I am forwarding you this communication I received from Brother Bob Killeen, the Secretary Treasurer of UAW Local 879 in St. Paul, Minnesota along with my response.
This is the resolution we will be placing before the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (Democratic Party) precinct caucus delegates on Feb. 5, 2008:
Resolution 0n the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant/Hydro Dam and 2,000 Union Jobs:
Whereas Ford Motor Company has stated its intent to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, sell the hydro dam to a foreign corporation, and displace two-thousand workers in the near future without consultation from the workers, the community, or local and state governments;
Whereas this plant, its operations, and the hydro dam have received continued support from every level of government including tax-payer funding, tax-breaks and tax abatements under promises to maintain manufacturing operations and with assurances workers would have job security in St. Paul, Minnesota;
Therefore be it resolved public ownership should be used to save this plant, hydro dam, and two-thousand jobs.
Perhaps there would be a way for you to place this resolution before your meeting in Flint, Michigan on January 26, 2008?
I have also attached a leaflet distributed at the Ford Plant in St. Paul.
Cynthia McKinney the former Democratic Congresswoman from Georgia who is now seeking the Green Party endorsement for President visited the Twin Cities and supported our campaign for public ownership of the Ford Plant.
At present we are pressing DFL State Senator Jim Metzen [and the other 17 members of this Committee] who Chairs the important and heavily DFL dominated [11 Democrats; 7 Republicans] Senate Committee on “Business, Industry and Jobs” to reconsider SF 607 aimed at saving the Ford Plant. This legislation had been pushed and supported by UAW Local 879. It is unclear at this point why the UAW Local 879 leadership has not joined the push for this Senate Committee to reconsider moving this legislation out of Committee in the upcoming Legislative Session as was done with the House version for consideration by the Minnesota Legislature where in both the House and Senate the DFL has clear majorities. The UAW has campaigned for, and contributed to, almost all of these Democrats, some for many years… now when help is needed many of these same Democrats have joined with the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and the Ford Motor Company in wanting to take the wrecking ball to this important plant where the ever popular Ford Rangers are produced; it is proposed that upscale housing will replace this plant.
Here is the link to info on SF 607:
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs
Chair: Sen. James P. Metzen
3 p.m. Room 15 Capitol
Motor vehicle manufacturing plant maintenance requirement.
What you can do:
Please contact the following Minnesota State Senators and request that SF 607 be reconsidered.
The following Democrats are on the Senate Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs:
Senator James Metzen, Chair: 651-296-4370; Home: 651-451-0174
Lisa Sarne is Senator Metzen’s Legislative Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Kathy Saltzman, Vice Chair: 651-296-4166
Senator Tom Bakk: 651-296-8881
Senator Terri Bonoff: 651-296-4314
Senator Jim Carlson: 651-297-8073
Senator Ron Latz: 651-296-8065
Senator Steve Murphy: 651-296-4264
Senator Linda Scheid: 651-296-8869
Senator Rod Skoe: 651-296-4196
Senator Dan Sparks: 651-296-9248
Senator David Tomassoni: 651-296-8017
Senator Dick Day: 651-296-9457
Senator Chris Gerlach: 651-296-4120
Senator Joe Gimse: 651-296-3826
Senator Amy Koch: 651-296-5981
Senator Geoff Michel: 651-296-6238
Senator Thomas Neuville: 651-296-1279
Senator Julie Rosen: 651-296-5713
I have raised the question that if we can’t get these Democrats to pass a very simple piece of legislation like SF 607 aimed at keeping the Ford Plant and Hydro Dam intact as a unit until it can be decided how to continue the operation of this plant and save two-thousand good union jobs which are the result of many years of struggle and sacrifice, what good are the Democrats?
Perhaps if these Minnesota State Senators start getting phone calls from autoworkers and others concerned we can get this legislation back on track as a first step towards saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.
Minnesotans have long supported public ownership as a means to save and create jobs… one most recent example is Giants Ridge, the resort on the Mesabi Iron Range, where tens of millions of tax-payers dollars have subsidized this publicly owned facility which has done extremely well:
There is no reason why the Ford Plant and its employees should not be given at least the same amount of consideration as the development of a ski/golf course resort. In fact, saving the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant will save more jobs on the Mesabi Iron Range than what were created at Giants Ridge because it requires massive amounts of steel to build pick-up trucks.
