Solidarity impedes UAW PR effort

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 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

members.



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:

integrity.



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

and self-dealing.



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

solidarity.



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.



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