|'Nuts!' to SMART|
Were there ever
any doubt that the intent of the Sheet Metal Workers International
Association was to accomplish a complete takeover of the UTU
International, its general committees of adjustment, its state
legislative boards and more than 500 locals, that doubt was extinguished
March 25 by SMWIA General President Mike Sullivan.
In letters to UTU International officers and rail carriers, Sullivan boldly, and wrongly, asserted he has control of the UTU -- that all collective bargaining is under his total control and that, under threat of legal action, all UTU member dues must be remitted to the SMWIA.
Sullivan, contrary to facts and federal court action, alleges that the once intended merger of the UTU and the SMWIA to create the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Workers has been implemented and that he now is general president of SMART and in total control.
In short, Sullivan is attempting a theft of the UTU from its members and elected officers.
Said UTU International President Mike Futhey in response to Sullivan's letters (see links at bottom of this article), "Your letters put the lie to your previous assurances that UTU would control its own collective bargaining post-merger. Up until now, you have been a wolf in sheep's clothing regarding the issue. Now the sheep's clothing is off, and we know you are trying to arrogate [claim or seize] to yourself the collective bargaining representation of the UTU membership."
As U.S. Army General Anthony McAuliffe responded to the Nazi commander who demanded an American surrender during the Battle of the Bulge -- "Nuts!" -- Futhey similarly responded to Sullivan's demand that Futhey surrender to Sullivan the keys to the UTU and its treasury.
In his March 25 letters to Futhey, Assistant President Arty Martin, General Secretary and Treasurer Kim Thompson and National Legislative Director James Stem, Sullivan demanded that all UTU member dues be transmitted to the SMWIA.
Sullivan further demanded that no UTU International vice president assume "authority to represent or act for or in the name of, or incur or assume any liability, obligation or expense in the name of the [UTU] or except upon the express direction of and only to the extent authorized by [Sullivan]."
In separate letters to the National Carriers' Conference Committee (NCCC) and railroads bargaining under the NCCC umbrella, Sullivan asserted that he, and SMART, "now represents classes and crafts UTU is certified to represent under the Railway Labor Act, and that those carriers must send [to Sullivan, as SMART's general president, all] UTU dues withheld from wages pursuant to UTU dues check-off agreements."
"As you know, there has never been a SMART Constitution published, and under Article II of the merger agreement, a SMART Constitution had to be approved by the UTU membership prior to the August 2007 UTU Convention.
"UTU members did not approve a SMART Constitution because it never existed. And a failure to so approve means the merger documents 'shall be deemed terminated and of no force and effect' under the very terms of Article II. Other conditions precedent were not fulfilled as well.
"Beyond that, you know that the termination of the [federal district court litigation in Akron, Ohio, and the Sixth Circuit court litigation in Cincinnati, have] nothing to do with enforcement of the merger because SMWIA has a suit pending in Washington, D.C. [before a federal district court there] to enforce the merger which is in the pleading stage, and which UTU will vigorously defend.
"In fact, when UTU sought to transfer that case to [the federal district court in Akron], your lawyers took great pains to explain to the court that the SMWIA enforcement case had nothing to do with the Akron case.
"Moreover, the rail carriers all know of their continuing obligations under the Railway Labor Act to observe the status quo with respect to UTU agreements and to 'treat with' UTU as the duly designated representative of crafts or classes on their properties, and I fully expect them to fulfill those obligations."
Furthermore, Futhey told Sullivan, "You will be held liable for any damage caused to the UTU and its membership by your unconscionable conduct interfering with UTU's representation and dues collection, and I expect you will cease and desist from such conduct.
"If you have sent letters to bus and transit companies or districts, I expect you to cease and desist from that activity as well. And you must cease and desist from your unauthorized use of the registered UTU logo."
Click here to read Sullivan's letter to UTU International President Mike Futhey.
Click here to read President Futhey's response to Sullivan.
Click here to read a letter from President Futhey to all general chairpersons and state legislative directors.