Auto industry worker testifies on union harassment during organizing drive 

Larry Getts was a union shop steward at a past job, so he was inclined to support unionization when labor organizers showed up at his current job at a Fort Wayne, Indiana Dana Corp. plant that packs and ships auto parts. But this morning Getts testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that he eventually soured on the union as its representatives launched a campaign to harass and misinform workers as part of its "card check" organizing drive.

While workers beat back the attempts by the United Auto Workers to unionize the plant, it was only because they had the time to uncover the fact that they were being lied to by the organizers. But if the National Labor Relations Board goes through with newly proposed rules to rapidly speed up elections, workers will no longer have that ability in the future.

Testifying at the hearing this morning on the new NLRB proposals, Getts described what happened after organizers appeared at the Dana plant in October 2007 as "intolerable." The UAW representatives offended older female workers with foul language, approached workers on their lunch breaks, waited for them at their vehicles before and after the work day, and even followed them home.

The UAW made a string of promises about the benefits of unionization such as increased wages, that eventually proved false. Yet under a  "neutrality agreement," the company couldn't counter union claims, so workers were on their own to expose union misinformation.

"My coworkers and I were ultimately able to reject the unwanted 'representation' of the UAW," Getts testified. "We came to that decision after we had the benefit of looking at all the facts -- and only because we were afforded the time to do so."

He added that, "If the NLRB's recommendations for union elections go into effect, even workers who enjoy the benefit of hearing both points of view would be denied the ability to fully research the information needed to make the decision that's best for them."

I wrote about the new proposed "quickie election" rules here.

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Philip Klein

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