September 11, 2012

by Martha Grevatt & Frank Hammer

Adding Insult to Injury

The UAW International Executive Board has stalled for over ten months without replying to an international appeal filed last November by Chrysler skilled trades members. The appellants-George Windau (Local 12), Alex Wassell and Martha Grevatt (both Local 869), and over 300 co-signers - charged that the IEB violated their seperate ratification rights defined in the UAW Constitution. These rights guarantee that ratification by production (the majority), doesn't impose bad skilled trades agreements on skilled trades (the minority). The majority of Chrysler tadespeople voted down the national agreement in October, but less than 24 hours after the final ballot was cast the IEB declared the entire contract ratitified.

There should have been a thorough investigation of the reasons for the "no" vote. Where there were objections to trades-specific language, that language should have been revisited with management and a re-vote taken. That's how a similar situation was handled at Local 909 (GM Powertrain, Warren). The majority of members voted to accept the local agreement. However, the vote of the skilled trades majority was "no." Meetings were held with the trades. The troublesome local skilled trades language was identified and renegotiated, and brought back for another vote not once, but twice! Both resulted in "no" votes, as not all the issues raised by the trades had been addressed - especially as they related to subcontracting. (see

In both cases the "no" votes were cast to defend skilled trades jobs. The so-called "trades rationalization" at Chrysler eliminates over two dozen trades and leaves only five "core" trades, while allowing unlimited outsourcing and sub-contracting. Ford and GM tradespeople face the same annihilation. While The UAW GM Dept. has so far honored the "separate ratification rights" at Local 909, the IEB  refused to hear the concerns of the skilled trades workforce at Chrysler, and now the IEB is refusing to respond to our appeal. One way or another the Chrysler skilled trades workforce will be heard.

The Chrysler Skilled Trades Appeal can be read here:

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