By ‘Neutral,’ UAW Union Bosses Don’t Really Mean ‘Neutral’

United Auto Workers (UAW/AFL-CIO) union officials are now striving to secure monopoly-bargaining privileges at several currently union-free auto-assembly plants that are owned by Nissan, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz and located, respectively, in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama  — all Right to Work states.

As part of their organizing campaigns, UAW bosses are demanding that Nissan, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz be “neutral” on unionization of their U.S.-based facilities.  A reasonable person who is unschooled in the ways of Big Labor might assume that, by “neutral,” union spokesmen mean neither opposed to nor supportive of unionization.

But that is not what the UAW hierarchy means at all.  Union bosses are pressuring auto manufacturers not to share with their employees purely factual information about the UAW’s track record if that information is unhelpful to the union organizing drive.  On the other hand, from the UAW perspective it is no violation of “neutrality” at all if a company simply regurgitates union propaganda in its communications with employees.

A report appearing in the Detroit Free Press today indicates Mercedes-Benz may intend to be truly neutral about the union organizing campaign at its assembly plant located near Tuscaloosa, rather than “neutral” in the UAW sense.  That surely can’t be pleasing news for union kingpins:

Wilfried Porth, director of human resources at Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent, took a neutral stance on the UAW during an interview with the Free Press.

“The workers are free to decide if they want to be represented by the union or not,” Porth said. “And that fits to the American labor law situation.” . . .

Porth said the UAW faces an uphill battle at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama. The 2,900 workers there receive wages and benefits that management considers competitive and have an open relationship with plant management.

“I think the UAW has some challenges in marketing because of the history of the Big Three,” said Porth, referring to the Detroit automakers’ contraction over the last 40 years.

The UAW’s membership has declined from more than 1.5 million in 1979 to less than 400,000, according to its most recent annual report. However, the UAW’s membership has increased slightly for three years in a row as General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have recovered from the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression.

A UAW spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday on Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes is neutral on UAW