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by
Rick Moran

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February 15, 2014 - 7:24 am

Non-union workers at at Tennessee Volkswagen plant voted to reject being represented by the United Auto Workers union. The vote was 712-626 against the UAW.

The union had pulled out all the stops in order to score their second victory in a right-to-work state. They even had the blessing of Volkswagen management, who were under tremendous pressure from their labor committee back home to unionize the Chattanooga plant.

The Associated Press reports:

“This vote was essentially gift-wrapped for the union by Volkswagen,” said Hammond, who previously worked at the Service Employees International Union.

The setback is a major defeat for the UAW’s effort to expand in the growing South, where foreign automakers have 14 assembly plants, eight built in the past decade, said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group at the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank in Michigan.

“If this was going to work anywhere, this is where it was going to work,” she said of Chattanooga.

Organizing a Southern plant is so crucial to the union that UAW President Bob King told workers in a speech that the union has no long-term future without it.

“If the union can’t win [in Chattanooga], it can’t win anywhere,” Steve Silvia, a economics and trade professor at American University who has studied labor unions, told the Journal.

But the loss likely means the union will remain quarantined with the Detroit Three, largely in the Midwest and Northeast.

Many viewed VW as the union’s only chance to gain a crucial foothold in the South because other automakers have not been as welcoming as Volkswagen. Labor interests make up half of the supervisory board at VW in Germany, and they questioned why the Chattanooga plant is the only one without formal worker representation. VW wanted a German-style “works council” in Chattanooga to give employees a say over working conditions. The company says U.S. law won’t allow it without an independent union.

In Chattanooga, the union faced stern opposition from Republican politicians who warned that a UAW victory would chase away other automakers who might come to the region.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was the most vocal opponent, saying that he was told that VW would build a new midsized SUV in Chattanooga if workers rejected the union. That was later denied by a VW executive. Other politicians threatened to cut off state incentives for the plant to expand if the union was approved.

UAW President King whined about “outside interference” in the vote:

After 53 percent of the workers voted against his union, King said he was outraged at what he called “outside interference” in the election. He wouldn’t rule out challenging the outcome with the National Labor Relations Board. “It’s never happened in this country before that the U.S. senator, the governor, the leader of the House, the legislature here, threatened the company with no incentives, threatened workers with a loss of product,” King said. “We’ll look at all our options in the next few days.”

The full weight of the UAW was thrown into this vote, with heavy pressure placed by union reps on workers. One of those workers explained to the New York Times:

Standing outside the Volkswagen plant, Mike Jarvis, a three-year employee who works on the finishing line, said the majority had voted against U.A.W. because they were persuaded the union had hurt Detroit’s automakers.

“Look at what happened to the auto manufacturers in Detroit and how they struggled. They all shared one huge factor: the U.A.W.,” said Mr. Jarvis, who added that he had had bad experiences with other labor unions. “If you look at how the U.A.W’s membership has plunged, that shows they’re doing a lot wrong.”

This isn’t the end of union organizing efforts in southern right-to-work states. There are 13 other plants that the UAW will now target in the south. But Chattanooga workers have shown that when a free and fair election is held with the secret ballot, it will be an uphill climb for the union to make inroads. Also, it isn’t likely that Toyota or other foreign auto makers will support the UAW drive the way that Volkswagen did.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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Top Rated Comments   
Yeah, the UAW is kind of a tough sell: "Vote for the union, and we can do for you what we did for Detroit!"
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The UAW President complaining about “outside interference” kinda defines irony.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
My family is British. They understand what it is to see yourself as "labour". Americans don't. Americans see themselves as owners. They own houses, cars, etc. They're independent, and in control of their lives. The "Labour" attitude, that governed Britain from Churchill to Thatcher, just doesn't exist on this side of the ocean. People just don't see themselves that way. Why would I join a union? I'm running my life, not you.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (22)
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Yeah, the UAW is kind of a tough sell: "Vote for the union, and we can do for you what we did for Detroit!"
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Workers Party in unity with the cabal currently running this country...are NOT your grandfather's union or your grandfather's Democratic Party.

