1721 Donovan et al. v. Local Union 2000

Case No: 1721


We accept the testimony of appellants’ witnesses that appointed representatives regularly campaigned in the plant and that management tolerated the activity. We do not regard the employer’s failure to respond more aggressively to complaints about this campaigning as evidence of the kind of active interference that would require an election to be rerun.  Management is understandably reluctant to be drawn into monitoring disputes about local union election campaigns.

If management informed a member that failure to support the incumbent would negatively affect his son’s employment opportunities, such a threat could have convinced employees in the plant that their own opportunities might be negatively affected by support for candidates challenging the incumbents. Such conduct could have a deeply chilling effect on the electoral process and would require a new election regardless of the reported election results.  We do not believe the job offer in this case, although highly inappropriate, has been shown to implicate the employer in any collusive scheme. Nothing about the situation suggests that the employer was actively involved in this scheme or even aware of it.

Published threats of physical violence against a candidate designed to discourage opposition to an incumbent in a local union election would be sufficiently repugnant to democratic principles as to require a new election.  The comments posted on Twitter by the appointed representative do not fit this description, however.  While his comments may be characterized as uncivil and offensive, they are not threats of physical violence.  A UAW member’s right to full freedom of speech is protected by the Ethical Practices Codes. We have consistently reaffirmed our position that sharp attacks upon a candidate, even attacks that he or she may feel amount to vilification, will not be grounds for setting aside an election.