United Auto Workers Union Chief: China’s Labor Policy Better Than America’s


Today’s UAW: A Struggle for Stability (Show #1716) on Autoline This 

In China today, it remains illegal for employees to form or join any union not affiliated with the All-Chinese Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), headed by Communist Party boss Wang Zhaoguo (pictured). But Bob King, top boss of the United Auto Workers union, nevertheless professes he’s “outraged” that workers have “more rights to join a union in China” than they do in the U.S.! Image: Xinhua

Regardless of what they think about current labor policy in the U.S., virtually all Americans would surely agree that Chinese labor laws are not a model we would ever want to follow.

As the web site of the group Human Rights in China (HRIC), an international, nongovernmental organization of students and scholars dedicated to institutional protection of human rights in the People’s Republic of China, reports, the only federation of trade unions permitted to operate in China has been and remains “essentially an arm of the government and a subsidiary organ of the Chinese Communist Party.”  The main purposes of the so-called All-Chinese Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), charges HRIC, are to “facilitate and support government policies within enterprises and to ensure the continued control of the working population.”

Chinese employees have no right to form any union that isn’t controlled by the ACFTU, and they have no right, either individually or collectively, to stop ACFTU bosses from getting monopoly-bargaining power at their workplace and taking money out of their wages and benefits.

Even American union bosses who openly oppose the individual worker’s freedom to bargain for himself and refuse to pay union dues if a majority of his fellow employees want a union couldn’t support such policies, could they?  Surely they would distance themselves from the tyrannical Chinese policy of handing ACFTU-controlled unions monopoly-bargaining power in workplaces where the majority of workers want another union, or no union at all!

Years ago, U.S union officials, like others throughout the Free World, did denounce the ACFTU and explicitly denied it was a legitimate trade federation.  But in recent years more and more American union bosses have been warming up to the totalitarian ACFTU.

The latest example is Bob King, president of the Detroit-based United Auto Workers (UAW/AFL-CIO) union.  In an interview aired on Detroit public TV May 12 (see the link above), King lambasted the shareholders and managers of the Nissan auto-assembly plant in Canton, Miss., for refusing to help his agents secure monopoly-bargaining power over employees at the facility.  King and company want Nissan and its managers to pledge not to share with employees any information, including purely factual materials, that might dissuade them from supporting unionization.  Making any effort whatsoever to furnish employees with objective information about the potential downsides of unionization, even one that remains well within the limits on employer free speech during unionization campaigns that are already written into U.S. law, is a “violation of human rights,” as far as King is concerned.

At one point in the interview, King went so far as to cite approvingly an unnamed female ACFTU operative visiting Canton who had said, by his account, “We’ve got more rights to join a union in China than you do here in the United States.”

Rather than contradict this outrageous piece of flagrantly false Communist propaganda, King simply added that it’s “outrageous” that, from his perspective, Chinese workers really do have more rights than American workers.

This comment makes it clear that one of three things is true of Bob King.  He is an ignoramus.  He knows the facts, but sincerely believes that Chinese workers who have to join a Communist-affiliated union, and may not join any other kind, are “freer” than Mississippi workers who collectively have the option to vote for or against unionization and individually are free to join any union or not.  Or he says what he knows to be false for cynical propaganda purposes.

Which one is it, President King?