I told you in Observations #20 that members of the Truck Plant and Transmission Plant signed and sent a letter to the International that asks for, and got an International auditor to come here to audit our Locals books. The letter was mailed to UAW President Gettelfinger and the UAW chain of command. The Convention part of that letter follows.
Dear Mr. Gettelfinger,
August 3, 2002
At our June 9, 2002 union meeting, it was brought to our attention by a member of our New Administration that there was a misappropriation of Union funds by the Past President and Officials of Local 239.
The membership elected 4 Delegates and 4 Alternates to attend the 33rd UAW Conventions in Las Vegas. However, 5 ex-officials and 2 of their wives also went to Las Vegas at our expense. The membership of Local 239 did not approve of the $19,000 in Airfare, Hotel accommodations and spending money paid out of our Union funds to send the 5 ex-officials and their wives.
Therefore, under Article 48 of the UAW Constitution, we request an immediate audit for misappropriation of funds by the Past President and Officials of Local 239, which is in direct violation of Article 11, Section 2 of Local 239 Bylaws. And all vouchers for at least the last 2 years should also be investigated.
Therefore, in accordance with Article 31, Section 1 of the UAW Constitution, we the undersigned, do hereby charge Past President Lee Dorsey, Past Shop Chairperson Chuck Miller, and officials Fred Swanner, Rochester Robinson and Phil Welch with misappropriation of funds, thus engaging in conduct unbecoming a member of the Union.
And, in accordance with Article 31, Section 2 of the UAW Constitution, we submit these charges within the sixty (60) day time limit. Your attention to this matter is urgent and very important. Thank you.
With Decembers Union meeting rapidly approaching and no official results from the International on the audit, those of us who signed the original letter are concerned that Gettelfinger and his Team are dragging their feet. We suspect they’re stalling to give our Boys time to wiggle out of the pickle they’ve gotten themselves in. So we sent the following letter along with the above letter to UAW Legal Counsel Dan Sherrick, the Department of Labor and the UAW chain of command.
Dear Mr. Sherrick,
November 16, 2002
Attached is a letter that was sent to UAW President Gettelfinger and the UAW chain of command. The letter is a request for an International Audit. It was mailed special delivery with return receipt on August 3, 2002. The following Monday, August 5, 2002, the newly elected President of our Local, Bud Plummer, got a call from Mr. Gettelfinger’s office stating that an International auditor would be at the Local Union Hall on August 20, 2002.
On August 28, 2002 the auditor concluded his audit of our local’s books and returned to Detroit. For the next 2 weeks he called back down to our Union Hall for further documentation. He hasn’t called since September 13, 2002. Therefore we assume the audit is complete.
Mr. Sherrick, it’s been over 3 months and we still haven’t received the official results of the International’s audit. Our Local President says he received a phone call from Solidarity House 2 months ago stating that those we suspect of misappropriating union funds will have to pay restitution to the Local Union. However, he also says he hasn’t received any official documentation stating such action.
Until we, the membership, receive official documentation of the results of the International’s audit, our hands are tied as to what, if any, action can be taken on our part to insure that the accused pay restitution to our Local and this sort of behavior doesn’t repeat itself in the future.
To further complicate matters, it has come to our attention that the accused drafted a letter to the International stating that they did nothing wrong. Their letter states that they may have misused union funds, but that they did not misappropriate union funds. They are manipulating the wording of our original letter in an attempt to lessen the charges to exonerate themselves of any wrongdoing.
Mr. Sherrick, we want to put this incident behind us and move on to more important matters, like restoring the memberships faith in their Local leadership. Would you please look into this matter and forward the results of the International’s audit to us personally so that we can share said results with the membership so that we can take appropriate action if necessary? You’re attention to this matter and speedy reply would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Since sending the second letter, a friend and I have been trying to conduct our own audit. As Union members we have a right to certain information that affects this Local and our Funds. On Wednesday 11.20.02, I called the Union Hall to make an appointment to see the Recording Secretary (RS) and the Financial Secretary (FS) after line time. An appointment was made with the RS for the following Friday, she said she would try and have the FS there as well.
