Workers at a Selma auto supplier have signed a petition asking the United Auto Workers union to “leave this business and us, its employees, alone.”
About 80 percent of workers at the Lear Corporation-owned Renosol Seating plant signed an April 6 petition asking the UAW to stop investigating a nearly year-long dispute, The Montgomery Advertiser reports.
“We do not need this union or any union here,” the petition says.
Last May a public relations firm representing the workers said about three-quarters of the plant’s 90 workers had respiratory problems associated with a chemical used during manufacturing. Federal regulators found air quality at the plant to be within federal guidelines, and Lear says some workers are engaging in baseless scare tactics orchestrated by the UAW.
Since then, the plant fired one of the workers who spoke out about the claims and is suing her for defamation. The firing has spawned a federal whistleblower retaliation investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The union blasted the recent petition in a statement Thursday, accusing the plant’s management of using illegal tactics to coerce workings into signing it.
“It is perfectly clear that the ‘petition’ was misrepresented to workers over the six-plus months that management has been circulating versions of it,” read a statement attributed to the Selma Workers Organizing Committee.
Plant production worker Jacqueline Atkins disputed that claim and said management had no role in the petition.
“Everybody read it and signed it of their own free will,” Atkins said. “We were not forced. We were not tricked. Nobody threatened us any kind of way.”
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.