Following last week’s dismissal of VW workers’ complaints against the UAW by Obama’s NLRB going to painstaking lengths to try to differentiate between Volkwagen of Germany from Volkswagen of America, Matt Patterson, Executive Director for the Center for Worker Freedom, wrote a piece posted at Fox News about the NLRB’s dismissal and reactions to it.
While Patterson quoted several sources for his post, one source’s comment stood out and should cause all Americans working for the subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies to take notice:
When a union targets companies that may be “union friendly” (or controlled in the case of VW of Germany), managers and supervisors may be forced to throw their First Amendment rights to freely express their opinions out the window.
According to Patterson’s Fox News article, it appears that supervisors within Volkswagen’s Chattanooga Tennessee plant are having their views and opinions suppressed:
Don Jackson, who ran the plant as president of manufacturing until 2012, is also appalled. Jackson, still a Chattanooga resident, told this writer that it appears the supervisors in the plant are under gag order, as they seem unwilling or unable to communicate to the workers the dangers of UAW representation.
Jackson hopes his former team members will take it upon themselves to “get the facts” about the union and its job-killing legacy — before it’s too late. [Emphasis added.]
If Jackson is correct and supervisors are under a “gag order,” this would imply that supervisors may be subject to disciplinary action (the severity of which is unknown) if they express their opinions to employees.
This seems to run very counter to the National Labor Relations Act, which states:
[Expression of views without threat of reprisal or force or promise of benefit] The expressing of any views, argument, or opinion, or the dissemination thereof, whether in written, printed, graphic, or visual form, shall not constitute or be evidence of an unfair labor practice under any of the provisions of this Act [subchapter], if such expression contains no threat of reprisal or force or promise of benefit. [Emphasis added.]
While supervisors are not protected under the National Labor Relations Act, if Volkswagen is indeed censoring its supervisory employees from sharing their opinions with to their employees about something that may impact all of their jobs, it seems not only wrong, but very Un-American.
Then again, the supervisors are not working for an American company–except they are in the eyes of the NLRB–so they should not expect to have the same freedoms that most American companies give their supervisors during union election campaigns: the freedom to express their opinions and views..
All of that aside, while inside sources say the UAW is fighting an uphill battle in Chattanooga, one of the most fundamental changes that will occur if the UAW unionizes VW’s Chattanooga employees is the relationship between supervisors and employees. Usually, it is not for the better.
Because of this, supervisors and managers should be given the right to freely express their opinions and views.
After all, it is the American way.