QOTD: How Can Unions Break Through in the South?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

The UAW scored a victory at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga earlier this year before falling short with Mercedes-Benz in Alabama last week.

There were two big differences in the campaign. While both Tennessee are considered conservative red states, Chattanooga is a bit more blue than the state it's in. Volkswagen also stayed officially neutral in the process -- though the UAW says the company didn't actually act that way. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz was more actively engaged in discouraging unionization and its plant isn't located in an area where unionizing faces a favorable political climate.

So, then, I ask of you -- how can unions break through as the UAW works to unionize more Southern auto plants? I know not all of our readers are pro-union, and that's fine -- but I also know many of our readers are either pro-union and/or are or have been UAW members.

Me, personally, I generally lean in favor of unions as a way to give labor equal power with management, though I am not axiomatically pro-union. But whether you are for unions, against them, or indifferent, the fact is the UAW has an uphill fight on its hands. If you were advising the UAW, what advice would you give them?

Once again, it's a political topic. Once again, play nice or get banned.

Now that's out of the way, sound off below.

[Image: Ryanzo W. Perez/Shutterstock.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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6 of 89 comments
  • Sobhuza Trooper Sobhuza Trooper on May 21, 2024

    How Can Unions Break Through in the South?

    Next up: How can cancer tumors grow, despite chemo and radiation therapy.

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on May 21, 2024

      Depends on how early it was detected, the kind of cancer, tumour size and location and metastasis.

      Poor metaphor.

      I take it you don't like collective action carried out by unions?

  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on May 22, 2024

    "I generally lean in favor of unions as a way to give labor equal power with management," Why should labor have equal power to management? Where's their investment in the company? How many vendors, suppliers, municipalities, dealers and customers are dependent on their efforts? How long do you think it takes VW or GM to replace the guy who bolts wheels on a Silverado or seats in a Atlas? Employees are valuable, but once you put them into a collective, you give the employee base outsize power over the company to make decisions they would otherwise not make. That's Hostage taking.

    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on May 22, 2024

      They all are. Without the labour of the workers there is no product.

  • Tane94 Tane94 on May 22, 2024

    Answer: They can't.

  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on May 22, 2024

    A bunch of clown commenters on this thread think they are John Galt and that they can, individually, bend the world's largest corporations to their will through sheer force of talent. It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

    Management has teams of $1000/hour lawyers and communications consultants supporting their side of labor negotiations. Workers should have the same.