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UAW has new organizational plan

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UAW has new organizational plan

It'll ask nonunion firms to sign principles



UAW President Bob King said Monday that the union, which has seen its ranks drop and its members make historic givebacks, is developing a novel approach to the critical job of organizing nonunionized automakers.

King said that the UAW will ask companies to sign a set of principles that bars either side from threatening workers faced with voting for or against union representation.

"If a company agrees to adopt the UAW principles, and then abides by these principles, we will respect the decision of their workers whether they vote to join the union or not," he said Monday at the 2010 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.

King declined to say who the UAW plans to target, or to outline the principles until after a board meeting later this month. Still, King has been talking about renewing its efforts to crack the U.S. plants operated by Asian automakers and has been protesting at Toyota dealerships.

"It's a very clever approach to organizing," said Sean McAlinden, a labor economist with the center in Ann Arbor. "If they don't sign the letter," he said of companies, "it implies that they don't maintain a democratic workplace."

King said the initiative isn't about adding dues-paying members -- even though the UAW's membership has declined from 1.5 million in late 1979 to 350,000:

"It is about democracy, and goes to our fundamental mission and the reason for our existence: to protect the right of workers to organize unions."



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