By on February 18, 2015

Volkswagen-Chattanooga-Plant-500x333

As part of a new arrangement, Volkswagen is allowing more than one group to represent VW workers at its plant at Chattanooga, Tennessee. And while the UAW has managed to secure that privilege, VW is also allowing another, small group to represent workers.

The American Council of Employees (ACE), an anti-UAW union based in Chattanooga, has been allowed to discuss labor matters with management at Chattanooga. Reuters reports that the group has managed to prove to VW (via a third party auditor) that it represents at least 15 percent of Chattanooga’s work force. By contrast, the UAW has about 45 percent of the work force, and will get increased access to management compared to the ACE. Neither group has a monopoly on collective bargaining rights for the plant.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

48 Comments on “Anti-UAW Group Authorized To Represent Workers At Chattanooga VW Plant...”


  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    I’m getting the popcorn ready…

  • avatar
    jrmason

    There was a time when unions were needed in many aspects to protect a workers basic rights….not so much anymore. Now more often than not they are simply used as leverage and union facilities are mostly lazier than comparable non union shops. I’ve worked both sides of the fence as an iron worker and pipe fitter over the years, and now am employed in a maintenance dept of a large titanium manufacturing facility. Our plant (plant 2) is non union in every aspect, the plant one facility right down the road has a union mtce and production dept while all of supervision is non union. Our facility is consistently the lowest cost producer and has the highest production of the two plants, and its not by a small margin. I occasionally worked as a non union contract iron worker/fitter/welder at Plt 1 and that place was a total train wreck. Management (non union) and the union were in a constant battle. The problem is their duties are spelled out to a capital T and so long as they’re going by the policy management can’t touch them. It is the most unorganized and unproductive place I’ve ever stepped foot in. I was the field foreman and was talking with the supervisor one day and he told me the maintenance dept was 5 YEARS behind on their work orders. They treated non union contractors like pond scum. Weren’t allowed in the lunchrooms, no access to restrooms. They had port a potties set up out back by the ore piles. No running water, no place to wash hands after doing the dirty. I also went in there on a big project for a union shop and the same faces that spit at me before were full of smiles. Like I’m any different of a person? The maintenance superintendent asked me to turn in a resume several times. Too much poison in the air for me. I’m happy with where I’m at now in the non union plant, we have the same wages, insurance, 401k, and pension. Only difference is because of our lower operating costs we’ve been given the OK to run 24/7 while the union plant is on a limited production. Doesn’t matter much, lately they haven’t even been hitting that mark.

    • 0 avatar
      Waterloo

      I’m not a union guy, in fact I own a manufacturing company whose workers are represented buy the Steelworkers (we are currently in negotiations – fun!). I understand what you are saying but I have to ask – would your non union plant enjoy the same wages, insurance, 401k and pension if the unionized plan wasn’t there? Do your benefits just piggyback theirs? I am honestly asking the question.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I work for a company without a union in an industry that generally has few unions. The industry as a whole has good benefits and wages. Unions are not the only reason for wage/benefit growth and competition. Of course, that’s not the same for shrinking industries with a glut of labor and ‘management’ that do not care about their workforce. In fact, when I’ve seen companies move into our industry that are used to working with unions, they generally treat their workers worse than historically non-union companies. (I actually believe it’s more of a cultural issue than a union/non-union thing; thus the union factor is not one of the causes for the differences.)

