Tennessee, UAW, and Common Sense

 A lot has been written about the UAW vote in Chattanooga TN. I have read a few blog posts that claim this was a common sense vote. Common sense? I beg to differ.

  Apparently Unions are bad. They are so bad that they bankrupted the entire city of Detroit. It had nothing to do with corrupt government? It had nothing to do with diversity in a specialized market? And Detroit’s demise most definitely had nothing to do with the diversity of the economy?

  Of course not. We must blame theses Union employees that make too much money! They are brainwashed and stand by their LEADERS(?) even though they are destroying their very Union, not too mention the very fabric of this country.

  To begin with, has anyone here ever gone to their workplace superior and negotiated a better wage and/or better benefits? And if you did, were you successful? If you were to survey every non-union employee in this country on the previous questions, I would guess that a great majority would answer no. Reason being is simple. There is always going to be someone there to take your job for less money. Yet, that seems to be the standard reply when I debate my pro-union mindset to Conservatives. They almost seem insulted at the implication that a “Group” would have to negotiate on their behalf. And then ask for a minimal amount of union dues in exchange for such a wage and benefits. The anti-union establishment explains it this way. “I don’t need anyone negotiating my pay for me. I let my hard work speak for itself.”  Well, good luck with that. As a Union tile setter, I make $62.03 per hour in wage and benefits. I work my ass off and I get compensated accordingly. I dare a non union tile setter anywhere in this country to compare compensation with we. They won’t, and do you know why? Because they know that they don’t stand a chance in this race. The reason? There is only one of them racing. Where I have 3017 members on my team. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and I will preach this until the day I die. 

TOGETHER WE BARGAIN……..DIVIDED WE BEG…………….

  Conservatives are staunchly Anti-Union. Or, right to work. But why? The reason is quite simple, yet their lower working class followers just don’t seem to get it. The Republican National Committee is Anti-Union, because Unions donate to Democratic candidates. Yes, it’s just that simple.What other reason would the GOP have for despising Unions other than the fact that they donate against their interests? But you have to hand it to the GOP. They have found a way to use religion and animosity to pit worker against worker. And it has worked. Anti Union sentiment is rampant in our country. And one needs to look no further than Tennessee.

  This whole situation baffles me. First, you have an auto manufacturer and it’s employees going head to head in battle for unionization……Oh wait, rewind that. That’s right, quite the opposite happened in Chattanooga. Over the past thirty years the UAW has been trying to organize in the south. And thanks to the Voluntary Restraint Agreement (VCA) with Japan in 1982 (Thanks Ronald Reagan) all efforts have been met with heavy opposition. The opposition is so heavy that Tupelo Mississippi which is the sight of Toyota’s most recent plant, has a formal community organization whose only purpose is to keep Unions out. An entire community, brainwashed. But when efforts to organize foreign automakers seemed like an impossible task, out of nowhere comes Volkswagen. Volkswagen actually pushed for Union representation in it’s Chattanooga factory. And while workers at the plant were noticeably skeptic of Volkswagen’s stance, the answer was right in front of their face. See, Volkswagen wanted a “European works style” council. This council gives the workers a voice in numerous product decisions. I guess those evil Europeans really know where their collective bread is buttered. A happy worker bee is a productive worker bee. VW wanted this council, but under U.S. law a Union must represent employees for a company to form a “Works Council”. It’s as simple as that. Volkswagen is so pro-worker that it opened it’s doors and cordially invited the UAW into it’s facilities. In the past the UAW was met with great resistance from Nissan, Honda, and Toyota. But by reports VW let them tour the Chattanooga facility. Even allowing conference rooms to be used for the UAW to meet, greet, and educate the employees on the UAW’s intentions and goals. It should have been a No-Brainer. At least until Tennessee’s Conservatives found out. 

