Union positions available: President, Shop Chairperson,
Zone Committeeperson, Committeepersons and Alternate Committeepersons.
Serious, dedicated, self-motivated individuals with a gift
of gab and the ability to communicate with people of diverse
ethnic backgrounds. Knowledge of union contract and by-laws
preferred, but not necessary.
Requirements: Applicants must be members in good standing
with a desire to learn local and national contract. You
must attend all union meetings and learn how to prevent
senior officials from hijacking our meetings, railroading
members and generally being a nuisance by not allowing the
members to air their concerns. In other words learn to prevent
them from manipulating and controlling our meetings. Self-serving
individuals need not apply.
The above want ads are bogus, or are they? Rumor around
the plant is that if we held our executive board elections
today, every last one of our Good Old Boys would be replaced,
because they are as responsible as the man who put his family
and friends above the membership. Our EX may have got away
with walking all over our trust, but the rest of our Boys
will not, that is unless they retire before our next election.
Our elected officials have put themselves, and their family
and friends on a pedestal while they treat the members in
much the same way their company counterparts do. There may
not be anything we can do about how the company treats us,
especially without adequate representation, but we can do
something about how we're treated by our officials.
The recent election of our new Recording Secretary, Ann
German, is proof we want change. She will be sworn in at
our March 11th meeting. Her election delivered the message
again, just in case our Good Old Boys thought the new VP's
election was a fluke. Now there is no doubt in anyone's
mind. There's a new majority in the house and our union's
clique is about to go the way of the dinosaurs.
Thankfully federal law states local union elections must
be held every three years, otherwise our officials would
have made their positions lifetime positions. Its unfortunate
federal laws donŐt apply to the length of our contracts.
Today or a year from now, our election results will be the
same. Our elected officials have under-estimated the membership
for the last time. Changes are coming.
Which brings me to the bogus want ads. Some members are
already forming caucuses, so the ads aren't all that bogus.
A couple of members I've spoken to that expressed an interest
in running for an office have over thirty years seniority.
I would rather elect someone with less than thirty years,
but if senior candidates make it a priority to deal with
the appointment issue that our current officials avoided
and our overworked jobs, then I'm all for them.
In the long run though, I think we need candidates with
less seniority so that if we're not satisfied with their
performance we can vote them out in our next elections and
send them back on the line. As it is now, most of our elected
officials have enough time to retire, there's no incentive
for them to do a good job. If we vote them out, for selling
us out or for whatever reason, we don't get to send them
back on the line because they retire or fall back to an
appointed position. That sort of thing has to stop.
I think everyone knows what I mean by, "Knowledge
of union contracts and by-laws preferred but not necessary".
There are Committeepersons who don't know squat about interpreting
the local or national contracts. I know a member who witnessed
their Committeeperson calling labor relations for assistance
with interpreting a paragraph in the contract, and another
member who said their Committeeperson called in the department
coordinator for help with a problem they were having. Excuse
me; management is the last place to get honest answerers
about the contract. Committeepersons should be able to get
answers from someone within our union, if not then they
should call the International. The desire to learn the contracts
is "Definitely" a must.
There are benefits that come with electing new officials
every few years. For instance, an ever-changing union administration
forces the company to keep changing its strategy in how
they deal with new officials. It also makes it harder for
both sides to form long lasting relationships that result
in collusion on things such as lifetime contracts, like
the one we have.
Another benefit to members is with a new administration
we get new appointees. There are 55 appointed positions,
counting Allison. Of course not all of them need replacing,
because some are irreplaceable and we know who they are.
We also know that at least half of our appointees were appointed
because of family or they're best buds of one of our officials
and then there are those who brown nosed their way into
a position, we get to send them back on the line.
So, in a nutshell that's roughly10 elected positions and
about 35 or so appointed positions that will become available
in a little over a year. Now is a good time to join or form
a caucus to challenge our incumbents, especially new hires.
And it's also a good time to work on a resume for an appointed
This is your union, get involved.
What we do need to keep in mind is that even if we have
all new candidates in office we can't relax and let everything
take care of itself, far from it. A word of advice to all
new hires, don't become complacent like the generation before
you. We screwed up big time, after we elected our officials,
we forgot about them. We thought, once they were in office
they would do right by us.
BIG mistake. Somewhere along the line they noticed we weren't
watching and they became selfish, greedy and self-serving.
After a few years of unwatched selfishness and greed, they
lost sight of why we elected them and started acting for
themselves. Which is why we're in the situation we're in
now, stuck with a contract that doesn't expire and working
our butts off while their family and friends have all the
For the sake of an argument, new hires are members with
less than ten years, considering the average seniority around
here is about 25 years. This is your union, don't make the
same mistake we did, get involved and stay involved by attending
meetings and learn just what it is our elected officials
do. Unfortunately with quarterly meetings you'll be limited
to about five meetings before the next elections, that's
not much time to learn.
To increase your learning experience, I recommend you submit
a proposal that our meetings be held monthly, that way you'll
have at least fourteen meetings to observe our Good Old
Boys in action. You may be lucky enough to see them put
your proposal through a meat grinder like they did with
Ms. Birds, its not a pretty sight, but it's a learning experience
you'll not forget.
Something to remember when submitting a proposal that our
Good Old Boys may not approve of is to inform as many members
as possible, and insist they come to the meeting. That way
when your proposal comes up for a vote you'll have the necessary
people to carry it. Otherwise the vote goes in whatever
direction our Good Old Boys want because of all the committee
members, appointees and suckups in attendance. Ms. Bird's
proposal for posting appointed positions is a good example,
Sheep 72, freethinking Wolves 56.
Quarterly meetings wouldn't be a problem if we had faith
in our leaders. However in the last couple years they have
pulled so much crap on us and ducked their responsibilities
by hiding behind these quarterly meetings that their not
practical anymore. We could always change them back at a
later date, once we have officials we feel comfortable with.
In the meantime we're short changing ourselves and our members
on lay off by leaving them the way they are.
Our union officials are well aware of the unrest in the
plant and they know the future of their positions is uncertain.
They would have to be blind not to see the signs. You can
bet that between now and our elections they are going to
bend over backwards for us to improve their image. I wouldn't
be a bit surprised if the company helped them by setting
up a few bogus situations so our Boys come out looking more
like union officials instead of management clones. The next
few months might be a good time to write up your over-worked
job or fight for that vacation week the boss says you can't
have or whatever. Put them to work for you, the sky's the