A dealership is not the place to organize a factory
If the UAW is considering a plan to organize workers at factories operated by Asian and European automakers through an informational campaign for consumers at dealerships, the leaders ought to rethink that plan.
It's not clear yet exactly what the union intends to do. But whatever it is, dealerships are the wrong place to do it.
Clearly, it would be absurd to expect to organize Volkswagen factory workers, for example, by picketing a VW dealership.
A story by Bloomberg News quoted a UAW official saying, "This is not a picket in any way." But even so, consumers walking into a dealership with their hearts and minds set on buying a new car or truck probably won't pay much attention to UAW pleas, petitions or even pickets. If they're shopping for a European or Asian brand's vehicles, consumers may not care whether the workers who built the vehicles carry UAW membership cards in their wallets.
Naturally, the American International Automobile Dealers Association and the National Automobile Dealers Association, the two largest organizations representing dealers and dealerships, expressed concerns about what the UAW might be planning.
They correctly observed that anything affecting business at a dealership could hurt the families of dealership employees and might backfire by causing resentment toward the UAW.
The UAW has every right to try to organize the workers at the factories that produce European and Asian brands' vehicles. And it is understandable that UAW President Bob King is eager to organize at least one such factory before his term expires, particularly since he once headed the union's organizing department and was rebuffed in his efforts to do so.
But the best way for a union to organize workers and recruit members is with an honest, effective sales pitch that explains why workers would be better off with the union than without it.
Anything else, including a campaign that targets dealerships, would be unfair and, ultimately, unsuccessful.