By on February 26, 2014

volkswagen-chattanooga-solar-park-08

Five workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tenn. plant have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board against the United Auto Workers’ challenge to invalidate the outcome from this month’s three-day election, which saw the union fail to win the right to represent the plant’s workers in a close fight.

Automotive News reports the quintet are aided by attorneys for anti-union organization National Right to Work Foundation, who believe if the NRLB doesn’t hear the workers, then no one might be able to resist the UAW, a belief NRWF President Mark Mix further explained in a statement regarding the petition:

Based on Volkswagen management’s actions leading up to this point, these workers are concerned that VW will not actively defend their vote to remain free from union boss control. That’s why these workers have filed a motion to intervene.

Meanwhile, the UAW’s argument for their filing is based upon alleged interference from anti-union forces, such as United States Senator Bob Corker, who said if workers voted against the union, the plant would find new funding to expand around a new midsize SUV set to be built in 2016. If allowed to stand, however, the results would be a major setback for the union in their battle to organize the South’s automotive industry.

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107 Comments on “VW Chattanooga Workers File Against UAW Recount...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Based on Volkswagen management’s actions leading up to this point, these workers are concerned that VW will not actively defend their vote to remain free from union boss control.”

    Looks like I landed in the Bizzaro world.

    • 0 avatar
      RangerM

      Everybody loves the democratic process, until they lose.

      • 0 avatar
        koshchei

        SInce when has democracy included direct threats from your elected representatives against organizing?

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Equals out to IG Metalls threat of no new product without the union winning.
          Tennessee was just leveling the playing field, the original agreement with the state didnt include unions, and seeing its in the states best interest to not have the mob rule associated with UAW, they did well.

          • 0 avatar

            > Tennessee was just leveling the playing field, the original agreement with the state didnt include unions,

            Maybe you can ask Landcrusher to explain why it’s legally questionable for a state to run around federal law. I hear these folks are all big on the Constitution or is that only when it they can misinterpret it to suit them?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Legally or morally bad either way, it was wrong for both sides to do what they did, Tennessee state should have never given them a handout, or at very least made provisions that would withdraw further obligations if a union were to be formed. It’s against the states own interest to have the UAW mob around and they should have seen that coming.

          • 0 avatar

            > Tennessee state should have never given them a handout, or at very least made provisions that would withdraw further obligations if a union were to be formed.

            So if I told you states generally aren’t allowed to do things illegal in the fed books, would it spill into how the gubmint is bad Obama muslim terrorist?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Maybe you can ask Landcrusher to explain why it’s legally questionable for a state to run around federal law. I hear these folks are all big on the Constitution or is that only when it they can misinterpret it to suit them?”

            Wagner and subsequent amendments define the relationship between unions, workers and employers. Not between unions, private sector workers/employers and politicians being courted for handouts.

            Claiming that the Senator’s comments violate these workers’ right to unionize would infer that the workers or VW had some right to subsidies. It’s a bit of a stretch. They were able to vote on the issue.

          • 0 avatar

            > Claiming that the Senator’s comments violate these workers’ right to unionize would infer that the workers or VW had some right to subsidies.

            If said subsidies were predicated on law-breaking, it would undeniably violate the spirit of said law and judges who job it is to interpret such things rarely take kindly to this.

            In any case, Corker denies everything now. Better starting thinking of excuses for his ethics.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “So if I told you states generally aren’t allowed to do things illegal in the fed books, would it spill into how the gubmint is bad Obama muslim terrorist?”

            You have a very simple one track mind, of course Rules for Radicals doesn’t usually have readers more intelligent than the average person. Maybe you should analyze the world around you and see how useless your attitude is at convincing people your more intelligent than a simple brainwashed tool of the left.

            I can’t be called a tool of either side, I actually know the argument and don’t identify or fall into either party. Both parties have values that are hypocritical, which makes it extremely easy to tell when people are nothing more than ends.

          • 0 avatar

            > You have a very simple one track mind, of course Rules for Radicals doesn’t usually have readers more intelligent than the average person. Maybe you should analyze the world around you and see how useless your attitude is at convincing people your more intelligent than a simple brainwashed tool of the left.

            Perhaps someone as intelligent as you believe yourself to be can kindly demonstrate this with arguments more nuanced than “states best interest to not have the mob rule associated with UAW”. Maybe they should cancel democracy too while they’re at it.

            To be clear, it’s not my intent to deny the obvious futility in convincing Dunning Krugger posterkids of things they lack the capacity to grasp, their own mediocrity to start.

            > I can’t be called a tool of either side, I actually know the argument and don’t identify or fall into either party. Both parties have values that are hypocritical, which makes it extremely easy to tell when people are nothing more than ends.

            Again, it’s one thing to puff and pout about what you try to do, but it’s another to do it. In any case, a person as smart & informed as what you claimed to be can trivially correlate our recent comments to party lines. Looks like a lose-lose situation incoming.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I don’t claim to be some almighty intelligent being, the point I’m making is that your trying to belittle ideologues that don’t support your own. You would be better served to offer critical thought with your beliefs rather than vitriol. People living outside of the confines of cities are no less intelligent, I would even argue better grounded.

          • 0 avatar

            > I don’t claim to be some almighty intelligent being, the point I’m making is that your trying to belittle ideologues that don’t support your own.

            No, I’m mocking ideologues for whom reasoned dialog is futile. This is a different kind of distinction than political lines.

            > You would be better served to offer critical thought with your beliefs rather than vitriol. People living outside of the confines of cities are no less intelligent, I would even argue better grounded.

