The Constitutional Death of the UAW - NO. 14
April 26 Meeting with International Leaders at Local 2195 in Athens, AL
It’s not that I mistrust the UAW International Union, it’s they never given much reason lately for me to trust them, so on Thursday, April 26, 2007 when the International Union held a meeting at Local 2195’s Union Hall in Athens, Alabama, I taped the meeting. Below is the transcript of that part of the meeting conducted by Brother Russ Russo, who works at Solidarity House. I transcribed it for your personal information and record, just in case they do things or say things differently in the future. I felt this is necessary because the Union has done that so many times in the past.
In the transcription of Brother Russo’s presentation, you will find numerous locations where I used a line to indicate where a word should be. These spots are places on the tape that were inaudible. Instead of guessing, I put blank lines there. So remember there should be a word whenever you see a line. As I said there were times when I and the other listeners who helped could not understand what was said. I made every attempt to NOT edit Mr. Russo’s remarks, even if by accident.
In my opinion, this meeting was nothing more than political dog and pony show put on for the sake of the newly hired employees of Delphi. It was intended to rile up the emotions of those who now represent the majority of UAW members in Delphi. Or, Supplemental members as Mr. Russo referred to them.
What is more, the meeting seemed intended to make the UAW appear more Democratic in the eyes of its Supplemental members and the public. The union’s reasoning behind this is simple, there has been quite a bit in the media as well as complaints filed over the non-democratic, autocratic manner the International Union has been conducting business when concerning the ratification of various contracts, issues of Memorandum Of Understandings and as well as the future of their members..
And finally, the International Union neglected to include or to offer UAW Supplemental members of Delphi representation (Voting Delegates) during the Special Bargaining Convention held last month. They realized their error then, when two tier wages became the major topic of discussion during the convention, and when Delphi made it the major issue in the bankruptcy contract negotiations.
There was very little information given about us legacy employees. The entire meeting revolved around the issue of concessions from the Supplemental employees wage agreement. Furthermore there was very little mentioned about a strike.
While reading this please remember it was transcribed from a speech. I used dashes when Brother Russo did not use proper sentence structure.
I apologize if names are misspelled, I had to guess at the spelling of their names and any misrepresentation or misspelling are unintentional.
The Dog and Pony Show!
Local 2195 President Terry Scruggs introduced the members from the International Union, they were Sister Joanne Bryant from Albany, GA. who works as a trainer at the UAW/GM Center for Human Resources (CHR), Brother Jay Cagle former president of Local 686 Lockport, New York and is a International benefits representative, three time chairman of Local 2195 Brother Bill Freeman, Ray Currie Servicing representative Region 8 and Brother Russ Russo International Rep from Solidarity House.
Brother Russo started the presentation:
Thank you Brothers and Sisters.
I bring you greetings from your Vice President and Director, GM Department Cal Rapson, Your President of the UAW Ron Gettelfinger as well.
We are going to start this meeting – and this is my sixth meeting of the day from all over the country - just came back from Lockport, New York.
The last place we were at was Lockport, New York. I am very pleased with the turn out that we had as with this turn out as well at Local 2195 in Athens, Alabama.
In Lockport we had news media outside – had reporters in the room. I’ll tell you something ( a very long pause as Brother Currie told Brother Russo something) I’ll say, this meeting is for UAW family, this is our meeting – we don’t have to record our meeting, I think people came here to see a presentation. We are going to show you where, exactly where things are at, if there are reporters in the room, I ask them to leave. Non UAW members in the room I ask them to leave as well. Cause the meeting is for UAW family.
We are going to frame this meeting to ask questions about the presentation. We’ll take your questions, your comments and we told every meeting – we’re ready to stay until you don’t have anymore questions or comments – our plans are not to go anywhere tonight.
We framed this meeting by making sure that you Brothers and Sisters are respectful to each other, one person at a time. Respect that person, stand up, raise your hand to be recognized.
