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Thread: TN Volkswagen Workers Vote Against UAW Representation

  1. #1
    Moderator RACING JUNKIE Harbone's Avatar
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    TN Volkswagen Workers Vote Against UAW Representation

    This hits home for me since VW is one of the franchises at the dealership where I work. I am glad that the UAW didn't have the chance to sink their claws and get a foothold in the South. In my opinion the UAW destroyed Detroit's automotive plants and now you see what is left of that city. Not saying it was all the UAW's fault but they sure had a big hand in the city's demise. The UAW can lay in the bed it has made in Detroit and keep the corruption out of the south!

    The United Auto Workers lost its bid to organize workers at a Volkswagen AG (VOW) factory in Tennessee, a setback in its effort to gain a foothold in the U.S. South and a victory for Republicans who urged voting against the union.

    In balloting at the Chattanooga facility that ended last night, 712 workers opposed being represented by the UAW with 626 voting to join, the UAW announced. Politicians and outside groups had waged a campaign against the UAW, warning employees that a vote for the union would bring Detroit’s economic woes to Chattanooga and discourage investment in the state.

    The UAW has been rebuffed in efforts to recruit in the South at foreign automakers, known as transplants, or domestic manufacturers that set up shop to take advantage of tax breaks, non-union labor and easy access to U.S. markets. The loss underscores a decline for unions, said Gary Chaison, a labor law professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

    “It’ll seem as if it’s just a continuing spiral of decline for the American labor movement,” Chaison said in an interview, “when one of its most powerful and reputed unions cannot win a certification election under the most favorable conditions.”

    The UAW has lost 75 percent of its membership since 1979 while the total of U.S. workers who are union members fell to 11.3 percent in 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

    “While we certainly would have liked a victory for workers here, we deeply respect the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, Volkswagen management and IG Metall for doing their best to create a free and open atmosphere for workers to exercise their basic human right to form a union,” UAW President Bob King said in a statement last night.

    Corker Opposition

    The outcome was a victory for Republican politicians including U.S. Senator Bob Corker and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam who opposed the UAW’s effort, warning that a yes vote would deter other companies from investing in Tennessee.

    “Needless to say, I am thrilled for the employees at Volkswagen and for our community and its future,” Corker, a former mayor of Chattanooga who helped negotiate the incentive package that lured Volkswagen to the city, said in a statement last night. The $1 billion plant opened in 2011.

    When voting began Feb. 12, Corker said turning back the UAW would guarantee that Volkswagen picks Chattanooga to build a new sport utility vehicle for the U.S. market.

    Corker was contradicted by Frank Fischer, chairman and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Chattanooga, who said the vote had no bearing on where the new SUV is built.

    Outside Groups

    Outside lobby groups, including one tied to anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, used billboard advertising and editorials in local newspapers to build opposition to the UAW. The vote supervised by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board was set after a majority of plant workers signed registration cards in favor of joining the union.

    Volkswagen and the UAW agreed to negotiate forming a works council, an employee-management body found at most large German companies to resolve labor disputes. None exists in the U.S. where a union must be in place before such a panel is created.

    Union membership in Tennessee grew by 25 percent in 2013, the most of any state with 31,000 new members over 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even so, only 6.1 percent of the state’s workforce was in unions in 2013.

    In a Feb 12 interview on MSNBC, King said the UAW “campaign was built on workers in the Chattanooga plant” and he accused Tennessee Republicans of trying to intimidate employees.

    Detroit Malaise

    Corker had suggested earlier this week that voting for the UAW would bring the sort of economic malaise that crippled Detroit. Such comments might appeal to workers who distrust unions and are fearful of losing their jobs, Chaison said.

    Detroit, the 18th-largest U.S. city, filed the largest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy in July, saying it didn’t have enough money to cover $18 billion in liabilities while also providing adequate police, fire and other services to the city’s 700,000 residents. Unemployment in Detroit’s metropolitan area was 8 percent in December, compared with 6.7 percent that month nationwide.

