I've been attending union meetings regularly for about
a year, which amounts to four meetings and that's pathetic
when you think about it. Most union members I've spoken
to on the net from various plants can't believe our officials
get away with quarterly meetings. I tell them its because
our officials use intimidation tactics to keep membership
attendance to less than 10%, giving them complete and total
control over the proceedings. For example a couple lines
that they like to use are "Your out of order"
when someone has a legitimate question they want to avoid
or "I don't have the answer at this time but I will
get back to you" and they don't. It's obvious they
enjoy this game at the member's expense. And that's only
one reason for low attendance, read on fellow member for
more reasons to stay away from your union meetings.
I knew that if I attended enough union meetings I would
eventually be a witness to somebody being railroaded by
our local elected officials and I have to tell you it almost
got ugly. I don't have the person's permission to use her
name so I'll call her Ms. Bird. It seems Ms. Bird submitted
a proposal to post all appointed positions when they become
available. A good idea that will benefit the entire membership,
give everyone a chance to get off these killer jobs before
we end up under the knife for a wrist, back, shoulder or
whatever. An idea that's long overdue.
Well don't you know our officials didn't like the way it
was worded so they made a few changes? Did I say a few changes?
They took that proposal and put it through a meat grinder,
they reworded it and twisted it all around to the point
that it was no longer Ms. Bird proposal. I kid you not when
I say they had to read it five times so we could understand
it. All they had to say is that they didn't want to post
appointed positions, because what they settled on was pretty
much the way it is now.
I'll explain it the way I understand it. Appointed positions
will not be posted, but if you want to apply for a position
you need to submit an open application or resume to the
President. Since their not posted be sure to cover all the
bases by including any quality experiences, health and safety
experiences and experiences you may have in any other appointed
position that may become available. Consult your national
agreement for a list of appointed positions. Incidentally
Ms. Bird submitted another proposal to exclude family and
friends from appointed positions, but that was ruled unconstitutional.
So the bottom line is you have a snowballs chance in hell
of getting an appointed position, unless you start sucking
That my fellow members is how our new President's administration
is starting out, another reason to not attend your union
meetings run by a clique of clones who refused to let the
membership get involved. Not only did they railroad Ms.
Bird by changing her proposal, they railroaded the whole
membership. Then they had the nerve to ask for a vote on
their butchered proposal. There always seems to be more
sheep than wolves at the meetings, go figure. The sheep
behind me who were talking most of the meeting I know didn't
have a clue as to what they were voting on, but they voted
for it because their committee leader sitting in front of
me voted for it. Sheep 72, freethinking Wolves 56.
To add insult to injury and to give yet another reason
for not getting involved in union affairs is towards the
end of the meeting Ms. Bird said "It's nice you're
trying to get a new product and all, but what do you plan
on doing about the overworked jobs?" Chuck Miller takes
the stage and said, "Let me get this straight. Your
saying you don't want me to get a new product for the plant?"
More twisting and turning of the words and more intimidation
tactics, its no wonder attendance is so low. Sure the question
should have been asked after the Chairman's report, but
if they can ask for a vote on their butchered proposal,
hell it should be anything goes. If it wasn't for Adam telling
Chuck to, "Take it easy on her." I do believe
it would have gotten ugly and he would have put her through
the meat grinder as well and loved every minute of it. Thank
you Adam for not letting me be a witness to that, I've seen
enough. By the way Chuck didn't answer her about the overworked
jobs, maybe he'll get back to her.
As if you need another reason not to attend there's always
this guy. He likes to yell out his opinions at meetings.
You know who I'm talking about, the yahoo that yelled out
at the ratification vote "I've seen a lot of contracts
and this is the best." Yea, whatever, every meeting
he has something to say. At the June meeting a member had
a few questions she was determined to get answers to and
the yahoo yelled yet again, only this time more belligerent,
"Why don't you sit down and shut up?" You would
think the President would have told him he was out of order
and should shut up himself, but when that didn't happen
you knew he was part of the dog and pony show, part of the
intimidation act that keeps attendance down to less than
10%, making the meetings easer to manipulate and control.
Thus making membership participation nonexistent.
I ask you is this a union meeting? Or is it a stage for
our self-righteous, self-absorbed and self-serving clique
of clones to exercise their domination over the membership?
Wake up boys, this isn't a monarchy where you rule over
a kingdom and the dragon is you're friend, it's a union
hall where you were elected to represent the membership,
the dragon is the company and it's the enemy, hello.
Your friendly dragon is killing the membership; we are
being put out on the street in record numbers due to medical
reasons from overworked jobs. What good is writing a seventy-eight
on a job when it takes weeks or months to settle and in
the meantime a member is expected to do the job or be put
on the street? The catch being, the member has been doing
the job all along so we can throw out the seventy-eight,
Nothing against our new hires because it's not their fault,
but they are in places they should not be and holding jobs
that they should not have. At a recent committeeman call
in the break room about this situation, my committeeman
and I saw a new hire sleeping on a picnic table bench the
whole thirty minutes we were in there and yes the line was
running. To me the company is rubbing their abuse of seniority
in our faces and saying, "We control everything in
this building including your union and there's nothing you
can do about it." How else are we the members supposed
to interpret this situation? I fault the union for allowing
these conditions to exist. It's a sad day indeed when five-years
of seniority can get you a better job than twenty.
Most of us have given the company over twenty years of
blood, sweet and tears on the line. With our seniority we
should be coasting our last few years before retirement.
Instead the company is using and abusing us by creating
working conditions akin to those we hear about in China.
At the rate we are working our bodies will be in no shape
to enjoy our golden years. I would love to see the plant
manager, my supervisor or a union official do my job for
a week and then tell me I'm not overworked, as if. Would
somebody please tell me again why I'm paying union dues?
I'm reminded of a song from the early seventies that went
something like, "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to
the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you"
Only we the members are stuck in the middle with the dragon
on one side and our useless monarchy on the other. We can't
complain to the international, been there, done that and
not a bit of help from them. We're at the mercy of the dragon
and the monarchy is acting as if nothing is happening and
why not? They're safe in their ivory tower, they've learned
from their last ruler you can sell-out your members and
be promoted to a higher office, so why should they worry?
We have only one alternative and that is to send our self-righteous,
self-absorbed and self-serving clique of clones a message
with our votes in the upcoming Vice-Presidential elections.
We need to vote for someone who isn't a member of the clique
of clones, someone who will look out for the rights of the
membership and not their own self-interest.
If you're not sure who's in or who's not in the clique
ask a fellow member. A couple of hints would be to read
the handouts. Vote for the concerned candidate over the
knowledgeable one. The knowledgeable one knows how to shaft
you without you realizing it until it's too late. Remember,
a vote outside the clique is a vote for the membership;
we need and deserve a change.