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Defeat for UAW in Tennessee

Defeat for UAW in Tennessee

Workers of the South, unite:

The workers at the VW plant in Chattanooga voted 712-626 to stay out of the union after a lobbying fight in which Republican politicians warned unionization could lead Volkswagen and automobile companies to leave the state.

Union officials…blamed politicians who had warned workers that by joining they union, they could hurt their own economic interests.

…UAW officials vowed they would not give up in their effort to organize workers in the South, a region that historically has been much more difficult to unionize.

Give up? Never. They are patient.

“While we’re outraged by politicians and outside special interest groups interfering with the basic legal right of workers to form a union, we’re proud that these workers were brave and stood up to the tremendous pressure from outside,” said UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams. “We hope this will start a larger discussion about workers’ right to organize.”

The article goes on to add that the UAW president said the union is contemplating legal action about this “interference.” So, who “interfered,” and exactly how? Is telling workers that unions might function in a way that runs counter to workers’ interests “interfering” with the union’s own campaign to woo them?

Further research on this question came up with this:

UAW President Bob King sharply criticized Tennessee politicians who he said scared workers away from voting in favor of union representation.

How did these scare tactics occur? This is the best I’ve been able to do so far in terms of locating the specifics:

Tennessee Republican leaders suggested that the union might limit chances for a plant expansion and make the GOP-controlled Legislature less willing to help the German auto maker expand…

More here about what those Republican leaders said. Apparently the governor said something about the likelihood that if the plant didn’t unionize, an SUV-line might be brought in. I can’t seem to find any actual quotes, though, either from the governor or those other Republicans, so it’s hard to evaluate what’s true. The quote from Senator Corker, however, appears to be this one:

Corker, a Tennessee Republican who helped negotiate the incentives package to bring Volkswagen to Chattanooga, said he has talked to VW leaders numerous times and “there’s not a push by the executive leadership or the board toward the UAW.”

“I know for a fact that at the highest levels of VW, they’re aware that if the UAW became involved in the plant, it would be a negative for the future economic growth of our state,” he said.

So Senator Corker’s telling people about the economic effects on the state of Tennessee’s reputation as a place that doesn’t encourage unions is scare tactics, I guess. At least, according to the unions.

Some of the union’s angst – and another significant part of the back story – seems to be the fact that “a majority of workers at the Chattanooga plant [had] signed cards supporting being represented by the union in a European-style works council.” Apparently that led union leaders to believe they had this in the bag. Funny thing, though, a secret ballot is different than signing a card – remember card check, one of Obama’s original goals?

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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It was only 53:47%. A change of 44 vote would have resulted in a “resounding victory for the working man” or some such twaddle. Given the current administration, I would not bet against them getting the election thrown out. The Left, unlike the Right, never ever gives up until they get what they want, and then it becomes unchangeable.

    Aridog in reply to Tregonsee. | February 16, 2014 at 9:18 am

    It was close. I’d suggest that in the future the non-union representatives dwell on the poor job of job protection done by the UAW in Michigan where they did have considerable power. Once they served a purpose, but morphed into don-nothings. All you have to do is look at the history of GM’s Fisher Body Trim plant in Livonia, MI for an example of how the Union sat on its collective butt….failing to enforce its own side of the contracts it signed. “Ask them what the term “part-timer” meant in Livonia….and how many extra employees (functionally unnecessary) were necessary, in fact, just to keep the plant running while the “part-timers” dallied at home. Yeah, after a while companies do leave your turf when you don’t comply with the contracts you sign.

    Frank Scarn in reply to Tregonsee. | February 16, 2014 at 10:54 am

    The left will continue to hound this thing until they reach the result they want just because the margin was narrow. That’s how the Left/One-Worlders brought the EU into being.*** When one country ever dare to vote “NON,” then it was on to the another rounding of voting until “OUI.” was achieved. Then, suddenly, no further need for more voting. Remember Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty? Remember Denmark on the Maastricht Treaty? Even France on one vote dared to say NON; that error was “corrected.”

    Tennessee, keep the powder dry. Further battles are on the horizon.

    ***Everything must be done to keep the regional government known as the EU in place, including its enlargement aims most notably for Turkey, a Muslim country, which will bring further chaos. Regional blocs is how the One-Worlders see how the world will be controlled. The African Union is in place; work continues apace for the Central Asian Union, the Asian Union, among others. The planned North American Union is in place via NAFTA, though NAFTA is but a place holder until enough people can be fooled into supporting the Free Trade Area of the Americas (North & South).

    What do you union types think of all this as jobs are sent out of the USA?

626 of the VW workers are low information voters?

…the union might limit chances for a plant expansion and make the GOP-controlled Legislature less willing to help the German auto maker…

Unions had a place in history, and that’s where they belong. However, this is even more unacceptable. The government has no place in picking winners and losers in the marketplace and offering sweetheart deals to companies. Either the GOP is for free markets and right-to-work policies or it’s for centralized economic planning. Which is it?

Stuff like this reinforces the concept that Dems and the GOP are just two sides of the same filthy coin, whose only disagreement is where to spend the money they confiscate from the working people of this defunct republic.

    genes in reply to windbag. | February 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    You are making the assumption that a liberal, union backing reporter wouldn’t Rather what GOP “leaders” said. Probably got the info from a dem or union flunky.

    stevewhitemd in reply to windbag. | February 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I think the Pubs were simply pointing out the natural consequences: bring the UAW into the Tennessee plant and other auto makers would think twice about locating in Tennessee. I think that’s a permissible statement.

So the national big money outside interest is all butthurt about the local political interests having an opinion about their interference with the local workers?

Awwww…. poor UAW. 🙁

Union leaders have always used over-the-top language. Any setback, no matter how minor, is portrayed as the return of slavery. Any disagreement is described as a vile conspiracy (and attempt to return to slavery).

There was a time when the extreme nature of their speech was an anomaly. Now they just talk like ordinary leftists.

As to outside influence, wasn’t this a focus of Pres. ScamWOW, his pen, and his telephone? Did he NOT campaign for this bridgehead?

How many here know that VW is very “German” in its relationships with its workers? But one of the things that Germans use to very good effect is “workers’ counsels”, made up of managers and workers and sometimes others.

Those are illegal in the U.S. Our unions are so pampered by special provisions in the laws respecting organizations that they actually impede good labor-management models.

VW invited the UAW in, asked for support from their German union and advised third parties to butt out. But the fact is that few foreign car makers in the U,S. are unionized. The big ones, Honda, Nissan and Toyota are non-union.

VW forgets that they had a Pennsylvania plant some years ago that was unionized – and they had to close it down.

But third parties did not butt out. Local politicians advised against the UAW and Grover Norquist’s Center for Worker Freedom put up 13 billboards in Chattanooga that warned that the city might become the next Detroit.

UAW membership has been reduced from 1.5 million to under 400,000 – with no end to the slide in sight. What the union does not understand is that the “good ol’ boys and girls down South like to get along – and ugly work rules get in the way.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | February 16, 2014 at 11:54 am

“It’s not over until we win”, said Russ Feingold at one of the anti-Scott Walker rallies in Wisconsin. And we should never forget that he meant it with every ounce of his soul.

When we win, we breath a sigh of relief and get on with life. Not them. They may lose a battle here and there, but they never surrender. They are honey badgers.

Humphrey's Executor | February 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Seems like the UAW needs to re-tool.

Who “interferred?”

Well, the North American “media” apparently missed it, but according to Reuters:

President Barack Obama on Friday waded into a high-stakes union vote at Volkswagen AG’s plant in Tennessee, accusing Republican politicians who oppose unionization of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers.