Disgruntled Autoworkers #8
UAW 33rd Constitutional Convention Report
A couple weeks before the June 2002 UAW 33rd Constitutional
Convention, I got a call from a friend who is the founder
of a Union Watchdog group in Michigan. My friend read a
few of my articles about the corruption in my UAW Local
and asked me to attend the Convention and write an article
based on my observations.
I told coworkers through Local Newsletters, that if elected,
unlike previous Delegates, I would write a report of my
observations and offer possible solutions to fix what I
think is wrong with our UAW. However, my bid for Delegate
wasn't successful, due in part to the Good Ole Boy Democracy
that had a 15-year stranglehold on elections. So I thought,
why not go as a visitor? My friend would furnish a room;
all I had to do was get the time off and fly out to Las
Vegas. I told my friend, "Absolutely," and below
is my report.
During the four days that I sat through the Convention,
I can't begin to count the number of times I found myself
shaking my head in disgust. I couldn't believe what I was
witnessing. From the opening ceremonies on Monday June 3rd,
to President-select Ron Gettelfingers' rousing foot stomping
speech that got the Delegates all fired up during the closing
ceremonies the following Thursday afternoon, I felt like
I was watching a well scripted and rehearsed play. I expected
to see Stephen Spielberg or John Waters come out on stage
and take a bow for directing this spectacle. Someone deserves
an Oscar or a Tony Award.
Monday; UAW President Yokich and VP Gettelfinger, and
the Presidents of the AFL-CIO, and Hotel and Restaurant
International Union, and a variety of guest speakers stroked
each other's egos for what seemed like hours. They wasted
valuable time that would have been better put to use debating
more important matters like the pros and cons of why this
or that resolution should be adopted, or not.
It was mid-afternoon when resolutions were finally proposed.
They were for Organizing, Social Security, Civil and Human
Rights, and 5 were bundled together; the Political Arena,
Labor Law Reform, Minimum Wage, Ergonomics, and Social Security
Privatization. I couldn't believe it; all of these resolutions
should have been adopted years ago. Especially Organizing,
since our membership is half of what it was in 1979.
The presentation of the resolutions was very well thought
out, as a member of the Resolution Committee read them,
the words and graphics were put up on the big screen. There
was no time limit on their presentation, however, the Delegates
had only 5 minutes to speak in favor of, or in opposition
to said resolutions.
Some resolutions were interrupted so a Senator, a Congressman
or a Guest, could speak about something, some via satellite
from somewhere, then they would stroke Yokich and Gettelfingers
egos for a few minutes and ramble on for a few more minutes
about something else.
No Delegate would speak in opposition to any of the proposed
resolutions today. Although, when they spoke in favor of
them, there was no spontaneity, not one spoke from the heart
or the head. They were reading from a prepared script that
was written days or weeks beforehand. I say this; because
there is no way they had time to write the detailed speeches
they were reading.
It was then that I understood why the International Executive
Board (IEB) requires all Locals to submit their resolutions
3 weeks before the Convention. So they have time to pick
and choose the resolutions they want to adopt. What happens
to the ones they don't want to adopt? And who writes the
Delegates scripts? Are they faxed advanced copies of the
chosen resolutions so they can write them, or does the IEB's
staff write them?
I find this line of thinking troubling. Its only the first
day, this can't be the Dog and Pony Show that I think it
is. I'll give the IEB the benefit of doubt and see what
Tuesday; An hour and a half was wasted introducing retired
Executive Board members, Regional Reps and 25 Guest from
foreign countries. Then Union leaders from the International
Metalworkers Federation, the United Steelworkers President
and the Co-Director of the Campaign for Americas' Future
were introduced and spoke briefly about whatever. Judging
by the noise level rising up from the convention floor,
the Delegates weren't paying any attention to what was being
said, and who was saying it, anymore than I was.
The first two resolution of the day were for International
Affairs, and Trade. A total of seventeen Delegates spoke
in favor of both resolutions and VP Gooden, who Chaired
the resolutions, didn't even ask if anyone opposed either
of them, go figure.
