By on February 21, 2014

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The United Auto Workers union has filed an appeal this day with the National Labor Relations Board over the results of the three-day organization election at Volkwagen AG’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant held last week, citing outside intimidation from anti-union groups and individuals.

In the 58-page filing, the UAW goes into detail over the anti-unionization campaign, including references to United States Senator and former Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker’s threat/promise over Volkswagen’s plan to build their BlueMotion Concept-based mid-size SUV in 2016.

Union president Bob King reaffirmed the union’s commitment to organizing the VW plant in the filing, while also having this to say about the anti-union forces who campaigned against the workers’ right to join the UAW:

It’s an outrage that politically motivated third parties threatened the economic future of this facility and the opportunity for workers to create a successful operating model that that would grow jobs in Tennessee. It is extraordinary interference in the private decision of workers to have a U.S. senator, a governor and leaders of the state legislature threaten the company with the denial of economic incentives and workers with a loss of product.

The NLRB will now investigate the results for potential interference. If found in the UAW’s favor, the board will throw out the results and hold a new election at the plant.

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79 Comments on “UAW Files Rejection Of Chattanooga Election Results...”


  • avatar
    Toad

    “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.” – Joseph Stalin. The NLRB is not a disinterested bystander.

    • 0 avatar
      AlternateReality

      Amen, and hallelujah.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      “You know, comrades,” says Stalin, “that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.” – Joseph Stalin

      Specifically in relationship to the fact he turned being Secretary of the Communist party which was an actual secretary position into a position of totalitarian power. If you were quoting Stalin correctly you would have had to see the UAW or somebody else manipulate the vote manually and your side would have lost.

      This is actually a normal appeal process that dates back to the formation of the NRLB under the NRLA that specifically prohibits interference from outside parties. This vote isn’t about ‘democracy’ in the respect you so desperately want to use it because then it would JUST be between the UAW, the workers, and VW. Grover Norquist and Sen Crocker would have no say and could not express slanderous remarks (and in Crocker’s case apparently an outright lie) as they aren’t part of that democracy.

      • 0 avatar
        johnny ro

        Kind of losing you in the last two sentences, but please elaborate. OK up to then.

        Stalin quotes shake me awake if taken in moderation.

        I agree its not about the actual mechanical vote count which also appears to be challenged.

        I thought the whole post is about sitting senior government employees speaking as public figures while blatantly interfering with voter information, falsely I might add, and adding in an element of direct threat. Illegality remains to be decided, that will run its course.

        We have seen VW Board level statements in the exact opposite direction as indicated by the local pols claiming to be in the know. This is a board comprised halfly of labor. And local VW management speaking on the record in the opposite direction as well.

        I am not a particular UAW fan, I do perceive a degree of fat cat there, but I think they were shoveled aside unfairly here.

        Even better I see benefits of a for-real Board where non-mgt. employees are taken for-real seriously, beyond customary lip service if they even get that at Boards here in the USA.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        Given that the “outside influences” specifically avoided doing anything on the plant grounds themselves, communicating through alternate methods protected by the first amendment, I fail to see how on earth someone could conclude that they exercised undue influence.

        Corker et al expressed opinions on public air spaces. That’s not a violation of the NLRA or anyone else’s rights.

        The rejection of the UAW doesn’t stop the employees from organizing on their own, either. It simply rejects the UAW. The idea that if the workers organize it has to be with the UAW is nonsense.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          I don’t think the union has much of a leg to stand on here, but Corker went far beyond “expressing an opinion”. He made very specific claims that he walked back after the fact, and did nothing but muddy the waters to give the UAW something to file a complaint about.

        • 0 avatar
          johnny ro

          Corker is not a private citizen. He is the mayor of the city.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Former Mayor of Chattanooga. He’s now a U.S. Senator. He still enjoys the right of free speech, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            @Lorenzo, Lies are Constitutionally protected as long as you’re not under oath in a court of law. That doesn’t change the fact that Corker knowingly lied in an attempt to influence the outcome of the vote.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            “That doesn’t change the fact that Corker knowingly lied in an attempt to influence the outcome of the vote.”

            Except for where we wanted to eat last night, I’m hard-pressed to think of a time where lies are not told to influence the outcome of a vote.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The politicians were bargaining with subsidies in order to get “no” votes. It would have been hard to have been more blatant, and the sheer brazenness is something to behold.

