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DFL Party Exposes Senator Eichorn’s Work to Bust Union at Eichorn Motors


DFL & labor leaders criticize Eichorn’s abysmal record on supporting working people

Today at a virtual press conference, the Minnesota DFL Party exposed new evidence that State Senator Justin Eichorn was sanctioned by a judge multiple times for union busting when he was the co-owner of Eichorn Motors. Eichorn was lambasted for engaging in “unfair labor practices” and found to have “clearly demonstrated a general disregard for its employees’ fundamental rights” in his work to break the UAW union that represented the mechanics in his auto shop, proving that he is no friend of working Minnesotans.

A video of the press conference is available here and the timeline of Eichorn’s activity, complete with documentation, is available below.

Ken Martin, Chairman of the Minnesota DFL Party, released the following statement:

“If Senator Justin Eichorn tells you he supports unions, he’s lying. If he tells you he’s on the side of working men and women, he’s lying. When Eichorn was a business owner, he did everything in his power to break the union that represented employees in his auto shop.

“Make no mistake, Eichorn was union buster as a business owner and he’ll continue working to destroy Minnesota’s unions if he is elected to a second term.”

Rita Albrecht, Mayor of Bemidji and SD 5 candidate, released the following statement:

“Union members are our neighbors. They are the cops, snowplow drivers, care givers, nurses, clerks, teachers, foresters, mechanics, bus drivers, equipment operators, carpenters, and more. Union jobs are living wage jobs and we need more living wage jobs, not less.

“As your Senator, voters can count on me to be a champion for fair wages, safe working conditions, and the right to organize and bargain collectively.”

Tom Cvar, President of the Iron Range Labor Assembly, released the following statement:

“Eichorn’s record is clear: he does not respect the right to join a union and bargain for better wages and working conditions. Eichorn was willing to drive his own business into the ground in order to break the UAW union representing some of his workers, all to save a few bucks. “Working folks in Senate District 5 should remember Eichorn’s union-busting past when they head into the voting booth.”

Al Netland, President of the North East Area Labor Council, released the following statement:

“This year, Justin Eichorn’s voting record on labor issues in the Minnesota legislature was 38%. For those of you that are teachers, you’ll know that’s a failing grade. His lifetime voting record is 21%. That’s abysmal.

“We look forward to working with Mayor Albrecht in the legislature.”

Justin Eichorn’s Record:

Attached to this email are two rulings against Eichorn Motors by the National Labor Relations Board, NLRB Case File 1 – Eichorn Motors vs UAWIU & NLRB Case File 2 – Eichorn Motors vs UAWIU 2. Those two documents make up the basis for the charges against Senator Justin Eichorn, and are cited below with page numbers.

  • In 2006, Justin Eichorn and his father, Mitch, purchased Swanson Motors, which then became Eichorn motors. Prior to the sale, the United Auto Workers had been the recognized collective bargaining representative of mechanics at Swanson for 18 years.
  • The Eichorn’s immediately set about breaking the UAW union at Eichorn Motors, with the family telling the mechanics that “things would be done the union way or the Eichorn way.” It was one or the other and the Eichorn’s refused to communicate with the union after taking over. [Pg. 3 – NLRB Case File 1]
  • Within the year, they were taken before the National Labor Relations Board, which found that the Eichorns engaged in “certain unfair labor practices” and ordered them to stop:
    • Threatening employees for their support for or membership in the union
    • Promising favors if employees left the union
    • Coercively interrogating employees about union activities
    • Soliciting employees to campaign against the union
    • Bypassing and refusing to recognize the union
      • [Pg. 18 – NLRB Case File 1]
  • A year later, Justin and Mitch were again hauled in front of the NLRB. The NLRB again found evidence of extensive wrongdoing, including:
    • Threatening the holiday pay of union employees
    • Threatening to fire union employees
    • Again promising favors if employees left the union
    • Refusing to grant benefits to employees because they were part of the union
    • Bypassing the union entirely
    • Unilaterally changing terms and conditions of employment without notifying the union
      • [Pg. 58 – NLRB Case File 2]
  • The judge also said the following about Justin Eichorn and the rest of Eichorn Motors leadership:
    • Eichorn Motors “is a brazen recidivist and egregious violator that has clearly demonstrated a general disregard for its employees’ fundamental rights. The active union supporters are few. The violations are numerous and were committed by three of four high level officials.” [Pg. 61 – NLRB Case File 2]
    • “[They] developed, orchestrated and participated in the Respondent’s wide-ranging assault on its employees’ Section 7 rights.” [Pg. 61 – NLRB Case File 2]
  • Eichorn was so desperate to rid his dealership of a union, he fired all three of the GM certified technicians, leaving the dealership unable to repair the vehicles they sold. [Pg. 39 – NLRB Case File 2]
  • The Eichorn’s shoddy business practices eventually ran the dealership into the ground. By the end, they didn’t have oil in the shop to do oil changes, they didn’t have the parts to repair or technicians to repair the cars they sold. Employees even had to go 18 weeks without pay to get the business in good enough shape to sell. [Labor World, 2/21/2008]