Unable to tolerate an upset loss in February’s vote to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., the United Auto Workers has subpoenaed 20 people to a federal appeals hearing.
Among those called to the April 21 National Labor Relations Board meeting : Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist.
Desperate to maintain some semblance of union power, the UAW has resorted to the highly unusual maneuver of calling in third parties to dispute the vote, the Times Free Press reported.
The union’s argument hinges on proving that those subpoenaed interfered in the election and changed its outcome, even though the deck was stacked in UAW’s favor at election time. The UAW was even allowed to hold mandatory workers’ meetings to lobby its case, while anti-union representatives were barred from the premises.
“After a stinging defeat, rather than respect the workers’ decision, the UAW is trying to create a sideshow and we’ve referred this matter to legal counsel,” said Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womack.
Originally, the UAW tried to block the election from being held, arguing that VW should automatically unionize the factory because that was standard practice in Germany. When the company decided against automatic unionization, the UAW tried to enroll the factory’s employees by having them sign pro-union cards, but some workers complained that they used unsavory tactics to get the signatures, the Examiner reported. In the end, even though Volkswagen was on the union side, workers chose not to unionize by a convincing vote of 712-626.
NLRB rules allow plaintiffs to issue subpoenas, but enforcing the recipients to appear is another matter, and could prove very time consuming. Those subpoenaed also include Tennessee Economic Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, state House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, state Sen. Bo Watson, and Ron Harr, chief executive of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. All are Republicans, the Times Free Pressreports.
Americans don’t generally take kindly to sore losers, and the UAW might regret letting its ego bruise so easily.
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