Yesterday morning, front-line employees at the Volkwagen (VW) assembly plant located in Chattanooga, Tenn., learned that a vote will be held next week to determine whether or not officers of a single union, the United Auto Workers (UAW), will acquire monopoly-bargaining power at their facility.
Currently, any employee is free to share with management his or her views on compensation and work-rule issues, and supervisors and managers are free to listen and, whenever they think it makes sense, act on what they hear. Union members and nonmembers are now equally free to communicate with VW management.
If UAW kingpins prevail, this will no longer be the case. Any manager who willingly listens to one or more employees explain why they disagree with a position or positions espoused by their UAW monopoly-bargaining agents will be culpable of an “unfair labor practice” that may result in fines or other penalties being levied against the company by National Labor Relations Board bureaucrats.
Employees who disagree with the UAW brass will also effectively be prohibited from spending their own money to hire a representative to present their views, rather than the union’s, directly to the employer.
Incredibly, until very recently UAW kingpins were actively opposed to VW employees’ having even the opportunity to vote in a secret-ballot election before their freedom of speech was sharply curtailed under a union monopoly-bargaining scheme. Again and again, UAW czar Bob King and his lieutenants publicly pressured VW executives to grant union officials monopoly-bargaining privileges based on signed “authorization” cards alone, without a secret-ballot vote. If the company had gone along, the employees who signed cards while union organizers were staring at them would have consigned not just themselves, but all of their fellow front-line employees, to the UAW’s monopoly power.
However, thanks to staunch opposition to a so-called “card check” by hundreds of rank-and-file employees who have been assisted by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation attorneys and other citizens and groups who oppose compulsory unionism, a secret-ballot vote will occur.
Now the question is whether VW executives, some of whom appear to be more worried about keeping pro-UAW German union officials happy than about protecting the individual rights of their U.S. employees and the future viability of their Chattanooga plant, will tilt the electoral playing field steeply in Big Labor’s favor.
National Right to Work Committee sources in Chattanooga now report that VW executives are granting access to their assembly plant, free of charge, to UAW representatives, and also setting up employee meetings for the UAW.
A group of independent-minded employees who oppose monopolistic unionism are now asking VW for equal access to company facilities during their free time so that they can discuss with their fellow employees alternatives to UAW union-boss control. Up to now, such requests from independent-minded employees have been rejected by VW executives.
And yet, in a Chattanooga Times Free Press account of the imminent unionization vote published yesterday (see the link below), Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO Frank Fischer is quoted as saying that “Volkswagen is committed to neutrality” on the question of whether UAW bosses should be installed as Chattanooga employees’ monopoly-bargaining agents.
Exactly what kind of “neutrality” is it that grants one side of a campaign free access to voters, while denying it to the other side? This is a question that Fischer and other VW executives who appear eager to have their Tennessee employees corralled into a union should have to answer.