Phi Beta Cons

A Reader Comments on Unionization

A reader with experience with unionization drives sent me this comment regarding my post earlier this week:

Saw the NRO story about the UAW. My wife is a Ph.D. student at Washington State University. The UAW tried to organize the grad students here using card check. They outright lied about the cards: They were “informational,” or you were supposed to sign them “just to show the union rep had been there” or “there would be a vote later” (to ratify the contract, not to approve the union). They tried to silence anyone who opposed them. Once enough people had been tricked into signing cards, the cards were presented to the state legislature as “evidence” that the WSU grad students wanted to be reclassified as employees — prior to the card drive, the students were not eligible for collective bargaining under Washington state law. Conveniently, the Democratically dominated legislature voted on party lines to reclassify the students. The state is dominated by public-employee unions, and the governor is a former labor attorney. Thus the grad students were disenfranchised.
However, my wife, who had had previous experience in the UAW, and a corps of other students researched the state’s collective bargaining laws and figured out the process for revoking the cards. They then organized a campaign to inform grad students and enable them to revoke their cards. With the exception of those in the class-warfare-dominated liberal-arts departments, most of the cards were quickly revoked. Business, engineering, and science were almost entirely against the effort. The UAW shelved the effort. We haven’t heard anything since then over a year ago.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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