Such is the state of affairs for Big Labor’s auto union.
Having gutted the domestic auto industry in northern states, the United Auto Workers is desperately prowling for fresh meat in the South’s foreign automobile factories. Fortunately, the UAW has been unable to worm its way in, but its latest attempt in Tennessee shows just how desperate it has become.
The UAW’s three-year, $5 million campaign to unionize the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant was repudiated by plant workers in February by a 53- to-47 percent vote.
We can assume the 47 percent haven’t kept up with Detroit economic news.
UAW membership has plummeted 74 percent since 1979, and Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have slashed more than 200,000 jobs in recent years, mostly in the union strongholds of Michigan and Ohio.
With Michigan becoming a right-to-work state. it’s imperative the UAW infiltrate the South’s union-free car factories for new dues-paying members. It has unsuccessfully tried organizing Mercedes-Benz in Alabama and Nissan plants in Tennessee and Mississippi.
But the UAW’s tactics in Chattanooga reveal how bellicose it has become.
First it leaned on Volkswagen management by colluding with the powerful German steelworkers union, IG Metall. Then, with the automaker’s blessing, it went directly after employees on the factory floor – a luxury Volkswagen did not afford UAW opponents.
When hourly workers told the UAW “no thanks” in a 712-626 vote tallied by the National Labor Relations Board, the union ignored the “no” part.
It immediately sought to over-turn the election results claiming (irony alert!) “political interference” by anti-union groups and Tennessee Republicans, including Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, both of whom said unions would harm the state’s economy.
Of course, the UAW’s election appeal never had merit, which is precisely why the union dropped the complaint mere hours before an NLRB judge was to hear the case recently. The maneuver gave union bigwigs what they wanted: two months of unfettered, pre-hearing press coverage to bash their critics.
Even President Obama, Big Labor’s BFF, took the opportunity to chastise anti-union forces as being “more concerned about German shareholders than American workers” – fully failing to comprehend that it was American workers themselves who sent the union packing through their free and democratic expression of will.
Proponents of free-market capitalism should be unnerved that organized labor, in collusion with a foreign corporation, would seek to nullify a fair election through government fiat by characterizing the free speech of its critics as “political interference” – all the while getting a knowing wink and nod from the nation’s chief executive.
That’s not the America we know. That sounds more like – well, Germany.
Federal labor law permits the UAW to come back in a year. With Volkswagen planning to open a new SUV factory, another UAW union drive is all but assured.
However, we believe the next UAW campaign will fare no better than its first. Southerners realize their prosperity and the noticeable lack of unions is not coincidence.
They know Big Labor is selling an outdated clunker – a clunker that doesn’t improve with age.