It all boils down to priorities. Where do workers, their families and their communities stand on the list of priorities as established by the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party and its Legislative Caucus.
From: Robert Killeen [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 10:23 AM
Subject: Senator Metzen Misinformation
Alan Maki. I have been reading some of the Green Party propaganda you have been been espousing. These types of attacks lend no credibility to your cause by accusing good people of bad things. Your accusations against Senator Metzen are both untrue and uncalled for. Jim has had a long standing relationship with the UAW which continued with his full support of our Ford Plant Legislation that called for the Fo Mo Co to keep TCAP in saleble condition for a period of 2 years after its' closing. This bill would have given us time to find other manufacturers to take over the property and keep good paying jobs in St Paul. If you had asked I would have told you our legislation was doomed because of pressure the St Paul Building Trades put on legislators to oppose our bill. Their goal, although shortsited, was to create short term building trades jobs by tearing down our plant and building condos. The St Paul Mayor was a huge ally of theirs in shooting down our bill. Other Senators who helped us were Tomassoni and Sparks. The true culprits were all Republicans on the committee - Bonoff, who is running for Congress in the 3rd district, and Saltzman. Murphy and Bakk got up and left the hearing just before the vote.My point is please refrain from attacking Senator Metzen. He is a good freind of the UAW and our family of members.
Bob Killeen Secretary-Treasurer UAW Local 879
From: Alan Maki [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 1:48 PM
To: 'Robert Killeen'
Subject: RE: Senator Metzen Misinformation
Thanks for this letter. I was by your office several times to talk about this vote. You weren’t in.
I am sorry about any confusion. I do not take back anything I have said about Senator Metzen.
I did not “accuse” anyone of “bad things.” I simply have written and spoken based upon information I received from Senator Metzen’s office. I sent several e-mails, made numerous phone calls; and stopped at Senator Metzen’s office twice before I ever wrote or spoke a single word to anyone about this. I can asure you, if there is any confusion it is of Senator Metzen’s own making.
Since I notice this e-mail from you was not Cc’ed to Senator Metzen I have not sent it to him. You may send it to him if you chose; or with your permission I will forward this entire correspondence to him.
You should also know that two members of Senator Metzen’s staff have contacted me claiming that I am not telling the truth. Again, I asked them to provide me with minutes from this hearing which would clarify things. They refused. And I am not going to go through the trouble of suing a State Senator to obtain records which should be public and provided to the public upon request to begin with.
In fact, Metzen’s Committee is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats… all of whom your local has supported.
I have in fact noted numerous times Senator Tomassoni’s support for this important legislation; in fact, the record of this hearing clearly shows that he was the one and only Democrat to support this legislation… The record clearly shows one thing: Tomassoni moved for support of this proposed legislation and the record states the motion failed. If you have any written record of the proceedings from Sen. Metzen’s Committee Hearing in question to substantiate what you are now saying, please provide me with the official minutes of this hearing as recorded by the Committee Clerk/Secretary. The only Senator’s name I find in writing from the minutes of this hearing, such as they are, is that Senator Tomassoni was the lone, sole supporter of this legislation. This is based upon the records I received from Senator Metzen’s own Legislative Assistant.
I have charged that the minutes of this particular Senate Hearing were probably kept in such a shoddy fashion so that no one would be able to tell from reading the minutes what went on in this hearing. If this is the case it raises an even larger issue which goes right to the heart of attempting to subvert democracy and the right of people to expect honest and open government from those whom they elect. Again, I stated all of this in an e-mail to Senator Metzen to which he never responded.
I find it strange that, at this late date, you are providing an account of this Senate Hearing that the clerk should have noted in the official minutes from the hearing at the time she provided me with the minutes.
Please feel free to request that Senator Metzen provide you with all correspondence I made with his office and that which was sent to me. I give him the right to release all such documents to you provided he releases everything without any omissions.
For the record, I have not been espousing any “Green Party propaganda.” Nor do I support the Green Party, even though I am strongly leaning towards supporting who I consider to be the best Democrat in the Presidential race, Cynthia McKinney; who, as you know was forced from Congress largely by the same grouping of business oriented Democrats who are pushing for the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.
