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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    The UAW At VW: A Desperate Old Dog Tries A Very Old (And Illegal) Trick

    The UAW At VW: A Desperate Old Dog Tries A Very Old (And Illegal) Trick

    By: LaborUnionReport (Diary) | January 13th, 2014 at 09:00 PM

    As outgoing United Auto Workers’ President Bob King tries to do everything within his power to unionize the American workers of German-based Volkswagen, the tactics used on VW employees have already been the subject of unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board. In addition, as the UAW states its goal to be more cooperative and to “partner” with VW and its German union, it appears that the UAW wants to defer its independence to the German automaker’s Works Council which may violate the eight-decade old National Labor Relations Act as well.
    The Employer-Dominated Union

    During the roaring 1920s, when unions were attempting to gain a stronger foothold in the American workplace, many employers responded by establishing so-called “company unions.”
    Though they were effective in thwarting outside (or independent) unions, because they were established by companies to represent employees, “employer-dominated unions” became illegal in 1935 when Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act.
    Section 8(a)(2) makes it unlawful for an employer “to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it.” This section not only outlaws “company unions” that are dominated by the employer, but also forbids an employer to contribute money to a union it favors or to give a union improper advantages that are denied to rival unions.
    Now, nearly 80 years later, it appears the United Auto Workers may be trying to resurrect the company union or employer-dominated union in its desperate bid to represent the Chattanooga-based employees of Volkswagen.
    In a recent article written by Peter Schaumber, a former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, a nuance of the National Labor Relations Act is explained as it relates to how the style of representation that the UAW is pitching to VW’s workers is likely illegal.
    This environment is intensified by the National Labor Relations Act requirement that the employer negotiate terms and conditions of employment with the workers’ union as their exclusive bargaining representative. The German model of dual representation — with an industrywide union required by law and plant-level works councils negotiating workplace terms of employment — is inconsistent with U.S. law.
    In fact, the act’s broadly worded “company union” prohibition has been interpreted as barring the establishment of works councils altogether. In a 1994 case involving Electromation Inc., the NLRB, building on a 1959 Supreme Court ruling, found that the law prohibits the creation of any employer-assisted organ that engages in bilateral communications with employees on wages, hours or working conditions.
    A German-like works council that represents employees — with management participating on both sides of the negotiating table — would seem to fall squarely within this proscription.
    How does this legal obstacle affect the negotiations at VW’s Chattanooga plant? It means that the UAW’s promise to cede its authority to a German-style works council is empty. Union officials must know such an arrangement is prohibited by U.S. law; the plant’s workers who think otherwise run the risk of being duped. [Emphasis added.]
    Ironically, as Schaumber notes in his piece, as it threatened their monopolies in the workplace, the AFL-CIO (which includes the UAW) strongly opposed the Team Act which, if it had passed in 1996, would have allowed more cooperative work environments between employees and employers without violating the National Labor Relations Act.
    Nearly 20 years later, though, as the UAW tries to position itself as a “business partner” to a company like VW while lulling their employees into accepting this new style of unionism, a few people like Schaumber realize that this new style of unionism isn’t really new.
    In fact, it’s rather old and may even be illegal.
    “Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
    Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

    Cross-posted on

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    UAW, VW Colluding to Block Autoworkers from Defending Anti-Union Vote

    Vote defeated VW unionization in right-to-work Tennessee

    BY: Bill McMorris
    March 6, 2014 6:37 pm

    Big Labor and Big Business are working together to block autoworkers from defending a vote that defeated unionization in right-to-work Tennessee.

    Employees at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant that rejected UAW representation by wide margins in February filed a motion before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) disputing union challenges to the outcome.

    “If the [workers] are not allowed into this case, this … election process could go on forever. The UAW and Volkswagen could collude to schedule re-run elections over and over again, ad infinitum, until UAW representation is achieved,” the motion says. “It would be a mockery of justice for the board to allow only two colluding parties—the UAW and Volkswagen—to be parties to this objections proceeding. It would be akin to allowing two foxes to guard the henhouse.”

    VW has been pushing the plant to form a European-style works council to serve as a go-between for management and employees. While such councils are not necessarily unionized in Europe, a VW board member threatened to cut off investments to the plant if workers refused to join the UAW.

    “I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the South again,” Bernd Osterloh, head of VW’s works council, said following the election. “If co-determination isn’t guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor” of potentially building another plant in the U.S. South.

    The UAW immediately rejected the workers’ petition, arguing that only employees who are union members can appear before the NLRB.
    “Employees not purporting to be a labor organization and not a party to the election lack standing to intervene in post-election proceedings,” it said in a filing.

    The company said that employee views should play no role in the appeals process in a legal briefing submitted on Thursday.
    “[VW] does not believe there is any basis for the motions to intervene to be granted,” it says.

    Glenn Taubman, an attorney with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, said that the company’s unwillingness to support the decision of its employees demonstrates that VW is committed to unionizing the plant.

    “This dual opposition shows that VW and the UAW are colluding to unionize the Chattanooga plant and tamp down employee opposition to unionization at all costs,” Taubman told the Washington Free Beacon.
    Five employees represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation filed the motion to intervene. David Reed, a longtime worker in the plant, joined the motion to intervene specifically because he feared that the company and union were colluding.

    “Given the neutrality agreement signed by Volkswagen and the UAW and the alignment of these two parties, I believe that I must be heard regarding the UAW’s efforts to overturn our election victory and thereby deny employees our rights under the [National Labor Relations Act],” he said in the filings.

    The NLRB is still reviewing the worker petition. Taubman said the decision will have long lasting effects on federal labor practices.
    “If the NLRB agrees with these colluding parties and denies the employees any right to be heard in the UAW’s objections case, then it will show America, once and for all, that federal labor law is not designed for employee free choice, but rather is first and foremost for Big Business and Big Labor to strike whatever backroom deals suit them,” he said. “Employees have no rights and no place at the table in such a scheme.”

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