Disgruntled Autoworkers #14
UAW International Co-manages Workforce
Baltimore's UAW Local 239 has held Union Meetings on a
quarterly basis since June of 74. Since ratifying a Living
Agreement in August of 99, and implementing weekly Small
Work Group meetings, which are mock 30 minute union meetings
that are held on company time, we've averaged only 2 meetings
a year. If current trends continue and we don't have a quorum
at this June's meeting, it will be a whole year between
I walked the shop floor and talked to a diverse group of
my coworkers. I asked them why they don't attend union meetings.
Their responses varied from family functions to an ill family
member to their child's activities, like Little League or
Soccer games. Or they themselves are busy with Church activities,
attending a Major League game, events on TV, good weather,
bad weather or whatever.
My response was, "We only have 4 meetings a year.
Is it that much trouble to put aside one Sunday afternoon
every three months to attend an hour and a half meeting?
Or to attend just one meeting a year?" The majority
responded indignantly, "Why? What good does it do?
The Gobs (Good Ole Boy administration) are going to do whatever
they want anyways."
They didn't have to say anymore, because I knew what they
meant. The following facts will speak for themselves. Four
years ago we complained to our local president about his
selfishness. He said, "I'm the President and I can
do what I want." Much to our surprise, we found that
to be true when the majority of us petitioned the UAW International
about him. Instead of reprimanding him like we expected,
or reversing even one of his sell out decisions, the International
promoted the Traitor to Regional Rep.
Then two years ago, acting on evidence provided by our
newly elected president, a group of dissenters wrote the
International to request an audit in relation to excessive
expenditures for the UAW's Conventions. Auditors found that
the majority of our local's Gobs and ex-Gobs misappropriated
$19,000 of our local's funds. Our president rolled over,
and with his help, they only had to pay back $5,000 of the
$19,000, because the Gobs, appointees and their supporters
dominated the union meeting that decided the outcome of
And last year 648 of us submitted a Demand to hold elections
for all Local Jointly held Appointed Positions that foster
blatant discrimination that the UAW and GM endorsed per
our National Agreement 20 years ago. Our demand wasn't even
considered because the Gobs said elections would be too
costly. It wasn't too costly for them to misappropriate
$19,000 of our local's funds though. Meanwhile the membership
is out $14,000, enough to hold at least 2 elections.
From experience I can tell you that on the rare occasion
when we do have a union meeting and a member raises an issue
the Gobs don't want discussed, or if a member tries to clear
themselves of bogus charges, chaos ensues. Chairs are kicked
over, catcalls, innuendos and foul language is directed
at the dissenters by the Gobs, appointees and their supporters,
thereby discouraging other members from speaking up or attending.
The workplace is not exempt. Gob supporters recently harassed
two dissenters on their jobs to the point of creating hostile
situations. Instead of reprimanding everyone involved by
moving them to different areas of the plant; Mgt singled
out the dissenters and exiled them far away from the plant's
population. One was even put on the street for a few days.
The instigators, unscathed and jubilant with the outcome,
are walking around like proud peacocks, looking for their
A few months ago an Executive Board member ran to Labor
Relations and tried to have a member fired for exercising
his right to Free Speech in his Newsletters. Despite overwhelming
evidence, the jointly appointed E.E.O. Rep refused to acknowledge
that the member was being discriminated against. It took
intervention by the National Labor Relations Board to resolve
this issue in the members favor.
And a Shop Committee member recently had a temper tantrum
and ran to Mgt in an effort to have a member fired for violating
a No Smoking rule. Fortunately the Boss is a smoker and
he's aware that the area in question doesn't have a designated
smoking area, however, it does have high ceilings, and its
well ventilated and away from the general population. Therefore
he overlooked the incident.
The potential was there for the smoker to be fired. She
was lucky, this time. Filing charges against the Shop Committee
member for conduct unbecoming a union official would be
a waste of time, because the Gobs have succeeded in alienating
the membership, and without their involvement, the Gobs
will dominate every aspect of a hearing, the trial and its
subsequent outcome like they did the Convention audit results.