Like yesterday, most of the Delegates read from a prepared
script. However, I noticed something odd when a couple Delegates
began to read. Normally they would state their name, the
Local and Region they were from, and then read the script.
But they hesitated when they said their names. It was as
if they were reading a script that was meant for someone
else and they had to think twice before saying their name.
I wasn't surprised.
The next resolution called for a change in the wording
of Article 2, Section 6(B) of the UAW Constitution. The
IEB wanted to change 20th Century to read 21st Century.
While a member of the Resolutions Committee read the resolution,
6 Carts approximately 3 feet wide by 3 feet deep by 7 feet
high that appeared to have a curtain around them were wheeled
in. Two were placed on the left side of the Convention Center,
two on the right and two in the back.
At first I thought they were part of some kind of magic
act, after all this is Las Vegas. They were the kind of
Carts that a Magician would step into, his assistance would
draw the curtain, wave a wand and poof, the curtain would
drop and the Magician would be gone. Be forewarned, a disappearing
act is about to take place.
Four Delegates spoke in favor of the resolution to change
the wording of Article 2, Section 6(B). This is my first
Convention, so I had no idea what the fifth Delegate meant
when he said, "I call for The Question." I soon
learned it means when a resolution looks as if it will be
adopted, the question is called for and without any further
debate, whoever is Chairing the resolution will ask for
a show of hands from those in favor of adopting it. That's
convenient, where was "The Question" yesterday
when all of the common sense resolutions were proposed?
The resolution in question was adopted.
VP Shoemaker Chaired the next resolution to add a new section to Article 16 of the UAW Constitution. The New Section, 11(F), reads as follows: No later than June 30, 2002, $75 million shall be transferred from the net resources of the Strike Insurance Fund to a newly established Emergency Operations Fund. The assets of the Emergency Operations Fund, including accrued interest and earnings on investments, shall be available to finance operations of the International Union in the event Operating Fund resources are insufficient to sustain operations due to the effects of a protracted or expensive strike, a series of strikes, or other events posing a serious threat to the economic viability of the International Union.
While the resolution was presented to the Delegates, picket
signs that read, Jobs With Justice & Dignity, I.P.S. (Independent
Parts Supplier) Need Job Security Too, I.P.S. Industrial
Power Supply, and T.O.P. Totally Organized Power were taken
out of the Magicians Carts and handed out. That explains
Shoemaker called for the Delegates in favor of the resolution.
The first Delegate approved of the resolution to take $75
Million out of the Strike Insurance Fund. The next Delegate
called for the question. Wow, that was quick, in other words,
end of debate, let's vote on it.
While a picket group assembling at the entrances distracted
the entire Convention Center, VP Shoemaker ignored the raised
hands of about a half a dozen Delegates who wanted to debate
the $75 million resolution. I could clearly hear them shouting,
"Point of Order, Point of Order," but Shoemaker
ignored them and "Fast Tracked" it by calling
for a show of hands of those who wanted to vote on it. The
resolution was adapted.
Yokich and Gettelfinger could be seen high fiving each
other. They were happier than pigs in shit, because in less
than 12 minutes they pulled off a $75 million "Disappearing
Act" that would have made the greatest Magician in
the world envious.
Whoever called for the question must have been pressured
or intimidated into doing it by his Regional Rep, or he
was in on the scam like a ringer that sits in the audience
at a magic show. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I
wouldn't have believed it. I just learned that calling for
"The Question" could also be abused.
Back to the Emergency Fund, I wonder what "Earnings
on investments" means? Are they going to buy more Airlines,
Radio Networks and Resorts? So far there are no earnings
on any of those investments. Or will they use the money
to hire Lawyers to defend them against lawsuits that were
filed by fired employees of UBN, and members of Local 594?
Or bribe Politicians to lobby Congress to drop or stonewall
any investigations or court actions against them for years?
My guess is all of the above. That's why they added the
last line about "Other events posing a serious threat."
At the rate the IEB is going, their bad investments and
lawsuits could bankrupt our Union before this decade is
out. Rest assured that whatever they spend the money on;
we won't know about it until we read about it in the Press,
because it's another Secret Fund they won't have to be accountable
for, like Joint Funds.
