As Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a former chief economist with the U.S. Labor Department and now a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, reported in a commentary appearing yesterday on the web site RealClearMarkets, Volkswagen (VW) executives appear to be violating U.S. labor law in pursuit of their misguided objective of helping United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials secure monopoly-bargaining privileges over employees at the firm’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.
VW has initiated the election, and it is only allowing pro-union material and UAW representatives to walk the halls speaking to employees, according to news reports.
This is most unusual, to say the least, and might have something to do with the presence of IG Metall [a 2.3 million-member German labor union] on the VW Board. In 2010, as part of [a National Labor Relations Board] settlement, Tenet Healthcare was required to post a notice stating “We will not deny employees the use of conference rooms based on their opposition to a labor union.” Just as employers are supposed to allow union advocates a chance to make their case to workers, so they are supposed to allow union opponents.
I called Steven Swirsky, the attorney representing VW listed on the unionization petition, to ask why anti-union workers were being discouraged. He told me that he was going into a meeting and would get back to me. I am still waiting for his call. I called Scott Wilson, head of communications for Volkswagen, and asked him about meetings for anti-union workers. Wilson said that the company had imposed a press blackout and that he could only send me a press release, not answer my questions.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is helping independent-minded VW employees in Chattanooga who are attempting to thwart the UAW takeover of their workplace, provided Furchtgott-Roth with research assistance for yesterday’s commentary. To read the whole thing, use the link below.