King Ignores His “Principles”

UAW’s president Bob King has already blatantly disregarded his “Principles for Fair Union Elections.” In his effort to unionize foreign automakers, it is clear the principles adhere only to management and corporations.

Bob King’s Principle #5 Equal access to the electorate

During the course of a union representational campaign, employees will have the opportunity to hear equally from both the union and management regarding this issue. There will be no mandatory meetings of employees on the issue of unionization unless the UAW is invited to participate in the meetings. Written and oral communications must be equal. The union must be granted the same ability as the employer to post campaign material.

First, they have had no invitation from Japanese automaker employees that they have interest in unionizing. However, they are already publicly promoting that they wish to unionize foreign automakers.

Another principle that has been ignored:

#6 Disavow any threats from community allies

Management will explicitly disavow, reject and discourage messages from corporate and community groups that send the message that a union would jeopardize jobs. Likewise, the UAW will explicitly disavow, reject and discourage messages from community groups that send the message that the company is not operating in a socially responsible way.

Bob King violating principle #6:

“If a company makes the bad business decision to engage in anti-union activity, suppress the rights of freedom of speech and assembly, we will launch a global campaign to brand that company a human-rights violator,” King said today during a speech in Detroit. “We do not want to fight, but we will not run from a fight.”

He is already speaking out against these companies calling them “human rights violators,” calling for protest against these companies, and has joined with community organizations — Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition — to speak against and protest automakers who do not want to unionize. Also, as can be seen from the near bankruptcy of the Big Three automakers, unions can jeopardize jobs.

Principle #9 is altogether against fair union elections:

# 9 Secret ballot election

The democratic right of workers to freely and collectively choose if they want to form their UAW local union is the workers’ First Amendment right. A secret ballot election incorporating these principles is an acceptable method of determining union representation if principles two through six have been adhered to, and if there is no history of anti-union activities. The parties may select an alternative method on a case-by-case basis that reflects the best process for demonstrating employee wishes. If the parties cannot agree on specifics of the procedure, an arbitrator may decide.

This is advocating for “card check,” the opposite of a fair election. This allows unions to coerce and intimidate employees to unionize. This goes against a basic freedom that Americans enjoy: the right to a private ballot.

The action on behalf of King and UAW should grab the attention foreign automakers and their employees. They will continue to attack these companies publicly and mislead employees in favor of unionization by promising favorable contract negotiations. Employees who wish to stay employed need only to look at the effects of unionization in the government and the Big Three. The government and the Big Three have had to make significant pay cuts and lay off employees to address their deficits.

Image credit: Pan-African News Wire File Photos’ flickr photostream.