Balance Of the Shift
On 10.19.06 I posted ‘The Finger from Gettelfinger’ on my disgruntledautoworker.com website and emailed it to local and national activist on various email lists. Another article in that newsletter was ‘Gobs and Yum Yums.’ It was based on my observations, and coworkers’ opinions of conditions in the Wilmington assembly plant that 150 of us from Baltimore were forced to commute 70 miles to. The newsletter, my first in the Wilmington plant, got mostly positive reviews from my native and gypsy coworkers; however, Mgt and Local 435’s Good Ole Boy (Gob) administration had negative reactions to some of my opinions and observations.
Without being put on notice, the next day I was put on the street for the Balance Of the Shift because Mgt alleges I violated Plant Rule #29, “The making or publishing of false, vicious, or malicious statements concerning any employee, Advisor, the Company or its products.” I wrote that “Mgt reserves the right to choose Team Coordinators. Seniority is not a factor in Mgt’s decision, and judging from my observations, it’s apparent that the majority of those chosen are loyal to the GM/UAW Team and not Team Members, and therefore they’ll drop a dime on TMs in a heartbeat.”
Mgt claims it goes by seniority when choosing TC; therefore, they found me in violation of PR #29 and put me on the street, on a Saturday no less. Of course I filed a grievance, but with the Traitors of Sold Our Dignity House (Sod House, otherwise known as Solidarity House) in a concessionary mode these last 20 plus years, the grievance will take a year or more to settle, and more likely than not, like a similar grievance in the Baltimore plant, the Traitors will roll over on it too.
After relating the reason for the discipline to a Rep on another shift, their first reaction was surprise, and their response was, “Well they do. Everybody knows that.” That may be so, just don’t put it in writing. The Rep walked away apologizing for my plight. That’s all well and good too, but I’m still out 6.2 hours of overtime for publishing something everybody believes to be true.
Based on my observations and interpretation of the disciplinary hearing, I got the impression that Mgt was more upset with me calling the Gobs’ liars, thieves, thugs and punks, and with my description of appointees and the colorful terms I used to explain how some of them get one of the many coveted GM-UAW Joint Positions, than they were with me violating a plant rule. This makes me wonder if Mgt is really disciplining me because I called a spade a spade, or because I offended a few appointees, or both.
First of all, I believe if anyone visits the soldiersofsolidarity.com, futureoftheunion.com, or factoryrat.com websites and reads some of the articles and info posted there, they’ll find that the Traitors of Sod House are all that and then some. Second, at one time GM owned DirecTV, which made it one of the largest peddlers of smut and profanity on the planet, so are we to assume that since GM no longer owns it, they’re on some high moral ground? And third, if any Gob, Appointee, TC, or whoever is offended by anything I’ve written in this or any other newsletter I’ve posted, then they must be feeling guilty about something they’ve done or are doing. If the shoe fits, wear it.
Early the following Tuesday morning, the Shop Chairman was hanging around one line over chewing the fat. According to coworkers, they’ve never seen him out on the shop floor, most thought it was odd at the time. Then he went over to the next line, but stayed in an area that allowed him a clear view of the 10 minute Sting Operation that was about to go down. If all went according to plan, yours truly would be put on the street again, this time permanently. Participant’s names have been changed for obvious reasons.
First up is The Kid. He came into my work space to check repair tickets. He would take a ticket out of the car, look at it and put it back. To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t write anything on the tickets, or do anything to the cars. My guess is he was there as a witness and/or distraction to/for the events that followed.
Next up is Pinky Tuscadero. She was all dressed in pink and looking like she stepped out of an episode of Happy Days. While dancing around The Kid who keeps getting in the way of my job, Pinky tells me she just wanted to meet the guy who writes the Disgruntled Autoworker (that’s me, I told her), that a lot of people have read it (cool, the Gobs must have downloaded and circulated it because I only gave out a few hard copies to friends), that she read a lot of frustration between the lines (excuse me, but it is the disgruntled autoworker, not happy autoworker), that I shouldn’t let GM see my frustrations (too late, and I’m not the only one, besides, I believe the GM-UAW team is the cause of our frustrations), then Pinky tells me again that she just wanted to meet me and then disappears. I’m left scratching my head and wondering what that was all about.
