A Letter To Rush Limbaugh And Other Conservatives Regarding UAW Rebellion In Indianapolis

Posted on August 18th, 2010 by Fingers Malloy

Many of the posts on this site are satirical. I wish I could say the same for this post.

I am very fortunate to still have a day job. But part of my saga was discussed on the Rush Limbaugh Program yesterday-and the aftermath of our story being mentioned on his show has made it impossible for me to stay quiet about my circumstances any longer.

Times are bad for everyone; I am not looking for sympathy, just some perspective from my conservative friends.

14 years ago I was offered a very good job with a good company. The only stipulation to taking the job was that I had to join the UAW.

I’m a conservative and am not very fond of unions. But it was a good job, so I held my nose and accepted. That’s right kids; Fingers Malloy is one of many conservatives that are in a union.

14 years later I find myself in Indianapolis, working at a factory that is slated to be closed next year. My employer is looking to sell it and in the spring of this year, found a potential buyer. The buyer stated that he would only be able to purchase the facility if we were to take a 50% pay cut.

I know this is hard for a lot of people to understand, but under our current contract we are better off if the plant is closed rather than sold. If it closes, my employer will move our jobs to other facilities within the company. At that point I have the right to follow my job to another location and not take a pay and benefit cut.

If the plant is sold, it makes it harder for me to follow my job. The work will stay at this plant. In addition, I may be forced to take the wage and benefit cut.

We (in the local union) were asked if we wanted to renegotiate our contract to take the pay cut and be sold, we overwhelmingly voted no. Why should we take such a drastic pay cut when we can move to another community and have our wages and benefits stay the same?

The International UAW (which now owns 17% of my employer) refused to take this local union’s no for an answer. It ILLEGALLY negotiated a contract with the potential buyer.

Last week, the International UAW called an illegal meeting at the local union hall to discuss the new agreement. They wanted to take a new vote on opening our current contract. If the local agreed to open the contract, the vote to ratify the new contract would be taken the next day.

There are many reasons why we were suspicious of the process.

The International sent us the “highlights” of the new agreement (a small portion of the new contract) in the mail on Friday/Saturday. They then held the illegal meeting on Sunday. They wanted us to vote on the new agreement on Monday. Would you vote for something you never got to read? Why the rush?

So needless to say members in this local were angry. The International UAW put us in the middle of a public relations nightmare. We are getting hammered on all sides every day by the media, Governor Daniels, the public–all because we are not agreeing to take what now turns out to be over a 60% wage and benefit cut just to keep this plant open.

When officers of the International UAW (by the way, they just gave themselves an 8% pay increase) came into the union hall on Sunday to give us details about the new contract, we threw them out.  That made national news, Rush Limbaugh and lit up Twitter.

On Twitter and blogs my conservative friends called me things like lazy, stupid, illiterate and selfish. (for the record, I earned my BA from Indiana University and am a year away from my MBA)

I find it very hard to believe that any of the people criticizing our decision would agree to take a 60% cut in pay and benefits to stay where they are now working under new ownership—as opposed to staying with their current employer and moving to a new community with no pay cut.

To be fair, under the  “highlights” of the new agreement it states that we would be permitted to go back to my current employer. However, in the fine print it states that our movement would be up to the discretion of the new owner.

I do not know the new owner; he may be a stand up guy. But I have a family to support and I’m just not willing to take that risk.

Again, I am not looking for sympathy. I am just presenting my side of the story. The media has misrepresented what is going on here (shocker) and I want to set the record straight.

The only thing I ask is that we all do a better job of differentiating between union bosses and the rank and file members. Most of the people I work with are just trying to raise a family and pay their bills.

As you were…

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