Disgruntled Autoworker # 30 - June 06'
Jobs Bank Update II
On 05.23.06, I posted the Baltimore truck plant’s “Jobs Bank Update” on my Disgruntled Autoworker website. I wrote about the Good Ole Boys attempts to shutdown the Café, and that the Cook had been threatened with another ticket because she complained about our ex-president/traitor and his number one Yum-yum giving our names and addresses to one of their friends, a Smith Barney Financial Solicitor. Below is the 05.12.06 letter the Cook and I sent the International that requests an investigation of the solicitor’s mailing.
To: UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel,
On 05.04.06, members of the shuttered Baltimore assembly plant, who are in Jobs Bank status, received envelopes with no return addresses. Upon opening the envelopes, we discovered two letters (attached) and a self addressed, stamped envelope. One was a Who, What, When, and Where letter, and the other was a letter in the form of a Questionnaire. Both were a promotion /solicitation for a Retirement / Job Transition Workshop.
Several of us have a few serious concerns with these letters. When the Workshop’s Director, Tom Quirk from Smith Barney, was questioned about who did the mailing, he defended his credentials and said, “We did. Everything is on the up and up. It was all legal.” When our education coordinator from the local community college was questioned about who did the mailing, she said, “I think they mailed them,” in reference to Smith Barney. When the questioner expressed outrage, she went on the defensive and said, “Well, well…, I’m not sure,” and then she clamed up.
We checked official mailing labels on previous mailings from GM Baltimore and the Local union office. Then we compared them to the letter from the Smith Barney Solicitor and discovered that they all have the exact same address label. We determined, without question, that they were all printed from the same address program. The local president denied involvement.
Therefore, our primary concerns are obvious; we want to know who authorized the distribution of the program that contains our names and addresses? How many solicitors have been given access to the program? And are we going to be flooded with more junk solicitations because of someone’s selfishness?
Another concern is the location of the Workshop, which is the Canton Station Bar in Baltimore, which just happens to be owned by our ex-president, Charley Alfred, local regional retiree rep, and his protégé, Darren Petty, MD State CAP president.
The majority of the membership detests these individuals and would not be caught dead within the walls of their establishment, for reasons we believe you are aware of. While the questionnaire states that there may be another location suggested for a future Workshop, the Cover Letter stresses the Canton Station Bar for the Where and When. If the purveyors of this Workshop truly had the membership’s interests at heart, the primary location would be at the Union Hall, like previous Workshops, not at a Bar.
It’s obvious that Alfred and Petty are soliciting the membership for their own personnel gain by holding the Workshop in their bar. Are they responsible for distributing the address program? All of the evidence suggests that they are. Isn’t it a moral or ethical violation for UAW officials to shamelessly exploit the Jobs Bank situation and the membership’s right to privacy for personnel gain? Surely the UAW does not condone this reckless, irresponsible behavior by its representatives.
Would you please investigate this blatant betrayal of the membership’s trust, discipline those responsible, and inform us of the outcome? Thank you and sincerely, D.H & G.H.
We cc’d the letter to Gettelfinger, and certified it to both. We also put a post script (ps) that stated we bypassed our local Servicing Rep for obvious reasons, and that is his relationship to the individuals in question.
Casteel ignored our ps and turned the investigation over to the one person we asked him not to, Servicing Rep, Roger Griffin, a friend of Alfred and Petty. On 05.23.06, Griffin responded that he investigated the issue and found no wrong doing by Alfred, Petty, or the Smith Barney solicitor, Tom Quirk. Casteel slapped us in the face when he assigned the investigation to Griffin, and Griffin slapped us on the other cheek with his bogus results that were no doubt concluded over cocktails in Alfred and Petty’s bar. No charge for the lap dance Griffy.
On 05.26.06 the Financial Times cut and pasted several excerpts from my Jobs Bank Update letter, and they didn’t even have the decency to give me credit. Why the FT would concern itself with conditions in the Baltimore truck plant’s Jobs Bank is confusing, that is until events began to unfold in the days that followed. Supposedly, GM got wind of the FT article.
On the afternoon of the 26th, Mgt called the Cook into the office to question her about the threat and who made it, the lawyer fee, and other financial questions he claims the corporation wanted answers to. The Cook told Mgt everything about the Café finances and that she had receipts for everything, including the lawyer fee, and she told him about the threat. However, she did not name the Yum-yum who had threatened her.
