Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #1
Jaunary 2000

Document 28's and Things.

I am a Document 28, (D28) transplant employee. I have worked at the Baltimore plant eleven years. That's two years longer than my two previous plants combined. There are approximately 400 D28's in this plant and very little chance that we can go back to our own plants or even close to our own areas. At the Framingham D28 meeting that was held in the plant conference room on 2-4-00 Fred Swanner said "We are members of local 239" if that's the case, why are we still listed as D28's on the seniority list? What is the purpose for this if not to single us out? Since most of us have made our homes here, it's time for the union to integrate us into the plant. If 11 years isn't long enough to be considered a local, then what is?

At that same D28 meeting the only thing that I came away with was that there are a lot of disgruntled D28 members. I don't think that it is just the Framingham members. I spoke with members from other plants and they too feel the same. The reason we are disgruntled is because our local representatives treat us like second-class citizens. It's like there is this stigma to being a D28. We don't have any representation to speak of. Every time we put in a call for the committeemen they make us feel like we are disturbing them or they have this, you're not worthy of my time attitude. You'd think they'd show a little more respect since it wasn't that long ago that this local had employees transfer to other plants. Our union representatives should treat us D28's as members of this union because 400 D28's can have a tremendous influence on the next elections. I think the best way for us to solve this problem is to start a D28 committee and we should do this as soon as possible, preferably at the next union meeting, which is March 12th.

Something that is really mind blowing about calling the committeeman around here is the chain of events once you put in a call. The first thing that happens is the committeeman goes to the supervisor to find out what your problem is, they then discuss this problem amongst themselves, work out a solution and then call you in to tell you how they are going to solve the problem. Excuse me? If I'm not mistaken, shouldn't the committeeman see me first? Duh! I pay union dues so that the union represents me, not, to double-team me like they do in this plant. In the 11 years that I've been here I know this hasn't always been the procedure. I've talked with people who have been here over 25 years and they too think that all of this company and union double-teaming started with our current elected officials. Isn't this sort of behavior counterproductive to what the union is all about?

I'm all for someone helping their kid get a job here and that's all, anything else the kid should earn. I say this because you may have noticed we have a few individuals who seem to be riding their father's coat tails. How else can you explain they're getting appointed to prime positions? They certainly haven't been here long enough or done anything to earn these positions. Individuals, who tried and couldn't get elected if their lives depended on it, most of us know who they are and there's a reason we wouldn't elect these individuals dogcatchers never mind committeemen. However, our elected officials appointed these individuals to prime positions in the union. (Yea I know because they can, still doesn't make it right.) Positions, I might add that should have been posted. Who wouldn't love to have a chance at applying for these positions? If we got the position or not would be because of our qualifications, not because of daddy or the kiss-ass factor that seems to run rampant in this union's administration. Appointed positions, secondary moves, supervision, local leadership, potatoes, pototoes, tomatoes, tomotoes, man, it's so hard to tell what's what and who's who around here.

Then there's the Allison transmission plant. When I found out that local 239 was involved in the process my heart just sank. I was hoping for a clean break from this local and all of their dirty dealings. Considering what they've done here I can only imagine what they'll do there, whatever. Yea, I called to check it out and I got a Mr. Burkes on the phone, talk about arrogant. When I told him that I was a D28 he said "Oh you're the ones with the Kiss of Death". Quote, unquote. There's that D28 stigma that I was speaking of earlier. I'll go to the presentation, I'll listen to what they have to say and then IÕll make the call and hope it doesnÕt turn out the way it appears. Rumor is, there have been over 15 hundred inquiries into the Allison transmission plant. Of course a lot of those inquiries have to do with the uncertain future of this plant. I also think a lot of those inquiries are due to the living agreement that we have here at the plant, more on that in a second. To Allison it must look like weÕre climbing all over each other to get out of here.

Mr. Burke's attitude is not all that surprising about D28's, it seems to coincide with the rest of our local officials attitude. Our leadership has the mindset that our plants shutdown because of our local unions, that couldn't be further from the truth. Of the two plants that I worked in one was shutdown because of economics, the other was shut down because of logistics. The rest of the plants that the D28's came from I don't know about, but I'd be willing to bet that their shutdowns also had nothing to do with the local unions. This issue of D28's should be put to rest once and for all. I mean come on, just do it, integrate us.

There are three reasons why I'm so pissed with our union, hence the reason for these letters. My committeeman and zone man for failure to give me adequate representation on a simple problem I think would have been resolved had I not been a D28, and of course our elected officials for this damn contract. Don't get me wrong. I don't resent all of our elected officials. There are some I'd vote for again in a heartbeat and others I wouldn't give the time of day. Anyway, I'm totally disappointed with Charlie Alfred and his negotiating committee. It's my opinion and many, many others that we were deceived and they sold us out. Alfred said "The international was being run by dinosaurs", well what Chuck and his negotiating committee accomplished with our local agreement was disgraceful. They wiped out over thirty years of advancements by them dinosaurs with the stroke of a pen.

A couple of things I wrote in my last letter I feel deserve to be repeated and that concerns the living agreement our local leadership made with the Baltimore plant. A living agreement that has more changes then Madonna in concert. I absolutely and positively believe "If Alfred and his negotiating committee had to work on the line, you can bet your bottom dollar they would not have even considered this contract." I also wrote that Alfred and his negotiating committee should be taken out behind the wood shed and taught a lesson on how not to take advantage of the people who gave them the power to do the right thing and blew it, shame on you guys.

I know I'm probably wasting my time writing this letter and all of this doesn't mean much to our elected officials or will change the way things are. However, if it ruffles a few feathers, great, that is what it was meant to do and it makes me feel better getting this off my chest. Our elected officials and their behavior make an easy target, so I'm sure you'll be hearing from me in the not to distant future. Preferably before the next quarterly meeting, did I say quarterly? Let me think, March 12th is coming up so the next one is what, October? Yea that sounds about right for our officials. See, what's up with the quarterly meetings? You think they're avoiding us? Man, changes and questions, so many and so little time and space. Thank you very much.

Sincerely, a Disgruntled Member

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