Thursday, January 27, 2011

Principles for fair union elections

On the first day of business for 2011, the United Auto Workers [UAW] released a set of 11 principles for unionizing workers at Toyota and other foreign-owned factories in the United States.

Topmost of those principles is: “The right to organize a free trade union is a fundamental, human right recognized and respected in a democracy.”

The final principle declares that the union has a “Partnership in the mission of the employer”: “11. The UAW pledges that if the workers choose union representation, the union as an institution will be committed to the success of the employer and will encourage our members to engage in the employer’s successful achievement of its mission. The UAW and the employer will work together in fulfilling the mission of the employer. The UAW embraces a performance-based and participatory culture where the union contributes to continual improvement of processes and shared responsibility for quality, innovation, flexibility and value.”
Other principles, dealing largely with correcting problems in the present representational election procedures, are listed under these headings:

-- No coercion, intimidation or threats
-- No repercussions from management or the union
-- No wage or benefit promises from management or the union
-- Equal access to the electorate
-- Disavow any threats from community allie
-- No disparaging the other party
-- Immediate Resolution [of certain disagreements]

Secret ballot elections and collective bargaining are covered in some detail:

"9. The democratic right of workers to freely and collectively choose if they want to form their UAW local union is the workers’ First Amendment right. A secret ballot election incorporating these principles is an acceptable method of determining union representation if principles two through six have been adhered to, and if there is no history of anti-union activities. The parties may select an alternative method on a case-by-case basis that reflects the best process for demonstrating employee wishes. If the parties cannot agree on specifics of the procedure, an arbitrator may decide.

“10. If employees choose to unionize, the employer and union will engage in collective bargaining to achieve an agreement as soon as possible. The goal will be an agreement that takes into account the employer’s need to remain competitive; the dignity, respect, and value of every employee; the importance and value of full employee engagement and creative problem solving; and that provides a fair compensation system. The employer and the UAW commit to full information sharing and joint creative problem solving. The employees will vote on whether to accept the agreement. Disagreements between the union and company will be discussed in a respectful manner. If no agreement is reached within six months of recognition, the parties may mutually agree to mediation and/or interest arbitration to resolve any outstanding issues. “

The full text can be found at, Read more!