Jonah Goldberg has a column today on why you should hate communism, (this includes the small c communism that uses the Workers Party to fund the larger Party and gets perks, favors, economy busting pensions, bankruptcy preferences, kickbacks, graft and extortion.

You should read the whole thing at NRO, it has a riff about the 58 gender selections on Facebook that had me in stitches.



The Goldberg File
By Jonah Goldberg
February 14, 2014
Dear Reader (Hey look at me! I don't have to change the gender settings on my salutation! Take that Facebook),

So, imagine you're a young Saudi guy logging on to Facebook for the first time. It asks you to state your gender. It then gives you 58 options. You take out your fingers — the simple man's calculator — and start counting along. Male, female, whatever uncle Ahmed is . . . okay three. I count three.

What are these other 55 things?

Not surprisingly, the further left you move the more the attitude towards American culture becomes hostile; that it needs to be changed, reformed, broadened, folded, spindled, and mutilated. Meanwhile, the conservative view is that American culture (i.e. traditional culture, broadly speaking) is pretty great, with a few rough spots here or there.

What I find fascinating is how these attitudes tend to be reversed when we look past our borders, particularly on the left. The Left is forever sensitive to the idea that we not "impose" our values on other societies. At home, we need to extirpate every last hint of traditionalism. Indeed, being a traditionalist in America — which makes you quite modern by global standards — makes you a backward yokel in the eyes of the academic Left.

Campus lefty to normal person: "Heh. You probably think there are only, like, 13 genders! What are you, a caveman?"



Anyway, as America's cultural exports — not just movies and music, but things like Facebook too — become ever more poisonous and destructive to traditional culture it will be interesting to see whether it will dawn on the left that foreign anti-Americanism has less to do with imperialism, colonialism, or a cartoonish theory of capitalism and more to do with things like exporting 58 gender categories around the world.

Back in the USSR

During the Olympic opening ceremonies I criticized — in the piquant flavor Twitter encourages (I believe I used the term "jagwad" at one point) — the repugnant whitewashing of Soviet history on my TV screen. In response some people on Twitter came back at me to condemn, in the words of one admittedly Canadian critic, my "ethnocentric and imperialist" tweets. So here I'm the imperialist for reminding people that the Soviets invaded, conquered, and occupied literally dozens of countries. Got it. I'm the ethnocentrist for remembering that for all the talk of internationalism, the Soviets were a thoroughly Russian empire with a population policy to make sure it stayed that way (white Russian women could receive a "Hero of the Motherland" medal if they had lots of kids. Swarthier types from the Asian colonies? Not so much).

Communism Deserves Our Hatred

My column today is on the aforementioned whitewashing, and I'm particularly fond of it, even though I had to leave so much on the cutting-room floor. You see, the Soviet Union really was an evil empire. (You can check my work. It murdered and enslaved millions = evil. It invaded countries, appropriated their resources, and controlled their governments, schools, and cultural institutions = empire. What am I missing?) And I have no tolerance or patience for people who roll their eyes at such statements.

I remember when the Soviet Union started to crumble. I repeated something stupid I'd heard on Crossfire about how conservatives would be bummed at the loss of anti-Communism as a political issue. Or something like that. My father was visibly disgusted. As patiently as he could he explained the moral vacuity of the idea. It was like saying an abolitionist would regret the ending of slavery or a pro-lifer would regret the end of Roe v. Wade (those weren't his exact words, but it was the gist). You see, real anti-Communists were really anti-Communist. Hatred of Communism wasn't simply a position, or a foreign-policy necessity, or a cultural pose: It was a moral obligation.

When I see hipsters wearing Mao hats or Lenin T-shirts, I'm grateful. It's like truth-in-labeling. For now I know you are: Woefully ignorant, morally stunted, purposively asinine, or all three.

