Good for the United Auto Workers. The union has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board over the flagrant interference in its recent election at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant. The workers voted narrowly against affiliating with the UAW.
Whether the UAW complaint will result in the NLRB calling a new election, or whether another election would lead to a UAW victory, is impossible to gauge. Erik Loomis of the University of Rhode Island and the Lawyers, Guns & Money blog thinks both are long shots, but agrees that the NLRB complaint is the right thing to do.
The details in the UAW filing are damning. The Tennessee Republicans’ conduct was nothing sort of shameful. As some 1,500 VW workers were preparing to vote, Gov. Bill Haslam, an assortment of GOP state regulators and Sen. Bob Corker staged a “coordinated and widely-publicized campaign” to interfere with the union representation vote, which under the law must take place “free of coercion, intimidation, threats, and interference.”
As it turns out, there has been deception and intimidation in Chattanooga . . . but you won’t be too shocked to learn that it is the union doing the deceiving and intimidating:
Volkswagen (VW) workers are claiming that the United Auto Workers (UAW) union used “misleading tactics” in its push to unionize a plant in right-to-work Tennessee.
UAW regional director Gary Casteel said on Sept. 12 that a majority of 2,500 workers at VW’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant signed cards endorsing union organization. Workers came out less than two weeks later alleging that UAW organizers misled employees about what they were signing, according to a complaint filed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Turns out that the cards they were signing trumpeted the fact that VW was seeking to establish a German-style “works council” — an organization comprising representatives of management and labor. Buried in the fine print: oh, yeah, and also we get to be your union.
The card check scheme also left employees vulnerable to intimidation. The complaint said that employees who changed their minds over the course of 18 months could only rescind their signature by personally visiting union officials.
“Despite making it so easy to sign union ‘cards’ at the workplace, UAW union officials are now demanding workers to go to the union office to exercise their right to reclaim their cards,” National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation president Mark Mix said in a statement. “This case underscores how card check unionization schemes make it ‘easy to check in, but impossible to check out.’”
Rep. Phil Roe (R., Tenn.) said that UAW’s tactics in his backyard highlight the need for the Secret Ballot Protection Act, legislation that he proposed over the summer to guarantee workers secret elections.
“Without secret ballots, workers are susceptible to intimidation, harassment, pressure and potentially threats to vote in a certain way,” Roe said in a statement. “Card check causes a high pressure and one-sided sales pitch.”
So, politicians fight to keep workers from being intimidated, and in the process get accused of intimidation. But UAW would never intimidate. No, sir. There’s no history of that at all.
If there’s one thing I know about the UAW, it’s that they always try to handle their business without any coercion, intimidation, or threats.
UAW, 1997, General Motors:
SPRING HILL, Tenn. March 7 — In a major embarrassment to United Auto Workers (UAW) union brass, Right to Work attorneys today announced their success in garnering an unfair labor practice complaint from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the UAW union after organized labor officials used illegal threats in an attempt to coerce and intimidate General Motors workers at the Saturn plant.
The labor board complaint, which names both the UAW International Union and Local 1853, results from a charge, filed by attorneys with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of a class of Saturn workers who are victims of an ongoing smear and intimidation campaign launched by
Local 1853 officials. For targeting workers who dared to dissent, UAW officials will face a trial before a federal labor judge on July 2.
1954, UAW, Kohler strike:
Six years of sporadic violence ensued between strikers and strike breakers. In time, the company would charge opponents with more than a thousand acts of vandalism. At one point, more than 300 people were arrested. Calls for a national boycott of Kohler products were vociferous and sometimes effective. Strikers were able to continue their often violent activities because of some $12 million provided by the UAW.
UAW, 2012, Nissan:
What does UAW bullying look like? In 2011, Mr. King threatened that he would label automakers that resisted his card check scheme as human rights violators. Thus, plants who attempt to protect the privacy of their workers through secret ballots face unwarranted attacks on their reputations for disregarding UAW’s Principles for Fair Union Elections.
When the bullies dishonestly whine about being bullied, it needs to be pointed out. Thanks to Dana for pointing this out and doing the research to do so.