Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #14
December 2001


I began writing these letters almost two years ago and I figured sooner or later our Good Old Boys would call me down to the Work Center or Union Hall and give me the third degree, but they haven't. I mean, why not? Management did earlier this year, and I left the personnel director's office telling her, "I know my rights, and I stand behind everything I've written." Instead of calling me down front, our Good Old Boys decided to ambush me at our September union meeting.

The meeting began like any other; someone makes a motion from a sitting position to skip the reading of the minutes and the Recording Secretaries report. Incidentally, our new Recording Secretary has yet to give a report, because of motions that are made from a sitting position by supporters of the Boys. Its bad enough she's sitting at the same table as them, no way would they let her give a report too.

Then Darren Petty gives our financial report from the floor. That's right, Charley Alfred's best friend and partner in his bar. Why is Petty giving the report? Because International Rep Alvin Lloyd is retiring in June and according to reliable sources, Alfred was grooming Petty to fill Lloyd's position, and the more experience Petty has the better. However, the International informs Alfred that Petty isn't qualified for Lloyd's position because he must at least be an elected Vice President.

Alfred, being unscrupulous and resourceful, calls in a few favors and gets Petty an appointed position as an AFL-CIO Vice President of the Baltimore City CAP Council. I didn't have a very high opinion of the AFL-CIO in the first place and now its even lower. Their leadership is just like the UAW's; they appoint people who don't have the seniority, education or experience to function in the positions they're appointed to by even more clueless appointers like Alfred. No wonder Unions are losing clout and leaders are losing the respect of their members.

Next, Chuck Miller jumps up as if he was goosed and damn near breaks his neck. He stands at the podium all red faced, upset and waving Observations # 13. He says the financial report is as good a time as any to express that he is outraged at the accusations made about them taking bribes, pay-offs or whatever for securing Living Agreements and then at the top of his voice he yells, "DOUG!" just incase there was any doubt about who he was talking about.

I'm caught totally by surprise, of all the letters I've written over the last two years accusing our Boys of hijacking union meetings to avoid members questions about nepotism and favoritism. Or how they railroaded the entire membership by butchering a motion submitted by Ms. Bird to post appointed positions, they put it through a meat grinder until it was no longer recognizable. By the way, I have yet to see any postings for appointed positions.

They're still abusing appointments by selecting family and friends for the education program while members with more seniority have expressed an interest. My most recent accusation exposed the fact that workers compensation and the lawyers they hired to represent us is a joke and a charade.

Anyway, of all the accusations I've made, Chuck decides to get pissed-off about "Bonuses from $olidarity House," an article that was written for humor, and has a paragraph that clearly states that in its introduction. Now I have to wonder if Chuck has a guilty conscience, because his getting upset over a bogus article tells me that there must be some truth to it. (I'll reprinted it again after the first of the year for those of you who don't remember it and hope that it still has the same affect on Chuck.)

Meanwhile back at the meeting; Our Boys and their supporters speak from the floor or a sitting position, so I do too. From a sitting position, I said, "If you read that letter as it." That was as far as I got before supporters of our Good Old Boys shouted me down. Wow, I've never spoken in front of that many people before and I certainly never experienced that much negativity directed at me.

So I stand up and try again, "If you read that letter." Damn, they shouted me down again. Amid the chaos I hear Dorsey say, "Come up to the microphone and speak." I yell back, "No I won't," and I begin again, "If you." I couldn't believe it, is this a union meeting or a little league soccer game?

I should've sat down and given up, but nooo. I walk up to the microphone upset and flustered, and I say, "If you read that letter as it was written you'd see that it was written fictitiously," damn it, not what I meant to say. The yelling is disturbing my concentration. I could still hear our Good Old Boys supporters yelling like soccer moms and dads, and I correct myself saying, "I mean as humor, a joke." Damn it.

The soccer crowd wouldn't let up. One supporter, an alternate, kept saying, "F*%# you Doug, F*%# you Doug, F*%# you Doug." When Dorsey didn't tell the foul-mouthed alternate that he was out of order, it dawned on me that I was ambushed. Fed-up, I walked back to my seat and I hear Dorsey say, "Come back so we can talk about it." Yeah right, I don't think so. It's because of these one-sided union meetings and our Boys selfish self-serving attitude that I write these letters. Anyway, I sit down and watch the rest of the circus with a better understanding of why members don't speak up.

