UAW & Me
A friend who was a fork truck driver was approached to sign a card and he declined. The union people surrounded his truck and refused to move until he signed the card. He signed and went to the President of the Company and told him what happened. The union surrendered the card and then complained that the company harassed him into reclaiming his card.
Another friend, who worked in quality control was confronted in the ladies' restroom and asked to sign. When she declined she was again surrounded and told that if she didn't sign she would lose her job when the union came in. She called their bluff and walked out.
We had a vote and the union got its collective backside handed to it.
The union wrote up a list of over 30 irregularities and protested the election. We also got a new human resource manager who was a total jerk to everyone. Two of the "irregularities" had some validity and a new election was called while the new Human Resource, whom I initially liked but quickly changed my mind, created more and more problems. The union won by a couple votes.
Then facts started to come out. Our new Human Resource Manager's father was an AFL-CIO official and his brother was a high official in another union. Our Human Resource Manager's live in girl-friend was a labor lawyer who was frequently working for the UAW. The President of the company said that while their was no doubt that the now dismissed Personnel Manager undermined us and the company, he didn't want the fight to go on forever.
Needless to say, our contracts were not what the union was promising earlier. What really hurt was when the company was sold it still owed us money. (It owed me about $1500). We had to threaten to sue the UAW to get them to act and they got us a 50% settlement in 3 payments over six months. We were basically told to take it or leave it.
Even amongst some of the most fanatical union supporters disillusionment set in. A few years later, the good-intentioned man who initiated our organization campaign later confessed to me that "We are getting zero support from the Region and International. We're too small waste their time on." He acknowledged that he was disappointed, disillusioned and ready to get rid of it. He held an informal survey and found of our 60 or so employees only two really wanted to keep the union, while four others wanted it but could live without it. Our shop steward, while wanting the union, said "What can I say? I sure don't blame you guys."
The new owner was a very good-intentioned, but inept businessman. Personally I thought the world of him and still do, even though three years after the plant closed he still owes me a little. He gave me a 30% raise and everyone in the plant loved him. When the plant was seized by creditors he lost everything, so I am willing to forgive the small amount he still owes me; I lost a couple of hundred and he lost a lifetime of work.
We had begun the process of removing the union but the plant was closing and it became a moot point.
My Great-Grandfather helped found the UAW and he would be spinning in his grave if he knew what had become of his vision. Instead of supporting the workers, which is why it supposedly exists, it actually exists solely to enrich corrupt politicians and their cronies.