Fending off Big Labor

Workers at Chattanooga auto plant tell union 'no thanks'

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In nature, a parasite will die along with its host unless it can attach itself to a new, healthy host from which to feed.

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.

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Riverman1
94247
Points
Riverman1 04/26/14 - 05:39 am
8
3
How Would The Vote Go Here?

A reason that Richmond County can't snag a major factory like these other southern cities have done is that a union vote would probably pass here.

seenitB4
98561
Points
seenitB4 04/26/14 - 06:25 am
5
7
The Good Bad & the Ugly

Let us put all the cards on the table, please..

One of the reasons we have had a middle class is because of higher earnings & sometimes from union jobs. Have they been perfect...NO, but neither has management....we need a balance ....I don't see that much anymore..
Poor gov caused most of the downfall in the northern states.....we are not immune to that in the south.

corgimom
38740
Points
corgimom 04/26/14 - 06:32 am
5
9
The AC is desperately

The AC is desperately searching for editorial subjects, this is very old news. And since Augusta doesn't have any auto plants, why are they even writing about this?

seenitB4
98561
Points
seenitB4 04/26/14 - 06:48 am
5
3
^^corgi

Because they know this will bring the posts out....big time!

deestafford
32200
Points
deestafford 04/26/14 - 06:50 am
6
2
At one time the unions had a place but...

At one time the unions had a place but that time has passed.

My Daddy helped start the Ironworkers Union 709 in Savannah back in either the late 40's or early 50's, I don't remember which, but before he died in 1970 he had no use for the unions.

The unions were for improving the safety, working conditions, and pay when their early days; however, as the years went by government laws and regulations required nearly all the things the unions wanted mandatory for all workers. Of course, the government has now overreached its boundaries as have the unions.

The only ways unions can attract new members is through increase benefits beyond what is justified by the free market and intimidation and threats. Today, many unions are counter to productivity in that the pace of work is basically that of what the lowest union contract is able to extract from the company.

Private sector unions should be allowed to survive or go away through right-to-work laws of each state and the unthreathened votes of the workers.

Public sector unions should not be allowed because they do much to corrupt politicians by threatening to withhold support from the politicians if they don't go along with their desires. We all know how most politicians respond when some group strong arms and threatens to kick them out of office.

The bottom line is let the free market decide. Current laws give workers adequate safety and working conditions protection. Unions have outlived their usefulness.

seenitB4
98561
Points
seenitB4 04/26/14 - 07:03 am
2
4
Wages are stagnate

dee..I agree with most of your post...but my question is this...What can we do to raise the pay for middle class folks?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/sunday-review/americas-productivity-cl...

gaflyboy
5364
Points
gaflyboy 04/26/14 - 07:38 am
7
2
Why?

"And since Augusta doesn't have any auto plants, why are they even writing about this?"

Because we're being forced to pay for them, even here in Augusta! In case you aren't aware, taxpayers are on the hook for saving the UAW (under the guise of bailing out the auto industry). And our government did so with borrowed money, thus handing the debt to my grandchildren.

BTW - The UAW - Volkswagen story is not "old news".

deestafford
32200
Points
deestafford 04/26/14 - 07:35 am
5
1
SeenitB4, Excellent question.

SeenitB4, Excellent question. You and I could probably sit down and solve that problem better than what we have in DC. Here are a few thoughts and comments.

I know there are many talking about the stagnation of wages over the years; however, most times they are merely talking about the pay check. What is not included in the discussion is the total compensation in the way of benefits --medical, dental, unemployment, 401K, vacation, sick leave etc.--that have increased over the years. So, one must look at the total compensation package the worker gets rather than isolating the money in the paycheck.

I think what would do more to help the middle class is to get the government out of the way. That is what help create the boom after WWII. Things were rolling so fast that despite Truman's unsuccessful desires to reimplement some of FDR's policies the economy the free market took control of the economy.

Just look at what is happening in North Dakota and Texas and some other states with the energy boom. Think of what would happen if that were multiplied by every state with oil off its shore or underneath its soil? In those two states truck drivers are making $100k year.

With increased energy production the cost of fuel would drop dramatically which would lower the operating costs for companies which would give them more capital to expand.

Reduce government regulations which are strangling production and free enterprise. The biggest impediment is the EPA then followed by OSHA, Departments of Interior, Commerce.

Repeal Obamacare and let the states control medical insurance by allowing people to buy insurance across state lines as they do auto insurance. The feds could put certain minimum requirements such as guidelines on pre-existing conditions etc.

Let the states be 50 laboratories of what works and what doesn't. Let them compete for workers and companies. Right now that is going on with the governors of TX, Louisiana, and some other states. They are travelling into "enemy" territory telling the companies what their state can do for the company if it moves there. When companies move and reduce operating costs they want to increase productivity and that requires more workers which means higher wages because of supply and demand works for workers as well as anything else.

