Open Letter to the Joint Council by Cheryl Deutsch (Head Steward, UC Irvine)

31 Jan

January 27, 2011

To members of the Joint Council of UAW Local 2865:

I recently learned that Coral Wheeler has been hired by our Local to work part time out of our office here in Irvine doing organizing work.  UAW staffers from other locals are also working on UCI’s campus.  The purpose of this email is to communicate my protest against the undemocratic way this work is being carried out and the way decisions are made in this union more generally.  As an elected representative on this campus, I have repeatedly expressed to Jorge (our Southern VP) and to Christine (our President) my interest in organizing efforts on this campus, including the process by which a new staffer would be hired for our office.

Coral’s position has been vacant since Audrey was let go this fall, and since shortly thereafter I have expressed my interest in being involved in the decision-making and hiring process around this position.  As recently as January 10th, I wrote to Jorge and explicitly stated my desire to be involved and informed about movement on this front.  (That email is attached below.  I never received a response.)  I can only interpret the fact that my interest and requests have been ignored as an attempt to undermine our Campus Unit.  Sending in paid staff to organize on our campus, without even contacting the Campus Unit representatives, flies in the face of any notion of democracy.  It is not only undemocratic and discourteous, but bad organizing as well.

I am happy to work with paid staff on organizing… there is nothing personal about the concerns I am raising.  Organizing has been my interest from the beginning, but I cannot work with paid staff if they refuse to share with me what work they are doing.  I would prefer that we all sat down together to strategize about campus organizing.

I am also concerned about decision-making on union resources such as local offices.  I recently learned that our Irvine office has been relocated.  Why weren’t any of our Campus Unit officers included in this decision-making process, or, at the very least, informed about this?

Given these concerns, I demand clarification on several points:

  1. The relationship between paid staff and campus unit officers should be made explicit, either informally or through a change in our Local’s bylaws.  Paid staff should be accountable to campus unit officers in the same way that statewide officers should be.
  2. Specifically, I demand clarification on Coral Wheeler’s job description: the purview of her work and responsibilities, as well as her day-to-day tasks.
  3. I also demand clarification on the work schedules and specific tasks of any other paid UAW staff doing any work on this campus.
  4. Finally, I demand clarification on the use of Local resources such as our Irvine office: Why wasn’t our membership informed about this change regarding a resource that is, ostensibly, for their benefit?  How is this office being used for the benefit of Irvine members?

In addition to my concern about the undemocratic way in which decisions are being made that affect our Campus Unit, I am also concerned about the way paid staff are representing themselves on campus.  If Coral or any other UAW staff continue to falsely represent themselves as students on this campus, I refuse to have anything to do with them.  UAW staffers who are not students should identify themselves as union organizers and nothing more.  I see no reason for them to be deceptive.  Furthermore, such conduct might be considered “unbecoming a union member” under Article 4, Section 14 of our Local’s Bylaws.

This raises one final question, which is: as I interpret our Local’s bylaws, non-students should not be eligible for membership in this Local.  This question should be taken up by our Bylaws Committee for review as soon as possible.

I wish to repeat once again that I want to be involved in Local decisions that are made about Local work to be done on this campus.

Cheryl Deutsch

Head Steward
UAW Local 2865
UC Irvine


4 Responses to “Open Letter to the Joint Council by Cheryl Deutsch (Head Steward, UC Irvine)”

  1. Вся власть пролетариатам! April 30, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    I’m special I’m special look at me! I wanna be consulted. I wanna control… I mean, local control. I wanna be President! I wanna be President so I, um, can bequeath power to the unenlightened rank-and-file. All of you in the leadership now are boogerheads… I’m special.

    You talkers in the social sciences/AWDU are terrified of us doers, because through our action, we expose your uselessness. You are bourgeois parasites who stand beside us to claim credit for our work, and stab us in the back to get ahead. Just keep coming to our sides of the campus and talk down to us… we’ll show you what democracy looks like.

    • ucgradstrike May 2, 2011 at 11:32 am #

      So, we find it curious that you would consider the pursuit of democracy and the upholding of the law a “back-stabbing” exercise. You sound like Ghadaffi on Lybian National Television. He also claims to be “democratic”.


  1. UAW 2865 Election Protest « SCAWDU-GSOC - January 31, 2011

    […] of this Joint Council meeting is beyond the purview of the present post, you should also check out this account of a paid staff person who has been hired to work largely at UC Irvine without any consultation with […]

  2. The UAW Local 2865 and its Internal Revolution « UC Rebel Radio - February 1, 2011

    […] Elsewhere, concerns have been raised about this misrepresentation and debate has begun surrounding reform. (Read Cheryl Deutsch’s Open Letter to the Joint Council). […]

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