true, but a strike is not a game and the strike at Accuride wasn't lost; the 400 members of Local 2036 were sacrificed, because disrupting production at the assembly plants that install Accuride's scab wheels would have had serious repercussions for the Alliance the IEB has developed with the Corporations over the last twenty years in the name of Joint Funds.

Local 2036 is our "Battle Cry" and we will keep shouting it out until all of its members are reinstated, or until the entire membership has the right to vote for Executive Board Members of the UAW. Until we can hold them accountable, through elections, any one of our locals could be sacrificed or sold out next.

Visit the following website at http://futureoftheunion.com/? id=1258 to read, 'UAW Betrayal At Accuride,' its Billy Robinson's own account of how his local's membership was sold out by Gettelfinger and the IEB.

After Yokich's outburst, VP Bunn introduced another Senator who talked about whatever. I'm beginning to wonder if this is a UAW Convention or a Political Rally. When the Senator finished, Bunn called on the next Delegate to continue the debate on the Crises in Manufacturing resolution.

Things got a little confusing for a second. A Delegate was called on, but before she could get to the microphone another Delegate called for the question. After a flurry of activity on the stage, Bunn ignored the first Delegate in favor of the second and the resolution was voted on and adopted. I found out later that the first Delegate was going to second the motion to table the resolution, but the IEB realized what she was up to and opted for the second Delegate. They didn't want anything to upset the roll they were on.

The next 2 resolutions were for Government Employees Rights, and Economic Democracy and Employer Accountability. They were adopted with flying colors. And the next two resolutions, NAFTA, and the Right To Work took a combined total of 15 minutes, because the questions were quickly called for. It's after 4:00pm; the Delegates are getting restless and the distractions of Las Vegas are calling. Both resolutions were adopted and VP Gooden motioned for a recess until tomorrow.

I sat there shaking my head in disgust as the Delegates began to file out of the Convention Center. I couldn't believe what the IEB did today. They pick the resolutions, and if it looks like one won't go their way, they ignore calls for a Point of Order, or they ignore an already chosen Delegate in favor of another who called for the question. This really is the Dog and Pony Show that I thought it was.

I am awestruck by the IEB and their brazen abuse of power, and even more awestruck that there are so few delegates protesting their abuses. I can't imagine what the IEB will do next. Although I don't think they can top making $75 million disappear from our Strike Insurance Fund, that's a pretty tough act to follow.

Wednesday; The Convention Center was all decked out with over a thousand red, white, blue, yellow and black balloons. So many Balloons in fact that if weren't for the huge TV monitors hanging overhead, the Delegates wouldn't be able to see the stage.

Picket signs were everywhere too. They were sticking up behind almost every chair and like the balloons, many proclaimed, Ron's Team, the UAW logo, America is a Union, and the names of candidates that are running uncontested for the various offices.

My first thought when I walked into the Convention Center was, "Wow, did I miss the election?" The nominations for Executive Board Members are supposed to be today, but by the looks of this place, you'd think the election was over and the victory party for Ron's Team is about to begin.

In reality that statement isn't too far from the truth, because we knew last November, through the Press, that VP Ron Gettelfinger was Yokich's handpicked successor for President of the UAW. Democracy is not an option when we know who the next president will be 8 months before an election.

Tuesday, before reading their prepared scripts, a few of the Delegates would put in a plug for their Regional Directors, unless they were retiring, then they would put in a plug for their Directors successors. Their elections haven't even taken place, yet they know who is succeeding whom. So it stands to reason that the Regional Directors, like the President and the VP's, handpicked their successors months in advance too.

In a nutshell, today is all pomp and circumstance. An hour or so will be spent presenting past Presidents Douglas Fraser and Owen Bieber with the UAW Social Justice Awards. Then a few hours will be spent on the nominations of Executive Board Members. Those chosen to do the nominations are allowed 5 minutes to stroke the egos of the ones they're nominating. VP Bunn's nomination for Secretary Treasurer was the only one that peaked my interest.

