In 1998, GM officials knew that two men whom Pontiac union officials demanded be hired as skilled workers at their main factory “were not qualified.” Nonetheless, GM hired the two relatives of United Auto Wrkrs. Local 594 officials to end a strike. And all mention of the two hires in the contract was covered up before it was submitted to the local membership for ratification. These and other documents were released by attny. Harold Dunne on Dec. 11 to back up his charge that GM and Local 594 officials engaged in nepotism to ensure labor peace in GM’s Pontiac factories in the 1990s.
Dunne released his collections of GM correspondence and union documents after two legal setbacks. In Sept., Dunne’s civil lawsuit representing 21 workers was dismissed in federal court, supposedly because it was filed outside the statute of limitations. On Oct. 21, U.S. Dist. Judge Nancy G. Edmunds (E.D., MI, G.H.W. Bush) dismissed an indictment of 3 frmr. Local 594 officials.
Edmunds’ decision did not question the allegations that Donny G. Douglas, William J. Coffey and Jay D. Campbell threatened work slowdowns and refused to settle labor-mgmt. disputes at Pontiac plants unless GM hired Campbell‘s son and another ex-official’s son-in-law. Also not questioned was the charge that the officials concealed the hiring from members when they voted on a contract settling an 87-day strike in 1997. In dismissing the extortion count, Edmunds cited the U.S. Sup. Ct. 1973 ruling in U.S. v. Enmons. In that ruling, the Sup. Ct. ruled that conduct by union officials that appeared to be extortionate did not qualify as such under the fed. Hobbs Act so long as the conduct was in the pursuit of “legitimate union objectives,” such as jobs and wage increases.
Angry over the lost opportunity to present his evidence in open court, Dunne released 90 pages of memos, letters and reports to reporters and the public. Plant wrkr. Dale Garrish, one of the lead plaintiffs, expressed his hope that his co-wrkrs. will “voice their opinions and hold the people at the UAW’s international office responsible.” [Detroit News, 12/12/03: U.S. v. Jay Campbell, Donny Douglas, U.S.D.C. E.D. Mich., Sou. Div., CR 02-80863]