Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #15
January 2002

For Your Information I

Early last year I called Tony Barbieri, Managing Editor of The Sun. I complained about Business writer Ted Shelsby quoting our Ex-president on the status of the Baltimore plant. I told him past issues of The Sun didn't quote the previous Regional Rep, Butch Fender, and they shouldn't quote our Ex-president and current Rep, Charley Alfred. I also told him if The Sun wanted to quote anyone on the status of the plant it should be our current President or Vice President.

Mr. Barbieri questioned me about why I was concerned about who The Sun quoted. I proceeded to tell him about the growing dissention among the members of Local 239 and how upset we are with Alfred and the "Non-Expiring Living Agreements" that many of us believe he manipulated us into. And I told him about the 753-member petition we sent to the UAW International complaining about his abuse of nepotism and favoritism.

Mr. Barbieri seemed genuinely concerned and told me he would like to do a story about our situation and referred me to Business Editor, Gerald Merrell. Mr. Merrell told me to write him a letter explaining why members are upset with our Ex, he also asked me to send a copy of the petition and my Observations letters. And upon my suggestion, he said he was interested in attending a union meeting.

I did as Mr. Merrell asked; by certified mail, I sent him a copy of the petition, and my local and national letters that further explain our situation. I gave him a few days to look over the information and I called him the following week to ask if he was going to do a story about us. He said he was definitely going to do something with the information I sent, and he said he might attend a union meeting.

As of this writing, Mr. Merrell has yet to attend a union meeting, and as far as I know, he hasn't done anything with the information I sent. Maybe he shared it with Management or our Good Ole Boys, it doesn't matter whom, because they're both one in the same anymore.

Anyway, Mr. Barbieri and Mr. Merrell wasted my time and I will never write to that biased Paper again. Too bad Baltimore's a one Newspaper town. Maybe I can interest the Washington Post or the Washington Times in our story. To be continued...


For those of you who missed it, the following article appeared in The Sun's Editorial section on 12-22-01. It seems I'm not the only one unhappy with The Sun.

The Sun ignores GM's fine donation

I often hear people ask why the news is so negative these days. One need not look further than a decision The Sun recently made.

The General Motors Baltimore Assembly plant, a proud part of Baltimore since 1935, was participating in an event that created quite a buzz with our 1,800 employees.

We had the incredible opportunity to donate six of our great Astro and Safari vans to the New York Fire Department to assist in their effort to recover from the Sept. 11 tragedies.

Our employees donated their time, without pay, to build these vehicles, seizing the opportunity to give back to their country.

On Dec. 6, we held a celebration in our plant as those vans drove off the line and on their way to New York. Hundreds of our employees were in attendance on their lunch break, waving the U.S. flag and chanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"

It was very moving, to say the least, as I drove one of those vehicles off the end of the line and saw the pride in each employee's face.

You can imagine my disappointment when I read the headline in The Sun the following morning: "GM's van assembly plant to close for 8 days in Jan." (Dec.7).

While some GM plants are extending their holiday a few extra days into the new year to adjust inventories, certainly the story here was one of pride in our nation, with a local angle to boot. But you had to read well into the story to find a mention of our plant donating these vehicles to the New York Fire Department.

In several media outlets around the nation where other GM plants were donating vehicles with similar pride and patriotism, the stories in the papers reflected those positive sentiments. Even our local television stations were on hand to cover the event, and their news stories told our story proudly.

It's truly a shame that The Sun insisted on the negative route.

David C. Prange, Baltimore

The writer is plant manager of the General Motors' Baltimore Assembly Plant.


Also, for those of you who don't remember the article in the September Observations letter that upset Chuck Miller and motivated our Good Ole Boys (Gobs) to ambush me at Septembers union meeting, I'm reprinting it, with the intro, exactly as they appeared in Observations # 13. (Unfortunately, the humor link on Local 594's website is no longer active.)

As you will clearly see, "Bonuses from Solidarity House" was written for humor. Our Gobs getting upset about a bogus article and not all the other ones I've written, proves that the others are true. Like the old saying says, "If you can't attack the massage, attack the messenger." And judging by their reaction to "Bonuses," I wonder if it's true too.

After losing the VP and Recording Secretary elections, our Gobs have become nervous about approaching Executive Board elections. They know they're on shaky ground, and it's going to get a whole lot shakier in the coming months.

Fact or Fiction?

When I wrote, "Bonuses from Solidarity House" in April, it was originally intended to be humorous, but after reading it a few times, I found it to be a little unsettling and I asked myself, is it really that far from the truth? I sent it out nationwide and a member of the new UAW Solidarity Coalition agreed and posted it on his website, giving it an unofficial UAW letterhead.

Check it out and explore the website at; http://uawlocal594.com/humor/sodhouse/sod01.htm


To all Local Presidents of the UAW,

As you know, "Living Agreements" have replaced contracts for many of you, thus allowing you to negotiate petty differences and misunderstandings on an ongoing basis as they occur, thereby eliminating all the unnecessary bickering and the threat of strikes.

These Agreements have become so popular, we've decided to take them to the next step and make them "Non-Expiring," and we've devised a program to implement non-expiring Living Agreements nationwide. We're sure this program will be as exciting for you as it is for us.

Therefore we, the Magnificent Seven of Solidarity House are both proud and pleased to announce that we have a special bonus program for all local presidents who meet the following requirements. This program begins immediately, and expires no later than midnight, September 14, 2002.

We are offering a bonus of $75,000 to the first local president to ratify a non-expiring Living Agreement. And $50,000 bonuses go to the second, third, forth and fifth local presidents to ratify non-expiring Living Agreements.

Also a bonus of $25,000 will be awarded to all remaining presidents to ratify non-expiring Living Agreements before the deadline. If any of you are fortunate enough to generate a petition within 24 months from the date of ratification of said Agreement, you'll receive an extra bonus of $25,000. We love it when the membership wastes their time on petitions.

Our goal is to have non-expiring Living Agreements throughout all locals nationwide by the end of this decade. Although we encourage all of you to ratify non-expiring Living Agreements before the expiration date of this program, because we can't guarantee we'll be offering this same lucrative bonus program in the future. If however, you fail to ratify said Living Agreement by the end of this decade, your future, as well as the future of your membership will be in doubt. Need we say more?

So, the sooner you ratify a non-expiring Living Agreement in your local the more financially rewarding it will be for you. Once we have non-expiring Local Living Agreements nationwide, we, the Magnificent Seven of $olidarity House, will receive our bonuses from the corporations when we provide them with a non-expiring "National" Living Agreement.

All bonuses will be paid in cash and of course we will deny any knowledge of the bonus program. Should the membership get wind of this program or a copy of this letter, we'll blame it on them damn bleeding heart activist that, like roaches, seem to be everywhere lately, and they're always lying about something.

For the hell of it, we'll throw in an extra bonus of $5,000 for every activist you discourage from infecting other members with their freethinking ways. You may use any means necessary as long as the Feds aren't involved.

Best of luck to all of you and may the most creative presidents reap the most rewards.

Fraternally, the Magnificent Seven of Solidarity House

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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