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Hi, Friends and NUMMI workers,
Forgive the duplication if you already got it in the plant. Comments and contributions are welcome. Caroline
Almost 10 months have passed since we the membership voted to ratify a contract
proposal. The only information we had was the blue and white "Highlights" booklet.
A Company "Items of Interest" leaflet in April informed us that the union and company came to a "recent agreement" that new hires hired before 8-6-01 would get the full COLA roll-in of $1.40. Why didn't these new hires get their COLA roll-in last August, when they should have? The "Highlights" booklet says the following: "attendance will no longer be considered when determining an employee's vacation allotment." A majority of the membership voted to approve the "Highlights" version of our contract.
Now the Company says they have agreed with the UAW to reinstate a 3-tiered
vacation allotment (with one day more for perfect attendance and 3 days less
for substandard attendance). The Company is taking away 3 days vacation from
people who have substandard - vacation days that they thought they had, and
might have bought tickets or made plans for.
How can our Chairman and President renegotiate issues that we the membership voted to approve, without consulting us? The membership voted for vacation determined by years of seniority only. How do Art and Tito get the right to change what we voted on?
On 5/9/02 I received a call from David Swopes, UAW Local 2244 Executive Board Member, about CA Assembly Bill AB1058. He stated that this bill would affect quality and emission standards here at NUMMI. He also said that "it would put restrictions on NUMMI and could add 50 cents to a gallon of gas". This is absurd. AB1058 sets no specific targets. It merely directs the State Air Resources Board to do what it was set up to do, to establish guidelines which reduce vehicular emissions. The only change is a target date of 1/1/05 for the guidelines to be written with an implementation date of 1/1/09.
Improving air quality is a good thing. If emission reductions were achieved through increased fuel efficiency, Californians would save money and reduce our dependency of foreign oil. As for putting restrictions on NUMMI, the new guidelines would apply equally to all auto manufacturers. It would have exactly zero effect on NUMMI quality policies and specfically bans the AQRB from instituting any trip reduction or land use restrictions.
But don't take my word or brother Swopes'. See for yourself: Furthermore, brother
Swopes first identified himself as a UAW member. This implies that he was calling
on behalf of the UAW. Is this really an appropriate position for our Union to
take? Did brother Swopes donate his time? If not, how was he compensated?
Vehicle emissions reduction is a good thing. Please take the time to learn the facts, then contact your State representative and let them know what you think.
In the May 1 election for convention delegates, ll of the 12 positions were won by the Administration Caucus. The only "opposition" candidate elected was Leo G. Garcia from the United Alliance. I spoke with a lot of people who felt very frustrated by the election outcome, feeling that the result did not at all reflect the attitudes of the majority of union members. Many members are so turned off by union politics that they don't vote. One member asked me, "Why should I vote to send 12 people on vacation with my dues money?"
Some unsigned, low-life leaflets turned people off also. But leaflets from Administration Caucus supporters made one important point clear: They want to assure the Company that they will never call a strike. One of their supporters circulated a leaflet with the title: "If You Want To Go On Strike, Vote for Peoples Caucus/New United Alliance."
The Company loves the A.C. for their collaborative attitude and renunciation of the strike weapon. According to a United Alliance leaflet, a member of management was seen driving two A.C. leaders around in a cart to put out election leaflets in team rooms. In addition, the Company cooperated with the A.C. to keep retirees George Nano Sr. and Bob Silva out of the plant on election day. George Sr. and Bob were supposed to be election observers for candidates of the United Alliance. In past elections, retirees had no problem coming into the plant as election observers.
The A.C. supporter expresses horror that former Chairman Richard Aguilar led us to walk out at the expiration of our contract in 1994. New people may not know why this strike was called. The Bargaining Committee walked us out because the Company was demanding: 1) a 10-hour workday with no overtime over 8 hours; 2) double points against us for absences on Fridays or Mondays; 3) in order to go to the bathroom during work time, you would need a doctor's note.
