Here is something to help you to get to know more about who I am. In the absence of a long conversation, I offer the following.
I was born in 1942 in Youngstown, Ohio. My father immigrated to this country from Croatia; my mother was the daughter of Hungarian immigrants. I grew up in Campbell, Ohio, graduated from Campbell Memorial High School in 1960, attended Ohio State University briefly, and in October of 1963 began work at Packard Electric. In 2004, after 40 years and 6 months of service, I retired from Delphi Packard Automotive, who had acquired Packard from General Motors in 1999.
I started out my work at GM's Packard Electric Division as a production worker. My job included supplying the assembly workers with the parts needed to make various products. After nine months I pursued an opportunity in management as a Group Leader assisting the supervisor. After one year I transferred to the Methods Lab to work in Methods Engineering, helping to develop efficient production processes. A year later in 1965, I became a production supervisor on afternoon turn.
In 1966 I was drafted in to the Army. At first, I served as an honor guard at Fort Monroe, Virginia. I was then transferred to Korat, Thailand, where the American military maintained a huge presence. In Thailand, I served as a Military Police Investigator assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, US Army Thailand. I investigated alleged violations of the US Military Code of Justice, committed by Army personnel who were living and working throughout the northern half of Thailand.
My duties as MP Investigator included aspects of police investigation and bringing to justice soldiers who broke the law. My job required me to maintain records, secure chains of evidence, follow leads, carry out all aspects of investigations, take statements and testify in court marshals. I did the work of the policeman I was. I'm sure the job duties haven't changed too much from then to now. I was honorably discharged in 1968 and met my obligation to be on call for the National Guard for 4 more years, as was required at that time.
After returning from my active duty, I became a department supervisor over three shifts and 190 people. My duties included day to day supervision of various production assembly conveyor processes, contract compliance, overtime management practices, disciplinary actions, and all of the normal kinds of things one expects to do as a supervisor in an auto parts plant. In 1973, I left management and returned to the shop floor. I worked in various jobs as a member of the rank and file for the rest of my tenure at Packard, spending most of my years as a tow motor driver. I became active in the Union, and was eventually elected to IUE 717's Executive Board, holding that office 13 years.
I attended Union meetings on a regular basis, took serious interest in the contract, and proposed changes thereto, from 1973 until I retired. I have always advocated Union solidarity in principle and in practice on the shop floor. I often opposed traditional Union leadership proposals on aspects of the contracts which, in my opinion, were not going to serve the best interests of the membership. I've been the loyal opposition, but the key word is "loyal."
I received a Masters of Science in Community Economic Development, from New Hampshire College in 1991, with the support of my family. The program required me to commute to Manchester, New Hampshire every month for 4 days of on-campus classes.
In 1996 I was elected Sub Chairman B. As Sub Chair, I was responsible for enforcing the contract between IUE-CWA Local 717 and Delphi Packard Electric General Motors. I was at the top of Local 717's grievance process-that is to say that I negotiated grievances at the highest local level. By the time a grievance came across my desk, it had been addressed by the worker, the Committee person, and the Zone Committee person. I had to know the contract inside and out, and did so. As Sub Chair I was given the opportunity to write opinion pieces which appeared in the Local 717 Union newsletter.
My first wife, Patty, and I divorced in 1971 after 7 years of marriage. We have one son, Tony Budak, who is now 36 years old, married to a wonderful woman--they are the incredibly proud parents of our magnificent grandson, the 16 month-old Tony Budak.
I married my dearest friend, Jennie Dennison, in 1983 and our daughter, Cordelia, was born in 1985. Cordy -who is the light of our lives- is in graduate school. Jennie and I live in Hubbard, Ohio. Jennie's mother, Margaret Dennison, Margaret, a former Ohio State Legislator and Trumbull County Commissioner, lives next door to us. Jennie is the director of a non-profit company in Youngstown, Ohio.
Currently I walk 3 miles daily with my Weimaraner, Che, who also helps me with chores around the house. There is also the daily watch as care giver for Jennie's Mom, Margaret, who is a C Span junkie aging ever so gracefully. When ever possible there is always time with my family, and lastly I keep in touch with the labor movement on and off line.