            There was a thread where I mentioned the serf mentality and a flock of who knows what thought I consider them literal serfs (as if a herd mentality makes for a literal herd); so what was I supposed to do but play along and make the best of it? True story. Maybe I should work in a gay mentality metaphor next.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          Union doesn’t like it when someone else uses thuggery huh? Maybe they should sue, as I think the UAW has a patent on that with the U.S. Patent Office.

          • 0 avatar

            > Union doesn’t like it when someone else uses thuggery huh? Maybe they should sue, as I think the UAW has a patent on that with the U.S. Patent Office.

            Christ, at least get the jokes right. “Union doesn’t like it when someone else uses thuggery huh? Maybe they should have the statists down at the USPO patent it for them”.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      What’s so Bizzaro about it? Management prefers a weak union to no union at all. The workers don’t.

      Anyway, you know the phrase “It’s all over but the shouting?” This is the shouting part.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Bizzaro in the sense I never thought I would see US workers fight to *not* have union representation or “union boss control” as they put it.

        • 0 avatar

          > Bizzaro in the sense I never thought I would see US workers fight to *not* have union representation or “union boss control” as they put it.

          If you’ve been reading the posts here it literally be against the conservative ideology for them not to. Union meetings might as well be abortion clinics.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      28-Cars-Later, these workers are right to be concerned; VW management wanted the UAW, the home boys in Germany wanted the UAW, and the UAW wanted the UAW to call the shots.

      But a majority of the workers did not want the UAW and voted to keep them out.

      This thing is far from over.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @highdesertcat
        I mentioned the other day about a splinter group forming.

        I can see turmoil within the hierarchy at the UAW.

        Or the UAW like the CAW might have to form a ‘partnership’ with other unions to keep enough members for its own survival.

        Even old fashion left wing groups like the UAW needs funding. It needs more rank and file to pay their ‘tax’.

        As it stands the UAW’s viability is becoming marginal.

        If this occurs the UAW will lose face and become weakened as other trade unionist take control.

        The UAW is to weak to take over another union. The UAW doesn’t have the credibility.

        Politics is politics even if you are a socialist.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          BAFO, if I were a betting man, I would place my bet on some shape or form of the UAW actually getting their camel’s nose in the tent of the Southern US auto industry, most likely at VW first.

          Right now, everything is favoring the UAW; the current political climate with the Democrats controlling the Senate, the White House and the NLRB.

          The only thing holding back the UAW is that pesky majority of VW workers who voted to keep that camel away from the tent.

          But those recalcitrant VW workers will be dealt with and when the UAW eventually gets the green light at VW, most likely prior to Nov 2016, it will be like being a little bit pregnant.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      “‘Based on Volkswagen management’s actions leading up to this point, these workers are concerned that VW will not actively defend their vote to remain free from union boss control.’

      Looks like I landed in the Bizzaro world.”

      1) The UAW is in a financially weak, potentially parasitic position, and between its two-tier system and alleged agreements between the UAW and VW management not to seek wage increases did not have much to offer the VW workers, other than another (admittedly optional in TN) deduction from their checks.

      2) The south has a significant number of auto factories because it is right-to-work and has a anti-union culture. The transplants would have gone to Mexico or stayed home if the south was not so competitive. The southern workers are no different than immigrants or foreign workers, in that they undercutting those with entrenched interests by offering lower costs. Maybe they are not ready to cash in the chips on their competitive advantage quite yet.

      3) The more established Japanese transplants have created environments where workers have their input respected and are promoted outside of unionization, as evidenced by failed unionization efforts (even outside the south and in Canada) and the admittedly anecdotal: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/guest-post-anonymous-on-the-battle-of-chattanooga/

      I’m pretty ambivalent toward private sector unions, since unlike with public sector unions consumers have the choice not to buy the product if unionization makes it inferior and overpriced. Which, by the way, I don’t claim is always the case. Particularly in the trades, where the unions enforce basic competency levels and it is easy to fire bad workers.

      However, the UAW’s history of fighting technology and forcing luddite policies like the job bank, that in fairness the Big-3 were stupid enough to concede to avoid massive strikes, makes me not a fan. More information on the history of the job bank:

      “Eligible employees cannot be laid off because of:

      • Introduction of new technology (such as robots)
      • Sourcing decisions
      • Company-implemented efficiency actions”

      http://www.carlist.com/autonews/2005/autonews_164.html

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Interesting, there was a similar problem with the traffic camera fight in Houston. The vendor sued for breach of contract to overcome the ballot initiative and keep the cameras up for the length of the hasty, pre vote contract extension. The City, who fought the ballot initiative was expected to simply lose the case, and thus overcome the will of the voters.

    Fortunately, the voters had seen this trick a few times before, and the Mayor and city elites decided they should cut their losses and avoid a pitchfork parade.

    I guess these workers see the same trick possibly being played there.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    These are the same 5 conservative workers working with conservative groups, PACs, and Super PACs, to fight against the UAW? Well color me amazed! You mean five people that were more than likely approached by these groups to act as a front for their conservative agenda are once again challenging on behalf of conservative groups?

    I’m shocked, good sir! SHOCKED! Or…you know…not surprised at all because this is what good partisan fighters do. But thanks for posting this under a carefully worded headline so as to attempt to portray these five people as just John Galts of the world trying to be true randian believers.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Do you believe the results of the vote are incorrect? That the UAW did indeed get enough votes?

      If so, what evidence do you have?

