Disgruntled Autoworker
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Observations # 37

May 2005

A Heartfelt Thanks

Voting for Local Executive Board Members is the most important Union Election a Member or Retiree will participate in. If we’re not happy with an elected official or an entire caucus, we have the power of elections to replace one or all of them.

With our Executive Board and Run Off Elections behind us, it’s safe to say that based on the combined results of all 3 Plants and the Retirees, a very slim majority felt it was time for change. They say, “Change is good.” Soon we’ll all find out if that’s true.

While I may not have the privilege of being this local’s Recording Secretary, I’ll continue to take advantage of my U.S. Constitutional right to free speech and voice my opinions. And I will do so until I get the impression my opinions are no longer having an effect, or until there are too few of us left for them to matter.

Be that as it may, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for me. I was impressed, encouraged and humbled by your support. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all……Doug Hanscom

Foxes Back in the Henhouse

When the Gobs dragged out the Truck Plant’s March 13, 2005 Union Meeting with BS answers to people’s questions, I believe they had an ulterior motive. They wanted to frustrate those in attendance so they would give up and leave before nominations for the Election Committee began. They succeeded. Most people left before the nominations began, thereby giving the Gobs the upper hand in controlling who was nominated and elected to be on the Committee.

That was one controversy. Another was when the Gobs tried to postpone the Truck Plant’s Shop Committee Elections, but a few phone calls and letters put a stop to that. And then a few Gobs ratted out a couple of the Independents for violating Plant Rules that they were violating. A remedy to the Plant Rule problem is simple; all Candidates should abide by the Rules or be exempt from the Rules, no exceptions.

Election results from all 3 Plant and the Retirees varied from minor to extreme. One Plant leaned heavily in one direction while another leaned ever so slightly in the opposite. And the Retirees were a deciding factor in some decisions and had no influence in others. In the end all that matters is that the results accurately reflect the will of the majority, or so we hope that’s the case.

Some people express concern when they notice that a Ballot Box, or Trashcan, wasn’t being watched at one of the gates. Others questioned the wisdom of locking Allison’s Trashcan at the Hall overnight. I expressed concern about the use of Trashcans during the 2002 Elections. I stated that a 10 year old with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers could get into the Trashcans in a matter of minutes. That statement still stands today.

Over the last 5 years, I believe the majority of us have come to realize that most of those we supposedly elected turned out to be lyres and thieves or thugs and punks. Therefore it doesn’t matter how many locks you put on the Trashcans, storing them in the very place that is occupied by those who are running isn’t a very good idea. They should be stored at a Police or Fire Department, or Challengers should guard them overnight.

The whole purpose of allowing the Candidates the right to have Challengers at the poling places and during the counting of the ballots is to insure the integrity of the elections. So if a Trashcan isn’t being watched, then a Challenger isn’t doing their job, or there aren’t enough Challengers to cover all the polls.

And that’s one of the biggest controversies that I believe makes the entire election process questionable. It’s not that those on the Election Committee can’t be trusted. I believe most of them can be, however, I also believe that there are a few who wouldn’t hesitate to stuff a Trashcan with bogus ballots, or if given the opportunity and time, a screwdriver and a pair of pliers, they’d tamper with the Trashcan that is locked at the Hall.

Therefore, if there is one controversy that raises doubts about the elections and its results, it is the fact that the Candidates didn’t have enough Challengers. A Candidate is allowed 6 Challengers. If just 5 of the 35 Candidates had the maximum number of challengers, there would have been 30 challengers and they would have eliminated any controversy, but there were only 6.

A couple Candidates pitched a fit when they lost. And the ones that cried the loudest didn’t even have one Challenger, so if they suspect foul play, they have no one to blame but themselves. A rule of thumb when running in any UAW election is to have the maximum number of Challengers.

The final controversy is that the Retirees influenced several decisions. During the first vote they had to stand in line for over an hour to vote due to poor planning by the Election Committee. About two hundred Retirees left without voting because they were frustrated by the wait. Their legs can’t take the stress anymore. So many of them didn’t bother to show up for the Run-Off elections.

When the Retirees did vote they voted the so-called Leadership Ticket. And to further influence the election, the Retiree President handed out his own Ticket with most of the same Candidates on it. The Retiree President, who should have known better, didn’t have a Union Bug on any of his Campaign Tickets. He would have been the first one to raise hell if a Candidate had done that.

We shouldn’t blame the Retirees for being responsible for some of the results that went against the will of the active membership, because they don’t have a clue about what’s going on in our Plants. Most of them put their faith in the Retiree President and in my opinion he deceived them. I hope the Retirees come to realize this and oust him when he’s up for re-election.

To remedy the Retiree’s influence in future elections, the active membership needs to take the initiative to reach out and educate them. I believe if the Retirees knew about the work ethics of some of the Candidates, the outcome of the election would have been different.

The List

During the National Ratification meetings in September of 2003, a member asked if the Allison List would still stand when the Truck Plant closes. International Rep John Fedewa told everyone when the Truck Plant closes, The List will become obsolete and we will all automatically be placed on the Area Hire List.

Shortly there after, and during all Union Meetings, right up to the day of the Run-Off elections, the Shop Chairman, Zoneman and Election Committee Chairman were telling everyone that they’ll do whatever it takes to honor The List, in spite of what the International Reps said.

These Gobs knew the National Agreement supersedes the Local, however, they chose to take advantage of gullible members by telling them they still had a chance to transfer to the Allison Plant. They blatantly deceive these members for their own selfish gains.

Not more than 20 hours after the elections, members found out from International Reps that The List is null and void. Several members were upset about the timing of this news because they helped elect a Gob President and another one Shop Chairman with the hope that they will get to transfer to Allison. When a member called the Zoneman the morning after the Run Offs, all he could say about The List being obsolete was, “Sorry.” Yeah right. If the vote was held today, I think we’d have a different President and Shop Chairman.

Gullible members are as much at fault for being deceived as their deceivers. If they had attended one of the Ratification meetings, they would have known The List becomes obsolete when the Truck Plant closes. Sorry to say, but shame on some of you for not paying attention, because now that the foxes are back in the henhouse, I believe we are all in for a very rude awakening.

In Solidarity,

Doug Hanscom         


"Hope has two beautiful daughters: anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to change them." - Saint Augustine

"The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis" - Edmond Burke

 “Sometimes life’s shadows are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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