Tennessee GOP Will Move This Plant To Mexico Before They Let VW Let Its Workers Have A Union
Well this is what happens when you let Germans build an auto plant in a patriotic right-to-work-with-no-rights-at-work state like Tennessee: First chance they get, the damned socialists start acting like their employees are entitled to union representation, even though the whole point of being Tennessee is to keep that from happening. See, what's happening is that there's a vote this week on UAW representation at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, and Volkswagen is actually in favor of the union, the hippie freaks. And so, if VW isn't going to play ball and behave like a decent bunch of union-busters, Tennessee Republicans are determined to make the company pay for its evil worker-coddling ways. Sweet strikebreaking Jesus, does VW have no idea why it came to a right to work state in the first place?
Obviously, Tennessee Republicans will not let that tyranny stand, man, so they are threatening to cut off tax incentives for the plant's future expansion. Wouldn't want to encourage a company to bring in new jobs if they might give workers at other bargain basement factories the wrong idea.
Here's your money quote, from state Sen. Bo Watson of Chattanooga:
"Volkswagen has promoted a campaign that has been unfair, unbalanced and, quite frankly, un-American in the traditions of American labor campaigns...Should the workers choose to be represented by the United Auto Workers, then I believe additional incentives for expansion will have a very tough time passing the Tennessee Senate."
The L.A. Times' Michael Hiltzik parses that bit of authentic anti-labor gibberish:
Apparently the "American" style of labor campaign is one in which the employer moves heaven and earth to intimidate workers and suppress their legal right to collective bargaining, not one in which the employer sees concrete benefits in a union presence on the factory floor.
For godssake, Volkswagen, if you wanted to allow -- or even encourage -- your workers to unionize, why did you have to come and sully the pristine pro-boss reputation of Tennessee? You keep this crap up, and the peons are going to think they have rights or something! And then where will Tennessee's sterling record of suppressing unions and attracting employers who care only about the lowest labor costs be?
Tennessee governor Gov. Bill Haslam has also suggested that tax breaks for expansion of the plant -- usually a fairly routine matter meant to boost economic development in the state, would be withheld if the UAW is certified at Volkswagen.
David Smith, a spokesman for Haslam, said the governor believes it will become more difficult for Tennessee to recruit new manufacturers to the state if the Volkswagen workers are represented by the UAW.
“Any discussions of incentives are part of additional and continued talks with VW, which we look forward to,” Smith said.
Please, none of this union talk in front of the jerb creators. It upsets them so, and they become skittish.
The company hopes to put into place
a German-style management-labor "works council," which by US law requires the workers to be represented by a union. When Bernd Osterloh, a member of the company's supervisory board, came to Tennessee in November to tamp down the political uproar, he explained to the Associated Press that "Volkswagen considers its corporate culture of works councils a competitive advantage."
And if the union vote succeeds and Volkswagen gets its precious European socialist management system, it will probably start building a new mid-sized SUV in Chattanooga, which would mean more jobs. But they'd be well-paid union jobs, which for Tennessee Republicans might as well be some kind of antimatter. If the GOP gets its way, the new vehicles will probably be built in Mexico, a small price to pay for keeping freedom alive.
Happily, Senator Bob Corker has faith that the downtrodden bosses will eventually prevail, because their cause is just, and is pretty much the moral equivalent of the civil rights movement, even. That would explain his comments at a press conference the day before voting began:
"We know these discussions are having a dampening effect on our economic growth," he said, "and we're concerned that if they actually come in and win this election--then obviously it's going to be something we can overcome--we will overcome--"
Yes, if there's anything that song is about, it's the brave struggle of companies and their pals in government to keep wages low and profits high. Probably just as well that Pete Seeger isn't around to hear Corker quote those words.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He's not in a union, even though he can be a little Wobbly from time to time.