Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #34
September 2004

Gaud-awful T-shirts

It amazes me how gullible some members are. They’ll believe anything Mgt or the Gobs tell them. For instance, some members believed GM and the UAW were very generous when they offered Orioles vs Giants tickets, and a T-shirt, at a reduced rate of $7 for GM/UAW Day at Camden Yards on June 12th. On the surface it was definitely a good deal, especially since $2 of every ticket purchased went to Make-A-Wish.

I had to explain to them that beneath the surface is the fact that the rest of the money for the tickets and T-shirts actually came out of Joint Funds. Which, as everyone should know, is a slush fund that was created when the UAW’s Traitors and GM formed their Joint Partnership 20 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the discount tickets and that Make-A-Wish benefited, it’s just that I think that that money should be going into our checks so we can make our own contributions to Make-A-Wish or whomever we choose.

When I brought up the subject of Joint Funds at the Ratification Meeting, an International Appointee went on the defensive and asked sarcastically, “How much is in the Joint Funds?” Of course I didn’t know the answer and he knew I didn’t know. He was being a smart ass. I’m sure he doesn’t know either. The only people who do know are top GM/UAW officials, and they’re not talking.

The formula for Joint Funds is very simple. For every hour you work, GM puts $.19 in the Joint Fund, and as much as $5.19 for every overtime hour worked. Multiply that by 140,000 GM employees, and by 52 weeks, and your talking millions of dollars. And then multiply that by 20 years and your talking billions. No wonder they’re not talking.

To get a better understanding of Joint Funds and the Joint Activities they finance consult the National Agreement. Or better yet, thumb through the Jointly Funded GM-UAW People magazine; it’s loaded with more propaganda and BS than the UAW’s Solidarity magazine. Both of which are about as believable as The National Enquirer.

So the next time the GM/UAW partners offer you something at a discount, rest assured that they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts; it’s being financed by Joint Funds. And incase you didn’t know, all them T-shirts, jackets, hats, coffee cups and mugs with the GM/UAW logo on them that they’ve given us over the years, they were financed by Joint Funds too. I would much rather have them dissolve their partnership and put that money in my check or invest it in our benefits and pensions, I’ll buy my own stuff thank you.

Some would argue that the GM/UAW hats and T-shirts are good for advertising the company and its products. That may be true, but the bright orange T-shirts they gave us to wear on GM/UAW Day were nothing more that ugly billboards that advertised our Vans. Some members complained that they didn’t have the Orioles’ logo on the front.

GM doesn’t run ads for our Vans on TV. And a few months ago they paid for a double-paged ad that had pictures of all the vehicles they sell. Missing was the Astro and Safari Mini Vans. GM doesn’t advertise our product, but they expect us to walk around wearing the ugly gaud-awful T-shirts, I don’t think so.

Although I did see a Lady of the Evening wearing one during the shutdown, she was walking/working Holabird Ave. How she came by it is anyone’s guess. My first thought was, ‘Wow, what a great way to advertise our Vans.’ Maybe we should collect them up and hand them out on The Block, then again, maybe not.

Not Intimidated

While I’m on the subject of being gullible, some members won’t touch my Observations Newsletters and there are a few who are afraid to be seen reading them. They’ll take one off the table and put it in their pocket so they can read it in a restroom stall or wait until they get home. The Gobs have drilled it into their heads that my Letters are full of lies and accusations, and if they’re caught reading them, they’ll be on their shit list.

Consider this gullible member, if my Newsletters are full of lies and accusations, then why haven’t I been charged with anything or sued? A few Gobs have threatened, through a third party, to sue me for slander, including our ex-Shop Chairman. The reason they don’t is because we’d ended up in court and they would have to air more of their dirty laundry than they’d care too, and they don’t want that.

I am not intimidated by the Gobs and you shouldn’t be either, to hell with their shit list. The Gobs read my Letters and you should too. If you still insist on reading them in a restroom stall, please leave it for the next person, thank you.

Bylaws; what are they good for?

Since we didn’t have a quorum of 100 members at last June’s Union Meeting, they held an informational meeting instead. Not that they gave us any info, more like mis-info if anything. Chairman Basilone says he had nothing to do with the 5 members returning to the Truck Plant from Allison Transmissions, or the Per-Diem who transferred there after he sent him a letter that said he couldn’t.

