There's an ongoing controversy over the United Auto Workers' do-or-die efforts to unionize nearly 3,000 of Volkswagen's workers in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Unfortunately, Volkswagen's employees may be learning the hard way that unions and their organizers are
often dishonest when it comes to unionizing workers.
Last month, after using some legally questionable tactics, the UAW claimed that it had acquired a majority of signatures from VW's workers.
Now, increasing the temperature in Tennessee, a group of VW workers have filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the UAW misled the VW workers into signing union cards.
After UAW union officials claimed to possess signature cards from a majority of workers, UAW union president Bob King demanded VW deny workers a secret ballot vote on unionization and instead unionize all workers on the basis of the unreliable and abuse-prone card check process.
The charges state that VW workers were told by UAW union organizers that a signature on the card was to call for a secret ballot unionization election. They also allege other improprieties in the card check process, including using cards that were signed too long ago to be legally valid.
To further complicate matters, according to the National Right to Work Foundation, the UAW is apparently telling workers who are asking for their cards back that the only way they can get them is to stop by the union office.
As expected, the UAW is denying that it misled and coerced the VW workers, calling the charges "frivolous and baseless."
Unfortunately, VW's workers fall into a long line of employees who have been misled into signing union authorization cards. The reason is, the National Labor Relations Board has historically allowed unions to mislead workers into unionization.
The act of unions deceiving workers into signing their rights over to a a union during organizing campaigns is very commonplace. Though it is usually done though making false promises, for the most part, this activity has been deemed permissible for decades--well before Barack Obama stacked the NLRB with his pro-union appointees.
Often, union organizers will tell employees that their signatures will:
- Only be used to get information
- Only be used for a mailing list
- Lead to higher wages, better benefits and/or _____________
- Give them a [union] "voice" on the job
Given that unions are legally allowed to mislead workers into signing their rights over to a union, it is not at all surprising that VW's workers are now claiming that the UAW misled them into signing union authorization cards.
Moreover, while VW employees can legally demand the UAW give them their card back, it remians questionable whether or not the appointees at the NLRB will even bother to hear the VW workers' allegations about the UAW's deception.
However, one area that may be more deserving of the NLRB's attention is the public threat that was issued by a German union official (who sits on VW's Board of Directors) that the Tennessee plant may not get expanded without UAW (or other union) representation.
Should an unfair labor practice charge be filed over the union's threat of non-expansion, unlike the UAW deceiving workers, the NLRB would be hard pressed to dismiss the fact that VW's German union--which has a management role at Volkswagen--threatened employees as this would be counter to the NLRB's logic in prosecuting Boeing a few years ago.
"Truth isn't mean. It's truth."
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com