Blowing the Boss’s Whistle

By Gregg Shotwell

You can’t believe everything you hear, but you can’t mistake the fear of truth in a con man’s excuse for his unaccountability.

“It’s the company’s fault. My hands are tied.”

“Management can do that. You’re lucky to have a job.”

“It’s this lousy economy. We must live to fight another day.”

And finally, the kicker to beat all dead-horse kickers, “We need to elect more Democrats.”

But nobody beats the UAW’s Lip Service Master in Waiting, Bob King, in the game of Duplicity. He brought the infamous “no strike” clause to Ford workers with the excuse of “Pattern Bargaining.”

Solidarity in defeat—is King’s motto. Roll over together—is King’s slogan. Ask not what your union can do for you, ask what you can do for your boss—is King’s call to duty.

“Equality of sacrifice,” another vintage King canard for spreading concessions, only applies to workers. He and his cronies will denote their sacrifice with another raise at this year’s Constitutional Convention. That is, if the retirees let them. King and the Good Old Boys (GOBs) have reason to fear their wrath.

Retirees want equality of sacrifice from Sold Our Dignity House. They don’t want to hear about King’s dedication to company-unionism. They want COLA on pension, just like the International. They want doctor visits covered, just like the International. They want Single Payer Healthcare not more Democrats with fat wallets and a double cross in their back pocket (just like the International). They want action, not more excuses for the failure to organize and a track record of commitment to the corporate agenda (just like the Democrats).

Active workers are fed up, too. They don’t think International reps deserve to make more than the lowest paid UAW member. One new hire complained, “I have to work seventy hours to make what top-tier workers make in forty hours.” And he could work seventy hours a week for thirty years and never get a pension or healthcare in retirement, thanks to Gettelfinger’s legacy.

Workers don’t want to live to fight another day, they want to fight today so their families can live in dignity tomorrow. That’s why King was booed off the stage in Dearborn. That’s why Ford workers voted the concession contract down two to one. That’s why workers at GM component plants refuse to follow orders from UAW VP Cal Rapson to “break the master agreement.”

The ranks are breaking ranks and you can’t mistake the fear of truth in the Cons’ reactions to genuine solidarity.

UAW members active in the resistance to concessions refer to each other as soldiers because we are loyal to each other and we persevere in our struggle for workers’ rights with the dogged persistence of soldiers. We are waging a war against managers and UAW traitors who are trying to destroy us with an ultimatum to “break the master agreement.” The Cons want us to compete in a whipsawing contest for the lowest wages with the fewest benefits and the most union busting work rules. But we’re for buying IN and UP, not down and out. We know the difference between a soldier of solidarity and a scab with a union logo on his polo shirt.

The Concession Caucus Cons are afraid their game is up. They can’t contain the revolt. SOS puts the contracts they want to hide on the Internet for all workers to read. SOS analyzes and challenges their treachery. The Cons are furious that we raise alarms and warn the ranks because the only whistles they blow are attached to bosses. Case in point: in regard to new hires making half pay, UAW VP Holiefield said, “We are fired up. Now we can compete with our rivals.”

The Concession Caucus Cons command so little respect that not only is GM and Delphi opening nonunion plants in Michigan and Indiana, Delphi is literally kicking the UAW out in Lockport, NY. Despite the fact that the UAW has a contract with Delphi until 2011, UAW members at the Delphi Tech Center in Lockport, NY were told they could only stay at the Tech Center if they were willing to take a pay cut, give up all benefits, and work nonunion.

Know what Cal Rapson is telling the rank and file in Lockport? “They can do that.”

Live Bait & Ammo #148, June 13, 2010