Disgruntled Autoworker
<< Back to Homepage

Observations #25
March 2003

Two More Letters

I wrote the following letter to the Baltimore FBI. I sent them a file naming International Rep Donnie Douglas, Charley Alfred, GM and Allison Transmissions as coconspirators for conning us into our worthless Living Agreement. I called for a follow up a couple of weeks after sending the file, and I was told the file was forwarded to the States Attorney’s office for determination. I was also told it could take awhile for them to respond, because like everyone else, they’re overworked too. I’ll keep you updated on this issue as it develops.

Dear Mr. Bald, Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore FBI Field Office
January 2, 2003

An ex-Union official of our Local, who wishes to remain anonymous, informed us at our December 8, 2002 Union meeting that International Rep Donny Douglas was involved in negotiations to implement a new type of UAW Non-Expiring Agreement between our Local and the General Motors Baltimore Truck Plant.

The ex-official was involved at the beginning of the Agreements negotiations, but was exclude from further negotiations when he disagreed with the direction (non-expiration clause) negotiations were going.

Mr. Douglas is currently suspended from the International Staff of the UAW, with pay; pending the outcome of a 3 count Indictment by the Grand Jury of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan’s Southern Division. A copy of the 15 page 3 count Indictment is enclosed.

When we heard of Mr. Douglas’s involvement in negotiations, it put the final piece of the puzzle together for us. We believe our Non-Expiring Agreement was instrumental to (GM) Allison Transmissions decision to build a new state of the art Transmission Plant in White Marsh, MD, because Allison was given the same Agreement. Copies of my Local, and National Newsletter explaining the above in detail are enclosed.

On May 17, 2000, 753 (2/3rds) members of our Local petitioned the UAW International, because our Local President at the time, Charley Alfred, gave his daughter an International appointment, and 2 friends Local appointments at the new Transmission Plant, ahead of members with more seniority, thus demonstrating a blatant abuse of nepotism and favoritism. We believe Mr. Alfred’s appointments at the new Plant was a reward from GM and Allison Transmissions for securing Non-Expiring Agreements for the Truck Plant and especially the new Allison Transmission Plant. A copy of Petition and Cover letter is enclosed.

Therefore, we believe Mr. Douglas involvement in our Local negotiations violated Article 19 Section 1 of the UAW Constitution. And we believe Mr. Alfred violated the Law when he receive payment from GM and Allison Transmission in the form of an $80,000 a year appointment for his daughter Cindy.

Therefore, we the undersigned do hereby request a full investigation of the circumstances surrounding our Local’s 1999 Agreement negotiations involving Mr. Douglas, Mr. Alfred, GM and Allison Transmissions, because its evident to us that our situation is strikingly similar to that of Local 594.

If you feel it is necessary for us to petition 2/3rds of the Locals membership to warrant an investigation, we can and will do whatever it takes, because we are that confident the majority of our coworkers believe as we do. Your immediate response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

And now to the Convention issue. As of the date of this letter, the Recording and Financial Secretaries still have not responded to our request to view the Minutes and the Vouchers for the UAW Conventions. Apparently they think that if they ignore us, we’ll go away. I assure you, we’re not going anywhere. There are other avenues available, like the DOL:

Dear Mr. Cahir, U.S. Department of Labor, OLMS
February 10, 2003

Due to the anthrax scare and the length of time it takes for information to reach your office through the Postal Service, we will fax all future correspondences.

Elizabeth Bunn, Secretary-Treasurer of the UAW responded to a letter that we sent to Dan Sherrick, the UAW’s Legal Counsel, the UAW chain of command and you. We’re sending you Bunn’s response to update the file you have. And, fyi, Local Observations # 24, a Newsletter that informs our membership of our progress of auditing our Local’s books ourselves, because we’ve learned not to trust officials of the International.

According to Bunn’s letter, we’re supposed to contact Dottie Jones, administrative assistant to UAW President Gettelfinger, should we have any further questions regarding the audit. However, we will not let Gettelfinger or Bunn pass us off to an administrative assistant, because that tells us that our concerns are of no concern to them, and therefore will be put on a back burner.

I’m also sending you an article that I think you may find interesting. It’s from the UAW.org website. It’s pretty much self-explanatory, and the reason I’m sending it, is because I think you’ll appreciate the irony of it.