The next resolution was for The Crises in Manufacturing.
While the resolution was being read, picket signs were still
being handed out, by now over a couple hundred people had
gathered at the entrances. VP Bunn approached the podium
and said, "Let us now pause to show our support for
workers in the Independent Parts Supplier sector."
And for the next thirty minutes a parade of picketers marched
around the Convention Center while the Band played "When
the Saints go Marching in," and other happy marching
In my opinion, the parade of picketers wasn't in support
of IPS, because twenty years ago they were 75% Union and
today they're only 15% and shrinking. So what's to celebrate?
The parade of picketers has nothing to do with IPS and everything
to do with the IEB celebrating the fact that they got away
with making $75 million disappear from the rank and file
Strike Insurance Fund, and for thirty jubilant minutes they
paraded around the Convention Center gloating over it.
After the parade was over and the picket signs were put
back in the Magicians Carts, VP Bunn continued the debate
for the Crises in Manufacturing resolution. Three Delegates
voted in favor of the resolution and then there is another
break for another Senator to say a few words. When the Senator
finished whatever he was saying, six more Delegates voted
in favor of the resolution and
it was adopted.
The next resolution was for Government Employees Rights. Seven Delegates voted for the resolution and then, 14 resolutions later, a Delegate finally opposes one. The Delegate says the resolution doesn’t go far enough in dealing with Corporate Terrorism. He raised the issue of Local 2036 and the corporate terrorism the membership has endured since 1998 when then Regional Director Ron Gettelfinger had authorized them to strike their company, Accuride Corporation, manufacturers of steel wheels for GM and Ford.
The Delegate said, "In the four years since being
locked out by their company, members have committed suicide,
marriages have been broken, and members are dying because
of illnesses they have contracted from working in the dirty
and dangerous environment." He was applauded when he
recommended strike benefits, cut off in January, be restored
to members of local 2036. He motioned for the resolution
be tabled until a full discussion on the matter is conducted
and a report is submitted to the IEB.
VP Bunn Chaired this resolution, but Yokich aggressively
tag-teamed her, cutting off the momentum of the applause
for the only dissenting Delegate thus far, he yelled, "Somewhere
along the line we have to make the decision if we can win
or lose. We had VP's go to the Corporations. We have put
all the pressure that we usually put." Raising his
voice in agitation, he goes on to say, "We don't like
losing, but once in a while you lose a game. And there is
a group in this Union that has taken that (loss) and run
it against every damn thing we do good in this Union."
I am a member of the UAW Solidarity Coalition (UAWSC),
the group that Yokich is talking about, and there is a reason
we're running with the story of Local 2036. From the first
day of their strike over four long years ago, and to this
very day, the majority of the members who install Accuride's
wheels don't have a clue they're handling scab parts.
Yokich may have sent his VP's to the Corporations like
he said, but when he didn't get the desired results, why
didn't he send them to the affected Locals to inform their
membership? I believe they would have been more than willing
to support fellow Union members by refusing to handle Accuride's
scab parts. If Yokich had done what he's paid to do, the
strike would have been settled within weeks.
Yokich said, "Once in a while you lose a game."
That's true, but a strike is not a game and the strike at
Accuride wasn't lost; the 400 members of Local 2036 were
sacrificed, because disrupting production at the assembly
plants that install Accuride's scab wheels would have had
serious repercussions for the Alliance the IEB has developed
with the Corporations over the last twenty years in the
name of Joint Funds.
Local 2036 is our "Battle Cry" and we will keep
shouting it out until all of its members are reinstated,
or until the entire membership has the right to vote for
Executive Board Members of the UAW. Until we can hold them
accountable, through elections, any one of our locals could
be sacrificed or sold out next.
Visit the following website at http://futureoftheunion.com/? id=1258 to read, 'UAW Betrayal At Accuride,' its Billy Robinson's own
account of how his local's membership was sold out by Gettelfinger
and the IEB.
