The hits keep coming for the United Auto Workers union.
In late December, the New York Times published a story exposing the culture of sexual harassment at a UAW-represented Ford plant in Chicago. Subsequently, the Center for Union Facts produced a video featuring female employees at that plant, who described the disgusting behaviors they had suffered through–and how the UAW defended the perpetrators. In the words of one employee featured in the video: “What the UAW can do is stop protecting their own and really start protecting and serving the people that they collect their dues from.”
The public response to these female workers’ bravery has been tremendous. Their video has been viewed over 35,000 times on Facebook; it’s received nearly 1,000 shares and over 1,000 user interactions. In the comments, users have praised the women for speaking out and condemned the union for its complicity. It’s also clear that this isn’t just a problem in Chicago; one female worker noted, “That’s how it was in the Chrysler plants in metro Detroit. My friend and I were constantly harassed even by men that were old enough to be our fathers or grandfathers.”
The UAW is feeling the heat. Today, a response statement from union president Dennis Williams is featured prominently on the UAW homepage. Williams claims the union has “zero tolerance” for harassment. The union’s action call this commitment into question; not only has it failed to address its harassment crisis at Ford, but it has actively defended the plant chairman who was suspended after being named in the harassment complaint. Williams and other UAW officials may soon have to explain themselves under oath.
Hundreds of people have signed a petition to tell the UAW to stop protecting their own and start protecting these women. If you haven’t yet signed, now’s the time: Tell the UAW to stop tolerating sexual harassment!