Chattanoogan.com’s Roy Exum provides analysis of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s inside game from the UAW’s 36th Constitutional Convention:
Frank Patta, the general secretary of the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, told those at the Detroit convention he believes efforts to organize a union at the Chattanooga VW Assembly plant will be successful.
“Let me say this to our enemies. We will go on … we will not be beaten,” said Patta, whose brother Sebastian heads the human resources department at the Chattanooga plant. “We want people to have a say in what happens at their workplace.”
Oh, my goodness. Hollywood screen writers can’t make this stuff up. While the Patta brothers will help the UAW in any way they can, I suspect those in Chattanooga are sensing the reasons the pro-union forces at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama just told the UAW to leave. … if the UAW does insist on another vote [at the Chattanooga VW plant], let’s do it the Detroit way – all ya’ll just raise your hand.
The United Auto Workers union put on a textbook show for Chattanooga’s Volkswagen employees of “how it really works” Tuesday afternoon. The union was holding its 36th Constitutional Convention at Detroit’s Cabo Center when finally the subject of the first dues increase since 1967 came up. [Rejecting “repeated calls to refer the issue [dues increase] to a referendum of the union’s entire nearly 400,000 members.”
“Some dissenters wanted to call for a roll call vote in which each delegate’s vote would be tallied. After a delegate called to end debate, opponents couldn’t get the 307 delegates needed for a roll call vote.”
The newspaper [Detroit News] said that King argued the dues hike was necessary because the long strike at Caterpillar had cost the union $300 million and that the outgoing chief denied suggestions the union has been “irresponsible” in handling its finances.
As you may guess, the dues hike was ill-received by many members who have watched union leaders bleed the strike fund from $900 million to a current $600 million in recent years.
The comments the story generated were telling. Christa Jordan Eberline, a tool & die maker at the Ford plant, wrote, “I’m not shocked but I am disappointed. As a membership we have done nothing but give, give, give. We have lost more in our last three contracts than most people realize. The fact the International can spend our money without our permission is reprehensible at best.
“Convince me that next year, when I finally have the right to opt out of the UAW, because I live in a right-to-work state, why I should continue to pay for nothing.”