UAW ‘Scab Lists’ Pop Up in More Right to Work States

Non-union workers face pressure

General Motors Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kan. / AP
October 8, 2014

The Kansas chapter of the United Auto Workers union is using its website to draw attention to GM workers who choose not to pay union dues.

UAW Local 31 dedicates an entire page of its website to listing the names and work stations of employees who have opted to exercise their rights not to be in the union. UAW Local 31 lists nearly 30 workers at the Fairfax, Kansas GM plant who are not in the union. The "Scab List" is published under the union website’s "Important Information" section.

Local 31 president Vicki Hale did not respond to request for comment.

Glenn Taubmann, a lawyer at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, said that scab lists are used to pressure workers into joining the union. The use of their personal information and where they can be found in the plant make them easy targets for harassment and intimidation.

"It comes as no surprise that unions in right to work states engage in all sorts of harassment and pressure tactics against independent-minded workers," he said. "The ugly truth is that once UAW bosses get into power, they will not tolerate any worker who refused to ‘voluntarily’ join and pay dues. Their view of "voluntary" unionism is an iron fist against anyone who dissents."

The UAW grew to become one of the most powerful and largest unions in America during the 20th Century thanks to coercive unionism in Detroit. The system forced all American autoworkers to pay dues as a condition of employment.

However, automakers began migrating to right to work states to capitalize on cheaper labor costs. Union’s are increasingly aggressive about targeting those who exercise their right to opt out of the union.

The Kansas scab list is the second one to pop up in right to work states. A scab list was recently distributed at a Tennessee GM plant, as the Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday.

"The following individuals are NON-dues paying workers. They have chosen to STOP paying Union Dues and still reap the rewards of your negotiated benefits," the Tennessee "Scab Report" said. "If you work near one of these people listed please explain the importance of Solidarity and the power of collective bargaining."

Tennessee union President Tim Stannard contended that the list was meant to encourage dialogue between union members and their non-union colleagues. One longtime GM worker whose name appeared on that list reported that he was soon approached by a number of union members who engaged in harassment name-calling, rather than educational discourse. The message, the worker said, was clear.

"It’s all about money to the UAW. They want you to just keep your mouth shut, pay dues, and go along," the Tennessee worker said.

The Kansas UAW’s focus on 30 people when it already represents nearly 3,000 workers at the Fairfax plant may seem a bit over the top, but one non-union worker who requested anonymity, said that it is to be expected.

"They can’t have dissenters among their ranks because it doesn’t look good to anyone thinking about joining," the worker said.

Published under: Right to Work , UAW , Unions