  Tennessee’s Government felt impelled to get involved. Through lies and manipulation, along with Grover Norquidst’s generous donations. Numerous adds, and untruths were spread. And the fact is that their actions are absolutely appalling. One State Senator even threatened to block any future incentives in Chattanooga if employees voted in favor of UAW representation. Can you believe that?This is like a nightmare. Can you believe this shit? They (GOP) will tell you that voting for Union representation will cause you to eventually lose your job. However, the GOP seems more than willing to get hands-on in making sure that you do lose your job. Now keep in mind, that this entire Unionization was favored by Volkswagen. This assault was led by two men. Governor Haslam and Senator Bob Corker. Once word came that the UAW was trying to organize the VW plant, the shit hit the fan. Billboards started appearing around town comparing unions to Detroit. You can thank Norquidst and his donors for that one. Radio and television adds were soon to follow. The most egregious act had to come from Corker himself. Once voting commenced, he went as far as to say that “VW had assured that it would make a new SUV line in Chattanooga rather than Mexico if the workers voted against representation.” Volkswagen has vehemently denied Corker’s statement. And this blogger tends to believe VW for the simple fact that they invited the UAW in the first place. But yet the majority ruled and the workers voted Nay. But why?

  As I said at the beginning of this post, Unions are bad. They must be, why else would Conservative groups spend millions to keep them out of a company that preferred their presence? The GOP preyed upon the fears of working class people. All they had to do was spit out a few key scare words, let the national Conservative big wigs throw some money out, and boom! You have no Union. You especially have no representation of the working class. And if you are a Conservative Governor, or  a Conservative Senator, or a Conservative state legislator why would you want an informed working class? You obviously wouldn’t, or else you wouldn’t have helped pass a bill in Tennessee that makes picketing in front of businesses a misdemeanor with a hefty fine attached. Although I wonder if this will apply to groups exercising their First Amendment rights in front of abortion clinics. Something tells me the answer is NO!

  In closing, every article I’ve read states that it was a major defeat for the UAW. But i disagree.I believe it was a major defeat for the working class. A defeat that they handed to themselves. With help from the Grand Old Party.

 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/02/14/vw-workers-vote-against-uaw/5500897/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michelinemaynard/2013/10/21/the-uaws-big-push-to-finally-organize-southern-u-s-car-plants/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2013/07/21/the-unions-didnt-bankrupt-detroit-but-great-american-cars-did/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/volkswagen-workers-reject-uaw-in-tenn-union-looks-for-plan-b-to-enter-south/2014/02/15/c35c018c-967c-11e3-9616-d367fa6ea99b_story.html

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140227/NEWS0201/302270084/1972/NEWS02?nclick_check=1

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14 thoughts on “Tennessee, UAW, and Common Sense

  1. Hello JOB,
    TOGETHER WE BARGAIN……..DIVIDED WE BEG…………….
    Very well stated!!!
    Fact:
    North Carolina is a “Right To Work” (HaHa) State and 40% of what was once “Working Middle Class” are now on some form of SocialServices such as Food Stamps. Their standard of living has been driven down to this level. In essence, corporations have forced the tax payers to subsidize their labor force pay scale. “Corporate Welfare!!”

    1. Hi EOK. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I knew N. Carolina’s percentage of working poor was high, but holy shit, 40 percent? Well, it is to be expected. The trouble lies in convincing these good people that the politicians they are electing is causing their poverty. Until we can help them see this, we will continue this fight. But it’s a fight worth having.

  2. Plus after busting the State’s Employees’ Union, Scott Walker’s Wisconsin leads the nation in Corporate Welfare……and last in creating jobs for the citizens of his State. An utter failure in misguided leadership!

  3. JOB- thanks for this important post. The theme sadly plays itself out in many places through our nation. Its a simple theme or, rather, scheme. Brainwash the peons with something that gets to their souls (not their brains) then watch these people do your bidding.

    Racism, anti-elitism, anti-Christian, class warfare. The list goes on. Tap into it and you can control them like mindless robots. I heard one Tennesseean say about unions, “This is the South and we don’t believe in unions here!”

    Well trained, useful peon who just voted to earn a lower wage with fewer benefits and no guarantee of future employment. Why? Because ‘we don’t believe in unions.’

    Pitiful manipulation. And the rich get richer…

    1. Thanks for the kind words Muddy, I’m glad you liked the post. I regretfully agree with everything you stated, But brainwashing may not be a bad thing. It means they learned this mindset. Maybe they can unlearn. I’m going to keep trying. I’m wondering if people in the South hate the Unions so much because a Union kicked their ass 155 years ago. Maybe it’s just name recognition?

      1. Never thought of that. The Union Army and labor unions. Maybe south of the Mason-Dixon Line they ought to be referred to as labor confederacies.

