UAW: The War On Transplants Begins In January
Ever since being hand-picked to succeed Ron Gettlefinger as President of the UAW, Bob King has made it clear that his focus would be on organizing transplant factories, the US-based assembly plants operated by foreign automakers. And why not? Having been given ownership stakes in GM and Chrysler during their bailout, the UAW can’t even protect the wages of its existing members, let alone lobby for higher wages. As a result, this year has been marked by UAW protests against Toyota (for pulling out of a joint venture that GM had already abandoned and getting caught in a media circus), and Hyundai (for getting caught up in a convoluted Korean union spat), and threats of organization campaigns against Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen. Now, King tells Automotive News [sub] that it’s time for the transplants to batten down the hatches: UAW organizers are coming to town…
But before mounting his Winter offensive, King looked in the mirror to see if he had in fact been been naughty or nice this year. And it turns out that he had something of an epiphany: ugly protests against Toyota weren’t helping the “brave new UAW” storyline. King admitsWe said we were going to be the UAW of the 21st century and didn’t feel like that was accomplishing that goal,But, as usual, there’s a more prosaic truth behind King’s rhetoric: with pro-union “card check” legislation apparently dead in congress, the UAW needs to get some kind of cooperation from the plant owners, many of which have policies to keep outside organizers out of the workplace. By releasing today’s letter, King is seeking to shame transplant automakers into signing onto its”Rules for Fair Campaign” ahead of a January press conference launching the organizing campaign. The message is clear: transplants can either sign on the dotted line and be guests at King’s January press spectacular, or they can be on the menu. But will any of them agree to King’s 7 Theses? Decide for yourself:
UAW Rules for Fair Campaign
In the spirit and traditions of American Democracy, the workers and the management of XYZ Company agree to respect the right of each worker to make a decision to vote in an atmosphere free from fear and intimidation. Toward that end, both parties agree to the following:
1. Because the primary purpose of XYZ is to produce the best quality product, both the union and company pledge to remember that the primary purpose of this company is to produce the best quality product possible.
2. The election campaign will be free from fear, intimidation, harassment, discrimination, surveillance, interrogation and any other activity which interferes with free exercise of election rights.
3. To further protect the company and its need for productivity, there will be no campaigning that interferes with work. No one will be taken off his or her job or away from his or her duties to discuss the campaign, either pro or con.
4. All meetings about the election – either individual or group – will be strictly voluntary. If the employer chooses to hold meetings on company time union supporters shall be granted a meeting of equal length to present the union’s position. Equal time, equal representation to match the employer’s presenters and/or guests.
5. The union supporters shall be granted equal posting rights. This means that if the employer can post any material in opposition to employees having a voice, then the union supporters may post material of equal size and length.
6. In the event an anti-union consultant is hired or continues to be retained by the company, the name of the consultant will be made public, and a full and public accounting will be made of all money paid or committed to the consultant (as provided by the U.S. Department of Labor).
7. None of the supervisors will be punished or discriminated against by refusing to campaign against the workers wanting to form their local union.
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