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Opinion: Resist union expansion in Missouri

Union membership in Missouri has declined by more than 25% since 2000. One major reason is the UAW’s unreasonable demands make it difficult for automakers to keep jobs in the United States and in Missouri. In the wake of this significant decline in membership, the UAW has devised a much-publicized strategy of targeting workers at international automaking facilities in the southern United States. Make no mistake: This is a membership dues play, not an effort to improve conditions for workers. The UAW’s plan to boost membership comes at the expense of worker freedom.

While the national press has focused on efforts in Tennessee and Alabama, the Toyota plant in Troy, MO, is also a target. The UAW’s efforts failed in Alabama, and we hope they are also unsuccessful in Troy – our own backyard.

Recently, a Ford Motor Company executive stated that due to the UAW strike last year, the company must “think carefully” about where it will build vehicles in the future. That strike has and will continue to create long-term obstacles for job growth in the auto industry. Workers lost nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in unrecoverable wages from the strike. And since the strike, the Big Three automakers have announced 18,000 layoffs.

The union’s preferred method of organizing – card check, rather than the secret ballot – exposes workers to public pressure, intimidation, and even harassment. This tactic has worked for the unions in other states. Forcing workers to publicly declare their support for or opposition to the union (which is how card check works) breeds division, conflict, and coercion among workers.

But that’s not all. Unions want to silence employers by attempting to pressure them into accepting neutrality agreements that bar the employers from expressing their perspective about the union. This allows the union to prevent workers from receiving all the information, facts, and context in the organizing election, meaning important information may never reach the workers in Troy. They would be denied the right to make an informed decision – one that affects their careers for the rest of their work lives.

Associated Industries of Missouri opposes the UAW’s self-serving efforts to expand its membership in the “Show Me State.” Ultimately, we believe it will kill job growth by making the state less competitive and will cost workers their freedom in the workplace.