UAW: Marines (and the First Amendment) Not Welcome Here

By March 14, 2005Labor Unions

In a fairly jaw-dropping move, the UAW has decided to deny the use of its parking lot to local Marine reservists who drive a “foreign” car (a quaint notion abandoned by all but the UAW at least 3 decades ago) or who display a bumper sticker supporting President Bush.

In a Detroit News story by Eric Mayne, he reports that apparently the UAW has long allowed a nearby Marine reserve unit to use its parking lot on weekends, but no more. The UAW has notified the head of the Marine unit that as of now, certain Marines will no longer be welcome. This includes those who don’t drive “American-made” cars and those who display pro-Bush bumper stickers. In one sweeping gesture, the UAW has managed to thumb its nose at 21st Century concepts of trade, the First Amendment and the US Marines all at once.

A few questions come to mind:

– Will a Kentucky Toyota be allowed in the lot? An Ohio Honda? A Canadian Chrysler? This could tie the UAW name plate police in knots.

– As for bumper stickers, is it only those that mention “Bush” and “Support” by name? What of those supporting the war, or the troops? Stands identified with the President? Pro-gun? Pro-life?

It’s all just so silly, and so typically heavy-handed and thuggish. Somewhere Samuel Gompers and A. Philip Randolph are turning over in their graves. A labor movement once founded on the support for workers of all races and creeds, that was on the forefront of the struggle for civil rights and tolerance now stares its history right in the face and spits. For the last hundred years, labor fought against those who would ban speech that was unpopular. No more.

How sad that in only a few short decades they’ve turned into what they once fought bravely against. Once again, we see a labor movement gone wildly political, even to the point of intolerance, censorship and suppression of free speech and free expression — principles on which the labor movement was built.