      • 0 avatar
        koshchei

        It doesn’t matter, actually. The state government is guilty of tortious interference as a result of their highly publicized threats against the factory. The UAW has every right to demand that the results be invalidated.

        It is legal to be a union member in the US. That some spittle-flecked half-wit occupying political office has a personal grudge against collective bargaining doesn’t, and can’t, alter that.

    • 0 avatar
      Helmut Spargel

      I didn’t find the title misleading. I just kind of assumed another organization was involved because the average auto worker probably doesn’t know how to petition the NLRB (most attorneys probably don’t know how to petition the NLRB).

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Jkross22 – Do I believe the results are incorrect, how? Like they miscounted or that outside influences were undue pressure and therefore another vote should be taken? If you’re asking the former I have no doubt the tally is correct. If you’re asking the latter that is up for the NLRB to decide and frankly I believe that Sen. Corker’s remarks are enough to proceed with a revote. But I don’t sit on the NLRB.

      Helmut – I love the spin, perhaps you can go on Fox News and tell me the sky is purple perhaps? The final line is the real clincher for me, way you make it seem like petitioning the NLRB is such a dramatic and complicated thing…why I feel the vapoooors coming on!

      So here is a short explanation of why that line is such cute garbage:

      Lawyers specialize in certain fields, I wouldn’t hire a tax lawyer to defend a murder suspect, you wouldn’t hire a corporate lawyer to handle a child custody case. So inevitably you would hire a labor lawyer to handle NLRB proceedings.

      But lets get back to your point: If five workers were upset that the UAW was there at all why is it that the anti-union movement is there propelling them along? Is it perhaps they have a vested interest? Under your view these anti-union organizations have no interest except to serve these 5 individuals (who don’t make up a majority) and in the vote didn’t have a majority one way or the other. So ultimately it sounds like these 5 workers are merely patsies for a much larger anti-union conservative movement.

      But your welcome to think otherwise, you’re bound to try and avoid the reality smacking you in the face.

      • 0 avatar
        Crosley

        So a US Senator is not allowed to comment at all about a vote for unionization?

        Last I checked, we still had the 1st Amendment. It’s an absurdity that unions think that elected leaders get to be muzzled any time there’s a Union vote happening in the country, and that the results get to be tossed out on a whim. Apparently, the Constitution goes out the window when there’s a Union vote at an auto plant.

        I hope the UAW sues and it it goes to the Supreme Court, I think they’ll come to regret it.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          Once again, Senator Corker did not express an opinion. Senator Corker claimed that he was told by unnamed inside sources that adding a line to the Chattanooga plant was dependent on a “no” vote. A claim he later walked back after the vote. That is not expressing an opinion.

          And once again, the First Amendment is a right, not an excuse. I’m getting sick of having to stick up for the side I’m against because the side I’m on is being intellectually dishonest and ideological.

          • 0 avatar
            Crosley

            And Obama said if we liked our current health insurance, we can keep it.

            Does that mean our nation gets to re-vote?

            For the record, it’s common sense that if the plant went with the UAW, VW would go elsewhere for future expansion.

            Why do you think they located their plant in Tenn instead of say Michigan? And the last time the UAW got involved with VW in Pennsylvania, it was an epic disaster.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            The plant was located in Tennessee because the state offered the best incentive package of all the states vying for the plant. The rest of your comments explain why you seem to be okay with the stunt Corker pulled.

          • 0 avatar
            koshchei

            Crosley: What does Obama or nationalized healthcare have to do with this? I refuse to believe that you’re as stupid as you appear; you must be a troll.

          • 0 avatar

            > I refuse to believe that you’re as stupid as you appear; you must be a troll.

            I’ll take that bet.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          I’m feeling listy….

          A.) A US Senator actually wields a great deal of power and has been sued for statements in the past (with some success) as their elevated stature provides them a bully pulpit. As well, Jimal already pointed out it wasn’t that Crocker expressed an anti-union opinion (which is neither here nor there) but made lies about the future of tax benefits for the plant. He made them on authority from an unnamed source but clearly stated them with intent to influence not as an idea but an eventuality.

          B.) Last time I checked senators are still private citizens so unless they have a reason to release a statement in direct correlation with their status as a Senator they should do so from personal stationary and make it clear they speak not as the Senator from X state but as themselves. If Crocker wouldn’t have made the first mistake of lying and then declaring himself as a private citizen in his remarks they would be less offensive.

          C.) Senators shouldn’t concern themselves with the affairs of business or unions unless it is an actual bill meant to deal with them. They aren’t direct arbiters of the decisions in these interactions and as such can have an opinion but see B for reasons how they should.

          D.) If the NLRB reject their vote it won’t go to the supreme court, short of a constitutional issue with the NLRB decision making process so I suggest you read up on the process before frothing like a dog over the constitution.

          E.) The constitution makes no guarantee of free business or unions. In fact the constitution doesn’t guarantee capitalism. The Constitution actually says zero on all forms of business. If you’re upset that the UAW challenged the vote in relation to possible false statements I would point out once again that the first amendment doesn’t protect you from lying for personal (or partisan) gain.

          • 0 avatar
            GS650G

            F.) UAW lost. Get over it.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The 5th amendment protects private property rights, the concept renamed capitalism by Marx in order to distance the simple minded from understanding that his intention was to take everybody’s stuff. The US Constitution didn’t call private property capitalism because nobody had gotten around to creating a canard to vilify people’s ability to keep what they create.

          • 0 avatar

            > The 5th amendment protects private property rights, the concept renamed capitalism by Marx in order to distance the simple minded from understanding that his intention was to take everybody’s stuff.