        I do think that in some cases, unions provide a buoyancy & stability to wages/benefits, but they can also remove flexibility/incentive for competitiveness.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Waterloo, Our plant was built in the 50s by Cabbot, while the union plant wasn’t built until the 70s by Sherwin Williams. Then Millennium came in and bought both plants and made us one. Until then, our wages were always slightly above the unions wages. Once we merged, they put it in their contract next time it came up that they would at least equal our wages. That’s when our insurance changed also.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        I have to ask the opposite. If it were not for the union waiting to demand more at every step, could the non Union guys not have better compensation without having to work overtime?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          One minute, the right is complaining that unions make labor more expensive. Now, you’re complaining that they make it cheaper. I know that you want to be anti-union, but do try to be consistent.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The people working at the productive plant have their compensation capped by the union’s requirement that their non-productive workforce be paid the same amount as the productive non-union workers. People running businesses don’t care about labor costs. They care about the return on their labor cost. This is why you like unions and why other people are productive.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I asked a simple question. I am not “the right”. I am anti-Union, and it has nothing to do with wanting anyone to make less money. I’m for markets setting wages whenever possible. Whats wrong with that anyway?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            So now the costs aren’t either higher or lower. Give it five more minutes, and I’m sure that the story will change again.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The cost of labor is about how much labor you receive for a price, not just about the price itself. If one hour of a non-union worker’s time produces five times as much as one hour of a union worker’s time, then one can pay the non-union worker 4.9 times as much per hour and still have a lower labor cost.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I’m for markets setting wages whenever possible.”

            So you think that a “market” never includes more than one person.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Wow, you went into idiot mode quickly on this one.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You seem to think that the only way to set a market wage is for it to be negotiated one worker at a time.

            In your universe, can a group of workers negotiate a “market wage” or not?

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            In the present set of circumstances unions don’t do that. Almost invariably a union wage is set under duress and destroys whatever market there was for the man selling his labor as well as the one buying it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            That didn’t answer my question. But whatever.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Look, I may have no problem with some arrangement for a group to negotiate for themselves without creating duress or infringing on the ability of others to negotiate their own wage, but as you well know, the present laws dictate the arrangement. I do not approve of that arrangement as it is anti market, anti individual, anti property, anti progress, and anti freedom.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, workers in America vote to join unions, so it’s a matter of majority rule that they agree to negotiate as a group.

            I’m not sure what “duress” is supposed to be. They’re not negotiating labor contracts at Gitmo, last I checked.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            I’m not sure what you mean here. You mean the labor laws are a matter of democracy making sausage? Not really. You mean a group of folks vote to take away others rights and property and that’s okay with you? So slavery is okay if we vote it back?

            Is it okay to have any basic principles or just not okay when they contradict the outcome you favor?

            I am using duress as defined in dictionaries. A strike is the very definition of duress. “If you don’t meet our demands, we will shut down your business”. That’s duress. Not duress would be where the worker takes a job or quits based on whether the employer will pay enough.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you can’t make a point without resorting to wingnut hyperbole, then I can’t possibly take you seriously.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Lol, it’s certainly hyperbole, but wingnut? Let’s not deny what’s going on here. Workers strike to shut down a business they don’t own. It may be justified by managements actions, but it’s still a vote to take away rights and properties of others.

            The folks who don’t want a union are likely the ones who are in some way better compensated and percieve the union as contra to their interests. They are losing property and freedom because the other workers voted union.

            I’ll try a less hyperbolic analogy. You go to a restaurant to get a steak, and the other diners decide to hold a vote and it becomes half price soup night. No steak for you, you get soup at half price. Now, you either take the soup deal, which is less valuable to you than the steak deal (a loss of property and freedom) or you leave and go elsewhere having lost your first choice, time, and gas money (property and freedom). The restaurant owner lost as well, but it’s okay because a majority voted? No.

            We have decided in this country that majority rule is not always fair or right. Sorry if you don’t like it, but not hyperbolically, certain minorities are kinda thankful for that.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            A strike is the best thing that can happen to a company in most cases. Get the dead weight out the gate and bring in the scabs that want to work in exchange for a good wage, not just sit around and piss and moan about what they don’t have or are expected to do. I wonder who has been more of a contributor to the automotive industry leaving N.A. like it has, the EPA or the UAW.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    The “American Council of Employees?” I am neither pro or anti union, but I have to wonder if this is a front group representing anti-union interests…this is going to get interesting.

    • 0 avatar

      The UAW is a front for groups representing the socialist ideal so why wouldn’t this group be a front for those with opposing views?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I wasn’t aware that the UAW supported government ownership of major industries. Thanks for the, er, insight.

        (I’m guessing that your definition of “socialism” is different from its actual meaning.)