A Delegate of the UAW represented Writers Local praised Bunn for standing strong and fighting the good fight in defending members during their struggle with Publishers. He said Bunn inspired hundreds of people who rallied in front of the N.Y. Times Building when she said, "When the UAW takes on a fight, it stays in the fight until we win."

When I heard that statement, my mind flashed back to Local 2036 and their struggle. The UAW took on that fight over 4 years ago when Gettelfinger told the Local President, "Take em out," because the company's union-busting contract was unacceptable.

Then 18 months later Gettelfinger turned tail and ran with members strike benefits, not once, but twice. Under pressure from the UAWSC and members nationwide, the IEB gave locked out members their benefits back 14 months later, and then in January of 2002 they took them a second time, because members refused to accept the same bogus contract; only this time the IEB took their Charter too, leaving the Local in ruins.

I believe Yokich took the members benefits and pulled their Charter so that when Gettelfinger inherits the UAW Presidency a few months later, he'll start with a clean slate. As far as I'm concerned, and I'm sure many others will agree, Gettelfinger will forever have the blood of Local 2036 on his hands.

It took all I had to hold my tongue, I wanted to yell at the speaker and tell him that Bunn's a damn lire, but I was a guest and I didn't want to get thrown out by one of the dozens of Sergeant at Arms that are everywhere. I had to settle with shaking my head in disgust, again.

I believe that is why the Conventions are held in Las Vegas. If we were in the Detroit area and there were a few hundred retirees and active members in the visitors' section, I don't think they would be able to hold their tongues. Especially after they witnessed yesterdays $75 million scam, they'd be yelling and throwing things on stage, and at members of the IEB too for that matter.

After the Executive Board nominations were over and it was obvious that all of the candidates would be running unopposed, it was recommended that all of the candidates be elected by acclamation. Since the balloons limited visibility, the Delegates were asked to vote by saying yea or nay. The yeas have it and the new IEB was elected by acclimation. Funny, the new IEB looks like the old IEB; imagine that.

Then the 12 Regions were assigned smaller conference rooms so they could hold their Regional Directors elections. With that taken care of, the Convention was recessed until 10:00am tomorrow.

Thursday; Today got off to a late and controversial start. At 11:25am, the first order of business is the break up of Region 2. A proposed amendment resolution to Article 10, Section 21 would merge Region 2, and distribute the membership and Locals of Region 2 to Regions 2B, 8 and 9.

The IEB maintains a computer room across from the Convention Center Hall that has a few copiers and a staff of writers. I noticed the room when I visited the Center on the Sunday before the Convention. On the back of the Daily news, one of the many publications given the Delegates daily is the staff's name, the UAW Public Relations and Publications Department (PRPD).

According to a 3 page Flyer circulated today by the PRPD, the IEB merged Regions before because of declining membership. However, that is not the reason for merging Region 2. The Flyer also stated that the Director of Region 2 was supposed to retire in accordance with a Union rule that bars anyone from running for office over the age of 65. The Directors handpicked Assistant was supposed to become Director.

The Flyer stated that on Monday the National Caucus endorsed the Assistant's candidacy, then on Wednesday, moments before the election, the Assistant withdrew his nomination and the Director was reelected. The Flyer stated, "We know the Directors' true motive - to use his position as Regional Director to promote his run for Congress," and "This is unethical self-dealing and self-promotion of the worst kind."

Instead of admonishing the Director and his Assistant for being deceitful and holding a new election for Region 2, the IEB decided to break up the Region. They didn't want to chance having an unknown candidate elected Director. They prefer knowing who is running for office months in advance. This hastily made decision by the IEB upset the Delegates of Region 2.

A Constitution Committee Member and the Flyer recommends that Delegates vote for the resolution to merge Region 2. And since Directors haven't been sworn in yet, immediately after it passes, the Convention will recess while new elections are held for Regions 2B, 8 and 9.

