Straw Men and Boilerplate

By June 14, 2010General

From The Detroit News, “Gettelfinger: Organizing unions a basic right“:

United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger gave a preview Sunday of part of his Monday farewell speech at the union’s constitutional convention, telling reporters that he would vigorously defend the right of workers to organize.

Gettelfinger questioned why it is all right for groups like the National Association of Manufacturers to have members, but businesses try to trample the rights of individual employees to form unions and collectively bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions. He made the remarks in response to questions by reporters at a UAW press reception.

Trample the rights of individual employees? Oh, brother. If you want to talk about trampling employee rights, it’s the UAW, not the National Association of Manufacturers, that wants to use card check to deprive employee of secret ballots in union representation elections.

There are plenty of other obvious differences between business associations like the NAM and labor unions. The LaborUnionReport lists prominent ones:

  • Businesses can quit their associations whenever they want, union workers cannot. In fact, trying to get a union out of the workplace is extremely difficult for workers.
  • Businesses can stop paying money to their associations any time they like and the worst that would happen to them is they get kicked out. If a unionized worker quits paying a union, in 28 states, the union can have him fired.
  • Businesses who break an association’s rules can get kicked out, but a union worker who breaks a union’s rules can be placed on trial by the union and fined money.
  • Business associations cannot cause their members to go out on strike, unions can.


The UAW marks 75 years of solidarity at its convention starting today in Detroit, but it sounds like Gettelfinger is choosing to rage instead of celebrate. A sad tone on which to end a career…

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