Here I stand

Good morning brothers and sisters, hero's of the workers
and retirees in this great world that we live in. Today as I
go through my thoughts I find that a certain fear and a
certain amount of madness lies within these thoughts.

As my eyes watch the RAPE of the workers and retirees
in this country, I keep asking myself "why won't these people
stand up and fight? Are we so brainwashed that we can't see
where we are headed? Are we so lazy that we won't get involved?
Are so self centered that we worry about ourselves and forget
about our brothers and sisters? Do we really believe that by saying
nothing the problem will go away? Maybe it's worker apathy?

There are many more questions that come to my mind as I
watch the quickening greed and corruption of the companies
and unions in this country. The workers and retirees can plainly
see what's happening and yet they refuse to unite and put a
stop to it. Day after day the bankruptcies continue and we
close our eyes to it.

The CEO's are getting rich on these planned bankruptcies and
we chose to ignore it. The unions go along with their partners
in crime and we must pay for it. There is no money unless we
earn it for them. Our union representatives refuse to answer
our questions and/or concerns. There is either silence or the all
to familiar phrase of "no comment".

We are paying these fools to answer our questions and to represent
us. WE ARE PAYING THEM! WE DESERVE ANSWERS TO OUR QUESTIONS!
If I go the union hall to find answers to my questions, I'll get escorted
to the door. Why!! It's my union hall. Democracy? It's not in that
place. My democracy is found on the streets, and then they will
label me as a dissident. So be it!!

We lose our rights to strike with the no strike clauses written into
our contracts. We aren't given all of the information in those contracts
when we are forced to vote on them. We are lied to, and we allow
this to continue to happen. When will we wake up and take back what
is ours? When will we allow democracy to rule again? We are taught
democracy and solidarity within our union but it seems that this is
only true if we agree with the dictators at the top who are running
the show. If we don't agree with those dictators, then we are dissidents.

The government and courts go along with these RAPES. Our response
seems to be, 'we'll put our hopes in the Democratic Party to get us out
of this mess. Surely things will get better for us".

We fool ourselves with such thoughts. WE are the only ones that can
control OUR destiny. Labor has always had to fight for what they want
and it's no different now. If we want something, then we will have to
fight for it. With the corruption within our unions, I feel that it's about
time to start all over again. If our union representatives refuse to listen
to us, then we'll have to fire them!!

Dereliction of duty is a crime. We pay these representatives to bargain
for us, not for the companies. I didn't join a union so that they could
bargain away my rights and livlihood. I don't need a union for that. How
can we become so passive that we will allow our union to tell us what
is good for us? I don't pay them for that! I pay then to represent me
and to listen to my VOICE. They instead represent the company and
drown out my VOICE. They will call me a dissident if I stir the waters.
At least, I'm a PROUD and HONEST dissident.

Last year our union representatives stated publicly that there would
be no health care concessions. Before the final word of that lie could
be spoken, the FINGER sued the big 3 so that he could give away our
benefits. He would stand hand in hand with GM and FORD in court to
make sure that the retirees wouldn't get those concessions back. There
was a ripple in the waters from the retirees, but no large outcry. As
our new contract is about to be hammered? out, our union representatives
would tell us to expect more cuts in those benefits. At least this time
they are telling us the truth on what to expect.

I didn't say ok to those concessions. Did you? I'm not being represented
by these dictators. I'm not paying their wages to take away my benefits
so that the CEO's can have larger bonuses. I'm being misrepesented, and
I'm paying the fools to do it! My VOICE will be heard! Will yours?

Our union representatives will take seats on the board of directors at
these companies and draw a large salary for it. They will accept raises in
their union pay while their brothers and sisters suffer. Is this Democracy?
Is this Solidarity? Who are we fighting, the companies or the union
representatives? I don't see any leadership here. My eyes see a den
of thieves.

We now have two and three tier wage earners within the same company.
Some of the workers have benefits while others don't. Is this what a union
is all about? Make your own deal with the company to keep jobs at that site?
Is this what democracy and solidarity are all about? Make contracts and ignore
them when they favor the company?