If you aren't an anti-Communist — a passionate anti-Communist, not an anti-Communist of the rhetorical box-checking variety — please don't talk to me about how the Iraq War was immoral or how Bashar Assad is evil or how imperialism, slavery, and colonialism are forever stains on the American soul. Because there is no indictment of America — or any
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good for un-unionized workers in Tennessee- their jobs are there. Their products can be sold (gas prices are going up), Teslas are self-immolating,freezing in winter. Amazon never was prepared for the German unions going on strike before X-mas- the German union people coming to US and together with US Unions' people were protesting in Seattle headqrts for higher wages/say in running the business etc. In order to understand American union bosses- read the article 'The Walmart Effect on Crime in the United States (http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/2/199.abstract.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would bet that Walmart success is a lagging indicator of crime, etc. as CO2 is to warming. So much for demonizing Walmart.

Contiguity does not prove causality.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I did my part to keep the Teamsters out of a place where I used to work. My grandfather was a union president for many years—I know what unions are.

They made all kinds of promises, but would never sign a paper on official letterhead guaranteeing any of it would happen. All that they would guarantee is that they got part of our wages. So far as the law allowed, I kept management in the loop on what they were planning and doing. If they had given real, legally and financially binding guarantees that we would get all they promised without killing the company that gave us our livelihood, I might have been convinced. They couldn't and wouldn't—they know they are parasites.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
My grandfather, as president of his local union, was somewhat dissatisfied with union shenanigans, but when the AFL and CIO joined, he decided enough was enough and quit the union altogether.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
VW wanted a German-style “works council” in Chattanooga to give employees a say over working conditions. The company says U.S. law won’t allow it without an independent union.

I don't pretend to know how "works councils" work in Germany but the idea that workers can't conceivably have a say over working conditions without an independent union strikes me as disturbing to say the least, especially when it is put in terms of U.S. law not permitting it.

I'm trying to picture a law that actually says companies are not ALLOWED to consult workers about working conditions unless there is a union representing the workers. Why would anyone create such a law unless blatantly trying to force all workers into unions?

I am deeply suspicious of unions and their place in the scheme of things but even I think it is very reasonable for workers to have some say in their working conditions. I think that say can come in many forms and doesn't remotely necessitate unions but I think workers SHOULD be consulted to some extent. I'm speaking particularly of the aspects of working conditions that refer to safety.

If I am at risk of death or serious injury as a result of working conditions, I dam* well want some say over those working conditions! I'm pretty flexible about exactly how that say is exercised but I do not want to work in a place where everything is decided by management edict, especiallly where that management has shown itself only to care about cutting costs and not a bit about me going home in one piece at the end of my shift.

Obviously, many jobs have inherent risks, some of which can't be guarded against with complete certainty. That has to be voluntarily accepted by people doing those jobs and they should be working elsewhere if they can't accept that. I'm thinking of soldiers, fire fighters and police officers in particular here. But even in risky professions like that, a lot can be done to improve the odds of someone ending their shift in one piece, like high quality safety equipment.

SOMETHING has to protect employees from unnecessary dangers. It certainly doesn't have to be unions but it is certainly possible to get the same effect without full-blown unions.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
This really came to a head in the Clinton Era. It became the groovy thing for groovy employers to form all sorts of "workers committees, though they had various names in this Country. They were to advise, or "partner" with management on structure and process, solutions to issues, etc. The modern union does not want employees to have ANY outlet to resolve an issue other than the union grievance and it doesn't want anything good to happen for an employee that the union can't claim it got for them

Most, but not all companies were careful to keep any "labor-management committee" discussion away from the mandatory bargaining subjects of wages, hours, and conditions, but it isn't easy. Wages and hours are easy, but not as easy as you think if you haven't dealt with a unionized workforce. Terms and conditions of employment fill many legal reporters with cases in the federal courts concerning just where the line is between the employer's entrepreneurial authority and its duty to bargain. So, the only way you find out that you've transgressed into "terms and conditions" is when the labor board or the court tells you you have.

