Though this story broke last week, it was suspected (but not confirmed until today) that the offending employees caught on tape imbibing while at lunch are, in fact, members of the United Auto Workers.
According to a company statement to Fox’s local affiliate in Detroit, the union members have been suspended pending their termination.
Working as expeditiously as possible within the bounds of the legal union contract, seventeen employees have been suspended pending discharge. In addition, we are working with the union to ensure that workers will no longer be allowed to leave the premises during the work day. These actions supplement the existing rigorous drug screening and background checks used by Tower to hire 150 new employees since acquiring this business.
Tower International acquired the UAW plant from W Industries, Inc. earlier this year, after W collapsed under the weight of too much debt.
Unfortunately for the UAW, this is just the latest example of UAW members (or “leaders”) caught on camera engaging in abuse of their lunch hours.
In early 2009, the Mackinac Center commented on the then-recent news reports showing UAW workers at Ford’s Sterling Heights plant drinking for hours, while UAW officials also abused their union privileges for hours on end, all the while being paid:
WDIV Channel 4 in Detroit recently uncovered blatant abuses by Ford employees and UAW officials at the company’s plant in Sterling Heights. In separate exposés, camera crews caught employees stretching half-hour lunch breaks into three-hour drinking binges, and observed union officials sleeping in, leaving early, running errands and making trips to party stores, all while supposedly working.
Even for a long-time union critic such as myself, the video is stunning: groups of workers ordering shots of tequila as their lunch break extends for hours and doing more of the same the very next day, and union officials heading home after only a few hours at the plant while their time cards show them putting in extensive overtime.
Just as disconcerting is the silence of the UAW itself. To this point neither the UAW headquarters in Detroit, nor their regional office in Warren has made any public comment on any of this.
Here are a couple of other examples: