Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #26
May 2003

The Fox and the Hen House

In Observations # 25 I told you I informed the powers that be that I would put the decision to appeal UAW President Gettelfinger’s ruling on the Conventions in the membership hands, and I did. While a large majority of you feel the Extra People who went without our approval are getting off too easy, there was little opposition to Gettelfinger’s ruling at the March Union Meeting.

In Observations # 24 I stated, “We know for a fact, from an Executive Board (EB) member who was present at all EB meetings, the issue of sending the Extra People to the conventions was not discussed. Therefore, it’s a safe bet to say that the decision to send the Extra People was secretly made in a Back Room or Bar Room, and did not include all EB Members.”

Well, shortly after we requested an audit by the International, 9 Good Ole Boy (GOB) members of the EB signed and sent the International a letter that accused the Recording Secretary of incompetence for not recording in the EB minutes that they approved the expenditure for the Extra People. I believe their letter of lies influence Gettelfinger’s decision.

And to perpetuate this deception even more, an elected Trustee and Delegate to the Conventions had the nerve to stand before the membership and tell an out right lie. He said he was at the EB meeting when they approved the expenditure. Everyone knew he was lying, including the President, because he told him to give it up and sit down. (He should have been charged with conduct unbecoming an elected official.)

The Recording Secretary crossed over to the GOBs side of the fence about 4 months after taking office. She may be regretting that move now, because while the GOBs were patting her on the back with one hand, they were hiding a knife in the other. She stood up in defense of herself and all but called the GOB Trustee and Delegate, and the other 8 EB members liars by saying, “If the EB had discussed the Conventions expenditure for the Extra People, then it would have been in the minutes.”

It was a moment to behold, because I believe it’s a “good thing” to see infighting on the GOBs side of the fence. If the Recording Secretary’s smart, which I think she is, she’ll distance herself from them before they finish her off. Although, I don’t think she learned her lesson this time, because I spoke with her a couple of weeks after the Union meeting and I got the impression that she was in denial*.

At last Septembers Union meeting, a member said I should be kicked out of the Union if I’m lying about the Convention issue. He also said the Extra People should be kicked out if they misused our funds. Well, guess what? They were found guilty, and the member kept his head down the entire meeting, what a hypocrite.

A member made a motion that all those who went without our approval pay the full amount. The motion was seconded, twice, but the President recommended that the membership accept Gettelfinger’s ruling, as is, and move on, because this issue is consuming too much of our time, and with this being a contract year, we need to focus more of our energies in other areas. He also said this sort of incident would not happen again as long as he’s President. And with that, the member withdrew his motion.

I would have preferred that the President didn’t talk the member out of his motion, and instead put the motion before the membership for a vote. I felt that him doing what he did was wrong. So a few weeks later I told him how I felt and I asked him, “Did the International pressure you into accepting Gettelfingers ruling?” He said they didn’t. To this day I don’t understand why he did what he did.

It was unfortunate that there wasn’t a vote; because it was evident the Shop Chairman was worried, because he had most of the GOBs and the majority of his Appointed Army present just in case. However, it was the President’s call to make, for whatever reason. So we’ll never know if the GOBs out numbered us or not.

A few Delegates are upset they got caught up in the Convention audit and have to pay up, but, like they say, “It happens.” And a Delegate said she would file an appeal. So the President made a motion and worded it to say that we accept Gettelfinger’s ruling, but we’ll leave it up to those involved as to whether they appeal it or not. He also said he felt that an appeal would be a waste of time. Lets hope so.

They got off easy as far as paying our Local back, but their credibility took a hard blow. Their futures in our next General Elections or as Delegates to the next Conventions are doubtful, as they should be. And believe me, I will remind you of who they are and what they did when the time comes. Then again, being GOBs, they’ll probably get caught up in something else between now and then.

On a final note, Gettelfinger’s ruling on the Conventions leaves a very important question unanswered. A member asked the President, “How many other trips did elected officials take while being overpaid?” He said, “I don’t have that information at this time.” Maybe he’ll have it at the June 8th Union Meeting, because we do have a right to know.

Instead of asking for an audit on just the 33rd Conventions, we should have asked for a 5-year audit that went back to the 32nd Conventions. If we had, I wonder, would Alfred and a few other Traitors have been nailed for ripping off our funds? And if so, for how much?

And we asked the wrong people to conduct the audit, because asking International GOBs to audit Local Gobs is like asking the fox to guard the hen house. We should have asked for an independent audit, and had the auditors report their findings directly to the membership. Oh well, live and learn.


They all got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, and not one of them put out a letter of apology to the membership. Instead, someone put out a Racist letter of Lies and Accusations. And lacking any creativity, that person or persons used my heading, Observations. The cowards also copied signatures off an official document to the Department of Labor and put them on their letter to make it appear as if Gail Hardinger and I wrote it.

None of my letters, except this one, name a Union member, unless they’re elected, running for office, or an appointee, which by law makes them subject to ridicule, criticism or praise simply for the positions they hold or are trying to hold. And none of my letters have a racist tone, although I do believe a race card is being played. More about my views on that when we get closer to our next elections.

And lastly, their bogus letter ended by saying, “All of a sudden, our ex-president doesn’t look so bad.” Yeah right, as if I would write something as stupid as that. It doesn’t matter what President Plummer does or doesn’t do, our ex will never look good.

Apparently these desperate cowards think they can pull one over on the membership. They think you are too stupid to recognize a bogus letter when you see one. Gail and I walked the floor for a few days after their letter appeared and we weren’t surprised to learn that the majority of you knew the letter was bogus.

And we have a pretty good idea who is behind it. The document they copied our signatures from was also mailed to the UAW chain of command, the Baltimore Region 8 Servicing Rep, Bruce Pontia, and the Local President and Recording Secretary.

We can rule out the UAW chain of command, because the information in the bogus letter signifies that it came from within. And we can rule out the Local President, because the lies, accusations, and racist tone are directed at him, his Secretary and others within his circle.

Therefore, among other charges, Gail and I have filed Article 31 charges against administrative officials of our Local, because the official document in question is in their custody and it is their responsibility to keep it under lock and key at all times. I’ll update you as this situation develops.

Did You Know?

Despite what committeemen and alternates say, you have a right to a copy of your grievance. This problem was brought to the Shop Chairmen’s attention, and he said he would correct it. If, or until he does, it’s our responsibility to keep them honest, and to hold them accountable. If you have any doubts or your not satisfied with what they are telling you, take it to the next step, and the next if necessary. Remember, they work for us, so make them write up your overworked job or that supervisor whose always working the line, and then demand a copy. Keep them out of the Work Center by keeping them busy.


* “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

Historian and Philosopher George Santayana

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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