          Workers have the right to unionize or not, free of quid pro quo coercion from their own politicians. Give me a break.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            And at least they’re being honest in their coercion. Corker’s claims that he was told by unnamed sources that the second line depended on a “no” vote was a bold-faced lie. Corker admitted as much when he walked back the claim after the vote.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    So whats new ???? those A holes will do anything to cause problems.
    I have seen this time and time again….. With the NLRB (loaded with Obama minion) in love with unions I don’t see a good result

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Even a blind man could see this coming so this should not come as a surprise to anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      well…i might be mistaken, but isn’t the entire nlrb in some kind of trouble? not only the appointments made when obama decided the congress was in recess…but the decisions made by those are now in doubt.

      although past presidents have made appointments while a recess was on…those recesses were official and declared. obama is in trouble because he should not have been able to decide if a recess was declaired…and one never was.
      only the house president or speaker can decide this.

      just a thought…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “The NLRB will now investigate the results for potential interference. If found in the UAW’s favor, *the board will throw out the results and hold a new election at the plant*.”

    Shades of 2000…

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      If by shades of 2000 you mean we threw out the national presidential election results and revoted across all 50 states? Is that what you mean? Otherwise your statement seems to make no sense on its face other than an attempt to tie a conservative political move supported by a conservative supreme court to a normal and actually legislated review of a vote by a legal entity.

      As an aside, if Nader hadn’t been on the ballot in Florida Gore would have most likely won by 30K+ votes.

      • 0 avatar
        bill mcgee

        There are many thousands of voters , myself included , who usually vote for third party candidates , partly as a protest of our two brain-dead major parties , particularly those of us living in states that always go for the same party in major races ( I live in Texas ) who feel that due to the absurdity of the electoral college that our votes don’t count . Yes I voted for Nader ( twice ) Perot ( twice ) John Anderson , et al . I never would have voted for Al Bore because I literally could not stomach the idea of listening to his pedantic, condescending know- it – all voice . At the time I would have preferred Bush to Gore , though not after he bankrupted the country and got us into two of the stupidest wars in our history. Yes Gore won the election in 2000 just like Nixon really won in 1960 , both had their victories stolen from them by political chicanery brought about by the electoral college .At the time I thought the Gore campaign made a terrible error to not immediately insist on a recount of the entire state of Florida instead of initially wanting to hand pick a couple of Democratic counties for a recount .

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          bill, some folks would label you an “Independent!”

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          I’m sure your views have reasons behind them but the only reason I reply is Nixon didn’t have the election stolen from him in 1960. He lost in a relatively fair election process unlike Gore who had to face a 3rd party candidate that was designed to pull votes off him. If you want to feel shenanigans Clinton in 1992 won because of Perot. But that’s neither here nor there. No substantiated claim has ever come forward just Republicans complaining.

          • 0 avatar
            bill mcgee

            There is substantial evidence that both Illinois and Texas actually went for Nixon in 1960 . Richard Daley and Lyndon Johnson were the likely culprits ,In Chicago thousands of votes were in question . At the time , Texas was a Democratic machine controlled state , and suspicions of vote fraud were completely kept out of the media . The fraud was not so much in Houston and Dallas , but LBJ pulled strings thru his friends in South Texas to swing the election . During the aftermath of the 2000 election I was working quite a bit in San Antonio and many long buried stories of the 1960 campaign were surfacing in the local media , including reports of rigged voting machines in heavily Republican areas such as Castle Hills , a suburb of San Antonio which resulted in precincts going 100 % for Kennedy . In the Rio Grande valley , the typical LBJ pattern of long dead voters registering and voting Democratic prevailed . Then Democrat controlled east Texas also experienced a lot of fraudulent voting ( which also allegedly occurred in 1976 ) . In 2000 the Republican chicanery in Florida wasn’t the only story. Most likely New Mexico ‘s vote was stolen in a very close election for Al Gore , with governor Richardson. Vote fraud has been more frequent than is probably realized . Often as in 1960 the media helped with the coverup. Personally I think that junking the electoral college would help.

          • 0 avatar
            carrya1911

            You obviously haven’t read up on how the Johnson or Daley political machines functioned.

        • 0 avatar
          MK

          Sorry dude you lost me at “..two stupidest wars..”, yeah Iraq was boneheaded dumb but A-Stan was righteous. Although I guess we coulda just lobbed a few tomahawks and called it a day right?

          Please do not conflate the invasion of Afghanistan with the invasion of Iraq, apples and cheese man.

          That is all.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            Afghanistan was righteous for the very specific reason that we were going after OBL and punishing the Taliban for hosting him. Once the SEALS took out OBL in 2011 (in Pakistan), they should have immediately announced success and the immediate withdrawal. Because nation building is a lost cause.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Any hanging chads?

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Give it up, UAW. You lost and it was fair. VW practically handed it to you on a plate.

