For the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, the truth hurts, especially when it comes from someone the union supposedly represents. In a recent letter sent to LaborUnionReport.com, a “concerned and fairly disgusted UAW member” unleashes a tirade of epic proportions lambasting labor bosses.
The letter starts off by acknowledging that, although the writer is a UAW member, he or she believes that, like political ideologies, unions “are frequently better in theory and on paper than in practice.” The author then goes on to touch upon the recent events surrounding the UAW and their quest to silence workers who voted against them at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
However, the letter primarily focuses on “the UAW’s hypocritical behaviors regarding claims of it being a ‘democratic’ union.” The letter goes on to explain that, despite a pretense of democracy, the UAW is distinctly undemocratic and rife with “political backstabbing” of those who have “dared to disagree with the leadership at the regional or international level.
These so-called leaders have “never had to run in an open, honest and fair election.” Instead the UAW administrative caucus simply chooses who can run and who will be elected. Regional directors choose their assistant regional directors, and generally base those decisions on “an expectation of fealty and obedience” rather than on “skill, experience and service.” This hardly seems like the best model of democracy.
The letter also points out that the requirement to appoint leaders from the UAW membership is often pushed to the wayside. “That ‘requirement’ is flaunted and often ignored so that members who have worked their way up and often dedicated countless hours to their union often for free as volunteers are overlooked for a patronage hire or in some cases nepotistic hire. (Our assistant Regional Director’s wife was hired as an organizer for example.)” Nepotism and cronyism have no place in a democratic system, and they should have no place in union politics – but then again, nothing surprises us when it comes to Big Labor these days.
There’s one thing to be thankful for: that this UAW union member had the bravery and fortitude to tell his or her story. Read the full letter to get a better understanding of the underhanded, self-serving tactics the UAW bosses use to stifle democratic principles and processes, while hurting the people they claim to care about, rank and file.