Dear UAW: An open letter to Bob King

Matt Patterson Executive Director, Center for Worker Freedom, ATR
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Hello Mr. King. My name is Matt. You don’t know me, but I feel we are connected. You see, I am one of the taxpayers whose money was used to bail out the auto industry in 2009.

You remember that, don’t you? Something like $60 billion of our money that President Barack Obama used to prop up Chrysler and General Motors. You know those companies right?  During the bailout your union was given 1/6th ownership of GM, if I am not mistaken.

In other words, your friend Obama took my money to buy you a car company.There is a lot of irony there. Let’s dwell on it for a moment, shall we? First, you are a big supporter of the President, aren’t you? I mean you talk about him all the time. After 2012 you even bragged — gloated actually — that the UAW and its “progressive allies” had scored a “huge victory” by re-electing the president. Your union gave over $148,000 to help him secure that re-election, so no wonder you bragged. And that’s the tip of the ice berg, of course, a mere fraction of the millions the UAW has given to Democratic politicians over the past decades.

You sure got a lot for all that support. Hell, you got part of a company.

Speaking of that company, remind me again: Why did we have to bail it out? Something about a bankruptcy? And why would GM be in such financial trouble, I wonder? Your union wouldn’t have had anything to do with that, would it, by for example, pushing up labor costs and loading it up with the mountains of red tape and regulations that made it less productive and less profitable?

No? Ok, just asking. It’s funny because according to Reuters, “Since 2001, the [unionized] Detroit Three have slashed over 200,000 jobs, eliminating more than 60 percent of their hourly work force,” while the non-union foreign owned facilities in the South have been churning out jobs and cars like gang-busters.

So much for your union’s promise to be able to preserve jobs.

To me, Mr. King, it looks like the only jobs that your union can guarantee are union official’s jobs, like your own. And maybe not those so much any more either: Isn’t it true that since 1979 your membership has plummeted 74 percent? That is a lot of dues money going out the window, and that has got to make it harder for the union to pay your $180,000-plus salary.

By the way, if your organization is so great, why is it losing so many members? And how come the company (General Motors) and the city (Detroit) that your organization are so deeply involved in have both gone belly-up? What’s that, Detroit is the politicians’ fault? Funny, I was under the impression that you couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in the Motor City without UAW backing.

Planning on electing any dogcatchers in Chattanooga, Mr. King? Plan on supporting any politicians in Tennessee, the way you have in Detroit? The kind of politicians aligned with your “progressive” agenda? That’s a rhetorical question: I know you will. As we reported on www.workerfreedom.org, your organization already gave $20,000 to a Congressman from Memphis who has supported all manner of gun-control legislation and called pro-gun rights politicians in Congress a “Murderers’ Row.”

I get it, Mr. King, I really do. You need Volkswagen Chattanooga. The German union IG Metall would love to see you succeed there, as well. Solidarity, and all that. And the left-wing politicians in Washington you bankroll would love to see you succeed, too, so those campaign contributions can keep coming.

And maybe you will succeed. But can you really look the citizens of Chattanooga in the eye and tell them that the UAW is good for business?

With a straight face?

Matt Patterson is Executive Director, Center for Worker Freedom, at Americans for Tax Reform. Mpatterson@atr.org