Just recently, there was an important ruling by the Supreme Court, that strongly affects the rights of every blue collar worker in the United States, including us at Volkswagen. Again, our courts and elected officials have failed the very people that they are sworn to look out for.
The Supreme Court recently sided, again, with big business. In the process, they took away some very important rights that you had as a worker. Most notably, they took away your right to stand together with your co-workers, and sue your employer under a “class-action” status, over things such as physical injury, discrimination, sexual harassment, wages, overtime abuse, etc. The “class action” status, meant that you could have grouped together with other affected employees, and had one lawyer represent everyone, without every single person having to retain their own individual lawyer. With the cost of an attorney being so expensive, this was sometimes the only option many workers had at gaining legal representation.
Not only has the court taken away that right, but even more disturbing, they have also given the employers the right to DENY EMPLOYMENT to any job applicant that does not sign a waiver. The waiver forces you, as a “Condition of Employment”, to give up your right to sue in an open court, with a judge and a jury present. In signing this waiver, you instead agree to a closed-door “arbitration” process. This process almost always favors the employer. which would make your odds of being treated fairly, almost non-existent. In other words, you either sign the waiver, or you don’t get the job.
This recently enacted law, which passed barely over a month ago, has surprisingly (or not) already made it’s way into our new 2018 Volkswagen Employee Handbook. This may explain why Volkswagen has waited until now to distribute the handbooks, instead of giving them out at the beginning of the year, as they always have. You may find it on page 17, under the heading of “Agreements”. Link to page 17 in the handbook. Link to article, link to news release from the media, detailing the amendment. Please take time to read this with your families.
However, there is one very important thing you should know. As stated several times in the article, this ruling affects tens of millions of blue-collar, middle-class American workers like you! But the ruling DOES NOT apply to unionized workers! Voting for, and joining a union, gives you certain legal rights under federal law, including legal representation by your union. Should your employer ever break a law that results in harm to you, this representation is supplied at no cost to the union member, and they will have this representation throughout the entire legal process, from beginning to end! Please remember this, as we move forward in our quest for a union in our plant. YOUR VOTE AND YOUR VOICE COUNT! Let’s make them do away with page 17!
UAW Local 42