            It’s not as if the simple minded even read nevermind grasp his stuff so why even pretend?

            “Hey yall I heard this jew feller Enstein thinks time aint straight, har har. An dem ivery tower dummies lookin down on us”

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Really, you’re going to use the fifth amendment as the basis for capitalism? You do understand the only distinction of property is that the government can’t strip you of it without paying you for it. There is no protection for businesses or unions or capitalism at all.

            Second of all Capitalism was a well known term in that era, in fact by the time of the writing of the Bill of Rights the word ‘capitalism’ as we understand was in use and spoken by several founding fathers and was never added to the constitution for the particular reason that they believed that if it were to be supplanted they would be free to do so. Smith had described the term in his book ‘wealth of nations’ and it became popular thereafter to describe the US economy in particular and the UK economy. I know, CJ you’re some inane mouthpiece of all things tea party and quite possibly the stupidest of the B&B, so read it slowly and think about what you posted. The Fifth amendment paves the way for clear government ownership, something a pure capitalist would fundamentally abhor.

            But that’s neither here nor there, I was more so making a point that when Conservatives in general run to the constitution they’re really trying to pull an authority tactic, throwing everything to some document that immutable in their eyes but really says little about everything they hold so dear. In fact in a few swift strokes of the pen their entire paradigm could be undone (and sadly we probably need another New Deal at this point to undo the damage done by them and Monetarism).

          • 0 avatar

            >so read it slowly and think about what you posted.

            Logically speaking, if such a thing were to have ever happened before he wouldn’t have posted what he did.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Fifth Amendment doesn’t even go so far as to guarantee property rights. It only provides cash compensation if the government decides to take it away from you.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            >Second of all Capitalism was a well known term in that era, in fact by the time of the writing of the Bill of Rights the word ‘capitalism’ as we understand was in use and spoken by several founding fathers and was never added to the constitution for the particular reason that they believed that if it were to be supplanted they would be free to do so. Smith had described the term in his book ‘wealth of nations’ and it became popular thereafter to describe the US economy in particular and the UK economy. I know, CJ you’re some inane mouthpiece of all things tea party and quite possibly the stupidest of the B&B, so read it slowly and think about what you posted. The Fifth amendment paves the way for clear government ownership, something a pure capitalist would fundamentally abhor.<

            I love it that your yeast infection of a sidekick jumped in to add weight to your ignorance. The founding fathers didn't have capitalism to kick around. While you're no American by any value judgement, your complete absence of cultural competency would embarrass a cold war Russian. Not many founding fathers were looking to books published between 1850 and 1867 for inspiration in writing the US Constitution a lifetime earlier. No wonder you're in bed with the teachers' union. Find the 'dumbest' person in your daily life and have them show you how to research the earliest use of the term capitalism. Then have them show you what dumb actually means. I doubt you'll understand.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            I consider Pch to be Superman to my Batman and Agenthex Green Arrow…But that’s neither here nor there.

            If you’re so obsessed with Marx you would understand his critique better and perhaps actually know he has more allies in capitalism with Galbraith, Keynes, and Veblen to name a few. Those three alone would put a cap on what your arguing since basically your only allies are Rand and Friedman who have been proven to be largely failures in actual active economies.

            But I digress, please be a frothing lunatic. It just makes me look better.

          • 0 avatar

            > Find the ‘dumbest’ person in your daily life and have them show you how to research the earliest use of the term capitalism. Then have them show you what dumb actually means. I doubt you’ll understand.

            It’s likely that someone who studied econ in school knows what the words mean better than someone who doesn’t think much of studying.

          • 0 avatar

            > Rand and Friedman who have been proven to be largely failures in actual active economies.

            It’s not really fair to call someone a failure in something they don’t actually do.

          • 0 avatar

            > Pch to be Superman to my Batman and Agenthex Green Arrow

            Not exactly how I see myself, but I’ll take the movie rights if black canary gets written into the script.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Please find a usage of capitalism prior to 1850. Until you do, I have cause to do nothing more than laugh at your well-documented ignorance. No frothing required.

          • 0 avatar

            > Please find a usage of capitalism prior to 1850

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism#Etymology_and_early_usage

            If you’re speaking of systemically documenting it as an economic framework instead of vernacular usage, there’s a guy who literal wrote the book on Capitalism in addition to pioneering econ as a science instead of mere philosophy.

            Hint: he’s not the one capitalists usually attribute as their creator for obvious reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “If you’re so obsessed with Marx you would understand his critique better and perhaps actually know he has more allies in capitalism with Galbraith, Keynes, and Veblen to name a few”

            Keynes was an avowed anti-socialist and despised the UK Labour party and the US union movement.

            Keynes feared that laissez-faire capitalists would push the common man toward socialism. Keynes believed that this could be prevented with government policies that prioritized full employment — people with jobs would then be content with a free market economy.

            Keynes was proven right. Policies to share the wealth have ultimately gutted the union movement and preserved the wealth of the upper classes. Some of them are just too greedy and enamored by Marie Antoinette’s mindless approach to dealing with the common man. That led to her premature demise; perhaps they need to take notes.

          • 0 avatar

            > Keynes was an avowed anti-socialist and despised the UK Labour party and the US union movement.

            Sure but we live in a world where something this mild would get someone labeled as a literal socialist:

            “I conceive, therefore, that a somewhat comprehensive socialisation of investment will prove the only means of securing an approximation to full employment”.

