Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #31
March 2004

03 Highlights, Unfinished Business

During the first presentation of the 03 Highlights, I asked International Appointees if they were going to implement 2 Tier Wages at the Parts Plants. Before they had a chance to respond, International Appointee and Election Committee Chairman Fred Swanner rudely interrupted and said, “So!” After I put Swanner in his place, the Appointees told me they would fight 2 Tier Wages. They must have thrown in the towel before the first punch, because since ratification of the National Agreement, 2 Tier Wages and Benefits have become the norm in some Parts Plants.

What Swanner and many of you may not be aware of is that once 2 Tier Wages and Benefits are initiated in the Parts Plants, Assembly Plants will be next. Swanner, President Plummer, VP Parrott and most of the Good Ole Boys (Gobs) encouraged everyone to vote ‘for’ the National Agreement.

Consider this; 15 or 20 years from now, those same new hires who’ve been working beside senior members doing the same work, but making $10 less an hour are going to pay us back by voting to ratify an National Agreement that will initiate a 2 Tier Pension Plan. Remember that when the Gobs come up for reelection, I will.

Local Ratification Results

On December 16th I hung around the Union Hall for the Local’s Ratification results, but like before when I wanted to confirm the National Rat Vote, Swanner wouldn’t let me within 20 feet of the count. So again, I can’t confirm the count since challengers aren’t allowed for the National and Local Rat Votes. We should all have a problem with that.

Prior to the count I asked Election Committee (EC) members how many members voted. They both told me that about 500 members voted. Not a bad turnout considering the vote was held at the Hall.

On the 17th I went to the Hall to get the Rat Vote results. Chairman Basilone and Plummer gave me a hard time about it. Basilone told me to write to the International for the results. And Plummer reluctantly gave them up after accusing me of trying to hurt the membership. They both asked that I keep the results a secret, because they didn’t want management to know how much support they have from the membership.

What upset me about their request was that they’re more concerned about management’s perception of them than they are about being honest with the membership. I told them that there is more information coming out of the Hall than I could ever put out. They didn’t deny my accusation. In fact they ignored it. And whether they know it or not, they’re partly responsible. I’ll explain how for the benefit of the Gobs in a minute.

I kept the Rat Vote results to myself. Then a few days later I started hearing the bogus results put out by the Gobs and I thought, to hell with management. The membership has a right to truthful information, not the doctored numbers that paint a false impression of the Gobs.

According to Swanner, 193 Production Members voted ‘for’ the Agreement and 46 voted ‘against’ it. Add those numbers and you get 239, coincidence? I don’t think so. And when added with Skilled Trades votes of 32 ‘for’, and 50 ‘against’, that’s a total of only 321 members out of about a 1000 who voted. A far cry from the 500 member figure EC members gave me on the day of the vote. What happened to the other 179 votes?

I find it very difficult to believe that only 46 Production Members voted ‘against’ the agreement. Especially when our 648 Member Demand to hold appointees accountable wasn’t even included in the Highlights. Was the vote a done deal? Or are Production Members so disillusioned with Local Officials and frustrated by the Truck Plants closing that they let 193 Gobs, appointees and suck-ups walk away with the vote?

Personally, I don’t trust Swanner. He reminds me of a used car salesman or a shyster lawyer. As far as I’m concerned, “his Rat Vote results” are questionable. I wouldn’t put it past him to steal the vote from Production Members, because the numbers can be easily manipulated. Skilled Trades, however, is another story since there are so few of them.

We’re all aware of the animosity towards Trades Members by Production Members. Especially since most of us lost money when the local went out on strike in the early 90’s for Trades issues. Animosities aside, you’ve got to give Trades Members credit for solidarity. They not only voted the agreement down once, but twice.

Many of us believe Basilone was trying to pull a fast one by holding Trades second vote at the Gates, but they held their ground and voted it down again. We also believe that if Basilone had held the first Rat Vote at the Gates, Production Members would have voted it down too. Pretty slick of him if you ask me, talk about pulling a fast one.

