Roy Exum: The UAW’s New Scab List

Friday, October 10, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

There is a special page that is popping up on union websites in right-to-work states such as Tennessee that is called “The Scab List,” according to an article in Washington. The list of names identifies workers in automotive assembly plants who opt not to join the United Auto Workers union, which is legal under state law, so they can be “aggressively targeted” and “educated” by both their supervisors and card-carrying co-workers in a quest for “solidarity.”

The website reportedly reads, “The following individuals are NON-dues paying workers. They have chosen to STOP paying Union Dues and still reap the rewards of your negotiated benefits. If you work near one of these people listed please explain the importance of Solidarity and the power of collective bargaining.”

Sounds like a lot of fun and – if you hold your mouth just right – it is virtually guaranteed to soon appear at the Chattanooga Volkswagen assembly plant. On Thursday it was reported that in Kansas, where 3,000 workers are employed in Fairfax, a “scab list” was on the UAW website there. As the UAW intensifies its contract talks with the “Big Three,” it is believed the desperate union will do almost anything to represent Chattanooga’s workers.

Tim Stannard, the president of Local 1583 at the Spring Hill GM plant, admitted his local had published the list in an article that appeared earlier this week in the Washington Free Beacon and the list even identified where each non-union worker was located in the sprawling plant.  “I’m not trying to intimidate anybody,” Stannard said in the article. “We need to join together to stay strong and solid and we have people that are not in the union and that weakens us.”

But Bill McMorris, who authored the article, claimed he talked to one non-union worker and “education” was not exactly the tone of the heated conversations that followed after the list was revealed. Instead there was harassment and name-calling. “It’s all about money to the UAW. They want you to keep your mouth shut, pay your dues, and go along.”

Another non-union employee said he was approached several times. “They put our names out there so people will pressure us,” the man said. “One guy called me a scab outright. I don’t appreciate that. I was disgusted by it.”

Glenn Taubmann, a lawyer at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, said it was expected. “It comes as no surprise that unions in right-to-work states engage in all sorts of harassment and pressure tactics against independent-minded workers. The ugly truth is that once UAW bosses get into power, they will not tolerate any worker who refused to ‘voluntarily’ join and pay dues. Their view of ‘voluntary’ unionism is an iron fist against anyone who dissents.”

As president of the Spring Hill union, Stannard knows between 1,700 and 1,800 new jobs have been promised by GM and his sole objective is to keep the plant under tight UAW control. With expansion further assured at the VW plant in Chattanooga, there is an equal urgency as the UAW has openly scoffed at a one-year pledge to be inactive and instead is reputedly already hounding VW workers.

One worker in Spring Hill spoke in anonymity with the Washington reporter out of fear of reprisal. He said he paid union dues for 30 years, the first 20 in Detroit before he moved south, but said he had soured on the UAW. He pointed out nepotism and called the union’s support of bad workers appalling. He said the “scab list” is why he is finally dropping out of the UAW. “I’ve had more trouble with the union than with management. After this I will never come back to the UAW.”

The man also scoffed at the thinly-guised “voluntary unions” being established in Chattanooga and Alabama. “What they do behind the scenes is harass non-members, those who choose not to belong,” the worker said. “The (Chattanooga) workers can look forward to seeing their names on a list just like this one.”

Taubmann, the lawyer, agreed. “The UAW is forming so-called ‘voluntary’ locals, and says it has turned over a new leaf. But the fact that it publishes a ‘hit list’ against non-members in Spring Hill, Tenn., who won’t ‘volunteer’ for union membership shows its true colors: it is the same old Detroit-based UAW, rife with harassment and abuse for every independent-minded employee who disagrees with its dictates,” he told the newspaper.

“Independent-minded workers in Chattanooga should especially beware, as the UAW is attempting to climb into bed with Volkswagen,” Taubmann warned. “This same sort of harassment and abuse of non-members cannot be far behind.”

What an interesting article.

royexum@aol.com




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