The St. Paul mayor you refer to is a Democrat. Representative Paymar is a Democrat. Murphy is a Democrat. Rod Skoe is a Democrat.
There is something seriously wrong with a Democrat who you say is a big supporter of the UAW when he is the Chair of the Committee and he can not control his own Caucus members when it comes to such an important vote. In fact, the UAW has supported every single DFL member of this Committee. I do not have to draw any conclusions from this; the facts speak for themselves.
I have worked in the Democratic Party in several states over a period of some thirty years--- since I could vote, in fact; never have I seen such betrayal except over these “Compacts” creating casinos sending 20,000 Minnesotans to jobs in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any of the rights your own members enjoy protected under state or federal labor laws.
You can call me when ever you like about any issue or concern you have; I have been to the Plant often. I have left every leaflet I have distributed at the Plant at your office.
I am a member of the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee, not a member of the Green Party. You will not find anything that I have written contrary to this. In no way, shape, or form have I distributed anything in the nature of “Green Party propaganda;” nor anything which approximates such.
I do not understand how you can say the “The true culprits were all Republicans on the committee…” when all the evidence in the minutes of the meeting as recorded by the clerk of the Committee clearly shows it was Democrats who are the culprits. In fact, even if all Republicans had refused to attend the hearing and refrain from voting, the Democrats would not have voted for this legislation.
Again, what I write and what I say is based upon the minutes I received from Senator Metzen’s own Legislative Assistant.
In fact, the building trades unions provide Metzen with more campaign contributions than does the UAW. I am very concerned about the role of the building trades unions in all of this; however, I know from experience that their position on this issue can easily be reversed should your local clearly articulate the issue involved here in a way that people understand. If you choose to do this, by the time you are done, the building trades leaders will be hanging their heads in shame; seen by everyone as very pathetic as they pander for jobs by taking away the jobs of other working people.
I have tried to speak with Senator Metzen about this prior to the Committee Hearing, the day after the Committee Hearing, and as recent as yesterday. Senator Metzen, if he is concerned about anything that I am saying or writing can call me, sit down and talk with me, or send me an e-mail just as you have done.
I would be more than happy to sit down with you and Senator Metzen to discuss where we go from here.
I talked with Senator Cohen’s Legislative Assistants on several occasions, including yesterday; she tells me Senator Cohen plans no further legislative action. This is not right that the Democrats are dropping the ball in trying to save the Ford Plant.
As long as this Plant is still standing this will not be a “done deal” no matter how loudly the proverbial fat lady sings. Working people never give up, and working people never give in to corporate domination and greed; if they do, they lose.
If the Democrats snooze; working people lose. If the Democrats acquiesce, working people lose. There needs to be accountability here; there is no accountability; not from Senator Metzen, not from Representative Paymar; not even from Ron Gettelfinger or Bob King.
I would encourage you to invite the leadership of the Minnesota DFL and all DFL legislators and the U.S. Senate candidates to tour the plant with you so they know exactly what is at stake; and, encourage them to talk with rank and file workers about what a job means to a worker and his/her family. I think one of the very big problems is that most of the politicians with the power to save this Plant are so far removed from the life of working class families and their daily struggles to survive that they can look the other way, and then later say, “I didn’t know.”
I would also encourage you to insist that the Minnesota DFL take a position in support of public ownership of this plant; there is simply no other way to save it. This is not a “far out idea” as some of those looking for excuses to take the wrecking ball to this plant have stated. Public ownership has been very successfully used as a tool by the labor movement to save plants and jobs all over the world, including in Canada… the huge bus plant in Winnipeg being one very good example. I would also encourage you to talk with Bob King and Ron Gettelfinger about supporting public ownership of this plant… we can’t do any worse than the legislation which failed.
WE haven’t even explored the possibility of a joint China-Minnesota government venture to save this plant. Why not? Your Local supported Mark Dayton, you mean to tell me that Mark Dayton can not broach this issue with the Chinese; the Chinese aren’t afraid of public ownership. What about George Lattimore? Your local supported him for years; he has all kinds of connections in China.
As long as we are talking about some differences of opinion we may have over this entire matter of what happened in Metzen’s Committee where this legislation was defeated; I am of the opinion that you should have mobilized your entire membership including those working and those retired to turn out for this hearing in support of this legislation since you knew there was going to be strenuous opposition. Large numbers do not always assure legislative victories over the well-heeled, corrupt Summit Hill crowd; however, it never hurts to bring along a great big crowd… your dad must have agreed with this concept as he was a big supporter of the demonstrations aimed at closing down the Schools of the Americas… something that really should be shut down.