According to Bunn’s letter, the results of our Local’s audit have been sitting on Gettelfinger’s desk since October, and we have no choice but to wait for as long as it takes for him to get off his butt and make a determination. But yet, according to the UAW’s article, Gettelfinger files a lawsuit when ULLICO fails to respond to his request in 30-days. Do you see the type of arrogant self-serving hypocrites we are up against at the Local and International levels of the UAW? No wonder the membership is having problems nationwide.

Mr. Cahir, I implore you to intervene in our Local’s situation before Gettelfinger decides to squash this issue and give everyone involved amnesty and an International appointment. That is exactly what happened when 753 members of our Local petitioned the International when our ex-president, Charley Alfred, sold us out and was rewarded for it by the Corporation when they allowed him to appoint his family and friends to the new plant up the street, out of line with seniority, and in spite of our protest.

Instead of punishing Alfred, the International showed their true colors when they promoted their fellow Traitor to Regional Servicing Rep and left us holding a worthless contract that we’ll be forever shackled too. Please, don’t let them disrespect us again.

Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated by the membership of our Local, even if it’s only a call to Gettelfinger, at 313.926.5000. Please tell him to get off his butt and give us the results of our audit so that we can move on, or appeal his determination. Thank you.

I don’t know if the above letter had an affect, but the Recording Secretary received a response from UAW President Gettelfinger on O2.21.03. His letter states that all 8 Delegates, the UAW CAP president, and the 5 extra people’s checks for the UAW Conventions were padded. Therefore everyone will have to pay back between a few dollars to a few hundred.

The Delegates and CAP president paying our Local back is an unexpected bonus. As to whether any of them knew they were overpaid is another question. If they were overpaid less than $100, they probably didn’t notice, but the majority was overpaid a few hundred dollars. And who wouldn’t notice that much of an overpayment?

However, our complaint wasn’t about the Delegates or the CAP president; it was about the $19,000 it cost our Local to send the 5 extra people to the Conventions. And it was about them going without our permission, as required by Article 7 Section 3 of Local 239 Bylaws.

While it is a major victory that they all have to pay up, I wonder if Gettelfinger is glossing over the fact that the 5 extra people went without permission, and thereby lessening the charges against them by finding that everyone was overpaid? He admits sending the 5 extra people violated our Bylaws, but he overlooks it. So why do we have Bylaws? And he doesn’t address the $19,000. I guess he feels we should be content with getting a couple thousand dollars back.

I’m being advised to drop this issue and accept the Internationals ruling, because all 14 people are upset they have to pay back any amount at all. Their credibility becomes questionable. And they’ll be humiliated enough when President Plummer reads Gettelfinger’s letter at the General Membership Meeting Sunday March 9th at 2:30pm.

I told those who advised me to drop it that I would put the decision in the memberships hands. Personally, I think the 5 extra people are getting off too easy. I think that they, or the President and Financial Secretary at that time should pay the entire amount for violating our Locals Bylaws.

Attend Sunday’s Union Meeting in spite of the conspicuously scheduled shutdown the following week, and question the International’s ruling. Do we forgive them for misappropriating (or misusing) $19,000 of our money as long as they cough up a couple thousand dollars? And do we forget that they violated our Bylaws and thereby disrespected the memberships authority? We may as well throw our Locals Bylaws and UAW Constitution out the window if our elected officials can violate them without any repercussions. What lessons are they learning here? And does the punishment fit the deed?

I will leave the decision to appeal up to the membership. If I get the impression the membership isn’t happy with the International’s ruling, I’ll ask Mr. Cahir of the DOL to investigate. And if he gets involved, there is a good chance the punishment will be more severe than a slap on the wrist. On the same token, if I get the impression the membership is happy with the International’s ruling, I will drop the Convention issue and accept their ruling as well.

Don’t let the Good Ole Boys and their growing appointed Army dominate our Union meetings, because if any decisions or votes on the Convention issue, recent Demands, or anything else on the agenda has to be made, the Gobs will not rule in the memberships favor. Be there and voice your opinion, and make your vote count.

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

“We have got to take labor out of competition” Walter Reuther 1943, Solidarity not Competition!

<< Back to Homepage