For the rest of the meeting, Miller went on and on about how you can't believe anything the plant manager and personnel director say. Whatever, we know who we can and can't believe, CHUCK. And then Dorsey rambles on, putting the room to sleep, talking about not tolerating anyone bringing down the moral of the plant. The man needs a clue.

You could almost see the strings going from our Good Old Boys to Alfred, who was sitting in the middle of the room with a shit-eating grin on his face. If anyone's responsible for bringing down the moral of the plant, he is. And if Miller and Dorsey were half the leaders they think they are, they'd cut them strings and tell Alfred to take a hike. Then, someone makes a motion from a sitting position to end the meeting.

The following Monday, coworkers reaffirmed my suspicions about being ambushed. I was told that there were unsigned flyers circulated at the Union Hall before I arrived that publicized indiscretions of my youth, and they helped put our Boys, their appointees and supporters in their soccer mood. A couple days later I found one in the plant.

Since our Boys can't attack the message, they'll attack the messenger. I questioned Dorsey about the flyers and of course he denied any knowledge of them. I don't believe he doesn't know what's going on in the Hall or in the Plant. In fact I believe he knows who is behind putting out that crap and is encouraging him. I also believe the membership has a pretty good idea who the loser is that calls himself the Happy Member. Hint, he's an appointee who shouldn't be.

On a personal note to our Good Old Boys, I will not defend anything I've done in my past, because that is what it is, my past. I will not let you Boys turn this around and make it about me, because I'm not the one who allowed Alfred to eliminate the negotiation table by manipulating the membership into "non-expiring agreements." And I have no say whatsoever as to who gets appointed to whatever position. You Boys are the guilty ones in this mess, not me.

So if airing my dirty laundry makes you Boys feel better about your own inadequacy, then by all means, air it, because there is nothing in my past that I'm ashamed of. However, I will say this, my past has taught me how to recognize people with less than honorable intentions, and this union's leadership has more than its share.

When I began these letters, I stated that I had one goal in mind. All I wanted was fair representation, and if I couldn't get it, I was going to keep writing these letters until our Boys see the error of their ways, or they are out of office. Since neither has happened yet, except for Jachelski's double defeat, and Alfred's appointment for being a turncoat, I'm making it my job to make the rest of our Boys lives as miserable and unpredictable as ours. I believe I'm succeeding, because it's obvious by their actions at our union meetings and in the plant that our Boys and their appointees are worried about their positions, as they damn well should be.

AFL-CIO Survey

I think you'll find this interesting. Around the end of September the UAW's website had a link that directed you to a survey on the AFL-CIO's website. The survey asks, "What do employees think of their employers?" The majority of respondents said they didn't trust their employers.

Not to be a wise guy, but I thought it was a stupid question. So in the comment section I wrote the following, "Of course employees don't trust their employers, that's why unions were formed, duh. I would be more interested in a survey that asks members, "What do union members think of their leaders?" Especially what UAW members think about the partnerships that their International leaders have with the corporations in the disguise of Joint Funds."

Needless to say, they didn't respond, but a week later the survey was gone from both websites. Was I responsible for them canceling their survey after only a couple of weeks? I doubt it, because I don't think I'm the only one who told them it was a dumb question. However, I would like to know the results of a survey based on my question.

Free Speech

I have the right according to National Labor Laws (LMRDA) and more importantly, a Constitutional right to write my opinions of our union officials and their actions in letters and then distribute them in non-work areas during non-work times. And I'm well aware that many of you don't agree with what I say and that is your right.

However, there are supporters of the Boys who are going out of they're way to pick up my letters and their throwing them away. Are they afraid of the message? I do not throw away anyone's literature, because I respect everyone's right to free speech as long as they put their name on what they write. I respect your rights, so please respect mine.

Agreeing with what I say isn't as important as agreeing that I have a right to say it. Or as the old saying goes, "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it."

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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