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

Rep. Brian Kelsey: 2015 Yearly Review

The legislative year that ended last week felt largely like Act I of a two-act play. Many pieces of legislation moved in the right direction, but the final outcome was postponed to 2016, the second act of a two-year Tennessee General Assembly.  Scholarships for K-12 Students My 10-year push to provide Opportunity Scholarships once again passed the Senate but was mired ... (click for more)

System Of Granting PILOTs And TIFs Is Antiquated

Our system of granting PILOTs and TIFs is totally antiquated and without any justification.  No other city or county our size in Tennessee operates without guidelines related to granting tax breaks.  It is way past time for our elected officials to address this issue.    Our Chamber of Commerce and River City have had checkbooks with unlimited funds for way ... (click for more)

State Attorney General Says Case Was Argued Well To Let States Decide On Same-Sex Marriage

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said the state's position on same-sex marriage was argued well before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. He said, “Associate Solicitor General Counsel Joe Whalen did an excellent job arguing the case. He represented well the State of Tennessee, poised and articulate as he was when he successfully argued the case before the Sixth ... (click for more)

DA Tells Dalton Jury Cell Phone Of Skyy Mims Was Found At Murder Scene

District Attorney Bert Poston told a jury in Dalton on Monday that the cell phone of Skyy Mims was found at the scene of the murder of convenience store clerk DK Chaudhari. He said Ms. Mims carried out the robbery in order to get Lotto tickets that she hoped would bring her money to finance her budding musical career. He said she took 80 "$500 A Week For Life" tickets. The ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy Softball Rally Thumps Baylor, 10-3

The Soddy Daisy Lady Trojans felt right at home Monday afternoon at Baylor. These two softball teams are annually among the best in the state and they've had some memorable games in years past, but Monday's game was all Soddy Daisy. Baylor scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning before the Lady Trojans sent 11 hitters to the plate in the third where they scored ... (click for more)

Rob Riddle Named Golf Coach At McCallie

Rob Riddle, a golf professional with nearly 25 years of experience in the golf industry, has been named head golf coach at The McCallie School. Riddle served as the varsity and middle school golf coach at Girls Preparatory School in 2013 and 2014 and was the McCallie varsity assistant in 2014. Last year’s head coach John Green is remaining with the program as the assistant. ... (click for more)