The _________ analysis you are going to see is a comparative analysis between the current supplemental agreement that we have in place – compared to the presentation and the assault that the corporation presented across the table to our membership – March 21, of this year - March 21 of this year, this is the most recent proposal we have had. You have not seen what we’ve seen, this is very important because how many new Brothers and Sisters do we have that hired between March 27th that were made permanent on November of last year, raise your hands, are you glad to be Brothers and Sisters ( a loud “Yes” from the from the members )and I know you appreciate that and that is the same response we have had all over this country, Everyone of you, when you hired in - you hired in as temporary.
We were able with the Vice President Cal Rapson’s help and his direction to make 8,500 Brothers and Sisters permanent across this country on November 20 – we’re really proud of that and you’re really welcome – it makes a big difference when your status changed to permanent.
You are going to see in this presentation, what management has proposed across the table, that we have rejected.
So we think it’s very important for Brothers and Sisters all, to understand and know what management is proposing and what they think of you. You need to know we have rejected this proposal at face.
As I said, a comparison analysis, item by item, penny sheet analysis - that our actuaries and accountants looked at, and verify and validate specific numbers until they were very comfortable about the numbers and what they mean. You are going to see in 2007 what a supplemental Brother and Sister – its actual cost analogy. You are going to see their proposal of $26.52 – you’re going to see that it accelerates to 2011, that it becomes 42 dollars and 16 cents, 42.16. We negotiated in good faith – 2004 - in May a supplemental agreement on your behalf, knowing full well that its not anything we would like to do, but to continue the fight to make sure we were in a competitive position to try to land new business and keep our plants viable. We negotiated in good faith – management did not.
What they couldn’t get at the bargaining table they came back behind the back door like thieves in the night, management did that in the bankruptcy court. And today I hope all of you are aware of the bankruptcy proceedings - bankruptcy proceedings we find ourselves in? October the 8th 2005, they filed bankruptcy!
They couldn’t get it at the bargaining table so they dragged us into bankruptcy court. They filed in New York, up state New York, they district shopped, they judge shopped, they went to a place where they would get a favorable rule. If you look at what you read (read) it crosses things every where – 400 millions dollars in retention bonuses, even while they filed bankruptcy they go get a 2 and one half million dollar loan to file bankruptcy.
Where else in a country like ours, the great country on earth can you file bankruptcy and protect your overseas operations? Your operations in Japan, Korea, China, Mexico everywhere they have assets they protected every one of them accept the ones in the United States. Judge Robert Drain is the judge that they have filed in that district court that has approved pretty much every single thing they’ve asked for.
How can they spare 400 million dollars Brothers and Sisters – how can they do that, to retain the same individuals that have ran this company into the ground?
I don’t think there is a person in this room who don’t think and see mismanagement by management every single day. Who live and go home and dream about what to do and how to disrespect this membership, by proposing something like this – that’s why it was utterly rejected – Brothers and Sisters. But you need to know what it is – it’s called “Informed Decision Making” We have an obligation to bring this information to you – across the country – you need to know where this thing is at.
Eighteen months or so we’ve been negotiating this thing and this is what they came up with? You should be outraged! We are! We rejected it – that’s why we did it.
You’re going to see the comparative analysis and you’re gonna see why we need to do some of that we have needed to do - to continue running this business - it’s important to know that - as we look at the global market and you can figure you make 42 dollars and 16 cents already – you’re not going to be able to win business on its face - with out getting new business - plants don’t live. We’re fighting like heck to try to put businesses in our plants.
They have been consistent Brothers and Sisters in their initial offer as well as their last offer. We have 21 plants, that we represent in the UAW and right now - under the national agreement. We’ll show you what those are - we’ll show you the stats - and they (management) wants to keep 4 out of 21 plants – that’s their proposal to us - 4 out of 21 plants they want to keep, that’s insulting! You should be insulted as well.