The walkout was called by the entire Bargaining Committee, including members of both caucuses. It only lasted 45 minutes, because our show of unity caused the Company to capitulate. Once a union lets the Company know it is afraid to strike or against strikes, the union is finished. Our legal right to withhold our labor is the one real threat and power that the Company understands.
The Administration Caucus supporter (who doesn't have the guts to sign his/her name) says in the flyer, "They [myself and the United Alliance] don't know how to negotiate because they come from the old school General Motor days and you know what happened to General Motors Plant."
This is your standard fear-mongering about the plant shutting down, which the Company does all the time to get their way. Our union leaders have become little lap-dogs of the Company, echoing Company threats to shut down, to get us to shut up with any complaints.
New people, talk to the old-timers about the union in GM days. They will all tell you how the union was stronger back then, not weaker.
"Our nation this week reached an infamous milestone: 100 known - and goodness only knows how many unknown - cases of people being sentenced to death since the reinstatement of capital punishment, for crimes they did not commit." - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT). He was speaking of Ray Krone, freed from Arizona State Prison on April 8 due to DNA evidence.
The last Barking Dog had an article about a member with a heart condition who
was not given information on her right to intermittent FMLA leave. She did not
sign her name or make accusations against any specific people at NUMMI.
While I was on vacation at Easter, an unsigned leaflet was passed around the plant accusing a Nicole Torres of faking her heart condition and faking the death of her half-brother. It also accuses me of being an "FMLA abuser."
Whatever member (or Coordinator? Or Committeeman?) who wrote this flyer should think about what they did. They named fellow union members, accusing them before management and the whole plant, of serious offenses for which they could get fired. The cowards did not sign their names, and they snuck around the plant trying not to be seen as they put the flyers out in the team rooms.
This kind of person is commonly called a snitch, and is looked on with disgust by union members who value solidarity and honest human relations.
At the April membership meeting, I and another member submitted resolutions for endorsement by the membership, to be sent to the UAW Constitutional Convention in June. They were seconded by Second
Vice-President Leo G. Garcia. The 4 resolutions were:
All of these resolutions were shouted down by the Administration Caucus cheering squad. I think many of the independent people at the meeting were shocked at the loud "NO" votes for ideas that the vast majority of rank-and-file members would heartily agree with.
These resolutions, signed by 11 members from Plastics and Trim 5, have been forwarded to the UAW Secretary-Treasurer for consideration by the Convention.
A year and a half ago, one of our Local Executive Board members resigned, and an election was held to fill that position. But instead of holding it, as usual, on a work day in the plant and at the union hall, President Tito Sanchez and Election Committee Chair Paulette Rothschild decided on their own to hold the election at a Sunday membership meeting when Trucks had to work the previous Saturday. Some 1,145 union members signed petitions asking the Executive board to hold the election on a work day in the plant and union hall, but it was ignored.
Six of us union members (myself, Victor Quesada, Leo Garcia, Javier Contreras, Sergio Santos, and Michelle Aranda) decided to appeal that election, and we took it to the highest body, the UAW Public Review Board (PRB). Last month the PRB came to its decision. It said that Tito and Paulette didn't violate any specific rules in the Constitution or Bylaws, but that the election in question "was decidedly not an example of democracy in action." It said that, "appellants do have a valid argument that the date, time and place selected by the Election Committee certainly was not intended to maximize voter participation." And it concluded that, "the Local Election Committee [should] pay closer attention to the responsibilities spelled out for it in the Union's [Election] Guide." The Election Guide says, "Select a polling site(s) and schedule polling hours which will provide all members a reasonable opportunity to vote...."
I made a motion at our Local Executive Board (seconded by Victor Quesada) that
the entire PRB decision should be printed in our Local newspaper. The Administration
Caucus members voted this down.
If you want to see the entire decision, call the Public Review Board and they will send you one. Ask for Case #1370. The phone number is: (734) 454-9911. Or email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
General, your tank is a powerful vehicle.
It smashes down forest and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.
General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm
and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.
General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think
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