Big union uses non-union contractor to build retirement home for scandal-plagued president

You can smell the hypocrisy over at the United Auto Workers. Whatever idealism and legitimacy may have adhered to that union in its early days, seeking better wages and safer working conditions in the face of outright thuggery, has been lost. Unions now exist primarily to provide for their own staff, siphoning off the wages of their members and grabbing as a much as they can for themselves, and (especially in the case of government worker unions) laundering dues into political contributions  to provide for the coffers of the Democratic Party.

The basic argument that unions make on their own behalf has just been blatantly contradicted by the actions of the United Auto Workers, who chose a non-union contractor to save money! (Boy, wouldn’t Ford, GM, Chrysler-Fiat, and all the foreign manufacturers building cars in unionized plants here love to get away with that rationale!)

All of this in the interest of building a rent-free vacation home for their president just eased into retirement in the face of a financial scandal.

Sean Higgins reports in the Washington Examiner:

The United Auto Workers has contracted with a nonunion builder to make the foundation for a Michigan retirement home for its former president, Dennis Williams. The home will be owned by the union, but provided free of charge to Williams, who stepped down in June amid a widening scandal regarding misuse of union funds.

The union, through its nonprofit education center, hired Robiadek & Sons Excavating in Cheboygan, Mich., to lay the foundation and install the septic system for a three-bedroom, 1,885-square-foot home for Williams.

Providing a lifetime rent-free vacation home to a retired boss using non-union labor does have a certain educational value, but I doubt that this is the rationale behind grabbing funds form the nonprofit affiliate.

But the rationale offered – saving money – could be used by all the employers of UAW members:

The UAW claims they just couldn't find a good union contractor in the area who could submit a reasonable bid for the project. So they were obliged to use a nonunion one.

A union spokesman told the Examiner:

"None of those bids – all of which were from union contractors – were accepted as the UAW believed those bids were too high for the cabin construction. Instead, the UAW is using members of the United Steelworkers, who work full-time at Black Lake, as the general contractor and builders of the new cabin, along with their work on other projects at Black Lake."

All of this comes as a federal probe of UAW corruption is underway, with seven convictions so far:

Federal prosecutors have been probing for over a year whether officials at UAW and Fiat-Chrysler America siphoned off funds from a jointly-run worker training center for their own use. The U.S. attorney's office has obtained seven convictions, including that of Nancy Johnson, a former top UAW contract negotiator. Johnson reportedly told prosecutors in July that Williams was involved in siphoning off the funds. Williams has not been charged in relation to the probe.

In a statement at the UAW's June constitutional convention, Williams said he and other union leaders were unaware of any wrongdoing.

The Sergeant Schultz defense….

I actually have a lot of sympathy for the men and women who build automobiles. It is a tough, repetitive job. I have worked on an assembly line for products considerably smaller and lighter, and it was soul-crushing. But the UAW has a sorry track record of pushing wages and benefits so high during the years of shared oligopoly of the (former) Big Three that they undermined the viability of their employers and opened the door for foreign manufacturers to grab a huge share of the US market.