            People are often surprised Hayek and Keynes agreed so much in private give they’re posed as diametric economic opposites. Well, it’s easy to step on everyone else’s toes when the range of acceptable solutions is so small.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It must be good fun to misinterpret Keynes, given how popular an activity that is.

            In any case, the early years of the United States were noted for its innovations in central banking and its import tariffs. Unabashed free traders, the founders were not.

      • 0 avatar
        Helmut Spargel

        Actually, I am a tax lawyer and I don’t know how to petition the NLRB, but thank you for reminding me that I should refer labor issues to a colleague rather than handle them myself. I’m just saying that it seems obvious that someone else would bankroll these employees and that they would not pay for counsel themselves. These special interests exist on both sides of the aisle.

        Also, I voted for Obama. Twice. So, not really a fan of Fox News (or MSNBC).

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Your point was reasonable.

          And yes, the “right to work” groups have been providing lawyers gratis to the workers who have opposed joining the union.

          • 0 avatar

            > “Right to work”

            I suppose this is all a matter of marketing. Perhaps I need to come up with a new name for serf mentality, like “Merican mentality” so people would be proud to possess it. Then unionisation can be called “freedom” or “football” which I gather they also enjoy. Then they would be freedoming the football from the Merican mentality.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          So you’re a supporter of liberalism and you can’t see the shenanigans at hand? I’m not saying these five conservative workers aren’t true believers in their own argument but I pointed out they were already working with the anti-union groups before this and have been the essential tools of these partisan players to bolster the defenses (though arguably they’ll immediately lose this as they did last time due to a lack of actual evidence to support their challenges).

          I’m not saying the UAW may win a re-election but this challenge will fall as the last one did.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            What he said was that the campaigns are being bankrolled. And he’s correct, that is merely a statement of fact.

            “Right to work” groups have been providing financial and legal support to union opponents. Not really surprising.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        If you’ve ever been involved in a union election, you’ll know that both sides get to present their “case,” with the NLRA and totally pro Union NLRB favoring the union side in rules and ULPs. Yet the UAW still got its butt handed to it, despite its deep pockets and substantial investment in the campaign. Sounds like the U.S has finally woken up!

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    This could be an ACLU-type step in, where these workers were approached after the fact to level the appeal playing field.

    There’s lots at stake here for both sides….why not lawyer up?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Good point. Individuals who deal with government agencies without legal advice or representation are at a distinct disadvantage. Once governments get into the hearing or appeal level, it’s less about fairness than about a process filled with technicalities.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Not in this case. These are likely the same five workers that the NRTWC were representing far in advance of he vote. I couldn’t find a good timeline on Google, because the recent news is clogging the search, but NRTWC and a group of five workers have been doing their thing ever since the UAW came to town.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Silly workers, the UAW doesn’t actually care how you voted or what you want. They just want part of your paycheck and will keep suing and keep pressuring you until you vote the “right” way.

    Even with $5 million dollars to campaign (that comes out to about $8,000 per “yes” vote) and 2 years, the workers still said no. And that was with VW giving the UAW full access to organize workers during business hours and were completely muzzled with respect to any negative information regarding the union.

    I find it compelling that the UAW said a majority of workers had agreed to unionize when they were asked, but once behind the curtain of a voting booth with a secret ballot, they voted differently. Clearly there were many people that were intimidated by the UAW’s presence and told the union what they wanted to hear. Which is why the unions push “card check”, they don’t want a secret ballot.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      “Clearly there were many people that were intimidated by the UAW’s presence and told the union what they wanted to hear.”

      Or, you know, workers believed the local politicians who threatened to withdraw the tax incentives that led VW to build there in the first place, and decided that it wasn’t worth the risk of VW picking up and moving to a friendlier climate.

      But hey, po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I find it interesting that the Republicans were so comfortable about the vote that they found it necessary to threaten the jobs of those workers if they chose to unionize.

        This must be the GOP’s idea of free and fair elections.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Never saw that threat.

          BTW, I am NOT going to send you a million dollars if you disagree with me again.

          If you feel threatened by that, you are an idiot.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          I actually don’t have an issue with what the state senator said. I believe him when he says that future incentives might be at risk; this is something he is has influence on in his position and his ideological bend is clear. Nor do I have an issue with Grover Nordquist’s group putting up billboards; that is his right as a citizen.

          That people are claiming – apparently with a straight face – that Senator Corker was doing the exact same thing is what I don’t get.

          “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There were a lot of veiled threats coming out of the legislature and governor’s office. It was pretty clear that they were rattling sabers and talking about quid pro quo, and not just analyzing the political waters.

            As a private citizen, Grover Norquist can do what he wants (within reason, of course.) He has as much right to pitch against the union as does any other private citizen who favors or opposes it. Elected officials using the leverage of the law and the treasury are an entirely different matter.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Ah, so now they are “veiled threats”. Are you at all concerned about threats to bypass Congress and the Constitution, or just ones against unionization? I can actually get quotes for you if you like.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The threats were veiled in that nobody was claiming that teams of Army Rangers were going to be sent to the homes of union ringleaders in order to kill them.

            However, the connection made between the union vote and the subsidy vote was made quite obvious. (Of course, if you were a worker at the VW plant, then you would have been the one guy amongst your coworkers who would have no idea what was being said.)

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Why is it unfair for pols to talk only when they say things the UAW dislikes? How many pro labor types have come to unions talking about how great and necessary they are? The other folks can’t talk?