They want to wind down 7 of our sights - sights that have been sited for all kinds of quality, all kinds of accolades for delivery and productivity! Some of the sights they want to wind down – Anderson, Indiana, a sight that used to have 17 thousand members – there’s 110 there now – today - they want to wind it down. They want to wind down a number of other sights as well - Kansas battery plant -1021 Local – they want to wind it down.
The plants they don’t want to wind down, they want to sell! The plants they are having to sell – this is one of them – the steering business – they want to sell the steering business - this sight - Saginaw, Michigan and Athens, Alabama. They want to sell the interior business and a number of sights associated with that. They want to sell to __________
Local 2031 – 969 - Columbus, Ohio, Scottsdale, Alabama, ( that sells parts to Mercedes )
Gadsden, Alabama, we don’t represent that sight, Kansas City cock pit plant, Lake Orion, Michigan All their actual properties across the country and other countries where they have sister sights - they want to sell their business down to seven. Wind down – sell – keep 4 sights - there are only 3 others they want to keep - all the _____ business, buildings _______ since we’ve been at this they have been consistent in one thing. We have proposal after proposal that we’ve proposed and that s unacceptable.
Some of the areas that they have come at us in - you’re gonna see here. You’re gonna see what it is in Production and see what it is in Skilled trades. because you need to see all of it. You need to feel how they feel about you as well as the people in this country, in the
plants in your community – to see how disrespectful their offer s are. - you tell us what you feel - we want to hear from you - we want to tell them what you think about their proposal – when you think about bankruptcy - the Bankruptcy judge can always do wiser things than ________, he can accept managements last offer or he can accept the workers – if he showed us by what he has already done – 400 million dollars in retention funds 90,000 dollars for CEOs he’s not going to side with us – he’s going to side with the corporation - anybody who thinks otherwise - it would be really difficult to understand why?
As we go over the presentation, hold the questions until the presentation is completed. We have standing room only here and I really appreciate the turn out that come here to hear this message, because we need to get this message out to this membership. I look around this room and I see all these young people in this room – the youth of the UAW – the all - they’re just as important to us as any other member here we were able to make them permanent because they are important to us - ______as well.
As we go over the presentation, we’re gonna start at the current date. Currently, our new hire, supplemental Brothers and Sisters make 14 dollars and hour.
They build up to $14.50 max $16.50 middle ____ and $18.50 That is under the current supplemental agreement. That should not be news to any of you Supplemental Brothers and Sisters. Currently they get a wage increase every 26 weeks or every 6 months. A 3% raise a total of 6% annually, currently.
Starting this year a supplemental Brother or Sister will be entitled to COLA for the first time. Cost of Living Allowance. That’s only to help keep up with cost of inflation – not a raise – it doesn’t raise your standards – gas goes up – food goes up – cars go up - it catches you up with inflation.
IN 2009 you see 100% of any COLA adjustments that any traditional Brothers and Sisters would. That’s what the current supplemental agreement says – you are also entitled to a 3% performance bonus, based upon your previous annual earnings – vacation pay as well up to a 150 hours based upon your seniority – you also get holiday pay. We negotiated that for you. We been around this country – I want to say this ________
When I look around at the Penny Analysis - we had our actuaries and accountants look at a lot of these things - around the country. A wage from Florida, to New York to California to Michigan an average wage of 12.50 for similar assembly and manufacturing circumstances that we find ourselves in - 12.50 wages ___ already .
You’re gonna see a competitive analysis of where we are with the supplemental agreement. Supplementally, we make 14 bucks an hour and we also add in with our wages that we show here the vacations and holiday pay with our benefits it’s a number of 26.52 your gonna see how they get that number by a penny sheet analysis.
If you remember, I said $21.50 is the average numbers from all across the country - from other manufactures. At present ours is $26.52 across the country - we think that’s a fair number based upon - not because we think that it’s the best we could get but based upon our ability to win business. We have to be able to put business in plants. Some people think that - they think – some of you may think that business just falls into your plants You have to plan business – you have to plan it under the present global economy and global environment in which we live in. Your Local Leadership and international leaders have been fighting consistently trying to put businesses and force the company to put businesses in our sights.