Yokich Chaired the resolution. The count was 6 for, and 4 opposed it. When one opposition Delegate called Yokich vindictive, the crowd, "Wooed!" And the Delegate said, "I didn't say vindictive for the cat calls, but I know how you (Yokich) can be when you want to clear up a dispute." The crowd is still wooing, and Yokich pounds the gavel and said, "Let the Brother speak." The Delegate said, "It's good to have a person like that, especially those of you doing the cat calling need a person like that when you go into negotiations. A person being vindictive at times can be an advantage, not a disadvantage, but Brother Yokich, I ask you and the Delegates here to restore Region 2 as a separate Region of the UAW."

Yokich responded by saying, "Merging Regions is nothing new." He listed a few examples. Then he said, "I didn't hear anyone speak against those mergers. So I'm here telling you that there's strength in our union. We have taken care of our union through the Constitution, through this Convention and we have merged Regions and made it more powerful and stronger. All I can say Brother is it's something we did before, in your Region. So we're not nailing your Region. We're just doing what's right for this Union."

It is said that "Debate is healthy," not in the UAW. Unfortunately the resolution process is dead, because it is evident today that the IEB makes up the rules as it goes along, and they always get the last word. If given a choice, I sure the opposition Delegate would like to debated Yokich on his, "We're not nailing your Region" remark, because it's obvious that they are.

The 11th Delegate calls for the question, but Yokich, always the wise guy said, "I really wanted to debate this." As if the Delegates of Region 2 "really" believe that. He then asked for a show of hands from those who want to close the debate, the majority voted to close the debate and adopt the resolution.

A Delegate was repeatedly yelling, "Point of Order." Yokich told him to stand by the mic until the next speaker, another Senator, says whatever he has to say. When the Senator was done, a Doctor of the Hispanic Leadership Institute spoke for a few minutes about whatever.

Twenty minutes later, the Delegate standing at the mic yelled, "Point of Order" again. Yokich arrogantly told the Delegate, "You have to be seated to be called on." The Delegate returned to his seat and raised his hand. When called on, he said, "The amendment to Article 10 was not submitted in a timely matter. It's retroactive and I think therefore it should be invalidated." Yokich mockingly said, "Thank you for the advice." And that was the end of that, 18 resolutions Chaired and 18 adopted without significant debate.

The next order of business is the nomination for Public Review Board Members. VP Shoemaker does the honors of nominating all of the candidates, and he calls for the question too. All of the candidates were elected by acclimation.

Yokich announces that the Convention will recess while Regions 2B, 8 and 9 hold their new Regional Directors elections. When the Convention was reconvened an hour and a half later, a U.S. Rep wasted another 20 minutes talking about this and that.

Then Yokich announced the results of the Regional Directors elections. Of course all of the candidates that were nominated are unopposed, and therefore all are elected by acclimation.

Retiring International Secretary Treasure Ruben Burks announces the results of the Convention Appeals Committee election, and then he thanks everyone he's worked with over the years, including past Presidents, Secretaries, the Executive Board and its Staff, and the Membership.

Next, Yokich reads the Obligation to all newly elected members of the Executive Board. All members agree to the Obligation and Yokich hands the gavel to President-select Ron Gettelfinger. Congratulations, and hugs and kisses all around for the next 10 minutes.

Gettelfinger's acceptance speech lasted about 30 minutes. He invoked the memory of Walter Reuther and Leonard Woodcock, and glorified the deeds of past Presidents Fraser, Beiber and Yokich. He talked about Organizing, Education and staying involved in the Political Arena, Locally and Nationally.

Like a Protestant Preacher, he would begin by speaking softly, and his voice would increase in volume until the TV monitors hanging from the rafters started vibrating. He would do this repeatedly throughout his speech. And each time he raised his voice, the overly enthusiastic bussed in Army of appointees scattered throughout the Convention Center would earn their keep by cheering, whistling, clapping and stomping their feet. And I thought he was Catholic. It was an Oscar worthy performance.

He said, "This Union has not in the past, nor will it in the future, back down from Politicians whose goal it is, to destroy us like the Industrial base in this country." And the crowd cheered. Raising his voice he said, "There are anti-union forces who are out there to destroy us at every turn. But we have not, and will not, let those who would destroy us seal our fate."

I know there are forces out there, Politicians and Corporations, that are out to destroy our Union, but there is another force more dangerous and damaging than both of them combined, and that is the force within, the IEB.

