Disgruntled Autoworkers #11
Traitors Promoting Traitors
At the request of Union members from Local 1590 in Martinsburg,
W. Va., I made an appointment with Baltimore's Region 8 Servicing
Rep, Bruce Pontia, because they, and members of Baltimore's
Local 239, and I, don't know anything about Mr.Pontia.
After several attempts, I met with the Rep after work on
March 27th, and to my surprise he had my Local's Good Ole
Boy (Gob) Shop Chairman in his office. "Because."
The Rep said, "Whenever I meet with a member from a
Local, I want their President or Shop Chairman present."
I thought, "Great, we're already off to a bad start."
I didn't want to cancel, so I said, "Whatever makes
After a few questions, I found out the Rep worked in the
National Aerospace department of Lockheed Martin out of
Orlando, FL. He was Shop Chairman of Local 788 down there
for 9 years, and transferred to Detroit where he worked
for 3 years under then VP Ron Gettelfinger.
Then Region 8 Director Gary Casteel offered him the appointment
to the Servicing Rep position he now holds. He said, "I'm
a little new with the GM atmosphere and the way GM operates,
but I'll learn it. I've got 3 GM plants, I'd better learn
it." He seemed quite concerned about that.
I proceeded to tell him about the two previous occupants
of his position, because I had a follow up question. I told
him 753 members of Local 239 petitioned the International Union
because our President gave his daughter an International
appointment, and 2 friends Local appointments at a new Plant
up the street, out of line with seniority. The membership
believes the International promoted our President to diffuse
the unrest his selfishness caused in our Local.
I also told him the membership of Local 1590 was upset
with their President because he allowed Union officials
and management personnel to hire family and friends while
Union members were still on lay-off. The membership believes
the International promoted their President
to diffuse the unrest his selfishness caused there.
The majority of the membership of both Locals, who are
supposed to be the highest authority in the Union, had legitimate
concerns and reasons to be upset with their Presidents.
However, the International turned their backs on them and
promoted their Presidents for betraying them.
So my question to the Rep is obvious, "Do you have
any baggage from your Local? Is there something you did
down there that got you promoted to this office? Are they
(the International) trying to diffuse a situation down there?"
The Rep said, "Not that I know of. None of my family
works there. I never got anyone a job there."
About two weeks prior to this meeting, my Shop Chairman
told me the same thing about not having any family working
in our Plant. That may be true, but since taking office,
he's done nothing to shake up the appointments his Gob predecessors
made. And he's awfully generous when it comes to handing
his Gob friends and family appointments or cushy jobs.
Therefore, I had doubts about what the Rep was telling
me. So when I got home, I looked on the UAW's website for
a listing of his Local, and there wasn't any. Then I checked
Lockheed Martin's website and I didn't have any luck there
either. Not that that means anything, but it makes me a
That was all the questions I had about where he came from,
but since I already had his ear, I asked him, "How
about the lack of Democracy in the UAW? This question is
optional; I'm just throwing it out there. I was at the 33rd
UAW Constitutional Convention and everybody ran unopposed.
And your position here is not an elected position. What
do you think about that?"
My Gob Shop Chairman couldn't contain himself anymore,
he said, "I object to that question." I told him,
"I'm talking to this man here though." The Rep
said, "I think its pretty..." He's looking for
the right words and the Gob Chairman throws in his unsolicited
two cents again and says, "About as democratic as it
can get." Too which the Rep says, "As democratic
as it possibly can be."
It was then that I understood why my Gob Chairman was really
there. To help the Rep with any questions he may have a
problem with. And since the Rep worked under Gettelfinger,
there is no doubt that he is a Gob too, like our ex-Presidents
and the International Traitors who promoted them.
Then the Rep said, "You look at the way the U.S. Government
is run. It's sort of run the same way. Especially..."
I cut him off and said, "I'm not worried about..."
He cut me off and said, "You had a President that won...with
aha...or the more votes..." I finished for him, I said,
"He was put in office by a Judge." He said, "Right."
I said, "I'm aware of that. I'm concerned about the
Government as well, but right now I'm more concerned about
the Union." He said, "Well, I think the Government..."
I didn't want to get sucked into a debate about the Government
with this man, because I felt he was trying to frustrate
me. So I said, "I have a priority right here with the
Union. We've got Good Ole Boy Democracies that we want to
stop." He said, "Right."
And with that response, it was obvious he wanted to end
the meeting, so I said, "I got the answers I wanted.
That's all I have." I thanked him for his time and
got up to leave. When I opened the door and stepped out
into the hall, the ex-CAP President was standing outside
the door, and Local 239's ex-President and somebody I didn't
recognize was scurrying down the hall like rats looking
for their holes. The ex-President looked back with that
'Oops, I got caught' look on his face. If I had opened that
door a couple of seconds sooner they all would have fallen
in on their faces.
With the ex-CAP President standing to my left and Local
239's ex-President frozen in his tracks down the hall to
my right, I turned back to the Rep disbelieving and said,
"How do I get out of here? I don't want to run into
a road block or something." He walked me to the door
and before I walked out I said, "You're in a den of
thieves here, a den of thieves." He didn't respond.
He didn't have to, because now he's the new head thief,
taking our Dues money and more concerned with pleasing the
Corporation than representing the membership.
I drove home trying to run our 15-minute conversation through
my head, but my mind kept returning to that 'Deer in the
headlights look' on our ex-President's face. They are supposed
to be professionals, but if they can get promoted for treason,
it shouldn't bother me that they would stoop to eavesdropping
too, but it did.
That one moment in time will forever be etched on my mind,
because for me it was a defining moment. It reaffirmed my
belief that everyone above the position of a Local President,
up to and including the President of the UAW, aren't just
Traitors, they're sneaky deceitful lowlifes who should be
tied to stakes in front of Solidarity House and (stoned)
tarred and feathered.
Upon further reflection, democracy in the UAW is similar
to the way the U.S. Government is run, but there is one
big difference. At least the Government has a way of identifying
and punishing its Traitors. They may not face a firing squad
anymore, but they are locked up.
However, in the UAW, treason will get you promoted. Just
ask the membership of Locals 239 and 1590. Or better yet,
ask the 400 ex-members of Local 2036 in Henderson, KY. They
lost their jobs; their benefits, their pensions, and some
lost their lives, a couple by suicide, because then Regional
Director Ron Gettelfinger betrayed them. And in June of
2002, International Traitors promoted him to President of
the UAW. Proof that the greater the treason, the higher
America needs her Unions to keep the corporations in check,
but somewhere along the line we lost control of those in
control. And now we have Traitors promoting and appointing
Traitors at all levels of our Unions. They are a cancer
that is eating away at the very fiber of Unionism. We can
try to eliminate it in our Locals, but unless we find a
way to eliminate it at its source, the International, we are fighting a losing
UAW Local 239 Baltimore