Collectively, we have had to do some things to prolong the life rather than die immediately It’s upsetting - that supplemental agreement - believe me it’s not something we wanted to do, but it is something that has help us to continue a viable operation for our sights and our plants.
So we had this conversation with other Locals unions - the question that came up about your dues dollars - temporaries have asked, “Why am I paying dues?” So 8500 Brothers and Sisters who they helped they didn’t before
If management had its way – unfettered - our members aren’t protected they wouldn’t be getting 14 dollars an hour. If managers could pay the minimum wage that’s what they would pay us – the minimum wage. I know a lot of you know that.
To continue with the presentation, I’m going to ask Brother Cagle to do a presentation on the benefits and………
Brother Cagle, Sister Bryant, Brothers Freeman and Currie gave short presentations straight from the Penny Sheet Analysis. Upon completion of his presentation, Brother Currie turned the meeting back over to Brother Russo.
Brother Russo asked So what do you think?
Brothers and Sisters this is the plan under the Delphi national agreement, these are the 21 sights that we have under our jurisdiction.
Many of our traditional Brothers and Sisters remember the infamous date that Delphi was spun-off, May 28th 1999 sticks in my head like you wouldn’t believe! We had approximately 44,000 members, traditional GM Delphi Brothers and Sisters Look at those first numbers – 4,000 traditional former GM Brothers and Sisters left – 44,000 – now we have 4.
We don’t believe this has happened by accident. No doubt in our minds it happened by design. I’ll tell you , when you look at these numbers. These are the latest head count numbers including temporaries in our facilities. I mentioned Anderson before – we had 17,000 Brothers and Sisters at that sight that were former GM employees – I see 16 there now – look at Athens – we had thousands and thousands and thousands more _______
now we have 408 traditional Brothers and Sisters.
Currently we have probably approximately 13,000 total members today. We gave them a SAP Program – a Special Attrition Program that started back in March of last year, we had approximately 23,000 Brothers and Sisters then – 23,000 – we have 13,000 now – so 10,000 members roughly have exited the workforce in less than a year.
The Union has stepped up to the plate numerous, numerous times. Trying to do the right thing in good faith, negotiate contracts in good faith – but Delphi continuously comes back and exhibits no faith – NO FAITH!
But at present, the thing you’ve seen so far - out of the 4,000 Brothers and Sisters that are traditional - as of 12-31 of last year - 2006 – they all have flow back rights – we also were able to negotiate additional rights for any Brother or Sister that was on the roll October 7, 2005 the day before Delphi filed bankruptcy – if they were on the roll prior to the bankruptcy filing, they also have the right to transfer back to General Motors. But, there’s a pecking order how they get there and I’ve had brothers and Sisters that fall in that category in 2005 wonder why they can’t get to Jacksonville SPO and Reno, Nevada
With 2005 seniority - It’s a good possibility they may not get there with that type of seniority.
No audible depiction of what you already seen – how they arrived at the 183 Million dollar calculation – how they’re gonna buy out, buy us down, retire us out of the work force – 183 million dollars – they get 400 million dollars to retain the same people who drove the company into the ground!
This line Brothers and Sisters is a depiction of what you seen before , the actual penny sheet cost line item of what it cost for one of us Brothers and Sisters to be employed today – and we are trying to get new businesses in our facilities – this is what we have to face every single day.
You heard me speak before about our competition in this country that make similar products and what their wages are already - inaudible $21.50 already roughly that – about where you are and we make $26.52 but they told us in 04 they could live with these numbers.
We negotiated in good faith, a year and a half later they filed bankruptcy, because they can’t get what they need at the bargaining table they come in through the back door of the bankruptcy courts.
Very ________ took a look at these charts – on 07 and 011 – 26.52 is for production 42.16 in 011. This is management’s current proposal for production Brothers and Sisters that are supplemental.
