The United Auto Workers is threatening this week to form a “voluntary” union at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. But earlier this year the workers at the VW plant rejected the union at the ballot box. Although the union says that participation would be voluntary, the real agenda here is clear and dangerous: to undo the democratic vote of the hundreds of workers at the plant. Eventually the goal is to force union representation and perhaps union dues to be paid.
The UAW is also claiming that it might be able to form a “consent agreement” with VW management to allow the union to represent the workers once half the employees agree to join the union.
This is an unprecedented strong armed tactic by the UAW to repeal an election result the union bosses disagree with. It could subject workers to intimidation tactics, which is exactly what the secret ballot elections are designed to prevent. If the UAW succeeds with this anti-democratic tactic in Chattanooga, worker rights could be compromised at other plants around the country. One reason cited by workers for turning down the union is they wanted to protect their jobs and not allow Chatanooga to become like Detroit, a city decimated in part by militant unions like the UAW.
VW management should reject the UAW’s powerplay and stand up for the rights of the workers and the labor laws in America that require elections.