Stacking the Union-Organizing Deck in Tennessee

Shawn Fain has been UAW president for barely over a year. But he has already shown he is completely comfortable with deceiving workers about the impact union bosses’ actions will have on them.
Mark Mix: Shawn Fain has been UAW president for barely over a year. But he has already shown he is completely comfortable with deceiving workers about the impact union bosses’ actions will have on them. (Credit: WDEF-TV News 12)

Shawn Fain Eager Not to Discuss UAW Brass’ Real Track Record

It was on Sunday morning, March 3, that Stella Woods was awakened by the call she had been dreading.

After she picked up the phone, Ms. Woods, an Ohio autoworker who just the evening before had put in a nine-and-a-half-hour shift at Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly Complex (TAC), was informed by a robot that she was one of 341 production employees at that facility alone who were being fired that day.

Layoff Announcements Started Shortly After ‘Historic Contracts’ Were Signed

Roslyn Roberson received the same computerized message. And, as she later told a TV reporter for Channel 11, Toledo’s CBS affiliate, Stellantis offered little to soften the blow: 

“They left us with one paycheck. They left us with no help with job placements; they left us with no severance pay. Just a ‘thanks for your job,’” along with health insurance that expired in four weeks.

By the time March’s TAC terminations occurred, they weren’t unexpected. In early December 2023, Stellantis had telegraphed its plans by announcing that up to 1,004 TAC “supplemental employees” like Ms. Woods and Ms. Roberson would soon be laid off.

But just a few weeks before that bombshell hit them, supplemental employees who pay dues to the United Auto Workers union were being told by UAW bosses that, thanks to the strike settlement deals the UAW brass had just struck with Stellantis, GM and Ford, their lives were about to get a lot better!

Mainstream media outlets genuflected to the narrative heralded by UAW President Shawn Fain and his lieutenants about the impact of these “historic contracts.

‘Shawn Fain Lied to Us And, as a Result, Stellantis Fired Us’

For example, a November 2023 report in the Detroit News uncritically passed on union bosses’ “estimate” that Stellantis “temps” like Ms. Woods and Ms. Roberson would see “economic gains valued at up to $197,800” over the life of the agreement!

Undoubtedly because he needed the votes of unionized temp workers to get the “historic contracts” he helped forge ratified so he could bask in the PR glow of UAW “success,” Mr. Fain did not give any indication last fall about what was coming.

But just a little more than four months after ratification, roughly 2,300 Stellantis “temps” had been released from work. 

And thousands of production employees at Ford and GM had already been laid off or were facing potentially imminent layoffs.

Ashley Wilmoth, one of the 529 supplemental Stellantis employees in Metro Detroit who were laid off in January, doesn’t have any doubt about what happened to rank-and-filers like her.

Speaking at a March 2 protest outside UAW headquarters, also known as “Solidarity House,” Ms. Wilmoth declared: “Shawn Fain lied to us and, as a result, Stellantis fired us.” She added: “We were all paying union dues, and we are not receiving any form of representation from our union apparatus.”

Even as Ms. Wilmoth and other unionized autoworkers express their dismay about how they were sold a bill of goods, the UAW hierarchy is pouring, by its own account, $40 million in dues money into campaigns to secure monopoly-bargaining privileges over union-free autoworkers employed in Right to Work states.

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:

“Shawn Fain’s message to Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., whose thriving facility added a total of roughly 1,200 jobs in 2022 and 2023, is that they will get ‘higher pay, more paid time off and more generous health benefits’ if they help UAW officials seize monopoly-bargaining power.”

Tennessee VW Workers Have Ample Reason Not to Believe A Word Shawn Fain Says

Mr. Mix continued:

“Mr. Fain knows that, if VW managers chose to do so, they could easily demonstrate to their production workers from the public record that he is completely comfortable with deceiving workers about the impact UAW officials’ actions will have on them, and he should therefore not be trusted.

“That’s why a key part of the UAW strategy at the Chattanooga plant and at other sites it is targeting is to intimidate, with the help of the intensely pro-forced unionism Biden Administration, employers into silence about the union’s lengthy and ongoing record of abusing workers.”

As this Newsletter edition goes to press in early April, the UAW strategy of deceit and information suppression appears to be on the verge of success in Chattanooga.

And such a victory would surely encourage Mr. Fain and Co. to pour even more dues dollars into unionization drives in other Right to Work states.

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

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