Monday, May 25, 2015
Who I am voting for in the upcoming ATU757 election and why
Mcfarlane announced the day he took over from Fred Hansen that he wanted all Trimet employees on the same plan that Trimet offers its office workers. He then lead the unethical (and in some cases illegal) efforts to destabilize his union employees through a coordinated 'terrorist' type campaign. From unjust discipline for individual employees to downright illegal actions such as stealing money from employees paychecks. He took his fight public (along with the rest of the world) by blaming all of Trimet's financial problems on its union workforce. This scapegoating works well with the American public and it has propelled people right into the highest offices in government. Mcfarlane along with the mainstream media used the public as a 'wedge' to help break the spirits of his union employees.
Under the leadership of Jon Hunt our union refused to give in to those type of tactics. After Bruce became president he fought for 2 1/2 years against Trimet tyranny. Then precisely 6 months ago, he decided to give Mcfarlane what he originally wanted in concessions. Basically Bruce wasted all the time and money we spent fighting for our benefit package. Bruce says there were other considerations that forced his hand. Maybe he is telling the truth maybe he isn't. All I know is that a large part of my pension is gone now under the administration of Bruce Hansen. Trimet retirees get no vote on Trimet contracts even though those contracts have a serious effect on our lives!
It is not possible for me to support Bruce for a second term. He's already given away the store and there is no possibility of getting any of that back now.
So who should I vote for? There is Shirley Block, who I have tremendous respect for and would be ok with her as our union president. But then there is Henry Beasley.
Now why would I vote for Henry Beasley? The answer is actually simple. I look at our union politics much like I look at our national politics. In our national politics we vote for one of two parties. Each party blames the other for all the problems. But when ever voters pick either party nothing ever changes. In our national politics we are stuck between two ineffective controlling forces. Only when Americans wake up to the fact that voting for candidates in either party guarantees the status quo will there be any change. The only hope for positive change is to look outside the current structure.
This is how I view our union politics. We keep voting for the same people over and over of course nothing will ever change.
The third party candidate for ATU this year is Henry Beasley, whom I have some insight into. He is highly educated and has a firm grasp of the issues. He projects well when on camera and has the confidence necessary to be in a leadership position. And most importantly, he has no baggage! He can come into office with a clean slate which is of the utmost importance. He can form his own ideas and opinions without being beholden to other characters already part of the union structure.
The same is True for vice presidential candidate Chris Day! Mr Day has a long list of accomplishments on his resume among them are single handedly being responsible for the changing of Trimet's domestic partnership policies as well as being the chief plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging Trimet's unfair road relief pay policies. He has been working for union transparency for over 7 years now. And again, he comes in without baggage being from outside of the union structure.
Now as this campaign gets going the usual name calling and personal attacks start. Lots of people think Bruce is the greatest, I for the life of me can't figure out why. Not only did Bruce sell out the retirees but he also was the one responsible for the 'hours of service' policy which destroyed overtime for many current operators and was supportive of the 'block signup' which ripped away operator seniority. Regardless of these losses Bruce seems to have the upper-hand in the upcoming election. I suppose he gets his support based on his personality. It's virtually impossible not to like Bruce Hansen.
But I keep hoping that there is a chance that people can wake up to the other alternatives that are available from the current structure.
We need to think outside the box people. Until we do that nothing will change, nationally or locally.