Saturday, September 15, 2012


As I snapped a picture of the Severstal Steel billboard, just outside of the Dearborn city limits, I felt a tugging resentment of the words displayed:

                                                  “Severstal is Dearborn. We are steel.”

From my immigrant grandfather, Gaetano Del Giudice, to my American born grandson, Jayden Messingham, we are five generations of Dearborn. We have lived the meaning of what it is to be Dearborn, not the false representation of those wanting to slide into the castle that was built through the power and success of one man and the labor of his community. Together, with one man’s idea and the hard working hands of many, a special little city was built, gifting all with the loyalty and appreciation of one another.
Dearborn is Henry Ford. Dearborn is the United Auto Workers. Dearborn spreads far beyond its boundaries and the multiple Ford Motor Company complexes. Dearborn is the combined force of wealth and labor. Dearborn is the courage of the labor force to picket and strike in honor of a decent wage, less hazard, decent working conditions, forty hour work weeks, and a benefit package that benefits not only the worker, but the families of the workers. Dearborn is decent public education paid by the taxes accrued from, again, the unity of combined labor and corporate forces.
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.
Isn’t it true, Mr. Mordashov, that you just spent $1.4 billion in upgrades at the Dearborn plant? Didn’t you just install a $450 million pickle line tandem cold mill and a $285 million hot-dip galvanizing line? Competing with the world’s largest steel producer and consumer, China, must be getting to you, since you simply fill the number two slot as a Russian Steelmaker. You seem to be peaking in upgrading.
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?

Yes, Mr. Mordashov, I know, you offered a 50k buyout, but that money wasn’t allowed to be added to the employees 401k, was it? You know the 401k I’m talking about, right? You know the one where Severstal picks the stock options, costing the employee’s even more money. Wouldn’t that make their buyout, after taxes, about 32k? It doesn’t seem worth it.

Your employees have to shower and change before leaving your grounds due to the hazardous waste that layers their body, clothing, and hair. This is mandatory so they don’t contaminate anyone or anything outside of the plant. Why don’t you pay for that mandatory act? Why aren’t you paying for the time it takes to protect the community from your chemicals and your hazardous waste? Why do you think your employees should gift you a second of their time?

You don’t like it when people speak out about the conditions or this contract, do you? It seems very well hidden, at least until the next election, right? Are you going to make it mandatory for your employees to vote for your choice of our American president, too? It seems when the employees speak out they are physically removed, silenced, without recourse, aren’t they? This has happened, there are consequences for speaking out, isn’t there? It’s appalling to have an American silenced, in America, by a Russian.

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?

So, Alexey, When you post a billboard stating that your Russian company is Dearborn please know what you are saying. Know who built Dearborn to be strong. Know who the people are that are employed in the largest automotive industrial complex in the nation in which your buildings stand with. They aren’t only Dearborn, Alexey, they represent a larger number of the American people, and they are the labor force of the nation, the backbone, the working class. Without them, you fail, you fall short, know my words, breathe them, and remember, it takes a lot more than a building and a few pickle lines to be considered Dearborn, obviously, by this last contract, you lack the core values that would put you in the running for what Dearborn stands for. Ask Henry, he is Dearborn, as am I.

Peace and solidarity to the American labor unions and our working class.

Vote for collective bargaining in the November elections!

Till the next time,



  1. Very well written and sadly so true!

  2. The local 600 has been bought by the company. They do not represent the employees.... they continually cut jobs in each department, they have removed most of the over time pay that was available. The order books are well stocked yet we the employees do not get a profit sharing check, or if we do its only $45.... (meanwhile the quarterly profit was 20-30 million but that money is for "upgrades")... If you are late you get an awol. If you call in sick less than an hour before your shift, you get an awol. If you get a flat tire on the way to work and your 1 minute late, you get an awol. 2 awols and you can not use your personal time (the 5 sick days you get per year) 4 awols in a 18 month period and you get fired..... The union sold us out....even funnier is how anyone you ask on the floor in any building swears they voted "no" on this joke of a contract, yet it passed.... Too many morons were unable to see past the $5k dangled in front of their eyes.....Imagine what Severstal would have been able to take away from us had they offered 7k or 10k.....

  3. I think they are doing a fine job of continuing the excellent tradition and providing a viable source of lucrative jobs in this tough economy. By whining about small bonusses and complaining that the company is investing in better infrastructure to ensure its competiveness long into the future, you are showing your cultural bias against management and your short-sightedness.

    1. Jerry L,
      First of all, "whining about small a small bonus" is far from the truth. It isn't about whining about a bonus, it's about buying your way, buying people, and buying the power over the people. A bonus is a decent profit sharing check. That's a bonus for a job well done. Don't confuse the two. Buying away your employee rights, well, that's something totally different and you know this.
      I read your response and automatically thought, "corporate or simply bitten by the right to work agenda," but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and go with corporate.
      My point in bringing in the investment wasn't because I am anti infrastructure, but if you have the money to build your personal infrastructure, you have the money for whatever else your little heart desires, especially when you are the 45th Forbes billionaire. There shouldn't be any loans. Write the check and be done with it. Government welfare to Russian business owners falls in the order of handouts, doesn't it? Does the American base really want to pay Alexey millions to help the billionaire upgrade his Russian company?
      As for my short sightedness and my cultural bias...that's laughable. What I am is pro work force, pro decent wage, pro domestic ownership, pro labor force. I am not a part of the management that believes "Rape em of all their worth, weed out the old, hire the young, even if that means abolishing the child labor laws to hire them really young, lower wages, and zero benefits. It's because of my broad scope of what corporate America is doing to the labor force that made me stand up for the employees. It is because they didn't have a voice. I'm tired of the people of this country being silenced. So, unless you know me, and you don't, keep your personally directed comments mute.
      As for doing a fine job of continuing the excellent tradition and lucrative jobs...think again...think of what you are really saying. It's easy when you create a minion work force.

  4. Your words represent hypocrisy on many fronts. If the workers are unhappy, vote the contract down and hit the bricks, or just leave, as there are many able bodied indviduals that would gladly take their positions.

  5. No, I do not represent hypocrisy. The point here is this: The workers didn't really have an option on the vote because the issues were not clearly defined. When they went to the union rep they were told that they weren't allowed to help them with the issues and basically, they were on their own. That isn't right. To this day there is not a contract to be found. Nobody in Double Eagle or Rouge can get their hands on a contract. Imagine that. It isn't so easy to walk away from your job and when people say that I just shake my head. Walk away from yours and watch your family matter if you like it or not, you're stuck, at least for now. Yes, many able bodied individuals would take the positions, at a lot less money and less benefits, isn't that what Alexey is hoping for? Isn't that the direction that corporate America is driven towards these days. So don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about...I'm not a republican and I don't buy into the garbage pushed by the party. Corporate America is trying to create a society that is power/wealth controlled and the workers are being sold out. Working conditions in other countries have upgraded to what we used to be, while America is falling to third world class, not only in labor, but in medicine, and division of wealth. The reason this is happening is due to the overwhelming greed by the billionaires...and you can tell me I'm wrong, but do the isn't a liberal thing, nor a conservative thing, it is simply the truth.

  6. Do you mean the Union Leadership does not provide Democracy? Is the Union Constitution more about Control rather than Democracy?