Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #16
March 2002

Open Letter to UAW and AFL-CIO Presidents - I will not be silenced

Mr. Yokich and Mr. Sweeney, I spoke with my local Good Ole Boys (Gobs) about a problem I had with one of your Boys, but they didn't want to be bothered. I'm sure you gentlemen don't want to hear about it either, but I'm going to tell you anyway, because the membership needs to know about the people representing us and I can't think of a better way to tell them than an open letter.

I'm not going to name him, because I've noticed that whenever controversy surrounds a union official, our ex-president and regional rep for example, you guys promote them. And I will not assist your Boy with his career. My coworkers and your Boy will know who I'm talking about and that's what really matters.

So before it becomes physical, I'd like to inform you that this up and coming Boy of yours threatened to knock my teeth out at our December union meeting because I wrote in my Newsletter that he was appointed to his AFL-CIO position, and he claims he was elected.

Fortunately for both of us, another member interrupted before anything could happen, but just before I got in my truck your Boy yelled, "Why don't you do something constructive for this union?" I ignored him and drove away grinning, because I got under his skin and survived another union meeting.

First, was your Boy elected to his AFL-CIO position? Yes, but, he was nominated and elected by fellow Good Ole Boy delegates. And as every hard working member knows, being elected by delegates is not the same as being elected by the membership.

Because as you Gentlemen know, most delegates will vote for whoever is nominated, especially if the one nominated is to succeed the person who is nominating them. Like you Mr. Yokich, you nominated Mr. Gettelfinger to succeed you as president of the UAW and he is therefore guaranteed to become president in June. Democracy is not in your vocabularies. So I don't buy that crap, "I was elected," from you or your Boy.

And second, why do I write Newsletters? Because the membership needs to be made aware of what you Boys are doing, supposedly on their behalf. Like your abuse of nepotism and favoritism nationwide that is responsible for demeaning the chain of command in our Unions.

We have people like your Boy appointed to positions they who don't have a clue about. They are advancing up the unions' ladder because of who they are or who they know, not, because they're knowledgeable about the union contract or how well they represent the membership.

And I write Newsletters to see the look of surprise; disbelief or shock on member's faces when they learn things like; the President of the UAW sits on the Board of DaimlerChrysler, adding credibility to the fact that you Boys formed partnerships with the very corporations you're supposed to be adversaries of.

And your Boy had the nerve to ask me why don't I do something constructive for this union? My Newsletters, including this one, are doing more to educate the membership about your GOB Democracy and your perverse corporate partnerships than he's done or will ever do in forty years as an appointee of the UAW or the AFL-CIO.

Gentlemen, it is because of your selfish monopoly of the International Executive Board elections that make it necessary for dissidents like myself to write Newsletters. And your Boy's threats and intimidating tactics will not silence me.

Mr. Sweeney, at last November's AFL-CIO convention, you had another opportunity to do the right thing for your members when a motion was made to initiate one member/one vote. However, you and your cronies decided that the membership wasn't competent enough to vote and therefore recommended that delegates reject it again, and of course they did.

And Mr. Yokich, I'm sure you and your self appointed clone, Mr. Gettelfinger, will do your best to make sure UAW delegates reject one member/one vote again during its conventions in June of this year. I guess autoworkers aren't smart enough to vote either.

A fellow dissident referred to the membership as a Sleeping Giant. He said if we keep hitting it with our Newsletters, eventually it will wake up very upset. And the membership will be very upset when more of them learn, through Newsletters, that it is your GOB Democracy that is responsible for destroying our unions. What do you Boys think will happen then? I know, and I can't wait.

Done Deal

Obviously, on the International level, we are powerless to make changes that will affect us in a positive way. The Good Ole Boys (GOBs), President Yokich and his clones are scared out of their wits to give us the right to vote in their Executive Board elections, because they know the membership nationwide is fed up with their sell-out policies and corporate partnerships.

Repeated request to the FBI and the NLRB by UAW Solidarity Coalition members for an investigation of the UAW International for corruption have been ignored. A meeting was scheduled for September 15, 2001 between Senator John McCain, UAWSC members and Union watchdog group, UAW Concern's Patty Meyer. However, the events of September 11th postponed the meeting indefinitely.

On February 21, 2002 a hearing was held in DC between officials of the NLRB, UAWSC members and Patty Meyer. The focus of the meeting was our right to vote, and Joint Funds. NLRB officials were unaware and concerned about the millions of dollars in Joint Funds that UAWSC members claim compromises the union's ability to adequately represent us. A follow up hearing is scheduled for April. UAWSC member, Gregg Shotwell, was at the meeting and is working on a full report. I'll circulate it as soon as it's available.

We may be powerless, for now, when it comes to the International Executive Board elections, but not when it comes to our own Local Executive Board. We proved it twice when we elected two people to the Board who were not in our local Gob's clique. And soon we'll have the opportunity to prove it again.

In spite of losing the last two elections, our Gobs continue to show favoritism, last spring with their selection for facilitators, and again for the fall education program. A committeeman recently pointed out that they were more considerate in who they selected for the spring education program. Big deal, it's too late to make amends now, Boys. The damage is done. You're through walking all over our pride and dignity.

Our committee people are not the problem, because they're limited in the performance of their jobs, and they're influenced and controlled by our Gobs. It is the Gobs who are the problem. And they are the President, the assembly plant and Allison's Shop Chairpersons, the Financial Secretary, all Trustees, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Guide, and all Board Members at Large.

I left out Vice President, Recording Secretary, and Murray's Shop Chairperson, because they were not in the loop when Alfred and the Bargaining Committee presented our non-expiring Living Agreement to the Executive Board and Shop Committee for approval. And as a result of this sell-out agreement, we are all paying, big time. Haven't we had enough?

I'm sure you're aware Nominations for Executive Board Members and Convention Delegates will take place during the March 10th union meeting at 2:30pm at the Hall. Also an election committee will be selected to oversee the election and the counting of the ballots.

If your not running for office, have yourself nominated for the election committee, or campaign for candidates who are challenging the Gobs. Or volunteer to be a challenger at the polling stations and at the counting of the ballots. And no locking the ballots up overnight, they should be watched like a Hawk.

Something else that is very important. Right from the start all challengers are handicapped, because they don't have the free time to campaign like our Gobs, they're not allow to campaign inside Allison like the Gobs, and the Gobs have already started mailing campaign literature to retirees.

So as soon as we know who all the nominees are, we need to inform our friends at Allison, and all the retirees we can of the desired ouster of our Executive Board. Lets all get involved in this election and give the Gobs a run for the money, and the boot.

Considering some of the names I've heard and the ones I know of who are running for Executive Board member, I believe the end of the Gob's Dynasty will be the first "done deal" since our Living Agreement.

Personally, I do not have any political ambitions for any office of our Executive Board. Although, my sights are set on Convention Delegate, because I want to witness the proceedings that are mainly responsible for the mess our Union is in. And then report my observations and possible solutions back to the membership. However, that will be up to you to decide at election time.

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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