NYT: Chattanooga is a Lobbyist Battleground

by J.Emerson
nyt chattanooga is a lobbyist battleground

On Tuesday, the New York Times published a look at the ongoing feud between pro- and anti-union forces at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It paints a picture of a political battle fought mainly by outside forces, utilizing the deep pockets of some of the nation’s most powerful lobbying groups.

Steven Greenhouse’s story “Outsiders, Not Auto Plant, Battle U.A.W. in Tennessee” is mainly focused on the lobbying efforts of anti-union groups, including the freshly minted Center for Worker Freedom. The CWF is a subsidiary of Americans for Tax Reform, the well-known anti-tax group led by conservative titan Grover Norquist. Conservative commentator Matt Patterson heads the CWF, and has made it clear that he wants the UAW out of Chattanooga, telling the NYT

“Unions are a big driver of government. Unions are very political, the U.A.W. is one of the most political. If they help elect politicians who pass huge government programs, that requires taxes.”

Mr. Patterson has serious resources to call upon in his crusade. In a piece for conservative blog The Daily Caller, Mr. Patterson lambasted the UAW as a “ left-wing ATM machine.” He also criticized the sales difficulties in North America coupled with major layoffs last year have undoubtedly contributed to an exceptional climate at the plant, one unlike the other transplant factories. The future still holds many uncertainties for the friends and foes of organized labor.

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  • Lichtronamo Lichtronamo on Jan 30, 2014

    The domino effect that would be felt on the local level if VW workers unionize is the midsize, three row crossover being sent to Mexico, not Chattanooga, for assembly.

    • Pch101 Pch101 on Jan 30, 2014

      The push for unionization is coming from VW management in Germany. The crossover has already been assigned to Chattanooga. Some of VW's most difficult union relationships are with its workforce in Mexico.

  • Xeranar Xeranar on Feb 01, 2014

    In short: Conservatives know that in the first world only the US is anti-union on any palpable level. Germany is the most-unionized but the rest of the first world is at various levels of unionization and isn't fought nearly as hard in a public way. Privately, for sure, no corporation wants to concede any part of their profit to workers or 'less for me and more for you' is bad in their world. As a labor scholar though I hate to break the bad news: Heavy and Light Industry labor unions will never rebound to the levels of the prior times. Service unions though will come to dominate the US by the end of this century barring some dramatic change in demographics. So, while I enjoy reading TTAC most of your views on unionism are minority views held by a demographic of Americans that are inclined to vote for a rural minority party that is faltering.

    • Andy D Andy D on Feb 01, 2014

      yah , the revelation, that most of the guys I hang with on the forums are neo-cons ,gun toting neo-cons, kinda flummoxes me. But you know what is most confusing about neo-cons is not their beliefs, but the economic disparity between them and their champions.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