Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations #36
March 2005

The GOBs Seal of Approval

We finally had a Union Meeting after 15 months. I expected a bigger turn out because of the mixed messages the GM/UAW Team was, and is, putting out about whether we would collect unemployment and Sub, or be put in the Jobs Bank, since we're loosing our jobs due to the plant closing, but I guess everyone's playing it by ear, and waiting to see what happens when that time comes. Maybe everyone will attend the March 13th meeting.

We'll never know all the details of what went on during that 15-month gap between meetings, because the Gobs like to keep things to themselves. They still held monthly Executive Board Meetings, but the Minutes of the meetings that are read at union meetings are condensed and therefore sketchy at best. Trying to gain access to the Minutes on your own, even if you have an appointment with the Recording Secretary or President is like pulling teeth.

In fact, one of President Plummer's promises after he was sworn in was to have the Minutes posted. He said we'd be the most informed membership this local has ever had, but like his promises to put out a monthly Newsletter and to shake up the Appointee System, they were just empty promises.

I was surprised during the Recording Secretary's report when she read that a motion was made last May to purchase 1,000 tickets for UAW/GM Day at a cost of $5,000, half of which will be reimbursed by GM. Just so there wasn't any misunderstanding, I asked her to read May's Minutes again. Then I asked Plummer if GM reimbursed the local for half the cost of the tickets and he said, "Yes."

On 12.18.04 I wrote the Chairman about the information that was revealed at December's union meeting, and it's relevance to my being severely disciplined last September. He ignored my concerns in his 01.04.05 response, so on 02.05.05 I sent Region 8 Servicing Rep, Roger 'Beatle' Griffin, the following letter:

Brother Griffin,
This letter is an official request for information pertaining to the Disposition of my Grievance and Appeal Case. The Shop Chairman's letter-dated 01.04.05 stated that you would appeal the Grievance and Appeal Case to the 4th step of the Grievance Procedure.

The Chairman's letter also states that Management; "Was unwilling to pay and clear my case at the 3rd step." Needless to say, Mgt's reluctance to settle this case and letting it progress this far reaffirms my suspicions that there is something sinister going on here.

According to May's EB Meeting Minutes that were read at December's Meeting, "A motion was made, seconded and carried, to purchase Tickets for UAW/GM Night at the Ballpark on June 12th 2004." The Recording Secretary went on to say that "The Local would purchase 1,000 Tickets at a cost of $5,000, half of which will be reimbursed by GM." I even questioned President Plummer about this and he said that GM did reimburse the union for half the cost of the tickets, thus indicating that UAW/GM night was indeed a Jointly Funded Event.

GM severely disciplined me on 09.14.04 for allegedly violating Plant Rule # 29 because I lacked documentation to support my claim that UAW/GM night was a Jointly Funded Event in my Observations # 34 Newsletter. However, according to information that was revealed at December's meeting, GM knew when they were disciplining me, as did the Chairman, that my claim was indeed factual because they both had the necessary documentation in their possession, but proceeded to persecute me anyway.

Therefore Brother Griffin, I suspect that since Mgt and my Union Reps have been unsuccessful in their individual and collective efforts to silence me legitimately during the last 5 years, and God knows they've tried, I believe Mgt is violating Plant Rule # 29 by accusing me of being in violation of the same Rule.

And I suspect my Union Rep's are just going through the motions by reluctantly filing a grievance and prolonging a quick settlement by putting it on hold at each step. I can't help but suspect that Mgt, or my Union Reps, concocted this scheme with the others knowledge for the explicit purpose of silencing me so my Newsletters don't influence another Executive Board Election, which is rapidly approaching.

Therefore Brother Griffin, as an upstanding member of the UAW for over 28 years, I believe you, since the Chairman has refused, should at least give me the courtesy of confirming or denying my suspicions so that this issue, and my allegations can be put in their proper perspectives.

Please forward your response, hard copy please, and any information pertaining to the Disposition of my Grievance and Appeal Case to the address above, or have my Committeeman deliver a hard copy on official UAW Stationary to me in the plant. Thank you.

Griffin also ignored my concerns, and allegations of a plot between the Gobs and Mgt. In his 02.07.05 response, all he told me was that my Grievance and Appeal Case are now at the 4th step. And like the Chairman, he also said that I could call him if I needed any further assistance. I don't think so.