    Before the UAW wastes more of its dwindling resources on this, they should ask themselves the real reasons why, with 3 years and $5 million, they couldn’t make this happen.

    VW practically handed it to them on a plate. If anything, Corker shooting off his mouth probably helped them a bit.

    The vote was more about the UAW than unionizing itself.

    R.I.P., UAW. I feel for the ghost of Walter Reuther. He’d have taken Bob King out to the woodshed.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    The Continuing Saga of Transplant Assembly Unionization, part II: The Recount.

    We should call Peter Jackson to direct this one. It will last longer than the Lord of the Rings.

  • avatar
    morbo

    The UAW represents Caesars casino workers in Atlantic City. Caesars owns 4/11 casinos. During labor negotiations, the UAW put up billboards encouraging casino gamblers to go to competing casinos away from Atlantic City, being mad at Caesers negotiating tactics.

    Caesers did respond, putting up billboards that said”UAW. Turning Atlantic City into Detroit”

    There has to be a responsible Union somewhere that can work with VeeDub, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      “There has to be a responsible Union somewhere that can work with VeeDub, right?”

      Yes, there is one, but the “somewhere” is Germany, which doesn’t have the American labor union experience or a built up mass of labor law to underpin it. That experience is a history of conflict and animosity going back to the robber barons.

      Unfortunately, history is not Americans’ strong suit. Other countries tend to look back, but we look forward, blissfully unaware of the events that got us where we are.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    A system that depends on squelching speech in order to get a “fair” result isn’t a fair system.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    “It’s an outrage that politically motivated third parties threatened the economic future of this facility and the opportunity for workers to create a successful operating model that that would grow jobs in Tennessee.”

    Come on UAW, you are being a little rough on yourself describing yourself that way.

    Oh, wait, you are describing someone else that way? That did not spend $5 million on a multi-year propaganda effort? And did not have access to confront the workers in the factory? Hahahaha.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Bring it.

    Meanwhile, the 40% of entrenched voters on each side won’t change, but the middle 20% of swing voters will observe how ugly the UAW tactics are. And they’ll hear threats of mythical future abuses by the employer they are currently happy with.

    Then Vote 2.0 will yield the same results.

    All dying organisms try to preserve themselves.

  • avatar
    carveman

    http://www.uaw.org/cars

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      My daily driver is there. First page. I wonder how many of the UAW apologists have their cars there.

    • 0 avatar
      crm114

      It’s nice they compiled an easy what-not-to-buy list for people concerned with quality workmanship.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        The issues with the UAW are:

        1) It is a financial parasite looking for new hosts.
        2) The only way that manufacturing in the US makes sense is if it is incredibly efficient and automated, but the UAW is a luddite organization that fights automation and efficiency.
        3) Policies like the two-tier plan show how in a union, especially without right-to-work laws protecting workers, the majority screws the minority instead of everyone taking a cut.

        I wouldn’t peg quality as a huge remaining issue, and these are some of the best enthusiast cars on the market.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree with you about quality but crm114’s comments are in sync with what I told a friend of mine who is a UAW retiree from Chrysler: the UAW’s brand is damaged, just like the American car companies’ brands were damaged, with both workers and consumers. Regardless of how much the worker on the assembly line has to do with quality, or whether non-union plants make higher quality cars than those with UAW workers. This is one of those cases were perception is more important than reality and a significant number of consumers and potential union members perceive the UAW as a damaged brand.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I guess union-built cars made elsewhere are taboo, like Volkswagens.

      • 0 avatar
        crm114

        I didn’t imply all unions, just the UAW. However, the one Wolfsburg built car I bought did have 3 or 4 initial defects.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          I have a Chattanooga built ’13 Passat that is sitting at the dealership this weekend because they are tracing a clicking clutch pedal and had to order a couple parts. I also have a ’14 Jetta that had a sticking gas door that needed to be addressed.

          The morale to this story, aside from me being a VW homer is that sometimes the problem is with the worker on the assembly line, sometimes it is with the engineer who designed the component, and sometimes it is with the quality control with a parts supplier.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    So how long till the NLRB concludes their investigation and renders a verdict on the appeal?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It’s a foregone conclusion. The NLRB will find for the UAW and Vote v2 will be mandated.