    High unemployment remains a challenge for union organizing in the U.S. South, and may have swayed the vote against the UAW, according to Merle Black, professor of politics at Emory University in Atlanta.

    “If you open up a plant you got 3,000 jobs, and you have 15,000, 20,000 people applying for the jobs,” Black said in an interview. “For a lot of these workers the non-union job they have right now is a whole lot better than what they had.”

    As close to "Normal" as I can get...

  2. #2
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE Swiley383's Avatar
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    White Bluff TN
    I agree with you Harbone I have been following this out of curiosity. My sister works for the state as part of a job placement program for when places shut down. She has had a couple encounters with union reps for placing laid off union workers in non union jobs. I have no sympathy for people that won't take a job that is non union a job is a job. If you are in need take what you can get something is a lot better than nothing at all.

  3. #3
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE oldandtired's Avatar
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    Sugar Hill, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by Swiley383
    I agree with you Harbone I have been following this out of curiosity. My sister works for the state as part of a job placement program for when places shut down. She has had a couple encounters with union reps for placing laid off union workers in non union jobs. I have no sympathy for people that won't take a job that is non union a job is a job. If you are in need take what you can get something is a lot better than nothing at all.
    Amen brother....
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke

  4. #4
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE TheYellaBrick's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Emmett, Idaho
    MY American Dream does NOT include the unions ......
    to those who

    God Bless our folks in uniform
    "We the People, have your backs"

  5. #5
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE TheRabbit's Avatar
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    Augusta, Ga.
    Although unions are not very popular in this area we do have some good unions here. Some of our crane operators are union, HVAC guys are union.
    We are a right to work state and the only thing the union dies is offer those guys a decent benefit package, but nothing crazy expensive. They have no say
    Hiring or firings either. We hire and fire all employees just like non union employees.
    I agree that the UAW has really made it hard for the future of unions and not to mention part of the reason a truck cost $70,000.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    Jan 2012
    In my experience, the Big Unions have little or no concern for the rank and file . . They are into membership and the money it allows them, which then is used to buy political power . .

    The smaller locals will offer more to the member but as long as part of your dues go to an "International" you can count on getting screwed at the top end . .

    Good Job, Tennesee!

  7. #7
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE Swiley383's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    White Bluff TN
    Right or wrong I believe unions were started with good intent like when cole miners only got paid with credits to the company store but then decided they should control more of the company than the owners.thats were thing got carried away. Then look at how corrupt thing soon became.

  8. #8
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    Jan 2012
    Unions have always been a two sided issue. But unfortunately the basic concept has been usurped by the Socialist/Communist idea of worker solidarity and communal sharing . .

    The good side (if there truly is one) is that back in the early 20th Century (1910-15) the Mines in this country and some industry saw what the railroads had done in the mid 19th century with imported labor . . And they imported the largest percentage of theirs (98%) . . Labor organizers saw opportunity and began organizing small groups and then starting strikes . . By 1913, in Colorado, the strikers were fighting the company security forces and the Colorado Governor (and the Governor of Michigan) had called out the militia and established martial Law.

    This took several years to iron out but eventually the mines in both colorado and Michigan were unionized . . After that most heavy industry surrendered to the unions simply to keep from repeating what had been seen in Colorado and Michigan.

    Up until the late 60's the Unions boomed and enjoyed huge membership, which in turn, generated large amounts of money. The Unions held large sums of money for the member's retirement funds and they bought politicians with portions of that money.

    Then, several of the larger National Unions invested in Las Vegas in the mid 60's, and the more they invested, the more the mafia (who literally owned the casinos at the time) stole . . which, in a very short period, literally bankrupted the Teamsters, and most of the AFL/CIO affiliates.

    Most unions sought refuge from their pension obligations by a new act created by the unions and put into law by bought and paid for Politicians, that obligated the Federal government to come in and pick up those retirement payments for about a dime on the dollar . .

