Selma worker petition: Leave us alone (Read More…)
Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser
Workers at a Selma auto supplier have signed a petition asking the United Auto Workers union to “leave this business and us, its employees, alone.”
But the petition, as with almost everything else involving the plan and the union, has become a flint that has sparked charges and counter-charges.
The Renosol Seating plant and its parent company, Lear Corp., have been under fire for nearly a year after workers voiced concerns about a chemical used in the car seat production process. Some workers believe the chemical made them sick, and those concerns have been shared by federal regulators and supported by blood tests results.
But federal regulators found air quality at the plant to be within federal guidelines, and the company has maintained that a handful of workers are engaging in baseless scare tactics as part of an effort orchestrated by the UAW. The plant fired one of the workers who spoke out about the claims and is suing her for defamation, spawning a federal whistleblower retaliation investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.
About 80 percent of the Renosol employees signed the petition, dated April 6. “We do not need this union or any union here,” it states in part.
A unionization vote at the plant was cancelled last year when the union alleged that management had interfered in the process. Those claims are under investigation.
A union statement on Thursday blasted the petition, alleging that management used illegal tactics to coerce workers into signing it. It alleged that workers were influenced by management and “an agent of management,” and asked to sign a blank sheet to which the statement was later attached. The union statement also alleged that temporary workers were offered full-time jobs in exchange for their signatures.
“It is perfectly clear that the ‘petition’ was misrepresented to workers over the six-plus months that management has been circulating versions of it,” read a statement attributed to the Selma Workers Organizing Committee.
Plant production worker Jacqueline Atkins disputed that and said management had no role in the petition.
“(A co-worker) wrote it up and asked us if we wanted to sign it,” Atkins said. “Everybody read it and signed it of their own free will. We were not forced. We were not tricked. Nobody threatened us any kind of way.”
Lear also issued a statement disputing the allegations and calling for the unionization vote to move forward.
“Our position has not changed,” Lear’s statement read. “We believe that our Selma employees should be allowed to vote on whether or not to be represented by the UAW.
Posted by Admin on 05/04 at 07:32 AM