The day after Memorial Day, the 30th, Mgt announced that the Job Bank Café will cease to exist as of 1:00pm. He claims he is acting on orders from, “Up North,” and he cited health reasons, but didn’t elaborate when questioned if anyone became sick. About a half hour earlier, Mgt told a Café assistant, with me at her side that, “The buck stops with me, I’m shutting it down.” We believe Mgt’s been rendered insignificant in all this.
The Gob’s rumors were that someone sent a letter to GM’s VP with my disgruntled autoworker letterhead and they added a few more disparaging paragraphs about the JB. Mgt’s roommate, the local’s JB coordinator, was telling people the FT article was sent to GM’s VP and he was outraged that he wasn’t informed of the threat. He supposedly reamed out Mgt, demanded an investigation, and subsequently ordered the Café shutdown. And, the local’s president told someone there was a clause in the lease that prohibits cooking. This excuse is BS, because the building’s owners visited the Café, and their maintenance workers repaired breakers and had several free lunches.
There were several conflicting reasons for the Jobs Bank Café’s closing, and all of them bogus. However, the one that got the most air time is that it’s my fault. When the Gobs attempts to shutdown the Café failed, they seized on the suspiciously worded, and conveniently timed, FT article and used it to point the finger at me. We believe the Gobs created this opportunity to retaliate against me and the JB membership, thereby creating a hostile environment. The Gobs get their rocks off, and survive, by keeping us at each other’s throats, as opposed to theirs.
We believe the Café was shutdown as retaliation, and there are three reasons for us to believe this. The first is the majority of our local’s Executive Board members were elected by slim margins in the 05 elections. If it wasn’t for the retirees, we would have a totally different EB today. No offence to the retirees, but they’re unaware of conditions in the plants and those who supposedly represent us. There is also serious concern about the validity of all elections, because the transmission plant locks its ballot box up overnight at the Union Hall, the seat of corruption. Therefore, we believe the Gobs have been treating JB members like red headed step children because they know the majority of us didn’t vote for them.
Another reason for the Gobs to retaliate is because of the above letter. The day Casteel received it; he called Alfred, because Alfred went out of his way, and damn near broke his neck in an attempt to intimidate the Cook, who just glared right back at him at a service station while filling up the company van. Our letter wasn’t the only one sent up. A few days later, another letter was signed by four members and sent to the International, it too complained about the mass mailing. Alfred and Petty were having a bad week thanks to us.
The third reason for the Gobs to retaliate is because a skilled tradesman called the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation. He’s concerned that the building we’re in is causing people to have respiratory problems. According to people who were housed in this building in the past, this place is known as “The Sick Building.” The personnel director and shop chairman dragged their feet when it came to finding a location for the JB. We believe they jumped on this place at the last minute without having it inspected first. A DLLR inspector came and went two weeks ago. He’ll let us know his results in a few days. What he did comment on before leaving was that there are too many people being housed in this room, and the potential for sickness to spread is great.
In conclusion, we believe UAW Region 8 Reps Griffin, Alfred, and Petty, or their Smith Barney associate solicited the FT and had them print selected excerpts of my JB Update letter. Then the Gobs pressure Mgt to shutdown the Café for bogus reasons, and then the Yum-yums used the FT article to point the finger at me, and thereby turn the membership against me. These selfish appointed Mafia Don Wannabes have turned our Shangri-La into a hostile environment, just like they did in the plant; and all in the name of retaliation. Any member with half a brain knows that the Gobs and Yum-yums are responsible for the ticket, the $500 lawyer fee, the mass mailing, the Cook being threatened, the Café’s closing, and the bullshit that is yet to come. Get ready.
On 05.31.06 the Cook and I sent a certified letter to UAW President Gettelfinger. We asked him to disregard Griffin’s bogus investigation results, assign someone with credibility to investigate this situation, that is if there is such a person in the UAW’s hierarchy, and punish those responsible. We also asked that Gettelfinger not assign Donnie Douglas. We don’t want him coming down for the free lap dances and leaving with the same conclusion as Griffy. That’s why the Gobs won’t give us one member/one vote, God forbid we have the power to hold the traitors accountable. I’ll post our letter and Gettelfinger’s response, if any, in a future newsletter.
In Solidarity, Doug Hanscom