After Yokich's outburst, VP Bunn introduced another Senator
who talked about whatever. I'm beginning to wonder if this
is a UAW Convention or a Political Rally. When the Senator
finished, Bunn called on the next Delegate to continue the
debate on the Crises in Manufacturing resolution.
Things got a little confusing for a second. A Delegate
was called on, but before she could get to the microphone
another Delegate called for the question. After a flurry
of activity on the stage, Bunn ignored the first Delegate
in favor of the second and the resolution was voted on and
adopted. I found out later that the first Delegate was going
to second the motion to table the resolution, but the IEB
realized what she was up to and opted for the second Delegate.
They didn't want anything to upset the roll they were on.
The next 2 resolutions were for Government Employees Rights,
and Economic Democracy and Employer Accountability. They
were adopted with flying colors. And the next two resolutions,
NAFTA, and the Right To Work took a combined total of 15
minutes, because the questions were quickly called for.
It's after 4:00pm; the Delegates are getting restless and
the distractions of Las Vegas are calling. Both resolutions
were adopted and VP Gooden motioned for a recess until tomorrow.
I sat there shaking my head in disgust as the Delegates
began to file out of the Convention Center. I couldn't believe
what the IEB did today. They pick the resolutions, and if
it looks like one won't go their way, they ignore calls
for a Point of Order, or they ignore an already chosen Delegate
in favor of another who called for the question. This really
is the Dog and Pony Show that I thought it was.
I am awestruck by the IEB and their brazen abuse of power,
and even more awestruck that there are so few delegates
protesting their abuses. I can't imagine what the IEB will
do next. Although I don't think they can top making $75
million disappear from our Strike Insurance Fund, that's
a pretty tough act to follow.
Wednesday; The Convention Center was all decked out with
over a thousand red, white, blue, yellow and black balloons.
So many Balloons in fact that if weren't for the huge TV
monitors hanging overhead, the Delegates wouldn't be able
to see the stage.
Picket signs were everywhere too. They were sticking up
behind almost every chair and like the balloons, many proclaimed,
Ron's Team, the UAW logo, America is a Union, and the names
of candidates that are running uncontested for the various
My first thought when I walked into the Convention Center
was, "Wow, did I miss the election?" The nominations
for Executive Board Members are supposed to be today, but
by the looks of this place, you'd think the election was
over and the victory party for Ron's Team is about to begin.
In reality that statement isn't too far from the truth,
because we knew last November, through the Press, that VP
Ron Gettelfinger was Yokich's handpicked successor for President
of the UAW. Democracy is not an option when we know who
the next president will be 8 months before an election.
Tuesday, before reading their prepared scripts, a few of
the Delegates would put in a plug for their Regional Directors,
unless they were retiring, then they would put in a plug
for their Directors successors. Their elections haven't
even taken place, yet they know who is succeeding whom.
So it stands to reason that the Regional Directors, like
the President and the VP's, handpicked their successors
months in advance too.
In a nutshell, today is all pomp and circumstance. An hour
or so will be spent presenting past Presidents Douglas Fraser
and Owen Bieber with the UAW Social Justice Awards. Then
a few hours will be spent on the nominations of Executive
Board Members. Those chosen to do the nominations are allowed
5 minutes to stroke the egos of the ones they're nominating.
VP Bunn's nomination for Secretary Treasurer was the only
one that peaked my interest.
A Delegate of the UAW represented Writers Local praised
Bunn for standing strong and fighting the good fight in
defending members during their struggle with Publishers.
He said Bunn inspired hundreds of people who rallied in
front of the N.Y. Times Building when she said, "When
the UAW takes on a fight, it stays in the fight until we
When I heard that statement, my mind flashed back to Local
2036 and their struggle. The UAW took on that fight over
4 years ago when Gettelfinger told the Local President,
"Take em out," because the company's union-busting
contract was unacceptable.
