THE UAW ON THE WARPATH

From the desk of Stephen Cabot: Not satisfied with bringing the Detroit automakers to near financial collapse as a result of onerous union rules and regulations, the United Auto Workers (UAW) now wants to impose its typically stifling workplace scenarios on foreign auto makers that have built manufacturing facilities in the United States. Those facilities employ tens of thousands of workers who enjoy middle class salaries and benefits. Their morale and levels of productivity are high.

Nevertheless, the UAW has not only promised to expose so-called human rights violations at those facilities as if shining a light on third world dictatorships, but it also intends to utilize $60 million of its $800 million strike fund to achieve its objectives.

To further the achievement of its goals, the UAW is also demanding that auto makers give up their right to free speech by agreeing not to discuss unionization on company grounds unless UAW representatives can participate. Yet, union representatives can and do visit employee homes where they proselytize for unionization without company representatives being present.

And card checks (as one might have expected) are also included in the UAW strategy. Utilizing card checks, unionization would occur if a majority of employees sign cards signifying that they want to be represented and if the union can claim there has been a history of “anti-union activity.” Once unionization has been established and there is no agreement on a contract after six months, the UAW wants the matter turned over to binding arbitration, which had been an ingredient of the congressionally rejected Employee Free Choice Act.

It is apparent that the UAW is intent on driving up its dues-paying membership rolls, which have dropped from 1.5 million members in 1979 to 400,000 members today. Its $800 million strike fund could be enormously increased by unionizing workers at those entire foreign car manufacturing facilities that are building vehicles in the United States.

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THE PORTENTOUS RETURN OF CARD CHECKS

From Stephen Cabot’s desk in Philadelphia: In a recent decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has opened its back door ever wider for unions to enact a de facto Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as card checks. The NLRB decided that an important auto supply company, Dana, in Michigan, can permit the further establishment of unionization amongst its employees through card checks. The UAW already represents workers at a number of Dana facilities. And the union wanted to organize the remaining workers. In an effort to win union concessions without resorting to collective bargaining, Dana agreed to permit the UAW to use card checks to organize those workers who were not represented by a union. No longer will there be secret ballot elections at Dana. Instead, union organizers can now pressure or even intimidate workers into signing card cards. Dana agreed to the use of card checks and the abolition of secret ballot elections in exchange for the UAW agreeing to maintain the company’s plans to reduce employee benefits and permit mandatory overtime. The UAW further agreed not to call for a strike. And the NLRB gave this unusual deal its stamp of approval! It may seem like a good deal for Dana, but if labor disputes arise in the future, the UAW can resort to a full assortment of union tactics to win concessions, and it will have the added leverage of representing all of Dana’s workers. In the meantime, the UAW will significantly increase revenues from the union dues of many new members. Both the NLRB and the UAW have found a clever way to impose card checks on Corporate America and enlist millions of workers into the ranks of unions. It is a bad portent for Corporate America, the American economy, and every American industrial city from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, from Houston to Chicago, from Atlanta to Seattle.

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