The Teamsters gathered in Detroit, Michigan to discuss how to educate workers about the value of their union membership. Detroit is home of the United Autoworkers union. Michigan is a Right to Work state. This was not a joint meeting or phony public relations stunt, either, which made choosing Detroit even more odd. No other city is so attached to one union than Detroit is attached to the UAW.
That didn’t stop Teamster leadership from standing up and proclaiming “Michigan is a union state, and it is a Teamster state.” Michigan is not a union state. It became a a Right to Work state a few years ago and union member has steadily declined ever since. Nor is Michigan a Teamster state. It is a UAW state. The UAW has its headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. The UAW, with hundreds of thousands of workers in Michigan dwarfs the number of Teamsters in the state.
The Teamster propaganda continued when it cited a recent Gallup poll and said, “There are a lot of good reasons to join a union like the Teamsters, and the American public is increasingly recognizing it. In fact, a recent Gallup Poll found that 61% of those polled approved of unions, the highest level since 2003.”
Support for unions has only once been below 50% (2009), so the “increase” to 61% is not that great of a feat. In fact, according to Gallup: “approval remained in the 60% range throughout the 2000s right up to the election of Barack Obama as president. After plummeting in 2009, union approval remained lower than in its heyday but began climbing.” It makes you wonder, if more than 50% of Americans consistently approve of unions, why are only 7% of non-government employees in unions?
Noticeably absent from the rally were references to the Teamsters’ Central State Pension Fund which is woefully underfunded and whose members – Teamsters who paid into the fund throughout their careers – will receive dramatic reductions in pension payments.
Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.