Griffin is a GOB, plain and simple. And like all International Reps, up to and including the UAW's President, he was appointed and therefore accountable only to his appointers. I refuse to talk to him on the phone or without a witness, because experience has taught me that the Gobs will look you in the eye and lie, and then there's no proof of what they've told you. Which is why I want hardcopies only.

I don't hold out any hope that Griffin, or any Appointed Rep will fight for me. In my opinion the evidence is obvious; Mgt violated Plant Rule # 29 when they disciplined me for allegedly violating the same rule, but I guess the Rules don't apply to those who make them. And since International Reps refuse to address my concerns, or allegations of a plot to silence me by the Local GM/UAW Team, I can only assume that they too gave Mgt their seal of approval.

I wrote the following in Observations # 35 and I feel it deserves repeating because I honestly believe it's true; "The Gobs are powerless to silence me because of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, so Mgt is acting as their "Knight In Shining Armor" and coming to their rescue," literally. Which is why we must shake up the Executive Board again and again and again, if necessary.

Short Changed $31,500 or The Boot for a Bag

Another surprise that was revealed at December's meeting was that the Gobs had to pay out $17,500 because a Secretary that Plummer had fought so hard to get back had filed an unfair labor charge against them. The Gobs alleges that they fired the Secretary for insubordination and for conducting personnel business during work hours. The Local's $10,000 Lawyer advised them that they didn't have a case and should pay the Secretary $7,500 in lost wages.

Lets see if I've got this straight. The Delegates, Alternates and the Five Extra People all got caught with their hands in the 02 Conventions Cookie Jar by International Auditors and had to pay back only $5,000 of the $19,000 that they misused. Therefore we were already out $14,000 for the Cookie Jar incident, and now were out another $10,000 in Lawyer's fees plus an additional $7,500 in lost wages to the Secretary, wow.

That's a grand total of $31,500 that the Gob's selfishness cost this Local in just 3 years. And they have the nerve to give us a bag for Christmas. Didn't GM give us two similar bags? How many do we need anyway? With the Truck Plant closing in a few weeks, you'd think the Gobs would give us something more meaningful, or memorable, like one of those colorful Windbreakers they're all wearing. $31,500 would have bought a lot of Windbreakers, but nooo, they give us another damn bag.

A co-worker called the work center about the bags and the Zoneman said it was the President's idea. The Paint Shop's Committeemen said it was the VP's idea. They can't even admit to their own stupid decisions. Anytime the Executive Board spends money, they all have to approve it and then get the memberships' approval. Oh yeah, except for the 02 Convention Cookie Jar incident. Anyway, no one Board Member is responsible for giving us a bag, they all are. Remember that when election time comes around. They short changed us $31,500 and left us holding an empty bag; so it's only fitting that we give them The Boot, again.

Everyone? Someone? Anyone? No One?

It's irritating when he treats us like children. The Plant Manager gave us another Challenge. He said if we come to work every day and don't have any unexcused absences between 01.10.05 and the closing of the Truck Plant, we'd be eligible for one of three vans. Those eligible will have their names put in a barrel, three names will be randomly selected and the lucky winners will get a fully loaded 2005 Chevy Astro Van. Yeah right!

I wonder if he'll change the conditions of meeting the challenge, like excluding people for being late, or for criticizing the GM/UAW Joint Programs and Policies. After all, this is the same guy who promised us a Chinese Toy Mini Van in another Challenge and then changed his mind, twice, because we didn't meet his bogus numbers for the DRR or DRL projections, or something like that.

The general consensus is that like the Suggestion Awards Drawings, the GM/UAW Team already knows who will be driving off with the New Vans. Experience has taught us that nothing about Jointness is on the up and up. We knew the system was corrupt when a Labor Rep won $2,000 in the December of 02 Suggestion Awards Drawing. Why should we expect the Van Drawing to be any different?

We know what to expect. The GM/UAW Team will give one to someone in personnel, another one to anyone in supervision, and since everyone on the line isn't worthy of recognition, they'll give one to a Gob, Appointee or one of their yum-yums, and we all know there's no one more deserving than one of them.

In Solidarity,
Doug Hanscom

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