The United Auto Workers filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint against Republican Sen. Tim Scott on Thursday for publicly saying striking employees should be fired in response to a question about the UAW’s ongoing and popular walkouts.
The complaint, first reported by The Intercept, argues that Scott unlawfully “threatened employees with adverse consequences if they engage in protected, concerted activity” by declaring, “You strike, you’re fired.”
Scott, a 2024 presidential candidate, made the remark during a campaign event in Iowa, where he invoked former President Ronald Reagan’s termination of more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers—who, unlike the striking autoworkers, were federal employees.
“I think Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike,” said Scott, who proceeded to bash the UAW’s demands for better pay and benefits and a shorter workweek.
The National Labor Relations Act states that it is illegal for employers to “interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise” of collective bargaining rights.
As The Intercept‘s Daniel Boguslaw reported, the UAW’s complaint “was filed against Scott in his capacity as a representative for Tim Scott for America,” the senator’s presidential campaign arm.
“In addition to being a senator representing the state of South Carolina, Scott is running for president, making him an employer as well,” Boguslaw noted. “The premise of the complaint is that Scott’s comments could be construed as a direct threat against his campaign staffers, whose right to strike is enshrined in federal law.”
Shawn Fain, the president of the UAW, wrote on social media that Scott’s comments were “just another example of how the employer class abuses the working class in America.”
“Employers willfully violate labor law with little to no repercussions,” Fain added. “Time for more stringent laws to protect workers’ rights!!”
“We had a few minutes between bargaining sessions today to advocate for all workers’ rights.”
The UAW’s complaint against Scott came hours before the union’s planned strike update. Benjamin Dictor, counsel for the UAW, wrote in response to reports of the complaint that “we had a few minutes between bargaining sessions today to advocate for all workers’ rights.”
On Friday at noon, Fain is expected to announce that more locals will be walking off the job—joining the roughly 13,000 autoworkers already on strike in Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio—as the management of the Big Three car manufacturers refuses to meet the union’s demands.
Citing unnamed sources close to the negotiations, Axiosreported Thursday that “there’s zero chance that the automakers will reach a labor deal with the UAW before Friday at noon.”
“With both sides dug in, a prolonged strike is looking more likely. The question is how much pain UAW president Shawn Fain is prepared to exert on the companies—and how swiftly,” Axios continued. “The union could continue the selective strike strategy that began Sept. 15 by ordering targeted walkouts at engine or transmission plants, slowly starving other factories of critical components. Or it could go straight for the jugular by striking factories that build the companies’ most profitable vehicles—full-size pickup trucks.”
Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).