Prior to the debate for the resolution to merge Region 2, a Constitution Committee member told the Delegates, "In the UAW we believe in Democracy. And we will not let anyone accuse our Union of being undemocratic."

In my opinion, the election process of the UAW is undemocratic and unethical, because everyone that holds an office above that of a Local President is appointed, including President-select Gettelfinger. Try running for any one of these offices without the support of the IEB and they will make dog meat out of you before the ink is on your campaign posters is dry.

Democracy is dead in the UAW and it's been dead for over 20 years. The one party communist slate that the IEB has become began destroying our Union from within when they formed an Alliance with the Corporations in the name of Joint Funds. And then they have the nerve to tell us to tighten our belts and make concessions in the name of profits. Meanwhile the Corporations cry poverty all the way to the bank and invest the billions they earned at our expense in foreign ventures. There is something seriously wrong with this picture.

After Gettelfinger wrapped up his sermon, a resolution to change the wording of Sections 10, 15, 17(B) and 23 of Article 8 of the Constitution was proposed. Most notable was a change to Section 15. It demands that all Locals submit resolutions and constitutional amendments to the International 6 weeks prior to the convening of the Convention instead of the current 3-weeks. Apparently 3 weeks isn't enough time to pick and choose, and write scripts for the most favorable resolutions.

A member of the Constitution Committee recommends a vote for the resolution. A Delegate calls for the question while other Delegates are yelling “Point of Order,” they’re ignored, the vote is taken and the resolution is adopted.

A resolution to change the wording of Article 33, Section 2(B) was proposed; it deals with the appeals process for Skilled Trades. This one got a little confusing. Calls for a "Point of Order" could be heard as a Delegate calls for the question. The Delegate is ignored so a second Delegate can oppose it. Then calls for a "Point of Order" could be heard again, they're ignored, the Chair calls for the vote. The resolution is adopted.

A resolution to change the wording of Article 11, Sections 1, 2, 3 and 8 is proposed; it increases the salaries of the IEB and International Reps to the tune of $14,000 for Reps, $16,000 for Board Members, $17,000 for VP's, $18,000 for Treasure and a $19,000 increase for the International President. The question is immediately called for, and the resolution is adopted. We're told to tighten our belts, but these Fat Cats get to loosen theirs.

A speaker from the Audubon International talks about the state of the environment and congratulates Yokich for preserving the area around Black Lake when he had the Golf Course built, with $6 million of our dues money. An Audubon Award is presented to Yokich for the Golf Course Project.

A member of the Resolutions Committee says he will read the names of a bunch of resolutions that are in the Blue Book that was handed out Monday. This Convention has been in session for 4 days with a combined total of 30 hours, of which, less than 8 hours was devoted to resolutions. And now at 4:30pm on the last day of the Convention they're going to "Fast Track" a bundle of them. Typical of what I've witnessed to date.

The list of proposed resolutions is enormous; I counted about 50 of them. The Speaker read from the Table of Contents on pages 2, 3 and 4 of the Blue Book beginning with the Proposed Resolutions on the Economy, which are; Budget Issues and Public Investment, Reducing Inequality and Fighting Poverty, Tax Justice, Medicare and National Health Care, Prescription Drugs, Protecting and Preserving Public Education, Military Spending and Economic Conversion, and Monetary Policy and Global Financial Markets. Proposed Resolutions on Trade Policy and Other Issues in a Global Economy are; Trade Policy and Other Issues in a Global Economy, Foreign Investment and Influence of Foreign Countries and Firms on U.S. Policy, and Immigration Issues. And Proposed Resolutions on Other Issues Affecting the Economy are; Transportation Policy, Farm Policy, Energy Policy, and Mergers, Takeovers and Leverage Buyouts.

Proposed Resolutions on the Future of Our Jobs are; The Number and Quality of Our Jobs, Technology in the Workplace, Health and Safety in the Workplace, and Economic Democracy and Employer Accountability. Proposed Resolutions on Workers' Needs are; Unemployment Insurance, Dislocated Workers, Product Liability and Workers' Compensation, Workers' Rights Legislation, Sexual Harassment, Campaign Finance Reform, Housing, Protecting America's Veterans, Spreading the Union's Message, and The Federal Judiciary and Other Presidential Appointments.