    And, seriously, the hypocrisy of outside groups lending legal aid and advocacy to affect a union vote! Shocking! The unions never do that, never.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      You’d understand exactly what was wrong with it had the state legislators threatened to cut funding if the workers voted against joining the union.

      But the vote went your way, so intimidation is just awesome.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        You do realize that I find corporate welfare abhorrent, and am happy to see less of it either way, right? We’ve discussed it.

        So, no, my problem with Michigan pols doing just that would be that they were funding the business in the first place.

        I see a loose parallel between unionization and corporate welfare. I hate them both because it’s generally abused in order to use political power to redistribute wealth and squash competition.

        • 0 avatar

          >I see a loose parallel between unionization and corporate welfare.

          The obvious parallel to unionization is capital ownership given they’re opposite each other at the table, which you don’t see any issue with at all. But the point here isn’t reasoning, is it? It’s whatever you can pull to shill for corporate power:

          > I hate them both because it’s generally abused in order to use political power to redistribute wealth and squash competition.

          Case in point, how dare political power be used to control wealth. It’s already bad enough the gubmint prevent those honest corps from aggregating to compete with itself.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “You do realize that I find corporate welfare abhorrent, and am happy to see less of it either way, right?”

          While it’s wonderful that you hold an opinion, that isn’t an opinion shared by the GOP state legislators. They are more than happy to provide funding when workers avoid unionizing, an activity that is protected as a right by federal law.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            PCH,
            The point is that your attempt to classify me was incorrect, as is your characterization of this whole event.

            The subsidies were given to increase the tax base. I don’t like either party doing it, but you seem to think its fine for your side to do so, correct? Anyway, it’s taking a leap to say they were happy to ever do it. What’s not a leap is to say they have two likely reasons for not wanting the UAW in their state.

            They could look at the trouble the UAW brings with it, and believe they would hurt the ability to attract more employers as well as cause other disruptions to state business and citizens lives along with associated costs of those things. And/Or, they could simply not want the UAW getting heavily involved in supporting their competition for their jobs.

            You can rightfully bitch about the latter, but pretending the former is invalid is just partisan BS. Alternately attacking the other side as ideologues and code less hacks isn’t very consistent.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I understood that you have your own unique dialect of English that can be baffling at times.

            But even you ought to understand what it means when state representatives say, “If you vote for the union, then we’re going to withhold the funds that pay for the plant expansion that your jobs depend upon.” These guys weren’t exactly hiding the if A then B linkage between the vote and the money, and the plant workers should understand why that money matters.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            First, if your livelihood depends on forced redistribution, then I have no sympathy for you getting a pink slip. And, if you need ad hominem attacks, it’s likely your argument is baseless.

            Second, link on that quote? Please? I don’t recall those being the phrases used at all.

            No freebies for UAW members seems fine for me up until there are freebies for others. I would then be happy to have the UAW join me in the fight against crony capitalism and government giveaways. I find no hypocrisy in supporting the use of violence to stop theft when I don’t support union extortion. Do you?

          • 0 avatar

            > First, if your livelihood depends on forced redistribution, then I have no sympathy for you getting a pink slip.

            It’s been sufficiently and trivially explained that your own livelihood probably depends on forced redistribution.

            So it’s not as if these leeches complaining about leeching actually care about it other than their own morality tale; thus arguing one way or the other is irrelevant. Christ, half the people in the GOP are literally on some form of welfare or in the military or its complex or government supported contract, yet still whining about the “free market” as if they had the slightest notion of what that means.

            It’s the same guys bearing the Christian cross or some other pretentious badge to war or some other ghastly deed, and using some contorted excuse for violating their own “ideals” if ever called out. There’s literally no connection between what these people preach and what they do, and it’s been the same across history and it’ll never change because it’s what they are.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      landcrusher

      I don’t think the NLRB is going to be concerned by whether Senator Corker did something illegal or can be held civilly liable. I think you are missing the fact that they might be able to call a revote without penalizing the senator in any way. For all we know, if the UAW can show that the outcome was probably affected by the statements that he attributed to VW corporate then that may be enough. It will take a labor lawyer to tell us what constitutes interference by a relevant party that the NLRB can issue a revote on to sort that out. You or Pch should really just try to look that up if you want to settle this.

      You are right about the outside groups thing not being a big deal. What is interesting in this case particularly is that it was only those groups on the “no” vote side and not also the manufacturer.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Tedward,
        My concern isn’t with Corker at all. My concern is with the whole slanted system that is bent inside out to favor the unions and their thuggery. I do realize that the legal questions could go either way, and I think that’s abhorrent. Might as well let them invalidate any results for any reason whatsoever. It would save a lot of paper.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Land crusher

          That makes more sense. I didn’t realize you were making a general comment. I disagree that the whole system is tilted in favor of unionization though. In this particular case it was, but only because the company itself choose to make that the case. Normally the company has the biggest megaphone and is able to sic hr on organizing employees . If anything the regulations just make it possible to unionize without facing loss of livelihood… Even still, that happens, and it’s a shame when it does.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Luckily, I have never been around for one of these events. I have a hard time believing that workers who want to unionize listen to management anymore. I also believe the management really ought to be able to simply fire the whole union and start over with new employees, and if the strikers block entrance physically, they should get arrested.

            OTOH, I don’t get modern managers one bit. I understand the type of exploitation of the past. It was rotten, but it was obvious. The modern schemes are designed to be legal and rotten and and refutable. The regulations only make the bad apples and good apples look alike and act alike.

