UAW turning up labor heat?

The ongoing NLRB effort to intimidate South Carolina into reversing the will of the voters regarding card check is part of an ongoing effort by labor unions to do all they can to reverse years of declining membership.

Frustrated by a long string of failed efforts to organize foreign-owned automotive industry plants in the U.S., including plants in South Carolina, the United Auto Workers have begun a renewed effort to organize these plants, announcing a set of "organizing principles" that they're asking companies to agree to follow in exchange for so-called "fair" treatment by the UAW:

In looking at these "organizing principles", it becomes obvious they will apply unevenly to the companies, with no reciprocal expectations upon the UAW. Several of these biased "principles" are below, with our critique in italicized text:

2. Employees must be free to exercise the right to join a union or refrain from joining a union in an atmosphere free of fear, coercion, intimidation or threats. There is no free choice if a worker is afraid of losing a job or losing benefits as a result of his or her choice, or is intimidated into making a choice not of one’s own making.

- No discussion of how the UAW will address long histories of pressure and intimidation by their organizers so as to ensure they can live up to this pledge item.
3. Management must clearly articulate that if workers choose to unionize, there will be no negative repercussions from the company. The UAW must clearly articulate that if workers choose not to unionize, there will be no negative repercussions from the union. Both the company and the union will negotiate in good faith, and any failure to reach agreement will not be caused by bad faith negotiations.
- Absent from this is a pledge by union organizers to refrain from threatening employees who fail to support organization efforts of repercussions should a plant's workforce become organized. This "we'll get you once we win" threat is commonly reported tactic.
4. Management will clearly articulate that it does not promise increases in pay or benefits if workers choose not to unionize. The UAW will clearly articulate that it does not promise increases in pay or benefits if workers choose to unionize.

- No obligation by labor organizers to refrain from warning employees that a failure to organize will result in pay or benefit reductions - another common tactic.
5. During the course of a union representational campaign, employees will have the opportunity to hear equally from both the union and management regarding this issue. There will be no mandatory meetings of employees on the issue of unionization unless the UAW is invited to participate in the meetings. Written and oral communications must be equal. The union must be granted the same ability as the employer to post campaign material
- No reciprocal promise of allowing management to be present at all union-organized meetings, allowing unions to work in private without being challenged, while being able to challenge management points of view.
6. Management will explicitly disavow, reject and discourage messages from corporate and community groups that send the message that a union would jeopardize jobs. Likewise, the UAW will explicitly disavow, reject and discourage messages from community groups that send the message that the company is not operating in a socially responsible way.
- While this "principle" restrains corporate management from warning unioninzation would jeapordize jobs, the UAW does not pledge it will refrain from making the same claims, only that it would "disavow" community groups' claims - whatever those groups are.
9. The democratic right of workers to freely and collectively choose if they want to form their UAW local union is the workers’ First Amendment right. A secret ballot election incorporating these principles is an acceptable method of determining union representation if principles two through six have been adhered to, and if there is no history of anti-union activities. The parties may select an alternative method on a case-by-case basis that reflects the best process for demonstrating employee wishes. If the parties cannot agree on specifics of the procedure, an arbitrator may decide. 
- Who would decide if Principles Two through Six were being followed, or what would constitute a history of anti-union activities?

It is promised that if "employers abised by these principles, we will respect the choice of the workers whether or not they choose to join the UAW". Our question to that is: how will they act towards a company which does not agree to play by these union-biased rules?

It's bad enough that the Obama administration has given unions control of the NRLB for these purposes, but these "organizing principles" seem like yet another stacked deck that employers would be crazy to fall for.

Over the next 60 to 90 days, King said the UAW will reach out to the Asian and German automakers that operate U.S. auto plants, as well as to their employees.

"I am pretty optimistic that ... we will win majorities at the transplant locations," King said, even though the UAW has largely failed in the past.

King's approach also comes with a more traditional threat: Any company unwilling to agree will face criticism -- funded in part by the UAW's $800-million strike fund.

1 Response to "UAW turning up labor heat?"

  1. Anonymous 20/1/11 09:09
    This does begin to sound like something that would draw a Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations statute violation if Labour didn't own so many Democrats.

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