Following the passing of the deadline to accept the company‘s contract offer it’s becoming clearer that union leadership is clearly to blame for up to 850 manufacturing jobs leaving Fond du Lac. Despite it’s effort to blame Mercury Marine.
While union officials blame Mercury Marine for killing an 11th hour vote that might have kept more than 800 manufacturing jobs in Fond du Lac, many union workers say union leadership did too little, too late.
First there was the convincing of the membership to vote down the contract proposal on August 23rd.
Prior to the Aug. 23 vote, Toth said union leaders led the membership to believe that after the first contract was voted down, another would be brought back for a second vote. Toth described the atmosphere inside Fond du Lac High School that Sunday (Aug. 23) as “very hostile” with members voting on “emotion” rather than on the proposal before them.
Then there was the fiasco surrounding the supposed bylaw preventing a second vote when it became clear Mercury’s offer was indeed it’s last & final offer.
“We were told by District 10 union officials that there was a bylaw preventing workers from voting on a contract without at least three significant changes in it. Now we find out there wasn’t any bylaw. It was just an unwritten policy with the IAM. Policies are rewritten every day,” Toth said.
Once it was exposed for that lie, the union leadership dragged it’s feet waiting until THE LAST MINUTE to call a second vote.
“Why did the union wait so long to call a vote? They knew last Thursday that there was great interest among members in having a re-vote, so why didn’t they call for a vote on Friday,” said union worker Fred Toth Jr. “The union leaders dragged their feet on the whole thing, and in my opinion, alienated their members.”
Toth, along with fellow workers Rick Schmidt and Felipe Rodriguez, began circulating a petition last week calling for a second vote on contract changes proposed by company management.
As for the continuing vote after the deadline passed – a token gesture.
“They’re just trying to save face and point the finger at the company,” Toth said. “Mercury Marine was pretty adamant about every step they took including the deadline. What makes (union leadership) think Mercury Marine would change their minds now?”
The union leadership is now trying to claim Mercury sent a letter stating it would extend the deadline.
Dan Longsine, chief negotiator with IAM Lodge 1947, said the union was led to believe that members would be allowed to cast votes following the midnight deadline, referring to a letter forwarded to union officials by the company.
“They told us that as long as we made a good faith effort to start the vote, that if we didn’t have enough time, they would extend the deadline past midnight. Just before midnight the company told us if the votes weren’t tallied before the deadline it would be considered a rejection,” Longsine said. “This was a very calculated move by the company.” (Source: Questions swirl around Mercury decision to hold firm to vote deadline – FDL Reporter).
Yet union leadership claims to another newspaper there was a deal in place for an extension.
Union members said they were told that Mercury would allow them to take a second vote starting late Saturday night and continuing until the 850 eligible members could cast their ballots.
Union officials said that deal was arranged by public officials who acted as intermediaries between the union and the company.
“Then we were double-crossed. I feel like I have been thrown under the bus,” said Dan Longsine, chief negotiator for Lodge 1947. (Source: Mercury says 2nd vote too late to save jobs – Milwaukee Journal Sentinal)
Keep in mind this is the same union leadership that claimed it wanted additional negotiations.
“These workers and this community deserve more than a rushed process with an artificial deadline that failed to deliver a solution that worked for everyone,” Philip Gruber, an IAM Midwest territory vice president, said Friday in a statement.
“We are prepared to meet anytime, anywhere with this company to create a proposal that fairly addresses the needs of this company and the future of this community,” Gruber said.
Friday, company officials said the union had not yet told them it wanted further discussions. (Source: Mercury Marine union calls for new talks – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal)
It’s obvious who was actually thrown under the bus and who did the throwing. By virtue of their lies time and again over the last week, it was union leadership that threw people under the bus. And it wasn’t just union members, it was an entire community.
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