TRAVERSE CITY, MI –The United Auto Workers is taking a new tack toward organizing non-union foreign-based transplants, newly elected UAW President Bob King reveals during a Monday address at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars.
King says the union is developing a “UAW Principles for Fair Union Elections” that would require unimpeded access to employees and prohibit both sides from “making derogatory, insulting or untruthful statements.”
It also would ban “threats or pressure” by the UAW or management, King says.
Executives at non-union companies will be asked to sign on to the principles, but if they don’t and instead threaten workers who want to join the union, then King says the UAW “will use every resource at our disposal” to convince them to respect workers’ rights.
King emphasizes the UAW’s strategy is not to “pound” companies that don’t recognize the union.
“We are advocating for a high road of common interests, shared strategies and shared success, but if we must fight we will fight with all (of) our strength,” he says, adding “the UAW does not want to go to war with any company – we are advocating the opposite.”
Earlier in his speech, King says the UAW “has enormous respect” for the transplants for “providing good jobs here” and helping to preserve and grow the U.S. manufacturing base.
King was elected UAW president in June, succeeding Ron Gettelfinger. In his address he compares the UAW of the 20th Century to the 21st, underscoring how the auto industry crisis forced both the union and the Detroit Three auto makers to change radically.
Agreeing the change could not have been made in less than a crisis mode, King says the UAW “no longer views these managements as our adversaries or enemies, but as partners in innovation and quality.”
King concedes some of the UAW’s past attempts to achieve job security, including the controversial “Jobs Bank” that paid workers for not working (and has since been eliminated), “in the end did not achieve the result we were seeking.”
By contrast, the UAW now is convinced “the only true path to job security is by producing the best quality product, the safest product and the longest lasting product, at the right price,” he says.