The Constitutional Death Of The UAW “Part Three” by William Hanline


Sometimes I wonder how many people in our great country forget what it means to live in a democratic society. Below you will find the definitions of “democracy” and “democrat” as printed in the Merriam-Webster School Dictionary.

de-moc-ra-cy\ di-mak-re-se\n, 1a; government by the people; esp: rule of the majority b: government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through representation 2: a political unit that has a democratic government 3a: the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges b: belief in or practice of social or economic equality for all people. dem-o-crat 1a: an adherent of democracy b: one who practices social equality

Since we do reside and live under a democratic republic we as Americans expect our government and all of our social organizations to operate and adhere to democratic principles. I for one agree! Since democratic principles are adherent in most of us, maybe we should take a quick look at how democracy is applied as the tool of governance in organized labor, especially our union the UAW.

Most democracies first or foremost secure human rights. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men and women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Within the orderly process of such government lies the hope of the worker in advancing society toward the ultimate goal of social and economic justice.

Whereby in the union:

The precepts of democracy require that workers through their union participate meaningfully in making decisions affecting their welfare and that of the communities in which they live.

Henceforth since:

Managerial decisions have far-reaching impact upon the quality of life enjoyed by the workers, the family, the community. Management must recognize that it has basic responsibilities to advance the welfare of the workers and the whole society and not alone to the stockholders. It is essential, therefore, that the concerns of the workers and of society be taken into account when basic managerial decisions are made.


Essential to the UAW’s purpose is to afford the opportunity for workers to master their work environment; to achieve not only improvement in their economic status but, of equal importance, to gain from their labors a greater measure of dignity, of self-fulfillment and self-worth.

In other words, The democratic principles which the UAW should always live by are as follows. 1) union members shall be entitled to a full share in Union self-government. 2) Each member shall have full freedom of speech. Furthermore, each member shall have the right to participate in the democratic decisions of the union. Each member shall have the right to run for office and participate in membership meetings in an atmosphere of fairness.

Additionally a union should: maintain adequate safeguards so that all of its operations shall be conducted in a democratic and fair manner. No corruption, discrimination or anti-democratic procedure shall ever be permitted under any circumstances.

Up to this point, do you agree? Have you learned anything? I hope so! For the words I used above came straight from the UAW Constitution. Yes, I was plagiarizing! I simply copied lines 13-16 on page 3, lines 1-7 on page 4, lines 16-21 on page 4 of the Preamble of the UAW Constitution and paragraph 4 on page 141 of Democratic Practices of the “UAW Ethical Practice Codes” of the June 2002 Constitution of the UAW.

Did all the above surprise you? I would be surprised if it did not! For predicated on two decades of accumulated events of misuse of power and concerted efforts to deviate from the democratic tenants etched in the words of the preamble of the UAW Constitution. UAW members have become accustomed and resigned to the A.C.’s shenanigans. It would be difficult to find any shop floor UAW member who has not been indoctrinated into believing the A.C.’s actions has been or is democratic in nature. Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance. In other wards, if a person listens to the beeping of a car horn long enough that person will eventually become accustomed to the sound and shut it off mentally or stop hearing it.

Gettelfinger and Shoemaker have repeatedly violated the very principles from which they get their powers as UAW officials. Their power comes from the consent of the governed, YOU! Furthermore, by continuing to do what they have done in the past they are openly and arrogantly violating and disrespecting the democratic rights of every dues paying and retired UAW member. Since 2003, they have negotiated a two-tier wage agreement without membership consent. They have reopened contract negotiations with FORD, GM, DaimlerChrysler and Visteon and have negotiated new concessionary benefits and retirement packages before the contract deadline came up in 2007. All of the latter was accomplished without your consent. By doing all the above they have removed the member (YOU) from expressing your opinions through the Constitutional and Collective Bargaining Convention system or resolution process.

What did they Cooperation Partners accomplish? nothing more than negotiating concessions that benefit the private sector or stockholders instead of fighting for economic and social justice for their members and communities. By their actions, they removed the UAW member YOU and our retirees from full democratic participation in protecting your communities from the reign of economic terror Delphi and the automakers are waging.

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