Of course, getting the federal government completely out of the education process would help the economy also. After all, the people in Atlanta and Augusta are more interested in the education of Georgia kids than some cubicle dweller in DC who may not even know where Augusta is on a map.

If only these things were implemented a person would have to leave the country in order to not have a job. Then the person works hard and SMART and increases their worth to the company and they make more money and move up the quintile of income.

As an aside, the lower, middle, and upper classes are not static. People move from one to another and back and forth over their life time. I recommend going to RushLimbaugh.com and look at some statistics from the Census Bureau that he has highlighted on this subject to counteract some book a French leftist has written about how to level income by taxing all income over 500K by 80% to even things out and make "equality". Obama and the other Marxists are having orgasms reading it.

gaflyboy
5364
Points
gaflyboy 04/26/14 - 07:38 am
4
2
ymnbde
10752
Points
ymnbde 04/26/14 - 07:39 am
5
2
parasite- what an apt description

Henry Ford paid his workers far more than others
and his workers still went on strike, at the behest of the socialists
then running the union
no company should be forced to deduct union wages from paychecks
the union member should write a check each month
union membership would drop then
now the host companies collect dues for the unions
the unions give much of those dues to democrats
and the democrats make life easier for the unions
and the democrat's parasitic nature is exposed
as for "What can we do to raise the pay for middle class folks?"
teacher's unions are a root cause of our horrible public schools
true school choice, where a parent is given a voucher to be spent at the school of choice
would make our education system better
and better education means better wages
the UAW harms car companies, and car buyers
the teacher's unions harm kids
the democrat's support of unions harms everyone

seenitB4
98561
Points
seenitB4 04/26/14 - 07:50 am
3
1
Great points

Thanks dee...I'm glad I wanted to know more from you..:)

Bodhisattva
7316
Points
Bodhisattva 04/26/14 - 08:18 am
4
7
Robber barons haven't outlived their usefulness?

In 1968, union membership in this country was at amlost 30%. The middle class earned slightly over 53% of all wealth in the country. Contrast that to today, after Reagan began a canpaign of killing off unions, continued by the GOP, and especially the states of the old Confederacy (hey, they couldn't have slaves anymore, might as well have the next best thing), when union membership is at 11.3%, and the middle class earns about 45% of the national income. Of course the amount of money companies made grew like crazy but, between 1978 and 2011 workers' wages grew a whopping 5.7% (vs. a cumulative inflation rate of 1/1/1978-1/1/2011 of 252.36%). Have no fear, however, CEO pay increased 725% during the same time frame. So, while these non-union (which have outlived their usefulness) saw their pay essentially decrease 250%, the big bossed saw theirs triple. Naw, we don't need no stinkin' unions. Bossman, he be takin' good care of us. Eventually we'll get to pay them just for the privilege to work there. Now let's get to the usual propaganda of the Chronicle. No interference by Corker? He told the workers they'd we "rewarded with anew product line if they voted no". That's not intereference? Especially since VW, you know the people that own the danged thing, call it bull and said he was lying (and that his little statement happens to be against federal labor law). The state GOP also threatened to pull it's incentive package (you know taxpayer money, the Chronicle should be real familiar with that) it threw at VW to draw them there in the first place. There's the GOP, lies, threats, and intimidation if they don't get their way. Their standard MO. They were afraid it might spread to other factories in the south. Not to mention VW was in favor of the workers unionizing, and thank to the threats, intidation, and the down vote have said since the works can't have some kind of unionization, THE TENNESSEE PLANT WILL NOT BE EXPANDED and, "“If co-determination isn’t guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south. I can imagine fairly well another VW factory in the United States, but it does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again .” There you go. Fudge the truth, fudge the facts all you want Chronicle. The GOP lies and interference just kept the south from getting the VW plant from being expanded and made sure that any future VW plants will not be located in the backwards old Confederacy. Once again, the GOP places party and ideology adead of its people and the workers of its states. Same old, same old. You'd think eventually the backward dumb rednecks in these states would eventually learn that when they vote for the GOP they keep voting against their own economic, health, and personal interests. But, for the most part, the GOP is them good ol' white boys who keep them others in their place.

seenitB4
98561
Points
seenitB4 04/26/14 - 08:26 am
6
2
bod you make some good points also

But..sometimes the good ole boys at the top are good ole black boys too...not just the whities...they all seem to want to hold wages low.

dwb619
104748
Points
dwb619 04/26/14 - 09:40 am
4
0
expansion

Will be interesting to see which state VW chooses for next plant.

deestafford
32200
Points
deestafford 04/26/14 - 09:47 am
6
3
There is a myth as to whom the "robber barons" were...

There is a myth as to whom the "robber barons" were. In actuality they were not Rockefeller, Carnegie, Dow et. al. The "robber barons" were actually those who got monopoly contracts from the government to do things such as build railroads and the like. Those projects were all over budget and behind schedule. They were in bed with the government.

People like Rockefeller and Carnegie did the projects as private entities and did them successfully and for less cost.