And just when you thought Basilone couldn’t sink lower than Charley Alfred, he splits the Agreement by ratifying only the Production half of it and puts Skilled Trades half on the back burner until whenever. I don’t know the particulars of why Trades Members voted it down, but I respect their solidarity. And that’s something our Local Officials have no concept of. Instead of promoting solidarity like they should, they’re contributing to the further erosion of it.

I hope the membership is keeping score on who did this and that and what to whom during the last few years, I am. The Gobs blatant abuse of authority and their failure to keep the majority of the membership’s interest ahead of their own and the company will be their undoing. Make it a point to know who they are and what to do about them when the time comes, I will. Elections are only a year away.

What’s That Smell?

Has a coworker just up and vanished? One day they’re there and the next they’re gone. Nobody seems to know where he or she is. They’re too young to retire and have too much seniority to quit. Are they on sick leave? Vacation? Or did they transfer to another department? Plant? State? Or did they disappear into the same vortex that’s slowly swallowing our union pride and dignity?

The days turn to weeks that turn to months and suddenly you see them walking with a group of people who belong to that commie faction called the UAW/GM Joint Programs. Then you smack your forehead and tell your coworkers, “Duh! We should have known. That person was always kissing up to the bosses and union officials. It was just a matter of time before all that sucking up paid off. And now look at them, walking by like they’re better than us. They must be immune to that foul smelling brown stuff on their noses. Thank God we’ve still got our pride and dignity.”

They’re Everywhere

I stated earlier that local Gobs are partly responsible for leaking information out of the Hall. The balk of the blame lies with International Traitors and their Partnership with GM that resulted in the Joint Programs and its Appointed Army.

By endorsing Joint Programs, and appointing management and union official’s siblings, family, friends and suck ups with no self-respect to positions created by the programs, the International and Local Gobs have done more to undermine unionism in the last 20 years than the corporation has in the entire history of the UAW.

Most Appointees have no loyalties whatsoever to the union’s membership. Like drunken sailors with lose lips, they blab everything they hear. Take a look around; spies and traitors are everywhere. And not all of them are appointed, many were elected, and some are out on the floor, maybe ones working right next to you. So be mindful of what you say.

Welcome Delaware Members

I wish we’d get more bad weather days so people can’t make it to work, because it does my heart good to hear stories about appointees crying because they had to be put on a job. One was recently heard saying, “I’m a facilitator. I’m not supposed to be on the line.” Get over it! We’re on the line every day and you don’t hear us crying.

The facilitator program was supposed to be for 2 years. Here we are 3 years later with no end in sight. When they’re not squealing on fellow union members, they’re used to run errands to circulate literature, cards and rumors. They’re also used as messengers. They told us about free cake in the cafeteria for the Plant Manager’s birthday, I mean, Tim.

And here’s the icing on Tim’s cake, they’re also used as instructors for Per-Diem classes. The shame of it all, using suck-ups to teach suck-ups how to be bosses. No line between management and union officials around here. Welcome to GMUAW Local 239. Economy size jars of Vaseline are available in the Facilitators Office and at the Hall.

Egos on Parade

Every month it’s the same thing; they force-feed us their Bull. Ego after ego parades across the TV screen and usually in pairs. One represents the Union and the other management, although it’s impossible to tell whose who anymore.

It’s bad enough we are forced to attend these meetings in the first place, but is it really necessary for these egomaniacs to try to be funny too? I appreciate humor as much as the next person, but hearing them shamelessly attempt to ham it up about green beer like they’re Regis and Kelly turned my stomach. Pull the plug already.

And when all was said and done, they had the nerve to thank us for listening to their crap. Duh! Somebody please give them a clue about what the term, captive audience means. While we appreciate the time off the line, if given a choice of Egos on Parade, or work, many of us would rather work.

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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