Next up is New York Joe. He looks like he may have had one too many for this early in the morning, but to each his own. I met Joe a few years ago in the Baltimore plant. I didn’t care for his loud arrogant obnoxious ‘I know everything and you don’t’ attitude then, nor do I now. I encountered him outside the brain washing; I mean orientation sessions during the first week here. At that time he made it a point, with his obnoxious attitude, of saying that my newsletters would not be tolerated in the Wilmington plant. In front of witnesses, I asked if he was working for the local Gobs and was he threatening me. He shut up.
Anyway, NY Joe comes into my workstation right after Pinky abruptly left. He’s his usual loud obnoxious self saying something like I told you so about the newsletters. This was in reference to me being put on the street, (I still have free speech rights, I told him). He went on about transfer rights to Allison; see Augusts’ newsletters on my website. The Kid’s standing there during this exchange, (the juries still out on the Allison issue, I told NY Joe), he went on that I should have retired during the Attrition Program (that’s my business, not yours), then he walks away saying loudly that he warned me. I looked around and noticed everyone’s looking at me. I shrugged dismissively. The Kid asks me to get the next ticket. I told him to get it. After he’s out of the way, I went back to work.
Last up is Barney from The Simpsons, the guy who’s always buzzed whenever Homer runs into him. Less than a minute after NY Joe walked away, Barney comes around while I’m busy doing the next job. In a loud and boisterous voice I hear, “Where is that disgruntled pussy? I want to meet that disgruntled bitch. Where is that disgruntled little pussy? Where is that disgruntled little bitch?” I stopped what I was doing and looked at him. It was obvious he knew who I was because he looked right back and said something about me going back to my plant and a bunch of other crap. I ignored him. It was obvious he was intent on provoking me into a fight. During a break in his ranting, I stopped what I was doing, looked him in the eye and said with a smile, “Thank you. And you have a nice day too.” He walked away pissed off that I didn’t challenge him to a fight. As he left he belligerently yelled, “If you want to fight me, I’ll meet you in the parking lot.” Seconds later, The Kid left too.
After The Kid left, I looked around and saw the Chairman heading back up front from two lines over, and off in the distance, but not too far, I saw another union rep with a clear view of this sting operation. They left when they saw me looking at them. A coworker told me later that the Chairman was watching my line, but wasn’t sure why until I related the morning’s events during the commute home.
With The kid as a distraction and witness, I believe Pinky tried to burst my bubble, then NY Joe tried to fire me up, and the closer was for Barney to get me to swing at him. If I had swung at Barney, I would have been put on the street for violating PR #31, which prohibits fighting, thus making me a repeat offender when you consider the alleged violation of PR #29, which is a violation of PR #41, violating multiple plant rules. I believe Mgt would have fired me, and I can almost hear the Chairman and union rep say with a smirk, “We witnessed the whole incident and cannot represent you; therefore, you’re on your own. Goodbye and good luck.” How convenient that would’ve been.
It is believed that a similar sting operation was successfully used in Baltimore a few years ago to get a potential candidate for local president to swing at a buzzed agitator. The candidate was fired and had to fight for his retirement and benefits on his own. It’s still unclear if he won either back. As a reward, the agitator went on to enjoy several more years as a buzzed appointee and rep. Fortunately I’m smarter than they think, but I’m not cocky, I don’t believe for a second that they’ve given up. If anything, I believe they’re formulating another sting operation as you read this.
There are too many incidents here for them to be coincidence. After much discussion with friends and coworkers who also witnessed this 10 minute series of events, we are all in agreement that this was a deliberate attempt to get me fired. Was the Chairman behind this bungled sting operation? Was he acting on orders from the International UAW’s GOBs? After all, they do have a nationwide reputation among dissidents for being merciless and conniving when dealing with dissention. Did Mgt know about the sting? Would the GM-UAW Team conspire to sanction violence to silence dissention? In my opinion; considering the UAW International’s joint cooperative concessionary agreements with the Big 3 corporations, and my personal experiences with International UAW Traitors during the last seven years, I can’t help but believe that the answers to all four questions are yes, yes, yes and yes.
In Solidarity, Doug Hanscom