Now Is Not The Time For Fence Sitting At The Volkswagen Plant

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Co-Workers at Volkswagen.

As you may know, I am a supporter of the alternate union “American Council of Employees”, so let’s just get that out of the way. 

I am writing to you because I am concerned, very concerned for your future as well as mine. But more yours. Many of you are on the fence about either the UAW or an alternate. Many are taking a wait and see approach, and many others are saying, it doesn’t matter what union comes in, because you are not going to join any union or pay their dues.

  I can respect that opinion.  But I want to let you know, that right now, fence sitting is not a good idea.

People are saying, “If I don’t join any union, I am not affected by all this political stuff going on.” But I am here to tell you – you are affected. Because regardless of the union that gets in, whatever union is chosen, will be the deciders of your fate. If you are hourly, you will be affected, even if you do not join. That is because you are still, by law, part of the ‘bargaining unit”. This means any rule, any negotiations, and any change to your benefits will be decided for you by that union, even if you don’t join it, even if you don’t pay dues, even if you disagree with the decisions.

The UAW is trying hard to get into the plant without going through another vote. They are telling people they are in ‘collaboration’ with the company, and they have a ‘consensus’ with the company. I don’t know about you, but it feels like the UAW is telling us they already making deals and negotiations for you when you have not even made a choice.

A lot of people on the UAW side have said that a second union is not possible; an independent is ‘too expensive’, ‘too hard’, and ‘too weak’. But if you go look at the NLRB website, you will see that it is actually almost free to form a union, and be recognized just as much as the UAW is. The laws protect a union no matter how big or small.

The whole point in us needing a union is really so we can get that voice on the Works Council. Any union can do this. In fact, a home-grown union of just Volkswagen employees that get recognized by the NLRB can do it.

The petition that is going around is not for you to join the American Council; it’s just to state to the NLRB that you are interested in a ‘second opinion’. That you are not really interested in joining the UAW just so we have a works council. I urge you to go to the website and read up on what the American Council of Employees is about.  I urge you to sign the petition. Doing so, and having ability to have a second union choice, will ensure that you have a true voice. 

Doing nothing right now, could lead to the UAW gaining access to our plant, without a vote. If this happens, whatever the UAW chooses for you, will affect you, even if you are not a member. Signing the petition for an alternate choice doesn’t mean you will have to join the “ACE” either. It just ensures you have the right to choose. When that time comes, you can vote either way, but it will be your choice, not the UAW’s. 

Please take time to go read the two websites – the NLRB website page on ‘how to form your own union”, and the website for the American Council of Employees.  Then decide if you do or don’t want to stay neutral. Your future may not be your own if you do.

Kaye Fiorello
A Salary Specialist at Volkswagen

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