Not only do we have to watch our backs with Mgt, we have
to be on our guard for out of control Gobs and their supporters
too. It's hard to argue with these facts that circulate
throughout the plant like a wildfire as soon as they happen.
My coworkers are right, "The Gobs are going to do whatever
they want anyways." Especially when they know that
the UAW's International Traitors and GM Mgt will intervene
on their behalf and conspire with them to help them maintain
their control over the membership.
We pay dues to be represented by those we elect, not to
be co-managed by them. The word 'Union' means an organization
of workers formed to advance its member's interest in respect
to working conditions, wages and benefits. Not an organization
of Gobs who use intimidation and manipulation, and knowingly
violate UAW Ethical Practice Codes, to suppress a dissident
movement that would otherwise advance the union's causes.
Our only option is to vote the Traitors out whenever possible.
We thought we did just that in our last elections. Prior
to the elections, due to the International's promotion of
our Traitor president, we voted for 2 independent Board
members, but they rolled over quicker than the mating cycle
of a cicada. And later when we elected what we thought was
an independent president, he deceived us and turned out
to be a Traitor too.
All we can do is to keep voting them out. If that means
shaking up our Executive Board every three years, then so
be it. This is especially harmful to the president, because
he needs 2 terms or 5 years to get locked into international
pension benefits, on top of his corporate benefits. By denying
treasonous president a second term, we can hit him where it hurts, his pocket.
According to Doc. 46 of the National Agreement, the President,
Chairman, Plant Manager and Personnel Director, or Key 4,
determine the placement of all local joint appointments.
So if we vote out the president and not the chairman or
vice versa, nothing will change, because 1 will be over
ruled by the other 3.
To truly affect change and drive a wedge between the Gobs
and Mgt, we must vote out both the president and chairman.
With an independent president and chairman, they will be
in a better position to make demands on Mgt and thereby
shake up the discriminating appointments they shared with
the previous Gobs.
The benefits to shaking up these 2 Key positions are enormous.
Not only will both Gobs be ousted, their jointly appointed
army and support base, the source of their power at union
meetings and on the shop floor, won't be as effective once
the new administration establishes itself. And hopefully,
in time the membership will regain their respect for local
leaders and begin attending union meetings again.
As for voting out the other Board members and Shop Committee
members, that's a judgment call. Most of us know which ones
to reelect, and which ones to dump. I know of 2 who will
not be reelected for violating their oath of office when
they ratted on fellow members. Then there are the convention
thieves. All their names and what they've done will be circulated
plant wide, especially if they decide to run for office
Shaking up our Local's Executive Board and Shop Committees
won't solve all of our problems, but it's a place to start.
A new independent local union administration is counterproductive
in today's UAW with its joint partnership with the corporation.
Therefore new leaders will face insurmountable challenges
from the old Gobs and their supporters, not to mention corporate
and local Mgt. And of course UAW Regional and International
Traitors will be meddling in our affairs as well. They'll
claim to have the memberships interest at heart, but we've
learned the hard way that all they really care about is
keeping the local's membership under control.
After all, co-managing the membership is what today's UAW
International is all about. It's no longer about representing
us or improving working conditions, wages and benefits like
it was in our father's day. It's about assisting the corporation
with eliminating workers without reducing the workload.
It's about initiating Multi Tiered Wages in Delphi and Visteon
parts plants, which are coming soon to our assembly plants
in the name of competition. And it's about slashing health
care and benefits nationwide, something UAW Appointed President
Ron Gettelfinger promised he wouldn't do, but that's another
Until we can come up with a plan to permanently oust fork
tongued UAW International Traitors, and restore some semblance
of decency and pride back into being a union member, our
only option is to use the power of elections to oust local
Traitors. The UAW belongs to the membership, not to the
10% who are Liars, Conmen, Thieves, Rats and Traitors. When
the time comes, vote to take it back.
UAW Local 239 Baltimore