Saturday, September 15, 2012
I BEG TO DIFFER: SEVERSTAL STEEL IS NOT DEARBORN
Dearborn is a place where the wealthy meet the median and the poor, without resentment. The wealthy honor and respect the labor force, knowing without them they wouldn’t have their wealth. It’s reciprocal, with the labor force respecting the wealthy who designs and develops the conditions that warrant their labor. It’s win win.
Severstal is not Dearborn. The new contract passed in March validates the anti Dearborn mentality. Dearborn barters their contracts; they don’t try to create unbalanced scales, scales that are weighted by the corporate rich, to people that are struggling to pay their bills. Severstal creates $5,000.00 sign on bonuses if passed in the first round, feeding on the hungry. Manipulating the system with a bribe of momentary economical security is not fair play or the mindset of the labor force. This certainly doesn’t reflect the core Dearborn mentality and is a slam to the very crux of the unity the labor force and Henry Ford valued.
With the nation turning to a right to work status, there are still those that are against handing control of our work force to corporate America. Severstal is a great example of forcing a right to work situation in an area that sees, with open eyes, the reversal of the unity of the work force.
Many of the employees of Severstal went to their union reps for clarity on the contract issues and for advice on how to vote. The union is supposed to direct and represent the worker’s best interest, but not this time. This time the reps told the employees that they could not tell them how to vote. Apparently, corporate found a way to control the minds of those who were unaware and seeking help in their voting decision. Union rep sell outs, silenced, probably clinging to their own jobs, were not the courageous men of the past, men that stood tall for the best interest of the workers. Corporate orders stood firm in a sacred area where they aren’t supposed to hold any power.
The union reps should have bore neon signs guiding against the new contract. They should have warned that it was a brutal move by corporate Severstal. They shouldn’t have allowed the employees to vote on a contract where only the highlights were shared with the workers before the vote, making the employees ignorant to their forthcoming losses. In a time where people act as though we should all be thankful for a minimum wage job with zero benefits, it’s truly not the case. This is still America and our labor force still holds its worth, without it, corporate is nothing.
When the union surrenders it silences the voice of the labor that supports it. Have they, too, been blinded by the green lining in their pockets?
The union is tolerating much more than it should. After many calls referring to a veteran being silenced without recourse, I decided to write this article.
Gerald Dunigan, a twenty-five year veteran of Double Eagle, stood to voice his concerns at a culture change meeting. Immediately, he was silenced. He was told grandstanding wasn’t allowed. Nobody listened to Mr. Dunigan’s concerns; instead they put their hands on him, physically, and escorted him out of the meeting area. Mr. Dunigan took his grievance to the appropriate powers, with his witness list in hand, he was silenced. It was the witnesses that were abhorred by the silencing of one of their teammates who made the first calls to me. They were determined to get the word out. I am Dearborn, I am American, I won’t be silenced.
This is my letter to you, Mr. Mordashov:
Severstal employees seem to have taken the brunt of the once Ford Motor Company owed steel mill. This is the third contract the employee’s have had with the Russian owned company. With each signing, more is lost and sacrificed by the employee, while more is gained by the worlds 45th richest billionaire, you, Alexey Mordashov.
Where do you find the audacity to ask the American government for a $730 million loan for a continuous annealing line? President Obama turned you down, but it didn’t stop you, did it? You recently reapplied, this time for $320 million. That loan is pending.
Do tell me and my readers, why we, the American’s, the Dearbornites, are supposed to loan you money when you fall 45th in the Forbes list of billionaires? You have billions, why should we loan you, a Russian company, millions of our money when we are struggling? Write the check out of your personal account and quit asking for a handout. We, the American’s, whine all the time about welfare to immigrants. I think it’s handouts like these we hate the most.
Alexy, you had $5,000 an employee to spend to guarantee your contract would be passed. You bought your way into that contract, while cutting the throats of the American workers you employ, didn’t you? It was the first time in history that Union reps weren’t allowed to guide their people on how to vote, they were hushed, by you, or someone that works for you.
The voting numbers can’t be checked and there is no contract to be found. The union claims that 87% of the employee’s voted in the contract. Has voter suppression become the norm even in industry? Is that the way of the New America, buy any vote any way you want it?
You kicked the people with seniority by taking away the benefits one achieves from the loyalty of seniority, didn’t you? It doesn’t matter if an employee has been a loyal member longer than you; it means nothing now, right? You took that away when you contractually claused the end of seniority.
You changed your profit sharing formula to reduce those profit sharing payments, too, just cutting the financial throat of your employees even more.
There are now mandatory ten and twelve hour shifts, some of those shifts lasting six and seven days. Could you put in those kinds of hours in a plant with hazardous materials that require protecting the community from, Alexey?
How kind of you to allow for five sick days, including being late? What is the penalty if you’re late or can’t make it in after those five days? Well, rumor has it that if there are four more sick days or if you are late in the next 18 months, it is a reason to fire. Nice.
Without a copy of the well hidden contract, I can only go by word of your employees. They are angry employees. I understand their frustration and anger. This contract and the means in which it became Severstal law is a farce. You know it, too, don’t you? Are you laughing at my people for their need to survive, yet?
Peace and solidarity to the American labor unions and our working class.