Has the UAW misled workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant, and tricked them into signing cards that endorse the UAW? A National Labor Relations Board complaint filed by the National Right to Work Foundation says so. On inspection of the card, the complaint does not hold water. Some say there are two sets of cards.
The Right to Work Foundation, which filed a complaint on behalf of 8 workers, claims that workers were told by UAW operatives “that a signature on the card was to call for a secret ballot unionization election.” As the Detroit Free Press writes, the UAW tries to ”organize the 2,500 Volkswagen hourly workers through the so-called card-check process, through which a union may be recognized by a company simply by obtaining signatures of more than 50 percent of the workforce.” The UAW says it has enough cards.
The Dailkanban obtained a union card (shown) and it clearly states that by signing the card, “I authorize the UAW to represent me in collective bargaining.” In a letter to employees, that UAW states that “upon obtaining majority card status, we intend to ask Volkswagen to recognized the UAW and commence bargaining.” The Right to Work Foundation may say that workers were told something else, and that the cards are an endorsement of a Works Council, which Volkswagen’s HR Chief Horst Neumann, recommends, and which many Chattanooga workers may want, if only to feel like a full part of the Volkswagen family. However, by signing the card, the worker says he or she wants a union to represent him or her. At the end of the day, it is what the signed paper says, not what he or she said.
Today, there is another twist in the story. A source tells us that there could be different versions of the cards. The one we have is said to be a more recent one that clearly states that signing the card is to allow the UAW to be the worker representative. According to what we are hearing, an earlier version does not do that, and has a different heading than “Authorization Card.” We are trying to hunt down the other version, but it is not easy. Allegedly, hundreds of Chattanooga workers are trying to get their own signed cards back, and they likewise are having a hard time.