Disgruntled Autoworker # 32 August 06'
Screwed, Blued & Tattooed
On 05.12.06, we wrote Region 8 Director Gary Casteel and asked him to investigate ex-president Charley Alfred and his protégé Darrin Petty for abusing their authority. They exploited the Baltimore Jobs Bank situation for personnel gain when they gave our names and addresses to a financial solicitor. We also made it a point to tell Casteel that we bypassed our appointed Servicing Rep, Roger Griffin, for the obvious reason, and that is his closeness to the accused. Casteel ignored our request and assigned Griffin the investigation. As expected, on 05.23.06, Griffin responded that he found no wrong doing by his appointed buddies.
0n 05.31.06, we wrote UAW president Gettelfinger and asked him to assign someone with credibility to investigate this violation of the membership’s trust, that is if there is anyone in the UAW’s hierarchy who has any. On 06.22.06, we received a cookie cutter response from Gettelfinger stating that due to the nature of our concerns, the case is assigned to the appropriate department for follow-through.
I have personally written the International about a dozen times during the course of the last seven years and asked for an investigation for one reason or another relating to the unscrupulous behavior of one or more of our local’s reps, and two out of three times I got the same cookie cutter response from ex-president Yokich, or ex-VP Shoemaker. Each time my complaint was assigned to the appropriate department for follow-through, and each time there was no follow-through despite my repeated request.
Since Gettelfinger is cut from the same cloth as Yokich, Shoemaker, and the rest of the traitors who claim to represent us, I seriously doubt that we’ll hear from the appropriate department anytime soon, if ever, and if for some strange reason, like because of the posting of this letter, we do hear from them, I’ll post it. We have become so accustom to being screwed, blued, and tattooed by International and Local Reps its become second nature. We wouldn’t know how to react if they did respond favorably.
This brings me to our current situation that has GM forcing about 170 production Job Bankers to the Wilmington, Delaware assembly plant, 100 skill tradesmen will remain in JB status, for now. We understand our being forced to take a job within our area hire, but it’s the way it all went down that has us upset, and there are several serious concerns about who is being forced to transfer, who isn’t, and how many of us lost several thousands of dollars because misinformation was deliberately doled out so that others could benefit.
On 07.31.06, at 7:30am, Mgt’s double dipping mouthpiece couldn’t wait to stick the knife in our backs, and then break off the handle. He announced that on 08.21.06, 21 people will be transferring to the new Allison Transmission plant twenty miles up the road; those who are left will be forced to Wilmington. Mgt also stressed that the Allison’s List is null and void; therefore, those who are forced to Wilmington will have to put their names on the area hire list if they want to still transfer there. Everyone had questions. Mgt gave smartass answers, and our union’s reps were nowhere to be found. A little history follows;
The Allison Transmission plant was located here, in part because our local out conceded an Indiana local. To learn more, read, ‘UAW, the pride is gone’ on my disgruntledautoworker.com website. There were also special provisions for the Allison Plant to be located here, a primary one being that should Baltimore’s truck plant shut down, the Allison plant will absorb its employees. The Allison List was created. It listed the names of employees who wanted to transfer there, and it was posted at both gates of the truck plant.
During the course of the last six years, about 450 truck plant members transferred to Allison. Two were transferred there out of line with seniority, Alfred’s daughter Cindy, and his protégé Petty, both had only seven years seniority at the time. We petitioned the International about this, but our petition was ignored and Alfred was promoted to Servicing Rep. Then we got screwed a third time when two others, who didn’t give up per-diem by a set deadline, transferred there as union members after they were supposed to have been removed from the list. So right from the beginning, controversy has surrounded the Allison List, and our complaints about how that List is administered were ignored.
About a year ago, Allison made a huge media announcement about acquiring a new type of hybrid transmission. GM’s Rick Wagoner, and MD’s Governor, Senator and a bunch of other dignitaries, including UAW VP Shoemaker and Local Reps were all over the TV and in newspapers patting each other on the back for securing 87 new jobs for the Allison plant and the MD economy.
It was emphasized that the majority of the 87 new jobs will be going to displaced Baltimore employees who are now in JB status. According to information from everyone involved, including and especially Local and International Reps, the jobs will be filled in accordance to a schedule set by Allison. Approximately 15 people will be hired this year, 25 by March of 2007, and the remainder by March of 2008.