Proposed Resolutions On Toward A Better Quality of Life for All are; The Environment, Pensions, Domestic Violence and Violence Against Children, Crime, Punishment and Rehabilitation: A Progressive Approach, and Recreation and Cultural Activities. Proposed Resolutions on Strengthening Our Communities are; State Issues, Cities, and Community Service. And lastly the Proposed Resolutions On Toward An Even Better Union are; Education in the UAW, Buy Union/Buy American Quality Products, and School to Work.

Of all the Resolutions on the list, it was the Federal, Judiciary and other Presidential Appointments Resolution that got my attention. Who are they to question the appointment policy of the U.S. Government when their own appointment policy is based on nepotism and favoritism and thereby discriminates against the average member? Talk about irony.

The committee member finished his list by saying, "Brothers and Sisters, on behalf of the Resolutions Committee I move for the adoption of these resolutions." None of the Delegates are foolish enough to pick apart the list; otherwise we would be here all night. They were all adopted.

Next is a tribute to President Yokich. Then a resolution is proposed to authorize the construction and furnishing of the Stephen P. Yokich Cottage at the Walter and Mae Reuther Education Center at Black Lake, complete with a plaque with his name on it. The Cottage is for Yokich when he visits the Center and for others when he isn't using it. The question is called for; the resolution is adopted and the Cabin is his.

Everybody joins in for the singing of Solidarity Forever, and then Gettelfinger brings down the gavel and officially adjourns the 33rd UAW Constitutional Convention.

And there you have it. The entire cast and crew of this orchestrated Dog and Pony show gets to go home grinning from ear to ear, because all of their chosen resolutions were adopted, they have fatter pay checks, and $75 million in the kitty that they can spend without accounting for one red cent. Not bad for 4 days work.

This has got to be the biggest Charade to hit the Las Vegas strip in history. This whole damn fiasco just reaffirms my suspicions of how Good Ole Boys (Gob) democracies came to power in the majority of our Locals. Our Local Administrations were influenced and thereby corrupted by the International GOBs and their Joint Funds Alliance with the Corporations. And then they learned how the International GOBs ruled over the Conventions and they took that knowledge home and rule over our Locals in the same manner.

That is what the IEB did for the last four days. They didn't lead the Convention like a President and VP lead a Country, a Corporation, or even a Union for that matter; they ruled it like Monarchs and Dictators. It's their way or the highway, like the Delegates of Region 2 found out. And like loyal peasants, the vast majority of the Delegates fell in line like mindless sheep.

Therein lies one problem. If the majority of our Locals are ruled by Gob Democracies, then the majority of the Delegates sent to Conventions will be Gobs too. And the other problems are the IEB's 50-year stranglehold on democracy in the UAW, and the fact that they've authorized themselves the right to pick and choose resolutions.

Just as the average member has lost their voice in the decision making process in our Locals because of Living Agreements that can change without our approval, Delegates have lost their voice on the convention floor because their right to propose a resolution from the floor is circumvented. Instead they must first seek the approval of the IEB six weeks in advance. For example, a resolution for 'One Member/One Vote' would be rejected, because it doesn't fit in with the IEB's grand scheme to dominate the UAW's political arena.

The membership has been totally removed from the decision making process in the UAW. I don't know about you, but I am not at all comfortable with that. I do not like knowing that my livelihood is in the hands of a bunch of selfish arrogant control freaks who've set themselves up as supreme rulers of our Union.

The membership had better find a way to take our Union back from these Traitors soon, because the longer we wait, chances are there may not be anything left that's worth taking back. If we continue to do nothing about them, then we deserve whatever we get, or don't get.

If there is one lesson I've learned at this charade they called a Constitutional Convention, it's that the IEB will do, or spend (our money) whatever it takes to maintain their superiority over us, so taking our Union back from these Traitors will definitely be a challenge.

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom
UAW Local 239 Baltimore

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