So, I can't remember the cites and nobody's paying me but some company found out the hard way that their "labor-management committee" had transgressed into the forbidden territory of "terms and conditions of employment," which caused the NLRB to conclude and the courts to concur that "labor-management committees" that transgressed into mandatory subjects of bargaining constituted employer dominated unions and either violated the bargaining law or the union jurisdiction of the incumbent union. Moral of the story: In a union state never talk to your employees and learn to hate them as much as they hate you. Or, if you're a Democrat, give them whatever they want.

If not an effin' word of that made sense to you; welcome to the world of labor relations in the USSA.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The intent of that law was to create incentive for workers to unionize. The unions don't want companies to be able to deal with their workers independent of unions, so the unions get the law written to make that happen.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
My family is British. They understand what it is to see yourself as "labour". Americans don't. Americans see themselves as owners. They own houses, cars, etc. They're independent, and in control of their lives. The "Labour" attitude, that governed Britain from Churchill to Thatcher, just doesn't exist on this side of the ocean. People just don't see themselves that way. Why would I join a union? I'm running my life, not you.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I don't like my job, working conditions or pay, I'll get another job. If enough good workers leave because things aren't right, the company will either have to change or put up with bad workers. I don't need a union.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Organizing a Southern plant is so crucial to the union that UAW President Bob King told workers in a speech that the union has no long-term future without it."
********
"After 53 percent of the workers voted against his union, King said he was outraged at what he called “outside interference” in the election. He wouldn’t rule out challenging the outcome with the National Labor Relations Board. “It’s never happened in this country before that the U.S. senator, the governor, the leader of the House, the legislature here, threatened the company with no incentives, threatened workers with a loss of product,” King said. “We’ll look at all our options in the next few days.”"

--------------------------------------------------

We can only hope that first statement comes to fruition! And what King meant is his union needs more members so they can siphon more money off to his democrat buddies.

As to the second statement - what if the vote had been reversed and the union offer were accepted by the workers? I wonder what King would have had to say from a company challenging the vote? Would it be fair for that company to feel outrage?

Can you say poor loser? I can!

Now go away and finish what you've started - the destruction of Detroit.

I'm sure glad the workers had more sense than management.


22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The UAW President complaining about “outside interference” kinda defines irony.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Surprising"???? Only to surrender monkeys.
Unions AND Obama; have totally underestimated the resilience of the American people. Typical totalitarian pansies!!!!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Automakers are 1/2 the blame. They signed the contracts too you know.

IL has signed off on union contracts that are unsustainable for the unions, and the states. Same thing basically. There should be a law against it really. IL based their return on investments at 8% a year!! Who in their right mind would do that? 3% should be the baseline for future budgeting on city - state - and corporate future earnings.
So now that the returns on investment has been in -minus territory to +2.5% just when a ton of retirees went on pensions... uh oh! IL isn't even putting the money away anymore. Too bad union workers.

Any politician that says they will fix the problem with out cutting CURRENT retirees benefits is lying to you. We, as a state, are too far gone.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama has packed the NLRB with former union lawyers and other assorted hacks. This will be overturned by the NLRB and they'll be ordered to have another election, this time via card check, where the union goons know who votes for and against, and will utilize their expert goon tactics to intimidate enough workers to win.

It's the worst of both Detroit and Chicago.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
In practice with this bunch, I think you're right. They'll keep putting it to a vote until the outcome is satisfactory to them.

If someone has standing to challenge it in court, though, the issue of "outside interference" (in the threat to pull incentives if the vote went UAW's way) might run headlong into the "beneficiaries of government benefits are no worse off than if the government had never offered the benefits in the first place" line of reasoning that SCOTUS has applied in other types of cases.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately I fear you may be right about being ordered to have another vote, this time to be assured to get the outcome they, Obama, Holder, unions etc., want.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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