            Interestingly, sales people of equivalent backgrounds tend to make more than other non management employees, yet enjoy none of their protections. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    So a state senator is not allowed to make political comments before a Union vote? Who knew the entire state of Tennessee gets to be muzzled when the UAW comes to town. I guess I missed that part in the Constitution.

    Guess what, people have the legal right to push back against unions, it’s part of our political process.

    For those that are keeping score, the unions are against laws that allow union membership to be voluntary, are against the secret ballot, and are against political leaders saying political things before an important vote in their state.

    And yet even with these bare knuckle, brown shirt tactics, they still go down.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Lost in all the whining about the UAW loss is the simple question of just what exactly was the UAW offering workers?
    And what kind of track record did the UAW run on?
    What new opportunities would result?

    The workers are adults and can make up their own minds, thank you very much, and to suggest a Senator, billboard, or their Moms made them vote a certain way is insulting to them all. This plant was targeted for card check to avoid a vote precisely because they knew there wasn’t strong support for unionization and it was little more than symbolic given the small number of workers involved. The UAW was given unrestricted access to the plant to buy coffee and glad hand those poor mistreated workers laboring for peanuts in a dangerous work place and still came up short. VW didn’t stand in their way and the German unions were fully supportive of the UAW hampering this plant in support of their interests in Germany.

    Rather than lament how close they lost, be glad it wasn’t a larger blowout. Now they can focus on current UAW members working for half what the VW workers get in plants the UAW owns a share of.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    They dont know yet that the moment they will ‘escape’ from union boss control…they’ll be ripped by their ‘new’ greedy VW bosses (..i.e: .. in few weeks wages cut by half .. and than fired, because VW’ll close factory and move out to .. china or mexico..:) .. welcome to globalisation ..

    ‘executive kinda guys’ don’t care about you (you are just ‘human resources\':) .. they care about ‘company strategy/position’, cost cutting, .. and their bonuses .. :)

  • avatar
    tedward

    Nearly everyone, so far, has lost in this weird story.

    The Democrats have obviously lost in the sense that this damages the UAW as an organization, mostly in terms of potential for growth.

    The UAW itself has suffered an obvious defeat, and worse, one that raises the specter of competing (or possibly company specific) unions arising in future organization drives.

    VW has lost it’s chance to implement it’s own management structure in the US without political consequence.

    The pro and anti-union idealists have lost the purity of their narratives because none of the labor or management quotes making the press are without gray areas. Even the Yes voters aren’t claiming to want the UAW as such and No voters still want to collectively bargain via a worker’s council. There is clearly some type of mysterious grey area between Radical Redistributive Marxist Communism and Socially Darwinian Free Market Capitalism. Who knew?

    The Republican party hasn’t lost anything concrete yet but the Republicans in play on this have made blunder after blunder. Senator Corker’s statements are being nationally reported as falsehoods (the SUV claim) or as abuses of power (incentive pulling threat) and they are even featuring in an appeal of the vote itself (not ideal considering the current outcome.) SC’s governor meanwhile has been writing copy for opponent stump speeches around the nation with her no jobs are better than union jobs messaging.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Don’t you think the MSM will pretty much report/misrepresent that the Republicans are lying? As understand it, Corker said he heard bad things would happen if there was unionization. I suppose he could cleverly have made the whole thing up, but I haven’t heard any MSM types even claim that they have a source that’s what happened. Instead, they imply falsehood while actually accusing only inappropriate remarks. It’s all very clever.

      • 0 avatar

        > As understand it, Corker said he heard bad things would happen if there was unionization. I suppose he could cleverly have made the whole thing up,

        “That’s a nice car you have there, but I hear that it burns down easily and that would be a shame”.

        > It’s all very clever.

        Evidently.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        “I’ve had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga,”

        – Senator Bob Corker, February 13, 2014.

        In a “Squawk Box” interview Tuesday (February 25th), Corker sought to clarify those statements, which VW denied at the time—claiming his comments then were designed to combat rumors that the only way to get the expansion was to vote to unionize.

        “We wanted to assure people working at there that Chattanooga was in fact the first location, and in fact if they did vote the union out Chattanooga was still going to be place the company expected to expand,” he said.

        Corker said it, then retracted it after it had its intended effect.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          So where did the original rumors come from? Thanks for the quote by the way, interesting how his statement got mangled on these threads. Were there actually rumors the expansion depended on a positive vote?

          Is it okay for workers, union organizers, Facebook losers and journos to spread rumors, but not senators? I hear management rumors are strictly verboten for some archaic regulatory reason already. I suppose anyone anti union ought to be muzzled to ensure fairness.

          Bottom line to me is that the Senator screwed up, but I don’t see a reason to cry over it. Senators make pro union statements just about every day.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            I don’t get how you can interpret Senator Corker’s quote as “spreading a rumor”. He said he spoke with a specific person or persons and received specific guidance.

            There is a big difference between “There’s word going around” and “I was told X,Y and Z.”

            The reason to cry is that the vote was most likely to go “no” without his comments or the comments from the state senators. All they accomplished was giving the UAW something to grouse about to the NLRB. Had they kept their yaps closed there would have been nothing to appeal.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            If it starts with “He said,” it’s a rumor. Isn’t that the very heart of the meaning?

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            “He said” as in went to a reporter and provided a quote attributed to him. That is not a rumor, that is a quote. The Senator set up a very specific quid pro quo.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            “I’ve had conversations today”… Is classic rumor. It’s unverified. He didn’t say Bob said or CXX Smith mentioned or anyone you can verify. He spread, or made up, a rumor.