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          They’re fascists. They want government control of privately owned industry in a command economy, they don’t want trade, and they rely on jingoism to restore the self-respect surrendered by accepting their roles as constituents of the lowest common denominator.

          • 0 avatar
            wmba

            You should have been around to help Mussolini – he never could figure out what fascism was. His supporters were more clear – they were decidedly right wing authoritarians who figure

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            There is that right wing thing again. What exactly do Italian Fascists and modern small government/ individual rights conservatives have in common? Pardon me if you meant nothing by the term, but it seems your headed down left vs right here, and how do you advance the ball that way? Does putting you in a boat with the Stalinists make you want to change your ways?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m pretty sure that they want more money, more benefits and more job protections, which is not exactly unusual.

            I could live without the old-school racism. Sadly, the Republican party doesn’t agree with me.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            We’ve gone over this before.

            The definition of “left wing” isn’t “everyone who disagrees with Landcrusher,” and the definition of “right wing” isn’t “everyone who agrees with Landcrusher.”

            I could go over the specifics with you again, but that would obviously be a waste of time.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Geez, you’ve gone from Socialists to Fascists to Stalinists all in three comments, why not Satanists too?

            Get a grip

            Is this the new Godwin’s law?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            All these ism’s come from the same place: Autism.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Autism? Is that near Sydney?

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Wow, mischaracterization of a position, the race card (where did that come from anyway?), hate speech, AND personal attacks?

            And this all in reaction to a suggestion that lumping people into two groups and then attacking them based on nothing more than which group you chose for them wasn’t constructive.

            Welcome to the internetz!

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            CJinSD
            I still belong to a Union, but nothing as intimaditing as the one PCH101 is describing. They are around, but more bloody minded, than constructive as far as building better conditions and incomes for their members

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “I still belong to a Union”

            Wow, you’re a bigger hypocrite then I ever dreamed possible. So, your union is Ok, but the other guy’s union is out to destroy the world. Does everyone from your country get dropped on their head at some point? You know that fact that you’re all “upside down” is kind of a joke, you’re not really. So, quit acting like you’ve banged the ceiling once too often

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @lie2me
            You are part of an ineffectual Union, that does little for iit’s members, but is more interested in internal squabbles and enriching it’s elite. No wonder it is having problems trying to get into worksites

  • avatar
    redav

    The UAW rubs me the wrong way. I generally don’t favor unions as the govt has taken over much of their historical raison d’être, but I also try not to be anti-union, either. But even with that restraint, I just can’t get past thinking the UAW often does more harm than good.

    I understand the desire to keep the UAW out of Chattanooga, but I don’t understand creating a ‘union’ with the ulterior motive of fighting the UAW. TN’s right to work status ought to protects workers that do not want UAW representation, and I don’t know if having an alternative organization adds anything. I could see if VW has meetings with both, a second group could prevent implementing some bad ideas the UAW might push, but if VW is willing to implement bad policies to their detriment, what difference would a second union really have?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      1. Some people may genuinely want a union, but not the UAW.

      2. The ACE could be a spoiler that prevents the UAW from winning 50%

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      The vote was crystal clear last Spring that the Chattanooga workers rejected the UAW. That they didn’t want representation (since VW Workers Council demands representation) wasn’t a choice.

      It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out for ACE. If the UAW has only gotten 45% after a year of “insider” status (in house meetings & campaigning), it probably won’t get to 50% + 1.

      It will also be interesting to see if ACE spreads to other locations.

      /proudly UAW free since 1981

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This week on As The Dub Turns…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It will be interesting to see what happens.

    Maybe the UAW will go retro and use goons again to instill fear.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • lstanley: I love anecdotes because they prove nothing, but the only guy at the c-store this morning not wearing a...
  • deanst: For some reason their look reminds me of Hans and Franz from SNL.
  • slavuta: Cheapos. Couldn’t they price Mexican-made sedan just under 20K????
  • Art Vandelay: I’ll not have you sullying Beavis and Butt-Head with this nonsense. (Incidentally, they are...
  • spookiness: As a 1-person household it’s on my shopping list. A slightly used CX-5 is also something I’ll...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber