Durbin, Duckworth call for non-unionized automakers to stop interfering in unionization efforts

Illinois Correspondent

AUTOMAKER UNION BUSTING: Illinois Senators Duck Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are calling on non-unionized automakers like Tesla to stop interring in unionization efforts. – A Fair Future At Tesla

Washington – Illinois’ senators are leading a call for non-unionized automakers to stop interfering with unionization at their buildings.

Now that the United Auto Workers strike is over and the agreements between them and the Big Three automakers are ratified, there are thousands of non-union autoworkers attempting to organize and join the UAW.

The UAW announced a major effort to organize the U.S. factories of 13 non-union automakers in November. The effort affects about 150,000 employees at 36 non-union plants, which would effectively double the union’s representation at the Big Three. When the new contracts it won were ratified, which included wage increases of 25 percent or more over four and a half years, several thousand  non-union workers then contacted UAW about joining the union, according to the New York Times.

However, there have been numerous reports that some automakers are illegally trying to block unionization efforts, according to the letter sent by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois with 26 of their colleagues, all Democrats.

“These retaliatory actions are hostile to workers’ rights and must not be repeated if further organizing efforts are made by these companies’ workers,” the letter read.

For example, the letter alleges Volkswagen managers confiscated and destroyed pro-union materials, and Hyundai supervisors unlawfully banned pro-union materials in non-work areas outside of normal working hours.

The National Labor Relations Board recently found that Tesla has employed multiple illegal tactics against organizing efforts, including online harassment, employee interrogations and retaliatory findings. Tesla successfully reversed one of those accusations, but continues to face repeated sanctions.

Meanwhile, Tesla owner Elon Musk has sued to dismantle the National Labor Relations Board’s in-house courts via his other company, SpaceX, according to Politico.

Musk, whose official title at Tesla is “Technoking,” has been a frequent union critic, according to CNN. “I think the unions naturally try to create negativity in a company and create a kind of lords and peasants situation. There are no lords and peasants [at Tesla],” he said. “I say if Tesla gets unionized it will be because we deserve it and we failed in some way.”

The NLRB also found that Lucid illegally fired two employees for joining the UAW, according to Bloomberg.

The letter calls for the companies to implement a neutrality agreement at the manufacturing plants as “the bare minimum standard,” especially for companies benefiting from federal funds related to electric vehicle transition.

“All workers, no matter what states they live in, should have a free and unhindered opportunity to join a union,” the letter read.

The letter was praised by UAW President Shawn Fain. “Every autoworker in this country deserves their fair share of the auto industry’s record profits, whether at the Big Three or the Non-Union Thirteen,” he said. “We applaud these U.S. senators for standing with workers who are standing up for economic justice on the job. It’s time for the auto companies to stop breaking the law and take their boot off the neck of the American autoworker, whether they’re at Volkswagon, Toyota, Tesla, or any other corporation doing business in this country.”

The letter was addressed to 13 auto companies, including Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagon, and Volvo. After the UAW deal was signed, Toyota, Hyundai and Honda announced they would increase workers’ pay by nine to 25 percent, and Honda declared that its team members have not shown an interest in representation, according to the New York Times.

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