Then 18 months later Gettelfinger turned tail and ran with
members strike benefits, not once, but twice. Under pressure
from the UAWSC and members nationwide, the IEB gave locked
out members their benefits back 14 months later, and then
in January of 2002 they took them a second time, because
members refused to accept the same bogus contract; only
this time the IEB took their Charter too, leaving the Local
I believe Yokich took the members benefits and pulled their
Charter so that when Gettelfinger inherits the UAW Presidency
a few months later, he'll start with a clean slate. As far
as I'm concerned, and I'm sure many others will agree, Gettelfinger
will forever have the blood of Local 2036 on his hands.
It took all I had to hold my tongue, I wanted to yell at
the speaker and tell him that Bunn's a damn lire, but I
was a guest and I didn't want to get thrown out by one of
the dozens of Sergeant at Arms that are everywhere. I had
to settle with shaking my head in disgust, again.
I believe that is why the Conventions are held in Las Vegas.
If we were in the Detroit area and there were a few hundred
retirees and active members in the visitors' section, I
don't think they would be able to hold their tongues. Especially
after they witnessed yesterdays $75 million scam, they'd
be yelling and throwing things on stage, and at members
of the IEB too for that matter.
After the Executive Board nominations were over and it
was obvious that all of the candidates would be running
unopposed, it was recommended that all of the candidates
be elected by acclamation. Since the balloons limited visibility,
the Delegates were asked to vote by saying yea or nay. The
yeas have it and the new IEB was elected by acclimation.
Funny, the new IEB looks like the old IEB; imagine that.
Then the 12 Regions were assigned smaller conference rooms
so they could hold their Regional Directors elections. With
that taken care of, the Convention was recessed until 10:00am
Thursday; Today got off to a late and controversial start. At
11:25am, the first order of business is the break up of
Region 2. A proposed amendment resolution to Article 10,
Section 21 would merge Region 2, and distribute the membership
and Locals of Region 2 to Regions 2B, 8 and 9.
The IEB maintains a computer room across from the Convention
Center Hall that has a few copiers and a staff of writers.
I noticed the room when I visited the Center on the Sunday
before the Convention. On the back of the Daily news, one
of the many publications given the Delegates daily is the
staff's name, the UAW Public Relations and Publications
According to a 3 page Flyer circulated today by the PRPD,
the IEB merged Regions before because of declining membership.
However, that is not the reason for merging Region 2. The
Flyer also stated that the Director of Region 2 was supposed
to retire in accordance with a Union rule that bars anyone
from running for office over the age of 65. The Directors
handpicked Assistant was supposed to become Director.
The Flyer stated that on Monday the National Caucus endorsed
the Assistant's candidacy, then on Wednesday, moments before
the election, the Assistant withdrew his nomination and
the Director was reelected. The Flyer stated, "We know
the Directors' true motive - to use his position as Regional
Director to promote his run for Congress," and "This
is unethical self-dealing and self-promotion of the worst
Instead of admonishing the Director and his Assistant for
being deceitful and holding a new election for Region 2,
the IEB decided to break up the Region. They didn't want
to chance having an unknown candidate elected Director.
They prefer knowing who is running for office months in
advance. This hastily made decision by the IEB upset the
Delegates of Region 2.
A Constitution Committee Member and the Flyer recommends
that Delegates vote for the resolution to merge Region 2.
And since Directors haven't been sworn in yet, immediately
after it passes, the Convention will recess while new elections
are held for Regions 2B, 8 and 9.
Yokich Chaired the resolution. The count was 6 for, and
4 opposed it. When one opposition Delegate called Yokich
vindictive, the crowd, "Wooed!" And the Delegate
said, "I didn't say vindictive for the cat calls, but
I know how you (Yokich) can be when you want to clear up
a dispute." The crowd is still wooing, and Yokich pounds
the gavel and said, "Let the Brother speak." The
Delegate said, "It's good to have a person like that,
especially those of you doing the cat calling need a person
like that when you go into negotiations. A person being
vindictive at times can be an advantage, not a disadvantage,
but Brother Yokich, I ask you and the Delegates here to
restore Region 2 as a separate Region of the UAW."