The captains of industry that are mislabeled as "robber barons" actually made their fortunes by cutting costs and prices and providing the people with less expensive and better quality of goods and services.

For example, Rockefeller did more for the average American of the day than any government program by reducing the cost of kerosene from $1 a gallon to $0.10 a gallon. Thanks to his efficiency and low prices, millions of Americans who h ad previously gone to bed early to save money could now afford to illuminate their homes.

Carnegie and his steel innovation allowed cities to build better buildings and bridges to better the lives of people.

If one really wants to learn about "robber barons" one should read the book, "The Myth of the Robber Barons" by Burton Folsom.

Our lives would not be the high quality they are today without these captains of industry.

deestafford
32200
Points
deestafford 04/26/14 - 09:57 am
6
3
One other thing I forgot to mention that would help..

One other thing I forgot to mention that would help the middle class perhaps more than any other is to pass the Fair Tax. Businesses from around the world would be fighting to come here.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/26/14 - 10:08 am
4
3
"In 1968, union membership in
Unpublished

"In 1968, union membership in this country was at amlost 30%. The middle class earned slightly over 53% of all wealth in the country. Contrast that to today, after Reagan began a canpaign of killing off unions, continued by the GOP"
Bod, actually unions are the ones that have driven a lot of high paying jobs out of the country. Don't let your hatred of 'them good ol' white boys' distort your thinking. Unions destroyed the steel industry in the US. They almost destroyed the auto industry. In 1996 the union caused Caterpillar to shut down a plant in York, PA that employed over 1100 people. The workers at Caterpillar were the highest paid in York but they still wanted more. The community organizer paid the UAW for its support by bailing out their pension fund with taxpayer money.

t3bledsoe
14291
Points
t3bledsoe 04/26/14 - 10:40 am
4
1
Editorial

It is my understanding that union dues are somewhat high. This may be the reason that the UAW failed to gain the necessary support.

itsanotherday1
48418
Points
itsanotherday1 04/26/14 - 11:01 am
3
3
If unions are good, then

If unions are good, then let's unionize every job in the country that is below "executive" status. One requirement though, just one union organization to ensure pay scales for all careers are proportional to skill, education, demand, etc. If the autoworker gets $25/hr., then the IT/Network guy gets $40, and the physician's assistant gets $60.

Deal?

dichotomy
37616
Points
dichotomy 04/26/14 - 11:08 am
4
2
The only way to lift the

The only way to lift the middle class is for the economy to be SO good that it creates a demand for labor....competition to hire......which means better salaries and benefits must be offered in order to compete.

When the government, or a union, tries to dictate salaries the middle class loses. Some union members may get a little more but that means that others lose somewhere....most likely jobs are eliminated in order to pay a few a little more.

The government has assumed responsibility for most of the original needs for a union. With OSHA, the EPA, the MLRB, and all of the duplicated STATE equivalents of these agencies, all of the safety and labor rules are pretty much covered. There is really no need for a union if you agree that the demand for labor is really the only thing that logically dictates salary and benefits. We all know that in the heyday of the unions when the minimum wage was a few dollars an hour the unions had auto manufacturers paying unskilled hubcap installers $35.00 an hour on the production line with full health and pension benefits......which is why we have had to bail out the auto industry, or parts thereof, several times in the past 50 years and why Detroit is in bankruptcy. IT DIDN'T WORK FOR THE LONG TERM.

Sweet son
11762
Points
Sweet son 04/26/14 - 11:31 am
3
4
Union bosses don't care about anyone but themselves and their

cronies. Great that the work force in the South is turning them away. Workers work for good companies with good benefits and good salaries. If unions invade then the management and worker relationship will change. It will change an everyone work and get along to labor vs management and that is unhealthy for either side.

itsanotherday1
48418
Points
itsanotherday1 04/26/14 - 01:15 pm
4
3
Thumb downer. What is it you

Thumb downer. What is it you disagree with? Don't like the idea of wages being proportional to education, productivity, and demand?

corgimom
38740
Points
corgimom 04/26/14 - 07:24 pm
2
2
If workers "work for good

If workers "work for good companies with good benefits and good salaries", why are so many working people qualifying for Medicaid, food stamps, and assisted housing?

corgimom
38740
Points
corgimom 04/26/14 - 07:25 pm
2
2
But I wonder, Sweet Son, if

But I wonder, Sweet Son, if you are aware of the large number of Augusta business owners that have little to no benefits for their workers.

carcraft
28588
Points
carcraft 04/26/14 - 09:17 pm
1
1
Because the only jobs being

Because the only jobs being offered are entry level because of Obama's great economic recovery and policies like Obama card scaring employers to death?

carcraft
28588
Points
carcraft 04/26/14 - 09:28 pm
1
0
Actually Deestafford, the

Actually Deestafford, the robber barons could be pretty brutal, stealing patents, holding down wages, child labor,and crushing competitors.

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