    Then later on, in 2005, the UAW was seen as the major cause for the impending bankruptcies of both GM and Chrysler . . Ford had similar problems but managed to force the UAW to work out a feasable plan to keep the company liquid . . Obama came in a took GM and Chrysler away from it's stockholder Owners and literally gave them to the UAW, at your expense. (about a $16 billion loss when the last Federal GM stock was sold last year)

    And today, Union membership is shrinking due to bad policy and the shrinking jobs market . . You can't make a robot pay union dues . . And most of the people working in the automobile plants in the South don't have complaints about their jobs or the workplace, so have no use for a union that would do no more than take dues out of their paycheck to support politicians and political agendas they don't like.

    Bottom line, in 1913, there might have been a need for organized unions, but the fact that they have always been a subsidiary of organized crime, or the fall guy for the same, the world would probably be better off without them . .

  9. #9
    Senior Member SENIOR BUILDER
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    Feb 2008
    Roadkill wrote in part, " the world would probably be better off without them". I'm not picking a fight with you Roadkill. I agree with what most have posted on this subject. However, I retired from the rail road after a 32 plus year career, over 30 as a mainline locomotive engineer. As most people know, if you work for the rr, in most crafts, you are required to belong to a union. I agree that in many industries, the unions are not needed, however, on the railroads, the unions "are a necessary evil." Has anyone ever heard of "getting railroaded"? That's NOT a term someone simply dreamed up!!
    In my career, I was not pro union, or pro company, I was pro me. As many know, you have to strictly follow rr operating procedures, as well as your union contract provisions. These things and others, such as simply doing your job and doing it safely, can make the rr industry quite a challenge.
    I had a great career. I wouldn't be able to do the things that I do now had I not hired on years ago and stuck with it.
    And speaking of retirement. The Railroad Retirement Board oversees our retirement system. The railroads and the employees each put in 50% of the funds that go into the retirement system. NO taxpayer money goes into it at all. I can't give you the % of income per payday that the employees put into it, but I can tell you it's higher than paying SS taxes. And when you retire your retirement income is higher than SS as well.
    So, all in all, in many industries the union is a bad thing, but in some, " a necessary evil", needed to protect the workers from the wrath of the company.

  10. #10
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
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    Jan 2012
    There's truths and not so truths in what you say, csx. Granted the Railroad Unions did well for the average RR worker, especially in the retirement funding . . Probably one of the best retirement programs for the "working people' that remains . . But according to my wife, who's a manager of a Doctor's Office, (with all due respect) your medical sucks . . Can't have everything I guess . .

    The down side of the RR Union was it's reluctance to keep up with technology. How long was a "Conductor, a Fireman and a Switch Man" maintained in trains that had no need for them? Granted, it kept people in jobs, but at what cost to the company? One has to remember that the greatest economic flexibility a business has is it's labor costs.

    But . . The Teamsters, the Plumbers, and pretty much all of the AFL/CIO had similarly funded retirement programs up to the early 60's then they went broke, suddenly, and had to fall back on the Federal government . . Why? Because the stupid Bastards invested in Las Vegas and lost it all . . Add to that, the shrinking need for a lot of the labor that paid into the funds . .

    A good example is a local steel mill. In 1965, it was the largest steel plant West of the Mississippi, Pure Union. It employed over 6000 workers, 24/7 . . Today, it no longer produces basic, but recycles scrap, and produces more product than it did in 1965, with about 1500 people . . The Local Steel Workers Union is nothing more than a shell of it's old self and does little or nothing for it's members, all of whom will have to depend upon the Federal Government for any retirement benefits when they're due . .

    The unions are broke, because they not only lost their retirement funds but in the last 45 years, they have spent billions supporting the politicians who continue to keep them in business . . An example; If it weren't for the NRLB, Boeing's Machinists would be looking for jobs and 787X's would be being built in Tennesee or Kentucky . .

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