My friend and I went to the Hall Friday. Ann German, the RS was there, as was Jim Basilone, the Shop Chairman, but Garry Warble, the FS was not. The RS says she couldn’t get in touch with him. We’ll catch up with him later. Meanwhile, the first document I asked the RS for was the Convention Call Letter the International sends to all Locals.
The RS said, “You’re not going to believe this, but I can’t do that because I don’t have the keys to the cabinet.” I gave her that look of disbelief, and she said, “Well, you didn’t tell me what you wanted.” Did she think I wanted to exchange recipes or something? And I wonder if I had told her what I wanted, would she still have lost her keys?
As she was fidgeting around, I said, “Ann, Ann, Ann!” Then she said, “No, I’m serious, I lost my keys.” Then she did something that still baffles me. She left her office, to call Bud from another room, and came back and handed me her phone. Bud said, “I want to let you know that Ann really lost her keys.” I said, “Yeah okay Bud. I’ll make another appointment.”
Then I asked for the vouchers that everyone submitted for the Conventions, and Basilone, standing at the door said, “You’ll have to see the FS for those.” I told him that I tried to set up an appointment to see him too, but he wasn’t available. Our first encounter was a total waste of time, so we made another appointment for Monday the 25th.
About 1:45pm Monday, Basilone called me on the job and said, “Ann can’t make it for today’s appointment because she has to take a family member to the Doctors.” I said, “Okay, what about Warble the FS?” Basilone said hesitantly, “Ah, ah, Warble, oh, he has to leave at 2:30pm.” I said, “Whatever, make me another appointment.” Basilone said, “I’ll have Ann get in touch with you tomorrow to set up another appointment.” I said, “Okay, sure.” Basilone said, not very convincingly, “I will, I’ll have her call you tomorrow.” I said, “Okay,” and hung up.
Tuesday came and went without so much as a word or a call about another appointment. I don’t like being stood up and lied to. I believe they are stonewalling. They don’t want us to see the Convention vouchers, because if, as we suspect, there was a misappropriation of funds, whoever signed the vouchers will be held accountable. And at the time, Dorsey was President, Basilone was FS and German was RS.
We have no faith in the International. That’s why we’re conducting our own audit. We’ve given them 3 chances to assist us. With one more attempt, we sent the following letters to the RS and FS, and we sent copies to the UAW Legal Counsel, the Department of Labor and the UAW chain of command. I’ll keep you updated on our progress…To be continued...
Dear Ms. German,
November 30, 2002
Consider this is an official request for an appointment to view all pertinent information pertaining to the 33rd UAW Constitutional and Bargaining Conventions. We want to view all Executive Board (EB) Meeting minutes prior to the Conventions, the EB minutes that approve the expenditures for the Non-Delegates and Alternates, the UAW Call Letter for the Conventions, and the Letter that was signed by the EB and sent to the International stating that there was a misuse of Union funds, but not a misappropriation of Union funds. And we would like to view this information as soon as possible. We are available after line time on any given workday. Your immediate response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Dear Mr. Warble,
November 30, 2002
Consider this is an official request for an appointment to view all pertinent financial information pertaining to the 33rd UAW Constitutional and Bargaining Conventions. We want to view all vouchers relating to the Conventions that were submitted by the Delegates and Alternates, and all of the vouchers submitted by the 5 Extra people (Dorsey, Miller, Swanner, Robinson and Welsh) who attended the Conventions but were not Delegates or Alternates. And we would like to view this information as soon as possible. We are available after line time on any given workday. Your immediate response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
As you see, we will not let the Convention issue go away, we will keep it on the front burner until it is resolved, even if it takes until the 34th Convention. You are needed at the December 8, 2002 Union meeting at 2:30pm, because should the International pull a fast one and send down an official ruling on the audit the Friday before the meeting, you’ll kick yourself for not being there. So please attend or designate someone from your Small Work Group. Your Union needs you.