Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #12
June 2001

During the past few months, I would take a mental overview of the previous week and write down my thoughts on what my opinion is of the corporation's quality slogan and whatever else is on my mind at the time. I discussed some of my thoughts with coworkers and wasn't surprised to find that many of you felt as I do and vice versa. I put together a few of our views and opinions to illustrate that the majority of us feel the same on a lot of issues. Participant's names have been changed by request, something to do with retaliation.


"It means I will do my job to the best of my ability to ensure the customer is satisfied with our product. Even if that means I have to work at breakneck speed to achieve that goal. I will put out of my mind the pain I have in my hands, wrist, elbows, shoulders and back, because it has nothing to do with my job."

"I will modify my job to reduce the risk of injury to myself, since I can't depend on anyone else to look out for my well being. I will also do my part to help the company maintain quality and save money, because the money they save will come back to me in the form of profit sharing. Speaking of which, I will be happy to receive a profit sharing check of $800 and I will not complain when I hear my CEO is making tens of millions of dollars a year, not counting stock options."... D. Hanscom

"I know all about quality. I want to use this space to congratulate our new Vice President and Recording Secretary. This local deserves a change in leadership. Now if we could change the leadership we have at the International, we might be able to reverse some of these sell-out contracts they shoved down our throats. Competitive agreements my butt, cutthroat agreements is more like it."

"Congratulations Thomasine and Ann, our Good Old Boys may not make you feel too welcome, but look at the bright side, two elected officials down and ten to go. You'll have help before you know it. I like the sound of that; it should be the memberships new slogan until it becomes a reality. Two down and ten to go*."... Tiny Spare

What does the corporation's quality slogan mean to you or whatever?

"I will do the impossible, for the ungrateful, as fast as I can, so I can do it again and again and again, all the while maintaining the best quality I can. What pain? My mind is pleasantly numb, I don't feel any pain."

"This corporation must be colored blind, for the last 10 years they say they're going to eliminate white-collar jobs, yet, every time I turn around they're eliminating blue-collar jobs. There are more white-collar people around here than you can shake a stick at. If the company is serious about cutting cost so the corporation can invest the money overseas, then that is where they should start. I guess our union's boys are colored blind too, either that or deaf, they must not have heard about all the blue-collar jobs that are to be eliminated and if they did, they're not saying anything. Their silence speaks volumes. Yes! Two down and five to go."... Rusty Wheelwell

"Yeah, yeah I know all about quality. I want to take a minute to say that sometimes this new plant reminds me of my tour in The Nam. Over there we had a bunch of green lieutenants telling enlisted men how and what to do, putting our lives in danger. Eventually some guys wised up; in order to save their own skins, our lieutenants became the victims of friendly fire. We tried to tell them. I didn't see or do nothing, but I heard things, ya know?"

"Now I'm at this new plant with a bunch of rookie supervisors telling me they want my input, when in reality all they want is for me to shut my mouth and do what they tell me. I tried to tell them their idea wouldn't work, but they know better. When quality is crap because of their stupid ideas, they'll blame me. And they wonder why I look at them like I do. I pray every day I don't have a flashback. 2 down and 5 to go."... Sunny Pinion

"I hit the ground running at 6:00am and except for two short breaks and lunch, I don't stop until the work day ends, My body is programmed to work at an accelerated pace for 8+ hours, and my mind is in the zone that helps me to concentrate on quality while blocking out any and all pain."

"Then, out of nowhere, some stuffed shirts from ASSO, ESSO, ISSO or something like that come around and mess up my rhythm by asking me how am I doing? I ignored them, because I'm busy and I know they don't really give a damn. If they did, I wouldn't be working like this."

"One of them gets in my face because I forgot my belt buckle protector. My buckle comes about as close to damaging the job as my glasses. I was about to relate this fact to their no seniority appointed flunky when I noticed he had a brownish tint on the tip of his nose and one of his ears, and surmised he must have recently kissed the bosses butt and got carried away, so I ignored their wannabe company/union hack too. The price some will pay to get off the line. Man, go away and let me get back in the zone so I can get this day over with."... D. Hanscom

"I used to enjoy coming to work and doing the best I can for the company. I made sure quality went into every vehicle I came in contact with. Now I hate this place, because I wake up in the morning in so much pain that I know is because of my job. I have to force myself to go to work, because I've got too much time invested to quit."

"I'll continue to do what I can to build quality vehicles, and I'll be very surprised if these things aren't on the recall list in a year or two. It's getting so bad around here I find myself wishing for a major break down every day, and what's really sad is company/union officials can't understand why. Two down and five to go, damn union leadership."... Whitey Rosebud

"My job has me on the go from buzzer to buzzer. It's as if I'm programmed like the robots in the body shop. Sometimes I feel I can do my job blindfolded."

"It's not enough the company has my body programmed for 40+ hours a week. They want to program my mind too. They want me to memorize some crap about customer enthusiasm, yea right. At the pace they have us building these things, it makes me wonder if they know what customer enthusiasm means."... Ray Headlite

"They had these jobs set up by supervisors who don't have a clue about what it's like to work on the line. My job has no error time built in, so if a coworker, or a job puts me in the hole; I have to bust my butt for the next five jobs to get out. And they want me to build quality into every job; boy do they need a wake up call. Where's my union representation?"

"One of my coworkers recently reported a defect, resulting in the company saving thousands of dollars in repairs. It was important enough to get mentioned it in an April issue of the company's weekly newsletter, and as a reward, the coworker receives a measly $6.50 voucher for the cafeteria. When the company pulls "cheap" stunts like this, IÕm supposed to believe "they" care about customer enthusiasm?"... D. Hanscom

I like this format, because it's given me the opportunity to voice a few opinions on quality and/or whatever else is on our minds. Like Mr. Pinion for example, he wanted me to be sure and tell you he's not violent, just frustrated. I would like to use real names in future issues of this newsletter, but that's up to you. Time will tell.

A couple of coworkers told me they think the company is setting us up to fail by over working us to drive the quality of our vehicles down. So that when or if they close the plant they can point the finger at the work force and not at themselves. I don't know if the company would stoop that low, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Now if these people would show up at our union meetings and voice these same concerns, we might not be at the mercy of this heartless company and their union hacks.

I wouldn't put it past the company to continue eliminating jobs and over work us until we demand union leaders get out of their bed and start standing up for us. From the look of things, that's not going to happen. So we'll have to wait until our June 2002 elections to pull the sheets out from under them and hope new leaders are more sympathetic to the memberships concerns than managements. "Two down and five to go, big time."

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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