For a third time in five years, United Auto Workers (UAW) union officials are targeting Volkswagen (VW) employees to join the ranks of a union that has lost 75% of its membership since 1980 and 41 percent since 2000. In the past, UAW officials have attempted to silence critics of the union in order to block employees from hearing facts that might lead them to oppose affiliating with the Detroit-based UAW union.

In fact, after Volkswagen employees voted against the UAW in 2014, UAW officials attempted to overturn the results of the vote on the grounds that workers had heard information union officials claimed the workers should not have been allowed to hear, regarding the negative impact that unionizing could have on the VW plant and larger Chattanooga community. In that case, National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys successfully intervened on behalf of a group of Volkswagen employees to defend the results of the vote that UAW lawyers were seeking to overturn.

Given this history, it is important Volkswagen employees are vigilant about their rights as UAW organizers are once again attempting to impose union monopoly control over plant employees. Despite UAW officials’ intentions to force a lightning fast vote, workers not only have a right to learn information about the downsides of union affiliation, but also to share that information with their fellow team members.

For example, UAW officials won’t want workers to learn about the many times UAW officials violated workers’ rights while enriching themselves, including in an ongoing federal corruption case that has already resulted in multiple top union officials going to jail. In fact, it the last ten years there have been 82 criminal enforcement actions against UAW officials by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Justice for conspiracy to defraud, embezzlement, theft, knowledge of a conspiracy, and/or receiving prohibited payments.

Partially as a result of those violations, over the last 10 years the UAW’s reported total liabilities have increased to $115,925,262 as of 2018. Such financial desperation has led the UAW to violate federal labor law and Michigan’s Right to Work law, such as when it was caught red-handed forcing represented employees in Michigan, a Right to Work state like Tennessee, to pay dues against their will.

Faced with a lawsuit brought by National Right to Work Foundation-aided workers against the union, UAW lawyers recently settled that case by paying $26,000 in back dues to hundreds of injured workers whose paychecks were illegally raided. Similarly, in another legal development earlier this year in a case brought by a Ford employee with free Foundation legal aid, an NLRB judge found that the UAW violated federal law by refusing to timely process employee requests to cut off their dues payments.

Investigate and study these issues before voting to give the UAW and its officials extraordinary monopoly power over your workplace and working lives. The UAW may attempt to silence critics of unionization but workers have the right to ask tough questions regarding the UAW’s actions, including but not limited to:

    • Why has the UAW’s membership has dropped so significantly?
    • Why are so many automotive manufacturing employees in our country – from Georgetown, KY to Marysville, OH to Canton, MS – rebuffing UAW organizing efforts and choosing to remain free of union monopoly bargaining?
    • Can you trust the UAW as your monopoly union representative when so many UAW officials have been subject to continuing federal criminal and civil actions concerning financial corruption and have even pleaded guilty to federal crimes?
    • Why have Department of Justice officials and a Federal District Court judge named the UAW union as a “co-conspirator” in the ongoing embezzlement and corruption case?
    • What would it mean for you and your coworkers to be part of an organization with so much debt and over $100 million in liabilities but shrinking membership?
    •Why did UAW officials suddenly jettison the maintenance unit at your VW plant that they claimed to represent? Is it because all of a sudden that maintenance unit became expendable in pursuit of UAW top officials’ larger goals? Further, are there parallels there to what happened to Volkswagen workers in Westmoreland, PA when they became expendable to union officials and their plant was closed?
    • Why have so many workers turned to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation for legal aid to successfully defend themselves against violations of their rights committed by UAW officials?

Get the facts before you sign your name on any UAW petition or decide to vote for the UAW officials in an election. Union officials cannot legally infringe on your rights to hear and disseminate information critical of the union and union officials.

You have the legal right to refrain from signing a union authorization card or voting for the UAW. You also have the legal right to rescind a union authorization card after it has been signed. Whether you wish to sign a union authorization card or vote for the UAW is completely up to you. It is unlawful for an employer or a union to threaten or coerce any employee in the exercise of these rights.

If you believe your rights, or those of your coworkers, may have been violated as part of UAW organizers’ targeting of VW Chattanooga for monopoly unionization, know that you can contact the National Right to Work Foundation to speak with an attorney and to request free legal aid.

For five decades, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has worked in the courts to expand and protect the rights of individual employees to choose to refrain from union representation and membership. As the nation’s premier organization exclusively dedicated to providing free legal assistance to employee victims of forced unionism abuse, the Foundation takes no position about how ultimately you should exercise your right to join a union or refrain from joining a union. The Foundation simply wants all employees to be able to make this choice with full knowledge of what it means to vote for a union, and be free of any activity designed to coerce workers into associating with a union against their will.

Call the National Right to Work Foundation at 800-336-3600 if you want to discuss your legal rights, or to request legal assistance. You can also use our free legal request form: https://www.nrtw.org/free-legal-aid

For more general information about your legal rights visit: https://www.nrtw.org/your-rights-private

[4/19/19]