Yokich responded by saying, "Merging Regions is nothing
new." He listed a few examples. Then he said, "I
didn't hear anyone speak against those mergers. So I'm here
telling you that there's strength in our union. We have
taken care of our union through the Constitution, through
this Convention and we have merged Regions and made it more
powerful and stronger. All I can say Brother is it's something
we did before, in your Region. So we're not nailing your
Region. We're just doing what's right for this Union."
It is said that "Debate is healthy," not in the
UAW. Unfortunately the resolution process is dead, because
it is evident today that the IEB makes up the rules as it
goes along, and they always get the last word. If given
a choice, I sure the opposition Delegate would like to debated
Yokich on his, "We're not nailing your Region"
remark, because it's obvious that they are.
The 11th Delegate calls for the question, but Yokich, always
the wise guy said, "I really wanted to debate this."
As if the Delegates of Region 2 "really" believe
that. He then asked for a show of hands from those who want
to close the debate, the majority voted to close the debate
and adopt the resolution.
A Delegate was repeatedly yelling, "Point of Order."
Yokich told him to stand by the mic until the next speaker,
another Senator, says whatever he has to say. When the Senator
was done, a Doctor of the Hispanic Leadership Institute
spoke for a few minutes about whatever.
Twenty minutes later, the Delegate standing at the mic
yelled, "Point of Order" again. Yokich arrogantly
told the Delegate, "You have to be seated to be called
on." The Delegate returned to his seat and raised his
hand. When called on, he said, "The amendment to Article
10 was not submitted in a timely matter. It's retroactive
and I think therefore it should be invalidated." Yokich
mockingly said, "Thank you for the advice." And
that was the end of that, 18 resolutions Chaired and 18
adopted without significant debate.
The next order of business is the nomination for Public
Review Board Members. VP Shoemaker does the honors of nominating
all of the candidates, and he calls for the question too.
All of the candidates were elected by acclimation.
Yokich announces that the Convention will recess while
Regions 2B, 8 and 9 hold their new Regional Directors elections.
When the Convention was reconvened an hour and a half later,
a U.S. Rep wasted another 20 minutes talking about this
Then Yokich announced the results of the Regional Directors
elections. Of course all of the candidates that were nominated
are unopposed, and therefore all are elected by acclimation.
Retiring International Secretary Treasure Ruben Burks announces
the results of the Convention Appeals Committee election,
and then he thanks everyone he's worked with over the years,
including past Presidents, Secretaries, the Executive Board
and its Staff, and the Membership.
Next, Yokich reads the Obligation to all newly elected
members of the Executive Board. All members agree to the
Obligation and Yokich hands the gavel to President-select
Ron Gettelfinger. Congratulations, and hugs and kisses all
around for the next 10 minutes.
Gettelfinger's acceptance speech lasted about 30 minutes.
He invoked the memory of Walter Reuther and Leonard Woodcock,
and glorified the deeds of past Presidents Fraser, Beiber
and Yokich. He talked about Organizing, Education and staying
involved in the Political Arena, Locally and Nationally.
Like a Protestant Preacher, he would begin by speaking softly,
and his voice would increase in volume until the TV monitors
hanging from the rafters started vibrating. He would do
this repeatedly throughout his speech. And each time he
raised his voice, the overly enthusiastic bussed in Army
of appointees scattered throughout the Convention Center
would earn their keep by cheering, whistling, clapping and
stomping their feet. And I thought he was Catholic. It was
an Oscar worthy performance.
He said, "This Union has not in the past, nor will
it in the future, back down from Politicians whose goal
it is, to destroy us like the Industrial base in this country."
And the crowd cheered. Raising his voice he said, "There
are anti-union forces who are out there to destroy us at
every turn. But we have not, and will not, let those who
would destroy us seal our fate."
I know there are forces out there, Politicians and Corporations,
that are out to destroy our Union, but there is another
force more dangerous and damaging than both of them combined,
and that is the force within, the IEB.
Prior to the debate for the resolution to merge Region
2, a Constitution Committee member told the Delegates, "In
the UAW we believe in Democracy. And we will not let anyone
accuse our Union of being undemocratic."
