Skip to main content

What Has Happended To UAW Local 292?

Disclaimer - The opinions of the author do not necessarily match those of the IWW. This article is reposted in accordance to Fair Use guidelines.

February 29, 2008

What Has Happended To UAW Local 292?
by Kari And Adam Bird/UAW Local 292

Some of our elected union officials have not proven their ability to represent, let alone protect, union members—the people who pay their dues and elected these officials.

We are losing pay, benefits, work rules and the contracts are eroding.

LEGACY PROBLEMS

The Legacy production workers, in particular, have lost everything for which they’d worked—some have 10, 20, 30 years seniority.

Yes, the company offered a buy-out or gave the option to transfer to another plant. For many this was not a viable solution. Most have grown up here, have family ties here, have children they want to stay involved in the community and schools here.

There are Legacy workers who decided to stay and fight on the shop floor in order to stay in our community. Legacy workers were told that the pay wouldn’t go lower than $18/hr.

This would have been true IF they’d put all the legacy people in the Class A bucket—y’know, just because they’ve been faithful employees.

Yes, the legacy people have received a $105k buy-down ($66k after taxes).

But they couldn’t even give that up-front. Once the lot went into the lowest pay bucket they have been struggling.

The reason legacy workers are in the class C bucket is that most took the jobs that used to be more desirable and used to pay more. So, they should transfer into the other, higher paying jobs, right?

Transfer requests weren’t being honored until recently—and then only when management wishes, i.e. the Milwaukee line in which management “picked” who they wanted.

There are many examples of backfilling with personnel who’ve been reduced out of other departments BEFORE the list has been run for transfer requests.

There are also many jobs that just aren’t being filled.

NON-LEGACY PROBLEMS

With what the legacy membership has or hasn’t received, though, they’re still not in the same boat as the 2006/2007 membership who are now being laid off—after some of them have moved from out of state.

It can be argued that the “new hires” were not promised anything when they were hired except a temporary job at $14/hr.

However, they were then made permanent, given benefits and a supplemental agreement that was to last until 2011.

Now, they’re being laid off at a phenomenal rate—and we’re being told it’s going to get worse—until we have a head count of 800 hourly personnel by 2012 (or worse).

Oh, and if they take the severance package (which we couldn’t blame them for), the company can then hire more temps and never give them any benefits!

This is what the proposed COA calls for, in fact—20% temps.

UNION MEMBERSHIP PROBLEMS IN GENERAL

How long is this company going to get away with this?

Until our Union and the entire membership stands up for our rights! This isn’t happening and it is our elected officials who have not educated and mobilized newer members.

How many grievances aren’t being settled? How many of us have made a call to only have the committeeman say “Well, we can’t do anything” or “They can do that”.

Now, we do believe that some committeemen are trying their best but they aren’t being backed up by anyone higher up. In the past, when the committeeman couldn’t get results, he/she consulted with the zone, then the shop chairman and on up the chain of command.

But when the shop chairman, Regional, International don’t even hear our cries, nothing can be resolved—and we, the hourly workers, are being hung out to dry.

Some of the issues being called upon are the fact that management is having mandatory (or scheduled) weekends in Tech 2k but we have people getting laid off.

Additionally, salary personnel are doing hourly personnel jobs yet, again, people are getting laid off in those same job areas.

Undemocratic actions in our union, layoffs, contract violations, and all these issues we see around us will are not being addressed by union officials.

Then there is the issue of the recent vote in which a re-vote was called summarily because the shop chairman said that he’d had 200 phone calls disputing the vote.

He decided, unilaterally, to re-do the vote.

No one in the membership was apprised of this decision or had any say in this decision until after it was already decided and there was no proof that international or regional had approved it.

However, before the re-vote, more than 400 people signed a petition in disagreement with the idea of any re-vote.

As the decision to call the re-vote didn’t require any member’s permission, the fact that 400+ people were against it should have counted for something.

At the most recent union meeting, we tried to get a motion to re-instate the original vote regarding FOS in the Fabs passed.

Besides being cut off at every turn during the meeting, once the vote was taken, we didn’t have enough people there to win the 2/3 vote—total votes were 62 “no” and 54 “yes” but retirees were allowed to vote (against the rules).

Many members feel that the union meetings have become more than a nuisance—they are a farce. Besides the fact that they present an unhealthy environment physically, they also present a very hostile environment mentally.

BUT, we’re going to have to show our solidarity and go to these meetings.

“Come to Union Meetings and Stand Together.”

We believe that at this time it is imperative that the union membership learn Robert’s Rules (which are available online) and use that to get our concerns and even our demands heard at the meetings.

We keep what we are willing to fight for and we lose what we are not. Now is the time to draw a line in the sand and say “Enough is Enough!”.

Only we, the membership, have the power to do this, not elected officials.

We’re going to have to make a stand NOW or we won’t have anything to stand on later.