In April of 06, a GM Rep, and International Rep Rick McKiddy came to Baltimore to roll out GM’s Special Attrition Program (SAP) at the local’s hall. Several questions were asked, especially one that everyone was interested in. McKiddy was asked in front of 200 members, “Will we still have recall rights to Allison if we’re forced to Wilmington?” McKiddy answered, “Yes, you will have recall rights to the Allison plant.”
On 06.16.06, there was a special meeting at the local’s hall to address JB members concerns relating to the Allison List. Allison’s Plant Manager, Personnel Director, and our president were present. Again, a primary concerns was recall rights to Allison if we’re forced to Wilmington. President Swanner told about 200 members in front of Allison’s Reps, “Yes, you will have recall rights to Allison if you’re forced to Wilmington.”
GM’s corporate Rep, and Allison’s Reps, did not dispute the information International and Local Reps gave us at both of those meetings; therefore, we made life altering decisions based on that information. Some didn’t want to work rotating shifts at Allison, so they took advantage of SAP and retired or quit, while others applied for transfers under the extended area hire provision of the GM-UAW National Agreement and collected $67,000 to relocate.
Some decided to forgo the SAP and write off the thousands of dollars being offered, instead they decided to take advantage of the JB’s voluntary layoff, community services, education programs, or sit idly while they waited for their slots to open at Allison. Others decided not to transfer, thereby forgoing the thousands of dollars in transfer allocation while they waited for their slots to open.
It is important to note that several of us decided to remain in JB status and forgo the tens of thousands of dollars on the table based on information provided by International and Local Reps, because we wanted to transfer to Allison. To complicate matters, and cast a cloud of suspicion over who is being allowed to transfer to Allison, and who isn’t, there is a question of when Wilmington and Allison placed their calls. According to sources, Wilmington placed the call on July 25th, thereby putting a freeze on JB employees. Allison put in the call on July 28th, oops, too late, everyone is now the property of Wilmington, sorry Allison; at least you’d think that’s the way it should have happened.
However, prior to Mgt’s July 31st announcement, we suspect Wilmington unfroze JB employees to allow Allison to hire 21 people off the Allison List, and then refroze us. We also suspect this unfreezing and refreezing was repeated a couple days later to accommodate someone else. There is also reason to believe that several of those selected, especially our president and several of his Yum Yums, didn’t even have their names on Allison’s List to begin with, which explains why the Gobs and Mgt refused to show or post the List when we asked them to abide by a precedence that was set at the truck plant when the List was created. They wanted to be able to manipulate the List with impunity.
The majority of us suspect that our union’s Good Ole Boys (Gobs) knew all this was about to go down, which explains why several of them acted like rats abandoning a sinking ship, especially our shop chairman, who left stealthily like a thief in the middle of the night. He left us with a man who had only six years seniority and absolutely no experience whatsoever as a union rep. His only qualification, aside from his ability to heel behind Mgt like a little puppy dog, was his loyalty to the Gobs; otherwise he was useless as a shop chairman.
That brings me back to the morning of July 31st. Mgt’s double-dipping mouthpiece was giving smartass answers to people who sacrificed anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $140,000 so they could transfer to the Allison plant, and our president was nowhere to be found. Yum Yums were covering for him by giving lame excuses that he was on vacation, or at a UAW conference, they weren’t sure which. His membership is getting screwed, blued, and tattooed again, and he doesn’t even respect us enough to forgo whatever he’s doing to make an appearance to answer our questions and take his lumps like a man.
The following day we had a shop chairman election, we voted overwhelmingly to send the Gobs and Mgt’s puppy dog to the pound. It was a tremendous act of defiance and solidarity. Our new Shop Chairman, Garry Warble, hit the ground running Wednesday morning and hasn’t stopped since. However, there’s only so much he can do, especially since his calls to the International aren’t returned. Brother Warble and I, and a few others, have called McKiddy and left several urgent messages on his machine, but to no avail. International Rep, Randy Lentz, wasn’t much help Friday either, but he did say that he would try to locate our absent, and/or perhaps, cowering president, Fred Swanner.
To recap; the Allison List is being manipulated with impunity by Allison and the JB’s Mgt and Gobs, several of us are out tens of thousands of dollars because of misinformation by International and Local Reps with GM and Allison’s approval, we’re being forced to Wilmington because it’s within our area hire, yet we don’t have recall rights to Allison, our president is in exile, and International Reps don’t return our calls, or their ineffective. Can you spell Tarred and Feathered, and Class Action boys and girls?
In Solidarity, Doug Hanscom