In my opinion, the election process of the UAW is undemocratic
and unethical, because everyone that holds an office above
that of a Local President is appointed, including President-select
Gettelfinger. Try running for any one of these offices without
the support of the IEB and they will make dog meat out of
you before the ink is on your campaign posters is dry.
Democracy is dead in the UAW and it's been dead for over
20 years. The one party communist slate that the IEB has
become began destroying our Union from within when they
formed an Alliance with the Corporations in the name of
Joint Funds. And then they have the nerve to tell us to
tighten our belts and make concessions in the name of profits.
Meanwhile the Corporations cry poverty all the way to the
bank and invest the billions they earned at our expense
in foreign ventures. There is something seriously wrong
with this picture.
After Gettelfinger wrapped up his sermon, a resolution
to change the wording of Sections 10, 15, 17(B)
and 23 of Article 8 of the Constitution was proposed. Most notable was
a change to Section 15. It demands that all Locals submit
resolutions and constitutional amendments to the International
6 weeks prior to the convening of the Convention instead
of the current 3-weeks. Apparently 3 weeks isn't enough
time to pick and choose, and write scripts for the most
A member of the Constitution Committee recommends a vote for the resolution. A Delegate calls for the question while other Delegates are yelling “Point of Order,” they’re ignored, the vote is taken and the resolution is adopted.
A resolution to change the wording of Article 33, Section
2(B) was proposed; it deals with the appeals process for
Skilled Trades. This one got a little confusing. Calls for
a "Point of Order" could be heard as a Delegate
calls for the question. The Delegate is ignored so a second
Delegate can oppose it. Then calls for a "Point of
Order" could be heard again, they're ignored, the Chair
calls for the vote. The resolution is adopted.
A resolution to change the wording of Article 11, Sections
1, 2, 3 and 8 is proposed; it increases the salaries of
the IEB and International Reps to the tune of $14,000 for
Reps, $16,000 for Board Members, $17,000 for VP's, $18,000
for Treasure and a $19,000 increase for the International
President. The question is immediately called for, and the
resolution is adopted. We're told to tighten our belts,
but these Fat Cats get to loosen theirs.
A speaker from the Audubon International talks about the
state of the environment and congratulates Yokich for preserving
the area around Black Lake when he had the Golf Course built,
with $6 million of our dues money. An Audubon Award is presented
to Yokich for the Golf Course Project.
A member of the Resolutions Committee says he will read
the names of a bunch of resolutions that are in the Blue
Book that was handed out Monday. This Convention has been
in session for 4 days with a combined total of 30 hours,
of which, less than 8 hours was devoted to resolutions.
And now at 4:30pm on the last day of the Convention they're
going to "Fast Track" a bundle of them. Typical
of what I've witnessed to date.
The list of proposed resolutions is enormous; I counted
about 50 of them. The Speaker read from the Table of Contents
on pages 2, 3 and 4 of the Blue Book beginning with the
Proposed Resolutions on the Economy, which are; Budget Issues
and Public Investment, Reducing Inequality and Fighting
Poverty, Tax Justice, Medicare and National Health Care,
Prescription Drugs, Protecting and Preserving Public Education,
Military Spending and Economic Conversion, and Monetary
Policy and Global Financial Markets. Proposed Resolutions
on Trade Policy and Other Issues in a Global Economy are;
Trade Policy and Other Issues in a Global Economy, Foreign
Investment and Influence of Foreign Countries and Firms
on U.S. Policy, and Immigration Issues. And Proposed Resolutions
on Other Issues Affecting the Economy are; Transportation
Policy, Farm Policy, Energy Policy, and Mergers, Takeovers
and Leverage Buyouts.
Proposed Resolutions on the Future of Our Jobs are; The
Number and Quality of Our Jobs, Technology in the Workplace,
Health and Safety in the Workplace, and Economic Democracy
and Employer Accountability. Proposed Resolutions on Workers'
Needs are; Unemployment Insurance, Dislocated Workers, Product
Liability and Workers' Compensation, Workers' Rights Legislation,
Sexual Harassment, Campaign Finance Reform, Housing, Protecting
America's Veterans, Spreading the Union's Message, and The
Federal Judiciary and Other Presidential Appointments.