They won't allow the retirees to vote on contracts that affect them. They
will split and divide the membership with buyouts. When they have the
second and third tier wage earners voting on new contracts, then they will
go for the retirees throats. It's going to happen brothers and sisters. Close
your eyes and you won't see it. But, you're going to feel it. The few that
will untie to stop this great RAPE can slow it down for the time being, but
they can't stop it from happening. You can stop it from happening.  You
already know that don't you? Are you going to act before it's to late?

There is no more democracy or solidarity in our union IEB. We will have to
fight to get our VOICE and dignity back. If we don't attempt to do this,
then I would say that WE ARE THE PROBLEM. We are the ones who will
set back and let them RAPE us. We will continue to put our hopes and
trusts in the politicans and union representatives. They will RAPE us and
we will allow them to do it because we just don't want to get involved.

Brothers and sisters, it's well past the time for this RAPE to stop. We
must make our VOICES heard and we must do it now. No more excuses,
this must become a priority in our lives. Unite and stop the bleeding. This
is the only answer. WE must take control of our OWN destiny. We must
know that the few will be trampled under foot. They can't stop the RAPE.
They will be heard, but they pose only a minor threat to those who would
dare to RAPE us.

We are the workers, the mighty, mighty workers. Without our services,
everything comes to a complete stop. Everyone will suffer, not just the
workers. We will decide what fair trade really means. We will decide what
a fair living wage is. Let them move everything overseas. Who will buy their
products? The overseas workers can't but them because they are being
RAPED also. They can't afford to buy what they make. Meanwhile the rich
are becoming richer  and the poor are becoming poorer.

We can take control of our own destiny. It may be painful in the short
term, but we can stop the bleeding. We are the workers and we can unite.
Will we? This is your choice, not mine. I will leave you with this thought.
Bitching and complaining about the situation that we are in won't help.
We have to take our problems to the streets. Look into a mirror and we
can see where the real problem is. If that reflection in the mirror isn't
involved in the labor strife, then that reflection is part of the problem.

The bargaining convention for the big 3's new contract is at the Cobo
Hall in Detroit on the 27th and 28th of March. Mark your calander. Will
you be there? Will you make your VOICE heard to your union representation?
Will you tell them "NO MORE CONCESSIONS"? I'll remind you that if you
are not there then you are part of the problem. You are giving our union
representation the go ahead to cut our throats. Look into a mirror. Have
you had enough yet? If not, then more concessions will follow!!!

Retirees, most of you have no excuse for not being there. If you care
about your future, then you should be there. If you don't care and believe
these are idle words then I would remind you that concessions will bring
on more concessions. It's a never ending trail and we have just begun
our journey on it. I don't like this trail. I want off from it. The workers
have bills to pay from the diminished wages that they are earning, so
they must work for now. They must be taught what true solidarity means.
We say that we know what true solidarity means, but is this idle chatter
like the words that come from the lips of our union representatives? Look
into a mirror. Only you can answer that question.

We are going to lose health care benefits and much more during this years
contract negotations. This is one of the things that our union representatives
will tell us the truth on. They will decide on how deep this round of concessions
will be. They will set on the big 3's board of directors and feel nothing as they
continue to hack away at our benefits. They will decide what is goos for us.
If you allow this to happen, then you are part of the problem. Unite and stop
this RAPE. We must take control of our destiny.

I'll be walking the picket lines during the convention as will others who have
been standing up to these utterly corrupt officials. Will you be there? Will you
try to make your VOICE heard? Will you bring a chair and join us if you can't
walk the walk? Will we flood the streets in solidarity with the VOICE of "NO
MORE CONCESSIONS"? Will we finally take the first big step to recover that
which we have lost? Do you want your VOICE and union back? Then, you
will have to fight for it. Look into a mirror and decide what you really want.
The answer is there, in that reflection.

      In Solidarity
      John Goschka
      Local 699 Retiree