The Constitutional Death of the UAW # 11
June 2006

William D. Hanline and friends.


The Con was on at the Con-Con

During a UAW member’s work life they will eventually hear a coworker say, “This union isn’t worth a # + * @
I ought to withdraw and save my union dues.” Or, “we all should get together and withhold our dues, that would teach the union a lesson.”

At one time in the UAW’s history, membership dues did mean something to the International Union. However, it has been decades since the union received most of its annual flat line income from membership dues. That was when members had influence and controlled the union. That does not hold true with today’s UAW.

Constitutionally, membership dues influence other issues, e.g. your membership begins with receipt of your first payment of union dues. Your status as a Member of Good Standing is determined by receipt of your dues. Your dues are supposed to be protected for your purpose in accordance to the UAW Ethical Practice Codes of the UAW Constitution under the section titled “Finances” which reads,

“Union funds are held in sacred trust for the benefit of the membership. The membership is entitled to assurance that Union funds are not dissipated and are spent for proper purposes. The membership is also entitled to be reasonably informed as to how Union funds are invested or used.”

Furthermore, Federal Guidelines and law recognizes you as part owner of your union and protects your rights to know how the money is spent under the Langram Griffin Act which requires unions to report their annual finances on a Form LM-2. The Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS) now known as the ESA, post the LM-2s on line at,
                                              
                                            http://www.union-reports.dol.gov

While knowing the above the International Union’s Executive Board (IEB), alias, “Cooperation Partners,” perpetrated an excellent con job on the delegates at the 34th Constitutional Convention. Let us give the “Cooperation Partners” a big round of applause and credit them for their ability to manipulate (dupe) the delegates into giving them arbitrary control over the member’s money including the strike fund.


Body Fat

To recognize the con you have to understand the following.

We all know from practical experience how organisms such as the human body, become overweight and lethargic from indulging too much in the good life. Well organizations or bureaucracies respond in a similar fashion. When times are good bureaucracies become lazy, complacent and irresponsible. The officers of the bureaucracies get used to indulging in the easy life that good times bring to the organization.

Since the latter holds true for a bureaucracy, and a living organism then the opposite holds true when an organism or bureaucracy is deprived of its life sustaining sustenance.  When you starve an organism such as a human, their system kicks in and their body starts to live off its own body fat. Same for bureaucracies, when you starve a bureaucracy of its live sustaining food (DUES) then it begins to live off its body fat as well.

A friend of mine explained it this way. He said GM is a perfect example of an organization living off its own body fat. GM has sold subsidiaries such as GMAC, GM’s holdings in Suzuki over seas and other assets, in order get operating cash to produce short-term gains and profits for its shareholders. The assets are body fat. GM’s profit for the first quarter came from the selling off parts of its own body; consider those subsidiaries as body fat.

In his speech, Gettelfinger referred to the loss of membership and the negative effect the loss of membership had on the UAW’s revenue. He said that he would present a plan later during the Con-Con to address that problem. He did, the delegates voted to allow him to do three things.

1) Divert 50 million dollars from strike fund to the General fund

2) Approve the IEB to spend 60 million dollars of the strike fund on organizing, communication, and other things

3) Rename the Strike Insurance fund to the Strike Assistance Fund, thus freeing up the remaining 25% of the interest earned from the strike fund to be spent by the IEB as they see fit. It is important to note here that 3 times since 1980, the President has gotten the Constitutional delegates to vote a “LAS Vegas” Skin of the strike fund interest that is now 25%. 

4) Increase the 10 percent rebates to Local Unions to over 12 percent in order that the Local Unions, most of which are in serious financial status, will not have to close down.

Now,  in past articles I have written, I made it perfectly clear my concerns about diverting  interest earned on our strike fund for operations of our International Union.

Interest income is the opposite of an amortization schedule or mortgage on your home. A person starts paying payments that mostly go towards the interest a mortgage company earns from your loan. However, as time goes by, the payments are applied more and more to eliminating the principle balance left on the mortgage.

Interest income is the opposite, when you divert money from the principle fund the interest income will drop and you will not see a growth of that fund. Therefore, if Gettelfinger was to use two or three hundred million dollars from our strike fund, he knows he would lose income earned from the fund. His proposal to divert that money represented a reduction of the annual flat line income for the union. He cannot allow that to happen for he needs the body fat for the bureaucracy to live on, so they can live high on hog. All the while, Gettelfinger and IEB insidiously ask UAW members and retirees to sacrifice so the automakers can compete.

Brother Paul Baxter, one of the few delegates to speak against Gettelfinger’s proposal, was absolutely correct in his assumption Gettelfinger was sending the message that the money would not be used to fight Delphi or GM in the near future, especially to Steve Miller and Rick Wagoner.

During past Con-Cons Delegates voted to allow the diversion of 75% of the income earned from the strike fund to go to the OEC fund of the International Union. According to the UAW, “Annual Trustee’s Reports” or audits, all OEC funds eventually made the way into the general operations of the International Union. The annual amount of the “SKIM” of the strike fund interest is currently 45 to 50 million dollars per year.

The OEC fund has been in place for over a decade now. However, according to the principle mentioned above, its approval will have a negative effect on Gettelfinger’s decision to take the membership out on strike or not. He has already admitted that he needs the body fat to survive.

