Disgruntled Autoworker
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Disgruntled Autoworkers #11
June 2000

Traitors Promoting Traitors

At the request of Union members from Local 1590 in Martinsburg, W. Va., I made an appointment with Baltimore's Region 8 Servicing Rep, Bruce Pontia, because they, and members of Baltimore's Local 239, and I, don't know anything about Mr.Pontia.

After several attempts, I met with the Rep after work on March 27th, and to my surprise he had my Local's Good Ole Boy (Gob) Shop Chairman in his office. "Because." The Rep said, "Whenever I meet with a member from a Local, I want their President or Shop Chairman present." I thought, "Great, we're already off to a bad start." I didn't want to cancel, so I said, "Whatever makes you happy."

After a few questions, I found out the Rep worked in the National Aerospace department of Lockheed Martin out of Orlando, FL. He was Shop Chairman of Local 788 down there for 9 years, and transferred to Detroit where he worked for 3 years under then VP Ron Gettelfinger.

Then Region 8 Director Gary Casteel offered him the appointment to the Servicing Rep position he now holds. He said, "I'm a little new with the GM atmosphere and the way GM operates, but I'll learn it. I've got 3 GM plants, I'd better learn it." He seemed quite concerned about that.

I proceeded to tell him about the two previous occupants of his position, because I had a follow up question. I told him 753 members of Local 239 petitioned the International Union because our President gave his daughter an International appointment, and 2 friends Local appointments at a new Plant up the street, out of line with seniority. The membership believes the International promoted our President to diffuse the unrest his selfishness caused in our Local.

I also told him the membership of Local 1590 was upset with their President because he allowed Union officials and management personnel to hire family and friends while Union members were still on lay-off. The membership believes the International promoted their President to diffuse the unrest his selfishness caused there.

The majority of the membership of both Locals, who are supposed to be the highest authority in the Union, had legitimate concerns and reasons to be upset with their Presidents. However, the International turned their backs on them and promoted their Presidents for betraying them.

So my question to the Rep is obvious, "Do you have any baggage from your Local? Is there something you did down there that got you promoted to this office? Are they (the International) trying to diffuse a situation down there?" The Rep said, "Not that I know of. None of my family works there. I never got anyone a job there."

About two weeks prior to this meeting, my Shop Chairman told me the same thing about not having any family working in our Plant. That may be true, but since taking office, he's done nothing to shake up the appointments his Gob predecessors made. And he's awfully generous when it comes to handing his Gob friends and family appointments or cushy jobs.

Therefore, I had doubts about what the Rep was telling me. So when I got home, I looked on the UAW's website for a listing of his Local, and there wasn't any. Then I checked Lockheed Martin's website and I didn't have any luck there either. Not that that means anything, but it makes me a little suspicious.

That was all the questions I had about where he came from, but since I already had his ear, I asked him, "How about the lack of Democracy in the UAW? This question is optional; I'm just throwing it out there. I was at the 33rd UAW Constitutional Convention and everybody ran unopposed. And your position here is not an elected position. What do you think about that?"

My Gob Shop Chairman couldn't contain himself anymore, he said, "I object to that question." I told him, "I'm talking to this man here though." The Rep said, "I think its pretty..." He's looking for the right words and the Gob Chairman throws in his unsolicited two cents again and says, "About as democratic as it can get." Too which the Rep says, "As democratic as it possibly can be."

It was then that I understood why my Gob Chairman was really there. To help the Rep with any questions he may have a problem with. And since the Rep worked under Gettelfinger, there is no doubt that he is a Gob too, like our ex-Presidents and the International Traitors who promoted them.

Then the Rep said, "You look at the way the U.S. Government is run. It's sort of run the same way. Especially..." I cut him off and said, "I'm not worried about..." He cut me off and said, "You had a President that won...with aha...or the more votes..." I finished for him, I said, "He was put in office by a Judge." He said, "Right." I said, "I'm aware of that. I'm concerned about the Government as well, but right now I'm more concerned about the Union." He said, "Well, I think the Government..."

I didn't want to get sucked into a debate about the Government with this man, because I felt he was trying to frustrate me. So I said, "I have a priority right here with the Union. We've got Good Ole Boy Democracies that we want to stop." He said, "Right."

And with that response, it was obvious he wanted to end the meeting, so I said, "I got the answers I wanted. That's all I have." I thanked him for his time and got up to leave. When I opened the door and stepped out into the hall, the ex-CAP President was standing outside the door, and Local 239's ex-President and somebody I didn't recognize was scurrying down the hall like rats looking for their holes. The ex-President looked back with that 'Oops, I got caught' look on his face. If I had opened that door a couple of seconds sooner they all would have fallen in on their faces.

With the ex-CAP President standing to my left and Local 239's ex-President frozen in his tracks down the hall to my right, I turned back to the Rep disbelieving and said, "How do I get out of here? I don't want to run into a road block or something." He walked me to the door and before I walked out I said, "You're in a den of thieves here, a den of thieves." He didn't respond. He didn't have to, because now he's the new head thief, taking our Dues money and more concerned with pleasing the Corporation than representing the membership.

I drove home trying to run our 15-minute conversation through my head, but my mind kept returning to that 'Deer in the headlights look' on our ex-President's face. They are supposed to be professionals, but if they can get promoted for treason, it shouldn't bother me that they would stoop to eavesdropping too, but it did.

That one moment in time will forever be etched on my mind, because for me it was a defining moment. It reaffirmed my belief that everyone above the position of a Local President, up to and including the President of the UAW, aren't just Traitors, they're sneaky deceitful lowlifes who should be tied to stakes in front of Solidarity House and (stoned) tarred and feathered.

Upon further reflection, democracy in the UAW is similar to the way the U.S. Government is run, but there is one big difference. At least the Government has a way of identifying and punishing its Traitors. They may not face a firing squad anymore, but they are locked up.

However, in the UAW, treason will get you promoted. Just ask the membership of Locals 239 and 1590. Or better yet, ask the 400 ex-members of Local 2036 in Henderson, KY. They lost their jobs; their benefits, their pensions, and some lost their lives, a couple by suicide, because then Regional Director Ron Gettelfinger betrayed them. And in June of 2002, International Traitors promoted him to President of the UAW. Proof that the greater the treason, the higher the promotion.

America needs her Unions to keep the corporations in check, but somewhere along the line we lost control of those in control. And now we have Traitors promoting and appointing Traitors at all levels of our Unions. They are a cancer that is eating away at the very fiber of Unionism. We can try to eliminate it in our Locals, but unless we find a way to eliminate it at its source, the International, we are fighting a losing battle.

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom
UAW Local 239 Baltimore

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