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

Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her ... (click for more)

Families In Public Schools Fight Common Core, But Won't Get Out

The alarm among Christians who patronize government-run schools has a clear cause. Common Core, the name of the latest spate of reform, promises further control by Washington. What are moms and dads to make of the opposition to Common Core, particularly if they are Christian or home educators? How worked up should we get?  We’ll let Tony Perkins of a Washington G Street ... (click for more)

Jury Finds In Favor Of Texas Sheriff In Suit Brought By Chattanooga Photographer

A Federal Court jury on Friday found in favor of a Texas sheriff and his chief deputy who had been sued by a Chattanooga photographer. The jury in the courtroom of Judge Curtis Collier awarded no damages to Donna Johnson. In his closing argument after a two-week civil trial, attorney John Anderson said, "This is about the Fourth Amendment." Attorney Anderson represented Ms. ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain "Grounds" East Hamilton, 28-19

Signal Mountain was determined to run the football and take time off the clock Friday night in the second half of its 28-19 non-district victory over rival East Hamilton before a standing-room-only crowd at Hurricane Hill. “That’s our kind of football,” Eagles coach Bill Price said after the season opening game for both teams. “It was a tough football game and we just got out ... (click for more)

Maynor Leads Soddy Daisy Past Hixson, 49-36

If you wanted to see a lot of offense in a high school football game, then you should have been at  Soddy Daisy's Robert Talaska Field Friday night. Defense was all but non-existent on either side as the host Trojans took advantage of five touchdown passes from southpaw senior quarterback Hunter Maynor to outlast the Hixson Wildcats, 49-36. The last two minutes of the ... (click for more)