Volkswagen Employees Should Do Their Homeworking Before Voting

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Volkswagen executives recently announced that the 1,600 workers at its assembly plant in Chattanooga will be holding a secret ballot election to determine whether or not they will join the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.  According to The New York Times, the UAW “has voiced unusual optimism about winning.”  

This drastic change in position is surprising considering that just last fall a United Auto Workers representative openly worried about the prospects of holding a secret ballot election stating, “We know if we go for a traditional election where the outside organizations could campaign against us, we’d probably lose.”  In truth, the outcome of the election is anything but certain, but what is clear is that Volkswagen made the right decision only after receiving tremendous pressure from groups fighting for the interests of workers.  

The unionization process in Chattanooga commenced with a process known as card check, whereby employees sign cards to indicate their support for workplace organizing.  However, this form of organizing has been historically controversial, which is why the Supreme Court and Congress have recognized the secret ballot as the preferable method for determining employee intent.  

Card check enables union officials to intimidate, bully and illegally harass workers into signing away their right to vote their conscience.  Moreover, the process is open to manipulation because workers often fear retribution from their pro-union colleagues and labor organizers since there is no element of privacy.  The intrinsic lack of fairness has been well established and even evidenced at Volkswagen, where employees filed a lawsuit alleging that the union tricked them into signing cards, as well as making it overly burdensome to renege their support.

Union representatives tried to strong-arm Volkswagen into capitulating to its demands and denying workers a secret ballot vote, but public outcry and scrutiny forced the company not to acquiesce.  Yet, despite the fact a secret ballot vote is forthcoming; it does not mean Volkswagen’s workers are out of the woods.  The UAW has begun an intense campaign, lobbying workers to vote in favor of representation.  In the few days before the election takes place, Big Labor is working feverishly to conduct meetings with workers and persuade them to support the union cause. 
 

But before plant workers make a decision, they should pause to consider the very serious ramifications of unionization, an action that would cost them hard-earned dollars, result in the loss of their individuality and imperil the fate of their employer.  If workers elect to be represented by the UAW, the result will be that they will no longer be able to represent their own interests.  Decisions will be in the hands of union leaders, who have a track record of caring about their own personal interests more so than the welfare of workers.  Equally significant is the fact that by joining a union, workers will be required to pay dues, much of which goes to subsidize liberal causes that employees may or may not personally agree with.   

Workers at the VW plant should ask some tough questions. For instance, the UAW is increasing union dues this year on its members. Will there be another increase next year? And another increase the next? The union says the dues increases are designed to build up the strike fund. Is there a national strike in the offing? How long will workers be expected to strike, receiving no meaningful income for their families? Employees deserve answers to these questions.

Perhaps the greatest threat of recognizing the union is that it jeopardizes the future of the company and the workers themselves.  Union boss demands and mismanagement have contributed to the bankruptcy of some of America’s greatest auto companies.  Why would the fate of Volkswagen workers be any different than that of General Motors, which was brought to the brink of death by the UAW and saved with a massive, last minute taxpayer bailout? 

This decision is one that is next to impossible to reverse and cannot be taken lightly.  As workers in Chattanooga vote, it is critical they fully understand the consequences of their actions before giving Big Labor bosses the keys to the kingdom.  We know they are being promised the world by union organizers, but history proves that bosses – not workers – stand to benefit most from the union relationship.   

Fred Wszolek is a spokesman for the Workforce Fairness Institute

True Revenue Situation

My honorable and respected friend Roy Exum tells us again today, “It has been 12 years since the county fathers have approved a tax increase ... .” I’ll take his word for that, but want some more information. “No tax increase for 12 years” is just the chorus; I want to hear the rest of the song, the specific verses that really tell the tale. The fact is, although Roy’s bare ... (click for more)

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Judge Walter Williams May Go Back On The Bench As Administrative Hearing Officer

One of the city's most colorful judges may go back on the bench. The City Council on Tuesday is set to vote on the nomination of former City Court Judge Walter Williams as administrative hearing officer - a new city position. The law license of the former judge was transferred to disability inactive status in August of 2015 after he suffered a stroke early in the year.  ... (click for more)

Body Believed To Be That Of McCallie Student Jackson Standefer Recovered In Colorado River

A body believed to be that of a McCallie School student who was swept away in a creek in the Grand Canyon was recovered on Friday. The Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center said it was notified by a commercial river trip that they located a body on the Colorado River at River Mile 152. Park rangers responded and recovered the body, which was transported to the rim ... (click for more)

Morgan, Smith, Parrott Pace Lady Pounders Past Bearettes 6-0

Maybe Central softball coach LeeAnne Shurette won’t nag her Lady Pounders so much in the coming days. Central collected eight hits, including two-run singles by Tatum Morgan and Janara Smith, on Friday to back Brooke Parrott’s three-hitter and the Lady Pounders defeated Bradley Central 6-0 in the East Hamilton tournament at The Summit. “Shurette has been nagging, maybe ... (click for more)

McCallie Earns 3-1 Soccer Win Over Rival Baylor

When his team needed him the most, McCallie senior Drew Viscomi did what he does best. Two minutes after the Blue Tornado allowed an equalizer to rival Baylor in the Division II Mid-East Region soccer match on the Red Raiders’ home field, Viscomi’s strike put his team back on top. Five minutes later, the All-American and school single-season scoring leader ... (click for more)