Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #8
February 2001

i.e. america can now be heard anytime, anywhere in the world

The i.e. america network, for-merly known as UBN, can now be heard anytime, anywhere on the world wide web. Anyone with a computer that supports audio speakers, a sound card, and Real Audio software can tune in any time of day.

All you have to do is visit www.broadcasttalk.com, scroll down the "Talk Tinerary" line-up to i.e. america, and double click on "more info" to bring the net-work online. If you don't have Real Audio, you can download a free version from the website.

The UAW-backed radio net-work offers a variety of program-ming, ranging from experts on workers' rights and car repair to popular talk show hosts like Doug Stephan, who is on from 3 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

In recent weeks Stephan has featured such guests as AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who spoke on labor's opposition to permanent normal trade rela-tions with China, and William Adler, author of a new book ti-tled "Mollie's Job" that traces the impact of the global economy on a worker whose job moves from New Jersey to a southern state and finally to Mexico.

Six of the most popular i.e. america programs are archived so that they can be tuned in any time of day, even when i.e. amer-ica is off the air.

When you click on the Jim Hightower Show, for example, you can hear it live Monday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m. (all listings are Eastern Time) or you can listen to that day's show any time in the next 24 hours by simply clicking on "archives."

The Jerry Hughes show (2-5 p.m. Monday-Friday) and News-maker (5-6 p.m. Monday-Fri-day) are also archived for the 24-hour period between live shows.

Bobby Likis' Car Clinic (9 a.m.-l p.m. Saturdays). The Employees' Lawyer Stephen Sack (2-5 p.m.), and Trash or Treasure (3-6 p.m. Saturdays) are archived for an entire week.

There are no out-of-pocket costs for i.e. america because banner advertising on the web-site pays for the operation. In ad-dition, anyone who visits broad-casttalk.com can also sign up for free e-mail and fax services with technical support.

BroadcastAMERICA, the company that runs broad-casttalk.com, has quietly become the world's largest internet broad-caster, knocking Yahoo out of the number one slot by forging part-nerships with radio stations, tele-vision stations, and broadcasting outlets around the world.

Note: I'm not sure when the above article was published in Solidarity Magazine, but it proves the leadership of the UAW takes for granted that we the membership, approve of them spending our money any way they see fit. Our International officials are acting like CEO's (corporate executives officers), Stockbrokers and Investment Bankers with our strike funds. They are buying and investing without any foresight or experience whatsoever, and it is we the members who lose out when they go belly up. The following is an excerpt from a book Arizona writer Michael Munday is working on describing the clash between UAW bosses and independent entrepreneurs at UBN.

In 1996 the UAW became an owner, with some entrepreneur partners, of the Florida based (UBN) United Broadcasting Network. During the succeeding two and one-half years, the UAW took control and fired more than half the staff. It is those former UBN employees who now are suing the UAW directly in Florida for the loss of their jobs.

In a separate action, the UAW's partners in UBN were brought into court by the union on claims including spending too much on airline flights. The partners, in turn, have sued the union for breach of contract and for what now is alleged to have been a plan by the UAW to drive the value of the radio network down so that the UAW could keep its pieces as a propaganda arm to support the UAW’s political agenda.

UAW International President Steven Yokich, UAW Public Relations Director Frank Joyce and UAW Chief Council Dan Sherrick are among union officials who continue to be questioned about their roles in the United Broadcasting Network, which the UAW forced into bankruptcy in 1997 in what plaintiffs call a grab for control.

Soon a Washtenaw County, Michigan, court may have to decide whether the UAW can keep secret all testimony, including videotapes, taken from UAW officials in the civil action, which the UAW itself originally brought to court. Damages in the case could mean a UAW payout of as much as $500 million—approximately half the amount available in the UAW strike funds.

Note: The above is a rough outline of lawsuits that have been filed against the UAW by former fired employees and the UAW's business partners. I'm informing you about this because it is one more example of the selfishness and greed that we have come to expect of our International officials. It is also another reason the UAW needs to implement one member/one vote, so they can be held accountable.

Pro Air

In January of 99 GM invested $7 million in Pro Air in a secured loan for reduced air fair for it's executives. Our UAW's executives, not to be out done by their counterparts, in December of 99 invested $14 million in an unsecured loan so its members could travel at a discount also. Our International officials, playing Investment Bankers, now stand to loose $14 million of our hard earned funds because Pro Air filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2000. Our officials at the UAW didn't secure the loan like their counterparts at GM and as a result we're out $14 million. Again, this is another reason we need one member/one vote so they can be held accountable and we can vote them out for this sort of reckless behavior with our strike funds.

The following article was in the October 19th 2000 edition of the Detroit Free Press.

Pro Air creditors: Airline owes millions to GM, UAW

Detroit - Pro Air Inc. received $7 million in loans from General Motors and DaimlerChrysler in January. Both companies are listed as secured creditors now that the discount airline has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In September, Pro Air also listed more than $30 million in unsecured debts it owes to dozens of companies and organizations. The largest one was the UAW, which loaned the airline $14 million in December.

Documents filed this week in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle, the airline’s corporate headquarters, show Pro Air had $440,000 in cash when the Detroit City Airport-based airline sought bankruptcy protection.

Certified Letter

Another reason I'm informing you about our International officials acting like CEO's and Investment Bankers is because I refer to them in my soon to be distributed "A Gypsy's Tale", and I wanted you to know what I was talking about when I mention UBN and Pro Air. I'm sure most members had no idea about these lawsuits.

Part one of "A Gypsy's Tale" chronicles the decline of my respect for the leadership of our locals and ultimately the International over a 25-year period. Part two ends with a certified letter to UAW President Yokich. It cost about two dollars to mail, but worth the response. Especially when you get to see first hand just how concerned our President is. You'll be surprised, I was. Don't worry about retaliation; he's too busy being a CEO.

"A Gypsy's Tale" is the last of three Disgruntled Autoworker articles I sent out nationally and mailed to President Yokich and the Detroit Free Press on 12-11-00. I hope to write more locally and especially nationally in the coming months. Eventually I would like to combine the two, because some issues locally are a concern nationally, like why do union officials hang out in labor relations? They don't have any vending machines or sofas in there.

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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