      This will repeat itself until enough VW workers have changed their mind and vote to let the UAW in.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        That’s how the Euro-bureaucrats do it. ‘No’ is never final. They just keep trying with their treaties (Maastrict, Lisbon) until they get assent, which is, of course, permanent.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Lorenzo, I am not well-versed on the way the Europeans do it but it would seem to me that automakers wanting to produce on the North American continent would be better advised to set up shop in Mexico where they can pay the workforce $16 PER DAY instead of setting up shop in the US and paying those autoworkers ~$20 PER HOUR and have to put up with the shenanigans of the UAW to boot.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            The thing you have to remember is that it was just $4 a day about a decade ago. Mexico’s economy is expanding, and like in China, the wage differential is narrowing. Also like China, you can achieve decent assembly quality in Mexico only with extensive management oversight that nips shortcut tendencies in the bud. Wages are not the only, or even major consideration.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    What, someone else is using your tactics? What a shame. Free the jailed ironworker goons in Philly.. they can clear this up.

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    Good thing we can count on the UAW to never commit an extraordinary interference in the private decision of workers that threatens the company with loss of economic incentives and product.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Good thing they didn’t because VW has already established they were interested in a work council and were going to reward the plant by extending their clear pro-labor agenda to it. But thanks for getting confused about that.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    At this point though TTAC is just driving click bait. Everybody knew they would appeal the decision if the lost especially after Corker opened his mouth and went just from propaganda to actual lying. I won’t be surprised to see the NRLB decide in favor of the UAW but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t. This is a nuanced situation where the direct owner wasn’t necessarily involved but I think Corker’s comments go beyond the pale.

    But keep bashing the unions. They aren’t going to die and if any of you follow the service unions they’re growing. The world is changing as the gears grind and interestingly enough it seems to changing in my favor.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Hmmmmmm, how about the cable and local news channels? Are they driving click bait?

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        TTAC has in the past few days (I guess a week now…) close to 5 separate reports on it. They know these drive high-comment rates and help their bottom line. I don’t mind that as I love kabitzing with all of you (even though we differ on politics) because some of you have great incite and when we discuss cars I always learn a little something more.

        In general this is always going to be news especially for traditional news outlets as Corker’s comments were completely unhinged and did create a possible legal standard to overturn.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          This site being easily the most widely-read for this genre usually publishes articles that have the most impact across the widest part of the professional spectrum that makes up its readers.

          And if they don’t publish it here first, often someone making a comment on a thread alludes to developing news on-going as we post.

          When I attended a NADA meeting in Las Vegas years ago, I was amazed at how many pros were actually tuned in to ttac, then under the reign of Robert Farago.

          These were people with no political affiliation or loyalties but just interested in making money in this industry. And at that time ttac spelled it out, warts and all. Some called it anti-GM.

          Topics offered often are controversial because such a wide swath of individuals from within the industry casts their eyes upon them and wish to opine with their perspective and anecdotes.

          Yeah, and sometimes the union-shills and plants do their best to peddle their agenda which only evokes more contention.

          I am sure politics enters into it. It’s bound to.

          But by and large it is the quality of the choice of topics, the quality of the writing and the brisk commentary that drive the clicks that make the advertisers happy.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          incite = insight?

          Xeranar – so how can they establish a works council not involving the UAW? Can another group step in?

          I have to disagree Corker’s comments were out of line….he invested a great deal of time and effort to help land VW; I believe he’s entitled to an opinion.

          I also believe the UAW had an unfair advantage with plant worker access, everything but coronation by VW, and complete monopolistic consideration. Workers opposed were not allowed the same privileges.

          Maybe it is ‘click bait’….but damn, it’s a hot topic, and more importantly – auto news.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            Again, I’m not on the side of the UAW but Senator Corker did not express an opinion; he made a specific claim that he was told by an inside source that Chattanooga adding a second line was contingent on the workers voting against unionization.

            There is a difference. A big difference actually.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Jimal, there have been a few automakers who have chosen to set up or expand operations in Mexico instead of the US because of the relentless onslaught of the UAW trying to get their slice of the pie.

            If TN is a RTW state but is forced to accept unionization through whatever means the NLRB succeeds with, then it doesn’t make sense for the state to subsidize any employer nor for the employer to expand operations by adding additional production lines.

            Personally, I would like to see more of these transplants that are plagued by the UAW on an annual basis to pick up their toys and move south of the border.

            Not only will this keep more Mexicans employed at home instead of over here, but it will put to rest the UAW desire to deny Americans jobs in the auto industry UNLESS they are unionized and UAW members.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            @highdesertcat You are referring to the comments made by the Tennessee State Senator about future incentives. Corker’s comments are separate and patently (by his own admission) false. One is an official stating the obvious; that he and his cohorts aren’t going support further incentives to VW if the plant unionizes. Corker’s comments were not that.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    How long until a new automotive workers union steals the UAW’s lunch money? It’s a forgone conclusion, the question is in the timing.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      The UAW currently represents 80% of all Autoworkers in the US (400K) and there are 20% that are non-unionized (20%). In terms of power the UAW is undisputed industry-wise and the transplants have always been the goal. Why transplants don’t unionize is complicated and has to do with a mixture of culture, location (i.e. far away from major urban centers), and a fairly beneficial wage scale compared to the area (but lower than the national average). Basically the transplants are effective at feeding the dog just enough to keep it happy but not enough to let it get strong.