The previous slide is as we know it COLA – second slide – 1 cent – 32 cents 80 cents all the way up to 2 dollars and ___ cents – there’s a flat line COLA – a flat line COLA _ ZERO! So don’t think we weren’t keeping up with inflation.
By scanning back and forth if you look at the benefits section – total benefits in 07, $6.24 – currently we are drawing $7.25 over a dollar an hour more in benefits today than what they are proposing. Look at the benefits for 011 as you _______ to get more seniority here - healthcare increases , dental increases – you have more vacation – so the cost of your benefits total will go up. But look at your benefits $14.07 or less they want to take you down to 9.90 in your benefits package.
Their proposal for skilled trades - this is something ___ how many trades do we have in the room? Look at the top line straight time ___ they want to take our Brothers and Sisters in trades in 07 - 08 – 09 – 10 and 11 not one cent raise. Look at the money - 27 dollars an hour – that is what they want to pay - this is the way they want to show their appreciation for the work that our skilled trades do everyday.
It’s a shame of what they think of our production jobs today.
COLA – not one cent increase if you believe that. If you look at the August _, 2007 numbers– 46.16 - then at the previous chart - its 46.52 - if you remember the previous slide of 011 -___ for skilled trades – we’ll show you what it is – there’s a total of $63.36 this is what we make today.
Currently Skilled Trades would average making about 32 bucks an hour – they want to take that down to 27 over a five dollar an hour pay cut immediately, and consistently across the board. If you look at that, we’ll be making under ____ – we’ll be making less COLA 4.85 by 011. Their proposal was stuck at $28.89 – look at the difference - Brothers and Sisters – What they propose to us - to what it is today.
How many Temporaries do we have in the room? OK! Management’s proposal for temporaries are that we have 20% temporary permanently in our sights – that’s not good _______ - 20% permanent temporaries – think about that for a minute – how does that make sense? Run it through your mind – does that make sense? It’s an oxymoron derived by morons – makes no sense Brothers and Sisters.
Fair days work, fair days pay, equal work, equal pay that’s been our mantra for years, and the gut wrenching things we had to go through - even to come up with the supplement -just trying to be competitive and retain business – and keep our plants alive.
Why didn’t they discuss the limits then – than come back a year and a half later trying to cut benefits – and asking our family members (temporaries) that are working side by side with us – our friends working side by side with us if – if you look up there at this chart - I don’t see a dime for COLA – not one cent . They don’t get COLA _ they don’t get vacation _ they don’t get any of those things you see out there – “just nothing” – Temporaries – holiday pay – NOTHING!
You think about - if you ‘re in an emergency room and you’re on a life machine and you see your blood going up and down – if that bad boy flat lines you’re not alive - that’s what they’re proposing here - Brothers and Sisters – flat line – no pensions – no healthcare – no insurance – no benefits – permanent Temporaries is what they proposed across the table. Are you outraged yet? I hope so! We are ! That’s why we decided to reject that – but you need to understand even the temporaries we have here at this sight – and all across this country are important to us as anybody.
One is no better than an other – skilled trades is no better than production – sometimes the market dictates what you make. And when they went around this country their initial proposal as we were looking at the supplement was even less than skilled trades were making - I 8nderstand out here , they tried to get skilled trades with $22 and couldn’t get any because of the market supply and demand situation.
Let me remind skilled trades, without the production skilled trades don’t live
Let there be no division in this house – NONE – because you are all UAW Brothers and Sisters – all of us - equally as important – as you should be – as you should be.
This competitive operating agreement you see right here is in addition to the things you already seen Brothers and Sisters – in addition to that.
They’re asking us to pick 60 days of any ratification - of any - as if we’re struck by lightening and our brains fried - we’re going to present this to somebody 60 days after that – they want the Local Unions to guarantee a Local Competitive Operating Agreement ______. That’s what they’re proposing.
Look down the slide they’re asking our skilled trades to merge into two groups, totally obliterating the sanctity of our trades - Electrical and Mechanical – for ever loosing the skills and expertise that these Brothers and Sisters have earned with many years of service. Going to school ____ ____ , EIT or whatever - 2 Trades!
