Man quits union after UAW leader’s political remarks

A Conrad man said the local UAW president took his political views too far in a recent newsletter to local members and he was so fed up that he quit the union.

Todd Schiebel said the attack on the Tea Party political group by UAW Local 893 President Dennis Stewart pushed him over the edge and out of a union that he was a part of for 18 years.

“It was kind of a build up after 18 years,” Schiebel said. “You can only ignore so much.”

In the local UAW newsletter last month, Stewart compared Tea Party conservatives in Congress to terrorists and called them “half wits” and “ultra right wing nut bags.”

Schiebel works as a welder for Fisher Controls and distributed a rebuttal on the plant floor with his comments on Stewart’s column.

“It appears that Dennis has the right to slander anyone that doesn’t believe what he does,” Schiebel wrote in the letter.

However, Stewart said his comments in the newsletter did not go too far. They were directed at those elected officials who voted to continue the government shutdown and were not directed at members, he said.

“My intent wasn’t to offend members, but to state my opinion,” Stewart said.

Schiebel said it was still a shot at his views and he feels the union shouldn’t be so politically involved.

“My philosophy is if they are going to be a union then they ought to be involved in the people they are representing and not be into politics,” Schiebel said.

Stewart said they do represent the people, but also support candidates at the same time.

“Like any organization, we try to support folks running for office that support us,” Stewart said.

Schiebel said Fisher is a great place to work. He continues to work hard and do his job, he said.

“Most of the people there just want to do their job so we can be successful and so we can have a job for our future,” Schiebel said.

He feels political divisiveness is one of the downfalls of the country.

“I think America needs to pull together as a whole,” Schiebel said. “We’re Americans and we need to stand together.”

Schiebel said he has had people tell him they agree with him and the union representatives overall have been friendly in trying to get him to stay. He’s made up his mind to leave and said November will be his last month paying UAW dues.

Stewart still wishes Schiebel will stay in the union.

“We see value in all of our members, whether we agree or disagree,” Stewart said.