DETROIT: The United Auto Workers’ reputation for solidarity and integrity - a reputation nurtured via the aggressive use of PR over the years - has been threatened by a lawsuit filed by some of its own members.
DETROIT: The United Auto Workers’ reputation for solidarity and
integrity - a reputation nurtured via the aggressive use of PR over the
years - has been threatened by a lawsuit filed by some of its own
According to recent reports out of Detroit, the dissident members are
reportedly suing both the union and General Motors. The members claim
that the bargaining committee at a UAW local in Pontiac, MI prolonged a
strike against a GM truck plant in 1997 in order to feather their own
nests with unearned overtime pay and jobs for relatives. The US
Department of Labor and the FBI are said to be looking into the
allegations as violations of labor law.
The charges of corruption have hit the UAW where it hurts most:
Founded by socialist idealists during the Depression, the auto workers
union always has prided itself on - and been respected by management,
the media and government for - its freedom from conflicts of interest
But in the wake of the recent allegations, the UAW PR department’s
ability to counter the charges has been hampered by, of all things, its
Due to a long-standing labor dispute with a handful of employees from
Detroit’s two daily newspapers, UAW members refuse to talk to reporters
from either publication.
Solidarity among workers and unions has always been a UAW guiding force,
dating back to when sit-down strikers at auto plants in the 1930s sang
the union anthem ’Solidarity Forever’ to boost sagging spirits. But
Detroit’s newspapers are obviously a major force in the way news is
circulated to the Michigan public. By cold-shouldering the papers’
requests for information and comment, the union could be hurting its own
cause and reputation.
UAW assistant PR director Roger Kerson said only that the union has
received no notice of the lawsuit and that no such allegations have been
brought before the union’s independent Public Review Board. He added
that the UAW has not reconsidered its stance of refusing to talk to the
two Detroit dailies.