Their mind set would be, you have two trades doing nothing but break down work The rest would either be laid off – retired – or bought out and sent home - to the streets – mean while subcontracting would be going on in our plants while we’re laid off. That’s their vision – not ours – their proposal - not ours – throw full utilization out the window.
I’ll say this we have the best skilled production workforce in the world as well as Skilled trades in the world. – we have in many of our sights including this one.
This is how respectful, they come across the table and tell you what you’re worth. You need to know this.
As ugly as it is you have a right to know - there’s no reason for us to hide what was presented to us. We want our membership to know – we have a lot of young people – they’re union members in this house – not only here but at every sight. There’s one sight we have in Columbus, Ohio with 400 members there’s not one traditional Brother or Sister in that sight. There’s a lot of mentoring that needs to be done. There’s a lot _____
new UAW members - that in my opinion – as UAW Brothers we need to be mentors to them. Show them a house divided cannot stand. Cannot Stand Brothers and Sisters – United we stand – divided we beg – so that’s how a house united is and through out the UAW the _____ the UAW is built around - we can agree to disagree but at the end of the day brothers and Sisters you need to send one message to the corporate people ____ ____!
Is this something you can live with? We want to hear from you Brothers and Sisters. We want to know what you think – individually and collectively I’m gonna take your message back to our leadership – let them know this is something I’m hearing - you can’t stand – you don’t want any part of it. If that’s the case, let me hear you. Is that what you want? NO!
Q & A Time
Brother Russo then opened the floor for questions. During the Q&A session, he extrapolated on some issues as he answered questions and took comments. A couple of his thoughts are as follows.
After a question about equal pay.
Brother Russo said, Traditional members will be impacted just as much as anybody. Traditional Brothers and Sisters, if that proposal is implemented by the judge – If we reach an impasse - will be that last proposal – That proposal as of 9-15 – (2007) our traditional Brothers and Sisters will be bought down to what ever that is agreed to as a supplemental rate that you saw up there – the $14 estimated out to $16.50 and skilled trades starting out at $27 across the board. That’s their proposal - is’s outrageous for them to think we would except something like that – that our membership could except something like that.
Right now a Temporary skilled trades is coming in at a skilled trades wage.
Negotiations is an on going process, just because we left doesn’t mean dialog has ceased.
I did not include the numbers read off during the other international reps’ Presentation because it was on the screen that those numbers were not for public use.
Brother Russo’s presentation pretty much sums up all the numbers on the Penny sheet analysis.
However, I did take note of something unusual, in the lower right hand corner of the slide, it stated the slides were prepared in July of 2006.
I also noted that GM had a 30 million claim for the UAW/GM “Center for Human Resources (“CHR”) That is unusual since Delphi wants to reduce its footprint to 4 plants.
Brothers Freeman ands Russo said that the UAW would not get any money from that. That is not necessarily true, for the CHR does reimburse the International union for the wages of those Delphi UAW Staff members assigned to the CHR.
When answering my question, Brother Russo also tried to tell me that the UAW had nothing to do with the transfer of our vested GM pensions from GM to Delphi. That it was GM who transferred our pensions during the spin off. I reminded him that in the UAW-Delphi National Supplement on Pensions Exhibit “A” the language was changed to reflect that transfer and that the Union did nothing to stop it. He more or less stated that there was nothing they could do. However I must remind everyone that in the same 1999 agreement after Delphi spin-off, and the transfer of our pensions took place, the International Union did negotiate provisions for any UAW member who was or is promoted to the UAW International Staff who worked or works for Delphi to receive a General Motors vested pension. So, I ask, why couldn’t they do something about the transfer of our vested GM pensions?
I did as he said I gave him something to take back to the International and Delphi cooperative partners. I told him we were going to sue the hell out of them.
Brother Russo put up his hand as if to say TALK TO THE HAND and went on to other members.
Stay well (I)n (S)olidarity Bill