  4. Great post, in reality, the unions created an affluent middle class that fueled the economic engine of post war America. The same thing here in France where the Unions are still a very potent political force. In effect, the Unions and the first socialist coalition pre WW2 government under Leon Blum created the middle class. The reactionary right and the financial giants acted in concert to move capital and business out of France and really colluded with the Germans. In effect, they sold France to Germany before the war began. Blum was imprisoned during the War by the Vichy collaborationist government. Now, he is regarded as national hero. The same thing in effect is happening in America. To destroy unions and the power of the middle class, the industrialists and financial giants are selling out American industry to make the most money they can as fast as they can. This is as short sighted and as damaging as the same forces engaged in climate change denial as a profit motive. Detroit might be used as an example, but if you look at the reality, the lesson is not the one that the anti Unionists would like you to know.

  5. By the way, look at the narrow margin that the UAW lost by in Tennessee. Look at the underhanded lies and tactics used by Corker and his allies in spreading fear into the ranks of the workers. Volkswagen wanted the Union to win. That is the core of the worker management/relationship that has empowered German industrial success.

    1. Yes, Microdot, VW did not block the unionization of the plant but the “no-vote” workers succumb to the brainwash tactics that the GOP continually uses to stay in power. Although I did not see the anti-union literature, I’m quite sure that there were photos of black union workers in Detroit bearing the subtle message, ‘do you want these people working in your plant?’

      The GOP thrives on messages of racism and it counts on dog whistle politics cycle after cycle.

      1. Thank you for the lesson in pre WWII history Dottie. It’s not surprising that the same tactics are used today, some 70 years later. What’s amazing is that they still work.The VW vote was narrow, I believe 72-66 against unionization. And not only did VW not try to block unionization, it outright welcomed it.

        1. Not only do they still work, but history repeats itself here in France. A generation that is removed from the reality of this by a few decades. Like America, once it is old history, it can be rewritten and reinterpreted or just plain ignored. Very interesting scandal erupting here over the involvement of the ex president Sarkozy and the ultra far right who have managed to rebrand themselves as more user friendly fascists under the guise of the daughter, Marine LePen, of the founder of the Front National, Jean-Marie LePen. The media keeps playing with the hype of a Sarkozy “come-back” but the reality is that he is so deeply enmeshed in scandals and prosecutions that it could never happen. His own party is little nest of vipers in total disarray…they tried to have a referendum 2 years ago to appoint a new head of the party and couldn’t even handle that…there are two guys claiming that each other cheated, claiming to be head of the UMP. The only winner here is the far right, who have no real solutions to anything but sort of Tea Party fascism, allied with the ultra nationalists in other countries in Europe, but with the current economic situation, you have as in America, a increasing desperate and apathetic electorate. The Hollande Socialist government has been great on social issues, but in total disarray over economics. Hollande’s polling did go up slightly after the news of his latest affair got all the press.

  6. Well done JOB…..I was thinking of writing about Tenn and VW, thought
    this was a topic you like, so decided to defer to see if you commented… Glad I did, you hit it good!

    While you mention the Toyota plant in Tupelo, there is a billion dollar plus
    Nissan plant here in a Jackson suburb…The pay is $17.00 per hour beginning for entry level workers. $17 is a more than Obama”s $10 and the Leftists $15. A movement to organize has been going on for a couple of years…In this case not only are the politicians opposed, but so to is Nissan.

    On the backside, JOB, the countries these foreign companies represent forbide U.S. plants in their countries and put severe import restrictions on
    U.S. autos. Obama is just the latest President to sanctions such “trade deals”. Yep, not a dime’s worth of difference! Obama has been very anti-union….

    1. Thank you UTF. I see you commented before Fat Tuesday. So you must not have been to wasted, or had to return home. LOLOL. I hope you had a good time regardless,

      I would have to do more research into the Nissan plant, but nothing you tell me about it surprises me. I found through my research that all Asian companies are against Unionization. They do start their employees out at a higher scale than most other employers, or the minimum wage we are seeking. I wonder what the employee’s retirement and health benefits are. I would also be interested in stories of employee’s seeking a wage increase. Of course the Southern state politician will be against Unions, but Muddy had a great idea. Let’s start calling them Employee Confederacies down South.

      ” Obama has been very anti-union….”
      Despite my Conservative purging UTF, I have to agree with you. The trade deals are appalling. He did sign the EFCA, but then he went and did this.
      http://www.salon.com/2012/02/15/obama_to_unions_see_you_next_year/
      POTUS has definitely shown his Pro business side.

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