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Hilbert Morales  EO Publisher

Hilbert Morales
EO Publisher

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Individuals do not appreciate how much they need to know or to be informed about these days. Since we have developed a very connected society and economy, each of us needs to understand, to accept by having prior knowledge, and to have the ability to think and evaluate with facts and paradigms in hand.

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I recall, when I talked to the personnel clerk of the firm I had worked for long enough to become vested and be eligible for retirement benefits and health care programs, the clerk asked me directly, “Which plan are you agreeing to? Plan A; Plan B; or Plan C? I paused and said, “I do not know enough to decide which of those plans are best
for me? I think part of your job is to tell me the significant features of each plan so that I may choose what is best for me and my family.”
His tone of voice told me that he was surprised that I was assertive enough to ask for information. Simply stated…I needed to know; I needed to be informed.

Let me relate another personal example. My father, Toribio, was very happy because his boss was transferring him to another production department which had a higher salary rate. I asked, “Why is that company now treating you so well? How many years before you retire?” He replied, “Three years.” “What does your union steward say about this?” The reply was that the union steward was in favor of this lateral transfer. So I asked my father to let me see his copy of the union contract which applied to him. Upon reading it carefully, I came across the requirement that to ‘retire with full rights required having served in the department from which retirement was planned for a prior period of five years.’ So I thought about it, informed my Dad, that he should not accept this ‘generous offer’ unless a waiver of this contract clause which applied to him was authorized, and awarded in writing with a copy provided to him and one placed in his personnel file.

The transfer was a scam to deprive my father of his full retirement benefits, because when he had to retire he would have served only three years in that new department. As an aside, I suspected collusionary cooperation between his boss and the union steward, who were very angry when my Dad refused to accept the transfer as proposed with no waiver. My Dad was fortunate to be informed by his son just in time to make the best informed decision for himself and his family. Again, the need to know; the need to be fully informed is of paramount importance when dealing with contracts of any sort, especially labor contracts. Most of us are too trusting, so we end up having bad experiences.

A current example is that in General Motors, Inc., an assembly had a subtle flaw: If the ignition key was weighed down by a key ring and other keys, it would diconnect electrical circuitry causing the vehicle to stop immediately. This happened at least 13 times on highways resulting in 13 deaths. Those who knew about this ‘operational service failure’ made the decision to go on using this ignition key assembly in the assembly lines. No one communicated essential information to management levels and in turn to the executive levels. Just this week there was a Congressional Hearing investigating ‘Why were not the vehicles called back? And “Why was th is defective item not replaced? The lack of information passed along from those who knew to responsible authorities resulted in an costly outcome for General Motors and their customers.

In several jurisdictions, labor contracts and their retirement/health care plans have not been adequately evaluated to fully define the future obligations of the jurisdiction. As an outcome many jurisdictions at local, district, city, county, state and national levels are not fully informed about the nature and extent of their contract obligations. We, who are the source of revenues, need to know. We need to be fully informed because it will affect future obligations and service levels.

Studies demonstrate that when informed individuals correctly comment to a person doing something that is wrong, the ‘wrong-doer’ takes corrective action. Peer pressure is the most effective way to influence ‘wrong-doers’. That is why we all need to become fully informed. We simply need to know, so that collectively we may practice the behavior and relationships in keeping with our core values of fairness, justice, and equity. We simply need to know; We need to be informed.

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