At the May 2000 Orientation meeting for transferring to the Allison Plant, it was emphatically stated that, “Once you transfer to Allison, you will not be allowed to transfer back to the Truck Plant.” They didn’t say you’d be allowed to transfer back after one or two years, they said, “You will not be allowed to transfer back under any conditions, period.”

In the last year at least 5 members have come back to the Truck Plant from Allison. And a special deal was cut for a certain Per-Diem to go there. In March Basilone put Per-Diems on notice, he said, “If you don’t give up Per-Diem by 2:30pm on March 15th, your name will be taken off the Allison List.”

On May 18th, over 60 days later, a Per-Diem quit his supervisor position because he said it was too stressful. By the end of that day he was notified that he was next to go, coincidence? I don’t think so. The ex-supervisor is now at Allison. When questioned about all of this at the June meeting, Basilone denied any involvement. He said, “All decisions relating to Allison came from the International,” yeah right! If I were a Per-Diem who quit to stay on the List, I’d be filing charges or a lawsuit against Basilone, and the International.

It seems to me that there is a revolving door at Allison. If people are being allowed to go there despite being taken off the List, and if people can transfer back to the Truck Plant, regardless of seniority or status, then Alfred’s List should come under scrutiny. Someone should challenge the special deals that were cut for these people, because it appears to me that Pandora’s Box has been opened.

And speaking of Allison, they also said, “Rotating Shifts will not be changed under any condition.” I don’t know how they can make that statement, especially when they have a Union. I know, what union? Allison is like the Truck Plant; they’ve got the Gob’s in their pocket, and they’ve got the International UAW’s GOBs making sure that they stay there, but still, the membership is the highest authority and they need to find a way to challenge Rotating Shifts since that is the biggest complaint I hear from the majority of those who’ve transferred there.

Anyway, back to the June meeting. President Plummer told the 85 members in attendance, “Tell your coworkers to come to the next meeting so we can change the quorum from 100 to 75 members.” Excuse me? The quorum should have been changed 15 years ago when we went from 6,000 to 4,000 members, or at the very least when we lost 2nd shift.

The irony here is that if the Gobs enforced Article 3 Section 7 of our Bylaws, there wouldn’t be 12 months, and counting, between Union Meetings. That Bylaw makes it mandatory for all Gobs and Appointees to attend 2 out of 3 union meetings or be removed from office or position. There are some Gobs and
Appointees who’ve never attended a meeting. The reality is, the Gobs don’t want meetings, because they don’t want to tell you what they’ve been up to, or how much money they’ve spent. And this membership is playing right into their hands.

Another irony here is, and you’re going to like this one. The Gobs want us to attend September’s union meeting so they can get our permission to change the quorum from 100 to 75, but yet, they didn’t ask for our permission to approve the $19,000 it cost to send the 5 Extra People to the Conventions in 2002, which is required by Article 4 Section 2.

Talk about hypocritical in your face arrogance. What gives them the right to treat us like this?

What a Waste

Mgt just keeps going on and on about all the waste around here. They even had a facilitator and supervisor do a presentation to our SWG about conserving materials like gloves and aprons. And they’ve got coordinators acting like the cost of these materials are coming out of their pockets, makes you wonder if they’re getting a kickback. They also want us to reduce the amount of scrap we generate and conserve energy by turning off lights and fans at the end of the shift.

However, it’s okay for Mgt to waste reams of paper on the dozens of SWG boards and Focus Areas that are set up all around the plant. And to waste time and manpower on all their BS Star Point programs and clipboard carrying Quality Reps and Facilitators. And then there’s their waste of money on stupid trinkets, clocks that disappear before the hour hand makes a single rotation, and the countless retired supervisors who’ve returned to double dip.

Here we go with double standards again. Shouldn’t our union’s reps be on top of this? Oh yeah, what union?

Rumors, Rumors, Rumors

As usual Mgt and the Gob’s rumor mill is working overtime. There’s a rumor that we’re going to get a new product, and another one that has us building the 05 models until November of next year. Both of which I won’t believe until I hear the Plant Manager say it on TV, or I read it in the Baltimore Sun or the Detroit Free Press. And I’ll still have doubts.

And then there’s the one that claims the Shop Chairman is working on a buy-out package for senior members. As much as I’d like to believe this one, I can’t. He hasn’t done anything for us since he’s been in office. So why start now? If anything, he’s probably trying to get an International Appointment for himself and his Gob friends.

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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