Didn’t sign a card authorizing UAW to represent you? You will still pay union dues.
If UAW signs a contract with UC prior to November 5, 2009, you will still be required to pay 1% (what exact percent i can’t remember) of your salary annually, to UAW. And although labor law does not prohibit you, as a non-union member of the ‘unit’ (i.e. you are a postdoc), the law allows the bargaining unit (UAW) to decide whether or not they will allow you to: come to meetings, vote on any and all issues regarding YOUR representation, or even submit comments/concerns to a UAW rep and have them answered. We have been told officially by UAW reps that no non-union members are allowed to submit comments/concerns to UAW (for the purpose of UAW to better understand the concerns of the unit it purports to represent). We have been told that UAW reps will not speak to us about any concerns or allow us to attend union meetings, unless we sign a UAW authorization card.
It is possible to decertify a union
One line of reasoning union reps employ is that “the union already exists, let’s move forward”. This response is meant to hide the fact that an existing and fully functional union can be decertified, in other words it can be disbanded. This means that “moving forward” is not the only option, in fact we believe the best current option is decertification of the union.
See the decertification section on how to dertify the PRO/UAW union and act now!
UAW reps lied about the relevance of the authorization cards
See the authorization cards section for more details
The UAW suppresses public debate
The PRO/UAW was deliberately acting in a non-open and non-transparent way making sure that postdocs do not have the chance to inform themselves about the true nature of the entire unionization process. This means that no posters or flyers were ever circulated, no workshops, seminars or meetings were organized where postdocs would have had a chance to inform themselves. The vast majority of postdocs were confronted with the entire process when a UAW rep approached them in their offices.
At UC Davis the UAW explicitly stated to concerned postdocs who wanted to organize a public meeting between regular postdocs and representatives of the union that it is their policy to not take part in any public and open discussion. Hence such a meeting never took place although postdocs expressed their desire to learn more about the union this way. Update: a meeting did take place months after it was requested by concerned postdocs. This meeting was not advertised at all though and consequently the vast majority of postdocs did not ever hear about it.
The UAW chooses not to listen to postdocs who do not sign the card
The union is entirely free to formulate its policies as to who can influence the bargaining process. It may choose to take comments, remarks, suggestions from any postdoc or it may choose to only take into account the opinions of those who signed the card. It is the stated policy of the UAW to only listen to card signers. This means that if you do not support the union but realize that you are required to pay approximately 1% of your gross income as agency due to the UAW once the collective contract takes effect and consequently you wish to influence what this contract contains, the UAW will only listen to you if you sign the card.
This behavior of the UAW can only be interpreted as they are not interested in representing all postdocs. Since they give absolutely no chance for non card signers to have their say and consequently the UAW has no way of knowing what these postdocs want in the collective contract. We find it impossible to represent somebody whose ideas and comments are never solicited and hence it appears that the UAW only wishes to represent card signing postdocs.
The UAW chooses to take agency dues from postdocs it decided not to listen to
Any union is free to choose how much it collects as membership fee and how much it collects from non members. It is important to stress that even if you are not a member you will be required to pay approximately 1% of your gross income to the UAW as agency dues. For most postdocs this amounts to more than $300 annually.
During the bargaining process non card signers are not allowed to provide feedback to UAW reps, i.e. non card signers are never given a chance to influence what will go into the collective contract that will effect the employment of all postdocs. It can be safely estimated that postdocs who do not sign a card will not want to join the union. However UAW chooses to impose agency fees on these postdocs too although it would be in its liberty not to do so out of the common sense reason that these postdocs were not given a chance to influence the collective contract.
In conclusion, the UAW freely chooses not to listen to non card signers and also freely chooses to “tax” the same people.
In 2006 the UAW already failed once due to massive protests from postdocs
In 2006 the UAW did not manage to collect 50%+1 authorization cards from postdocs because the more open atmosphere surrounding the process at that time triggered many postdocs to revoke their signed cards after they have learned the true nature of the UAW unionization process. What they found was that they were not given accurate information by the UAW reps when they signed the cards, hence they revoked their signatures later. This lead to the failure of the 2006 unionization drive by the UAW.
In 2008 on the other hand absolutely no public dabate, workshop or seminar accompanied the unionization effort. The UAW reps in many cases lied to postdocs about the true intent of authorization card collecting and engaged in various fraudulent behavior in order to “trick” postdocs to sign the cards.
We believe this procedure was inherently fraudulent and hence postdocs were never given the chance to choose freely.