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From: MgriffWZEF@aol.com
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2004

From The WarZone

                "It's Groundhog Day" In The UAW

LIKE A SCENE FROM THE Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day, struggles in the
United Auto Workers (UAW} end with similar results. The UAW international
leaders authorize a strike, cut a deal with the employers, threaten local
members and then force them to accept it. The sole difference between
Murray¹s classic and the UAW betrayals is that Puxatawney is now ³everywhere

This time Puxatawney, is Fairfield IL, where UAW local 543 was engaged in a
battle with Airtex, a manufacturer of automotive parts. The 500+ members of
local 543 rejected a concessionary contract on August 15 by a 340 to a 180
margin. With authorization from the International, the local struck Airtex.
The UAW International then ordered a new vote and local 543 was told that if
the strike continued, it would be without strike benefits including health
insurance and $200 a week strike pay.  With only 5 days of picketing, the
members reluctantly voted 440 to 63 to return to work, with some members
fearing to do otherwise, would result in destruction of the union.  Vote
Till You Get It Right!

In an article in the Wayne County Press, the headline read, ³UAW Members End
Strike After Parent Union Pulls Rug, above an article written by Tom
Matthews, staff reporter.  In a sub-paragraph headline, Matthews wrote,
Caught In Middle, describing how members were torn between the power of UAW
officials and Airtex. It is noteworthy that seldom does the mainstream press
write about the dirty deals inflicted by top union leaders, especially when
it benefits the business community.

Airtex was already bussing in scabs from other operations including Marked
Tree, Arkansas, so what fed the fears of local 543 members that the union
was in danger of being lost?  The local could have called off the strike and
returned without an agreement, making a lockout and permanent replacement
difficult for Airtex. Perhaps the fear was of the UAW and what the top
leadership have a history of doing in local disputes. It would be nearly
impossible for the local to maintain the struggle with no strike benefits or
support from the International Union.  Local 543 now had two powerful
enemies, Airtex and the UAW. Airtex in this dilemma was the lesser of two

Less than 200 miles southeast of Fairfield in Henderson Kentucky, is proof
of the legitimacy of those fears harbored by members of local 543. UAW local
2036 struck Accuride Wheel in a UAW authorized strike. Local 2036
voluntarily returned to work but was locked out by Accuride.  The UAW pulled
strike benefits from that local in an effort to force them to vote for a
heavy-ladened concessionary contract.  After the UAW national headquarters
in Detroit was picketed by members of local 2036 and supporters from the
around the nation, the UAW reinstated the benefits at double the pay. The
struggle drug on and the UAW forced another vote of the most devastating
contract in UAW history, which was solidly rejected by the local membership.
After more than three years of struggle, the UAW National leadership
decertified local 2036 and gave up the jobs to scabs.  More than 500
families were devastated, not by Accuride Wheel, but by the UAW betrayal
after vowing to support those workers and their families, ³for as long as it
takes².  The Regional Director over local 2036, Ron Gettlefinger, is now the
UAW International President.

Last year, northeast of Fairfield in Indiana, the UAW cut a deal with a
parts maker, to cut wages by more than ten dollars an hour and drastically
cut jobs.  To secure the vote, the UAW National Union would only allow
certain members to vote on the contract.

The UAW control mechanism extends far beyond contract votes.  The ³Clip
Board Bandits² as they are referred to by the rank and file, are shop floor
reps that work in tandem with the company. They are the eyes and ears for
both the company and the national union [stoolies].  The delegate-style of
representation at UAW conventions virtually guarantees those in power will
remain so. Attending a convention with any form of democratic agenda will be
met with certain humiliation and if you resist ³getting your mind right², it
may well cost you your job when you return to the workplace.  ³Whips²[goons]
roam the convention floor to keep dissenters in line and if all else fails,
your microphone will develop technical difficulties.

When local leaders actually lead in a struggle top leaders want to end,
they are given jobs with the international union.  That was very evident
during the Caterpillar struggle in the mid-nineties. When the UAW wanted to
throw in the towel, leaving more than 250 illegally terminated members out
in the cold, leaders in local 974 in Peoria and Aurora IL were ³promoted² to
the International staff. They returned to their locals with a new vision to
sell the negative contract to members they had worked with for years.  It
was the ultimate betrayal! One of those so-called leaders Al Wegand from the
Aurora local is now an assistant to the Regional Director over the Fairfield
local, and he handled events in that struggle.

The UAW top leaders today are so embedded with employers, it is impossible
for rank and file members seeking change to prevail.  Leaders have developed
a culture of betrayal and control that defies every traditional union value.
Ideals like democracy, a voice in the workplace, social and economic justice
and class warfare have no value to the business union hacks solidly in power
today.  As labor continues to flounder, constantly looking for ways to avoid
a fight, the Business Roundtable must be licking their greedy chops and
laughing at the pathetic leadership in every union.  The UAW doesn¹t even
bother to hide the sellouts and betrayals. UAW porkchoppers draw lucrative
salaries, the best in fully paid healthcare and look forward to multiple
retirements, all paid by the rank and file they betray.For the 500+ workers
and their families in Fairfield, the worst is yet to come.  Airtex has been
given the message by top UAW leaders that whatever they want, they can count
on them to get it for them. It is a time of great sadness for valiant workers.

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