            Now, PCH may say I am making up my own definitions again, but I can’t think of how the academics will have fixed this one to be one sided. Doesn’t mean they couldn’t have though. They can always just fix the meaning retroactively.

          • 0 avatar

            > “I’ve had conversations today and based on those am **assured*** that should the workers vote against the UAW”.

            > It’s unverified. He didn’t say Bob said or CXX Smith mentioned or anyone you can verify. He spread, or made up, a rumor.

            At best all you’re claiming is that it’s not *technically* a formal lie as a way of weaseling out of any responsibility for its impact. People like that really are the worst.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Since you made sense, didn’t attack anyone, and wasn’t rude, I will both respond and report the actual Hex as missing. :)

            I stated above he could have started the rumor. He may have done so on purpose. He certainly could have lied. It’s totally possible he made the whole thing up to do exactly what you accuse him of doing.

            It’s just not necessarily so that he did that.

            I say he most likely said something he didn’t plan to say, for whatever reason, and then he tried to wiggle out of it. I am really tired of the gotcha game in politics. I would prefer an environment where the minute someone made a mistake, on either side, he wasn’t immediately crucified for it. But that’s the game as it’s played, so you get less real discussion and more meta BS out of everyone concerned.

          • 0 avatar

            > It’s just not necessarily so that he did that.

            OMG these dummies no wonder they believe anything except that smart peeps say

            “that’s a nice house you gots, a conversation I hads assured me it would be burned to the ground”

            “hey I aint said nuthing to nobody”

            Landcrusher:

            “I believe him, we just can’t be sure”.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Oh, there is Hex!

            Please don’t misquote me.

          • 0 avatar

            It can’t be more obvious it was meant as a threat; it just turned out to be evidently toothless. Subsequent lying about the lying only compounds rather than cancels. I would at least have some respect for Corker if he just shrugged it off as part of the job instead of continuing to lead folks like you on.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The moral of the story: Unless someone is pointing an AK-47 at your skull while shouting “You better do what I want, or I’m gonna kill ya, muthaf****r,” you should assume that you’re not being threatened.

    • 0 avatar

      > Nearly everyone, so far, has lost in this weird story.

      Strategically the UAW blundered by making such a big deal of this. They should’ve know that by betting so heavily on one vote the GOP would pounce and this is the south we’re talking about. IOW, they had more to loss than they had to gain by doubling down in enemy territory. They were probably overconfident and this is the consequence.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Regardless of the eventual outcome, I believe we are witnessing history in the making.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    As a former member of two different unions, and shop steward at one, I can relate that membership in a union will not solve their problems, get them bigger raises or more benefits.

    It will protect the lazy, allow the worst workers to remain employed, and punish the industrious. I have been personally threatened for doing more than my job required and encouraged to sit down and not make waves when I questioned our leadership.

    The fact that a large part of their union dues would go to a political party that many in the south detest was probably enough to sink the vote. The other fact is that the UAW (or any other union) does not really have much to offer its members. With the alphabet soup of government agencies to protect workers (OSHA, EEOC, Wage Division, and many others)the union claiming that they can offer to be more than a political arm is laughable.

    As for the Senators comments, President Obama also felt the need to weigh in so the political maneuvering cuts both ways.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      Again, there is a difference between stating an opinion and making a statement of fact, especially when said statement of fact has been debunked. There have been people on both sides if this debate chiming in with their opinions for months. That is not what Corker did.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I’m going to check out of this conversation. The insults are getting pretty thick on this site, where there used to be much more civility.

    I still insist that telling people you won’t support unearned subsidies to their employer anymore, or that you heard that their employer may not expand their plant and hire more people in their community is no real threat that should make someone change their vote out of fear. Had someone threatened to use the power of the state to harass the company or the employees, that would be wrong. That did not happen.

    I’m not sure if there is something basically different with the liberal mindset that keeps this difference from registering, or if it’s partisanship, or that anything anti union is going to get attacked without any fear of hypocrisy.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, but how you guys go after these “threats” while, I suspect, defending the administration in the recent IRA scandal is beyond me. More to the point, how you weigh VW management versus the UAW and think the workers somehow have power parity with the UAW is strange. The only little guys in this story are the workers. The UAW flacks are plenty powerful and need no special consideration.

  • avatar

    > The only little guys in this story are the workers.

    Yes, it’s really as simple as their self-interest, which obviously isn’t to accept the first offer as relatively weak individual negotiators.

    Too bad people (incl ironically some of same dumb workers) are more than willing to kick that to the curb because Obama terrorists UAW.

  • avatar
    Les

    ARGLHEHARGLEBARGLE!!

    Okay, I’m very.. Very confused now.

    I’ve not been following this very closely in the general media but just reading through the bits that come-up on TTAC out of curiosity, so I may be missing a whole lot.

    So, Senator Crocker or whatever he’s called said something to the effect that if the plant voted pro-UAW then future state subsidies might ‘go-away’.

    People are really really upset by this, saying that this represented an unfair influence on the vote. …how?

    Do people think the comments were directed at VW management, or VW workers? Would VW management cave and employ skeevy pressure onto their workers to influence their vote? Would Tennessee blue-collar workers really give a damn what some politician had to say?

    What about all the stories about VW management doing everything they could to accommodate the UAW? Allowing the UAW special access privileges to the plant and it’s workforce while the anti-union types were left with buying billboards and ad-time to try and get their message across? UAW must have some really crap representatives if personal face-time with workers can’t counteract a billboard.

    And is it Really that unbelievable that workers decide on their own not to take-on UAW representation without outside pressure?


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