Proposed Resolutions On Toward A Better Quality of Life
for All are; The Environment, Pensions, Domestic Violence
and Violence Against Children, Crime, Punishment and Rehabilitation:
A Progressive Approach, and Recreation and Cultural Activities.
Proposed Resolutions on Strengthening Our Communities are;
State Issues, Cities, and Community Service. And lastly
the Proposed Resolutions On Toward An Even Better Union
are; Education in the UAW, Buy Union/Buy American Quality
Products, and School to Work.
Of all the Resolutions on the list, it was the Federal,
Judiciary and other Presidential Appointments Resolution
that got my attention. Who are they to question the appointment
policy of the U.S. Government when their own appointment
policy is based on nepotism and favoritism and thereby discriminates
against the average member? Talk about irony.
The committee member finished his list by saying, "Brothers
and Sisters, on behalf of the Resolutions Committee I move
for the adoption of these resolutions." None of the
Delegates are foolish enough to pick apart the list; otherwise
we would be here all night. They were all adopted.
Next is a tribute to President Yokich. Then a resolution
is proposed to authorize the construction and furnishing
of the Stephen P. Yokich Cottage at the Walter and Mae Reuther
Education Center at Black Lake, complete with a plaque with
his name on it. The Cottage is for Yokich when he visits
the Center and for others when he isn't using it. The question
is called for; the resolution is adopted and the Cabin is
Everybody joins in for the singing of Solidarity Forever,
and then Gettelfinger brings down the gavel and officially
adjourns the 33rd UAW Constitutional Convention.
And there you have it. The entire cast and crew of this
orchestrated Dog and Pony show gets to go home grinning
from ear to ear, because all of their chosen resolutions
were adopted, they have fatter pay checks, and $75 million
in the kitty that they can spend without accounting for
one red cent. Not bad for 4 days work.
This has got to be the biggest Charade to hit the Las Vegas
strip in history. This whole damn fiasco just reaffirms
my suspicions of how Good Ole Boys (Gob) democracies came
to power in the majority of our Locals. Our Local Administrations
were influenced and thereby corrupted by the International
GOBs and their Joint Funds Alliance with the Corporations.
And then they learned how the International GOBs ruled over
the Conventions and they took that knowledge home and rule
over our Locals in the same manner.
That is what the IEB did for the last four days. They didn't
lead the Convention like a President and VP lead a Country,
a Corporation, or even a Union for that matter; they ruled
it like Monarchs and Dictators. It's their way or the highway,
like the Delegates of Region 2 found out. And like loyal
peasants, the vast majority of the Delegates fell in line
like mindless sheep.
Therein lies one problem. If the majority of our Locals
are ruled by Gob Democracies, then the majority of the Delegates
sent to Conventions will be Gobs too. And the other problems
are the IEB's 50-year stranglehold on democracy in the UAW,
and the fact that they've authorized themselves the right to pick
and choose resolutions.
Just as the average member has lost their voice in the
decision making process in our Locals because of Living
Agreements that can change without our approval, Delegates
have lost their voice on the convention floor because their
right to propose a resolution from the floor is circumvented.
Instead they must first seek the approval of the IEB six
weeks in advance. For example, a resolution for 'One Member/One
Vote' would be rejected, because it doesn't fit in with
the IEB's grand scheme to dominate the UAW's political arena.
The membership has been totally removed from the decision
making process in the UAW. I don't know about you, but I
am not at all comfortable with that. I do not like knowing
that my livelihood is in the hands of a bunch of selfish
arrogant control freaks who've set themselves up as supreme
rulers of our Union.
The membership had better find a way to take our Union
back from these Traitors soon, because the longer we wait,
chances are there may not be anything left that's worth
taking back. If we continue to do nothing about them, then
we deserve whatever we get, or don't get.
If there is one lesson I've learned at this charade they
called a Constitutional Convention, it's that the IEB will
do, or spend (our money) whatever it takes to maintain their
superiority over us, so taking our Union back from these
Traitors will definitely be a challenge.
UAW Local 239 Baltimore