Yes, close the “School of the Americas”--- this killing machine--- and fund the continuing operation of the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; tax-payers would be the real winners and humanity would be the better for it.
I think if we sat down and talked about all of this and tried to work out a common strategy aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant we would be further ahead.
In case you missed my letter to the editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on saving the Plant (Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007; Page OP 4), here it is:
Your excellent editorial (Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007) on saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant missed one important point.
For all practical purposes there is little chance of saving this plant unless it is brought under public ownership; free enterprise has failed to save the plant and the jobs.
Tax-payers already have a huge investment in this plant. More tax-dollars should be invested to save this plant and these important manufacturing jobs.
What tax-payers finance they should own.
Minnesota legislators have a fiduciary responsibility to see to it that this plant survives through public ownership.
Alan L. Maki
Our approach to saving the Ford Plant is that we are willing to work with anyone and everyone towards this end; this includes you, your local, the Greens, the Democrats, the Reds, Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists and those who have no party or organizational affiliations at all.
Saving this Plant is an issue dear to many, many Minnesotans; not only the members of your local.
As a result of my activities I have had people contacting me from all over Minnesota, the country, Canada and other parts of the world wanting to know how they can help. Just last week I heard from an eighty-seven year old former St. Paul resident, now retired and living in Arizona, who broke down and cried when she told me what this plant meant to her family and her family’s friends--- a lifetime of a decent life won through struggle. And our conversation ended with her saying: “Why did our families fight so hard; just to end up losing it all.”
We are working with very limited resources in order to encourage dialogue, debate and discussion on this issue while working towards creating the greatest possible unity on this issue; it is not my intent to burn any bridges; I would much rather build bridges of open communication… towards these ends I would be happy to sit down and discuss this issue with you, Senator Metzen and any other interested parties, and adjust tactics as called for.
I will be in the Cities early next week if you would like to meet.
Yours in the struggle to save the Ford Plant through public ownership,
I hope you can find a way to make the participants at your meeting in Flint, Michigan aware of what is going on in St. Paul and encourage them to actively find a way to participate in this struggle to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.
I was provided with the following information by several auto workers planning on attending your meeting in Flint, Michigan who felt I should ask you to see what involvement you might be inclined to consider:
4 Jan 2008 15:05
Autoworker Activists Gathering
January 5, 2007
Autoworker Activists Gathering
by The Solidarity Education Center
Saturday, January 26th 2008
“From the Ashes of the Old...”
The Center for Labor Renewal & The Solidarity Education Center in conjunction with Soldiers of Solidarity, Future of the Union, FactoryRat, Labor Notes & numerous rank & file committees of resistance:
…Will sponsor a one-day meeting for all autoworker activists on the recent concessionary Big Three Auto Contracts. The session will be an opportunity to analyze the economic & structural impact of the negotiations, to share experiences from the effort to mobilize opposition, and explore strategies and tactics for reclaiming unionism’s direction and rebuilding rank & file solidarity.
Location: University of Michigan-Flint
Harding Mott University Center - Michigan Rooms A & B
On Circle Dr. off Kearsley Street (Bldg # 10 on campus map)
9:00 am - 5:00pm
For those coming from some distance and needing overnight accommodations, reduced rate rooms are available at the Holiday Inn adjacent to the campus. For reservations at the discounted rate of $69 per room, single or double occupancy, call:
Jerry Tucker at 314-968-5534
There is no cost for the meeting. A small donation for lunch will be at participant option.
Download The Handbill: Flyer Available Here
Holiday Inn Map: Available Here
For more information or questions, contact:
Gregg Shotwell, SOS
Jerry Tucker, CLR/SEC
Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
Check out my blog:
Thoughts From Podunk
Looking for good book to read about a rank and file activist from Wisconsin Steel in Chicago who looked for a leader to lead the struggle for justice for working people and found no leader around, so he decided he would take the initiative to lead… check out:
“Always Bring A Crowd; The Story of Frank Lumpkin--- Steelworker” written by his wife Beatrice Lumpkin