      But that’s been drawn out and repeated endlessly by now…

      • 0 avatar
        panzerfaust

        Oh, I’ve seen some pretty strong transplants. I don’t believe that the UAW want’s to move into plants in right to work states because they’re concerned about the well being of the employees. They’re doing it because successful non union plants make them look like what they are, relics of a bygone era, who are just as greedy as corporations they leech off of.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @Xeranar:

        “Basically the transplants are effective at feeding the dog just enough to keep it happy but not enough to let it get strong.”

        This is quite true, and it’s the heart of the issue.

        To me, this represents a balanced employee-employer relationship and is a good thing.

        To you – I think – this balance needs to be altered so that labor is stronger than the company. Using your analogy of the dog, I won’t keep a dog I can’t control. VW must believe they can manage a works council, but others here say such a construct isn’t possible under US law. What I mean is that I don’t believe VW would support union representation they can’t control.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Chattanooga is the Bible Belt . Most of the VW workers I have heard quoted seemed to be more bothered by the U.A.W.’s campaign contributions to the Democratic Party , whose social policies in particular they complained about, than they were anti-union . I thought that Corker , etc. were foolish to get involved because the union would have lost anyway .

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      Bill, This is something many people outside the south do not seem to understand. Down here it’s not just Evangelical Christians and the Religious Right. There are a lot of people in the south who do not attend church or practice any religion, but still have a Bible Belt world view and will not support any politician or organization with an opposing point of view.

      There is also the “we don’t care how you do it up north” factor. This would apply to the UAW, and also to Volkswagen for inviting the UAW in when most Chatanooga workers were not asking for union representation.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    The UAW is truly a parasite, it cannot exist without a fresh host to bleed dry. The big three are no longer car companies, but union benefits providers who pay for union entitlements by selling cars.
    VW must not only drive these parasites out of their system but make sure eggs are killed too.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Take Volkswagen and the UAW out of the mix for a moment here. If you are okay with Senator Corker’s tactics immediately leading up to this vote, any comments you make about politicians and politics going forward are suspect. Senator Corker did not express an opinion or state a fact when he said that a second line for Chattanooga was contingent on the workers voting no, he made an unsubstantiated claim in an arguably successful attempt to influence the outcome.

    He is everything that is wrong with modern politics, and if you are okay with his tactic because you support his position – particularly because you support his position – so are you.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    If you’re VW, you’re probably thinking of converting your Chattanooga plant to a paintball arena and let both sides have at it. Make some REAL money…

    And if you’re VW, you’re probably still enjoying a donkey show in Mexico right now and will be looking at suitable property outside of Tijuana when you come to from the Tequila coma.

  • avatar
    amca

    The usual leftist complaint: “This is no fair because someone who disagreed with us had the nerve to speak out! How dare you disagree!” Boo hoo hoo.

    This complaint, however, is likely to find a receptive ear at the NLRB, which the Obama administration has so throughly stacked with labor appointees that they’ll rule for the unions pretty much every time. Only the courts slow ‘em down.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Just a question if there is a revote and they , the UAW lose again can they get another recount, if the workers who voted did not want a union lose the recount can they get a recount ?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      seth, the UAW WILL get another count and another count and another count, ad nauseam, until the UAW succeeds in unionizing the RTW states.

      Besides, this is existential for the UAW and the current administration, the Democrat party and the NLRB are on their side. They will try and try and try again.

      It is the workers themselves who voted against letting the UAW in based on the UAW’s rich and well-documented history of collectively bargaining their members out of their jobs and their employers into financial ruin and bankrupture.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    You don’t need a union ’till you need a union – it is then you’ve realized too late that you needed a union.

    Yearly union dues $1000.00 – benefits to your family? Priceless!

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      You don’t know the nightmare of unions until you have to deal with them, and then you are stuck with them.

      Yearly union dues $1,000 – getting stuck in hell, not worth it.

      FTFY!

      Seriously though, the threat of unionization gets you most of the real benefits without the life sucking thuggery.

  • avatar
    bachewy

    UAW bitching about ‘outside influence’. Last I checked, they weren’t solely based in Chattanooga – they’re national.


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