Mike Ivey is a materials handler at Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) in Gaffney, South Carolina. Mike and his fellow coworkers have endured four years of in-your-face “card check” organizing by the United Autoworkers (UAW) union. FCCC and its parent company Daimler-Chrysler had backroom talks with the UAW union resulting in a “neutrality agreement” which also included detailed agreements about employees’ future terms and conditions of employment before a single employee had even considered whether to unionize. In fact, union officials actually blocked a previously promised wage increase to induce employees to sign union authorization cards.
In response, Mike and his coworkers sprung into action. They collected signatures from over 70 percent of the bargaining unit on a petition opposing that they wanted nothing to do with the union or its unlawful tactics.
With free legal assistance from attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Mike and his coworkers were able to stand up for their rights. After filing charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in 2003, Foundation attorneys highlighted that the company and union engaged in unlawful and coercive conduct that interfered with employees’ rights to refrain from concerted union activity.
As a result, the NLRB agreed to issue a formal complaint and prosecute the union and company for unfair labor practices. In order to avoid an embarrassing prosecution, Ivey and his coworkers eventually forced the UAW union and Freightliner to curtail their unlawful practices. The UAW union rescinded its backroom agreement and the promised employees’ pay raises went into effect.
Mike in His Own Words
“Faced with a never-ending onslaught, we employees feel that the UAW is holding our heads under water until we drown. Some employees have had five or more harassing visits from these union organizers. The only way, it seems, to stop the badgering and pressure is to sign the card?Moreover, in many instances, employees who signed cards under pressure or false pretenses later attempted to retrieve or void this card. The union would not allow this to happen, telling them that they could not do so.” –Mike Ivey, February 8, 2006, providing written testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives about worker abuse under “card check” union organizing
“I started this endeavor to stand up for my rights after I found out about the National Right to Work Foundation. I could have never stood up to the union without the support and legal expertise of the Foundation.” –Mike Ivey, responding to Freightliner and UAW union aggression
“In America, how can something like this happen” How can someone force something on you that you don’t want?” –Mike Ivey speaks about the injustice of “card check” union organizing abuse
“There were cases when the UAW actually gained access to employees’ houses and before they could get rid of them, the employees had to threaten police action so they would leave.” –Mike Ivey, discussing union officials’ harsh tactics
“With the union not representing anyone at that plant and for them to hold up a wage increase, the UAW was actually watching out for themselves and all they wanted was the money.” –Mike Ivey, commenting on so-called union representation
“We talked with other people at other facilities and they were not very happy that the union was there. Nothing happened to improve the plant and we just decided that we wanted to keep our facility non-union.” –Mike Ivey, describing how he and his colleagues felt about forced unionism
Foundation Action Features
Related News Articles
March 18, 2007: “Why ballot must be secret,” Dallas Morning News
March 11, 2006: “Employers Sharply Criticize Shift in Unionizing Method to Cards from Elections,” The New York Times
January 25, 2006: “Factory workers sue DCX, union – UAW yielded on contract with Freightliner in exchange for company’s organizing help, federal lawsuit claims,” The Detroit News
January 25, 2006: “N.C. Freightliner Workers Allege Company, UAW Made Secret Deal,” The Charlotte Observer
August 11, 2005: “Labor board to prosecute auto workers union,” The Associated Press
October 7, 2004: “National Labor Relations Board to hear complaint against Freightliner, UAW,” Goupstate.com
May 13, 2004: “Workers go to Capitol Hill to protest ‘union abuse,'” Goupstate.com
September 8, 2003: “Anti-union group targets Freightliner: NLRB filing alleges bias toward UAW,” Automotive News Online
September 4, 2003: “UAW recruiting tactics draw fire, lawsuits,” The Associated Press
August 12, 2003: “2 sue Freightliner to fight union,” The Spartan Herald-Journal Online
August 11, 2003: “Some Freightliner employees file charge against UAW,” The Gaffney Ledger