When the Delegates voted to change the name of the “Strike Insurance Fund” to the “Strike Assistance Fund”, they apparently did not realize that they were giving Gettelfinger the right to use the remaining 25% of the earnings from the strike fund for his every desire. As an insurance fund, he could not touch that interest income without approval from the delegation, but as an assistance fund, he can. You can bet he is sure to find some use for that body fat!

As for the increase in local union rebates, that was done to make sure each local could retain enough people in office to maintain a quorum and keep the Local unions alive during the down sizing of the Automakers and parts makers. By doing that, Gettelfinger could cover up the future loss of 60,000 members by saying the union has not taken any Local unions into receivership. Secondly, this will give him more control over the purse strings of  each local which will give him more control over the local’s leadership.

Eerily, the $110 million diverted is equivalent to the amount of income the UAW will lose from the attrition of members under the Special Attrition Program, (SAP) during this year, another sign that Gettelfinger has no intentions of using the strike fund for strikes , but for replacing membership dues.

Brothers and sisters between 60,000 to 80,000 members will be removed from the active list, which means more losses in annual revenue for the International Union. BUT what is Gettelfinger’s response to that? Yep, more Cooperation and more concessions that’s what! His attitude appears to be, members, who needs them!

Ironically, after Gettelfinger’s speech he told reporters that his speech was not meant to prepare members to except concessions in 2007 labor talks with the Big Three Automakers. He did not lie, for I believe Gettelfinger will announce that the “Cooperation Partners” reached tentative agreements with the Big Three and Delphi around Labor Day of this year.

Most of Gettelfinger’s  remarks were placing the onus for the poor condition the UAW is in on politicians, capitalist, the courts and Globalization.  That is like a drunk accusing the bartender of getting him drunk and having an accident. What has he and the UAW done to stop the outsourcing of our jobs? The closing of plants and the vulture style capitalism that is taking place in this country?  The loss of market share, is due to poor quality. GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler have huge quality problems.
Ever since the joint programs have been in place, since 1987, that is 19 years, the car companies have had huge recalls, high warranty cost and a resulting loss of market share, with our jobs lost right along with it. He has cooperated!  And as he said at the Constitutional Convention in his speech, he still plans to cooperate!

In his speech he infers that the UAW must help the automakers he said, “Like it or not, these challenges aren’t the kind that can be ridden out. They demand new and farsighted solutions---and we must be an integral part of developing those solutions.”

What is wrong with this guy? Has he never read Paragraph 8 of the UAW-GM and Delphi International Agreement? Has he never read Section 8 (a) (2) of the national labor relations act? Moreover, has he never read the definition of a labor organization as written in the NLRA and LMRDA?

                         It’s not the unions place to manage the companies!

In reality the blame for the condition the UAW is in has to be placed on former and present International leadership. Gettelfinger said it himself in his speech, he takes full responsibility for the taxing of our retirees for their health care. He should have said in his speech that he took responsibility for the 160,000 jobs in the parts sector the UAW allowed companies to eliminate since 2000. The UAW has not authorized one strike to prevent those losses. Not one!

As written earlier, organizations (bureaucracies) just like living organisms becomes fat, lazy and complacent from over indulgence during good times. The UAW leadership has been walking knee deep in one hundred dollar bills in the halls of the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources “CHR”, the UAW-DaimlerChrysler National Training Center “NTC” and the UAW-Ford National Training Program NTP for the past two decades and played an integral part in the downsizing of the automakers, while at the same time, providing over 150 International Staff jobs of the 509 International Representatives.

I encourage you to go to the ESA web sight mentioned above and look  for the UAW International Union’s LM-2. You will see that because of efforts by UAW members, the ESA has finally required all unions to report how much the union receives in charge backs from the Joint funds. The UAW received over $29 million dollars from UAW negotiated Joint Fund Programs, which is another form of Body Fat!

What Ron Gettelfinger did not do, was talk about you, the individual dues paying member. All through the Convention, little if anything came from the podium about the individual member. Only what you must do to help your company, and nothing about what your union is going to do for you!!  Ron Gettelfinger’s new plan for the UAW appears to be “dues paying members, whop needs them?

I can hear Gettelfinger’s thoughts as he thinks, boy the UAW will be a great organization once we do away with all those annoying members.

In Solidarity
No Concessions Life long Benefits Guarantees

Bill Hanline                          Skiphanline@aol.com


Just because the media is portraying the Special Attrition Program and the exodus of workers from GM and Delphi as some kind of Christmas in June, does not mean these are not trying times for UAW members.  Nor does the 10,000 workers in Delphi and the 20,000 in GM who signed up under the Special Attrition Program (SAP) make it an endorsement of the Cooperation Partner’s (UAW/GM and Delphi) SAP.

Each person has his or her own reasons for participating in the SAP.  Some are financially ready to retire, some not, some are signing up because they feel they have no other choice, some either out of fear of losing their retirement all together or losing their healthcare benefits because of the Delphi bankruptcy. The reasons are endless and I could not even start to list them all.

Though the Cooperation Partners assert that the SAP is voluntary, most Delphi workers fell that Delphi is kicking them out the door by driving a number 12 boot up their ass while the UAW encourages members to sign on the dotted line.