Labor

UAW Drops Revote Bid in Chattanooga for Fear of Another Humiliating Defeat

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Via Sean Higgins at the Washington Examiner comes the news that the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW — yes, that's its full name) has come to its senses.  

UAW had petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a revote at the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Volkswagen plant

Labor.Union
LibraryOfCongress.Foter

where workers, 712-626, rejected its bid for unionization. But before the board could rule, it withdrew its petition.

Its official reason, per Higgins, is that Republicans such as Sen. Bob Corker, whom UAW was accusing of having influenced the outcome, refused to testify before the board. Corker and other state Republicans had threatened to withdraw a $1 billion incentive package to keep the facility in Chattanooga if workers voted for unionization.

The real reason, Higgins reports, is that UAW bosses feared an even more humiliating defeat the second time around.

All of this is a severe—possibly fatal—setback for the UAW.  That's because, as I noted in Time after the initial vote, the union regarded winning the Volkswagen vote as a crucial first step in a broader effort to reverse decades of decline. Since 1979, its membership has plummeted from 1.5 million to about 380,000 and it has managed to unionize not a single foreign automaker to offset these losses. What's more:

This particular plant in Chattanooga was supposed to be easy pickings because, thanks to pressure from IG Metall, the German workers union, Volkswagen had signed a neutrality agreement with the UAW. In Germany, unions can veto management decisions that don't serve worker interest. And IG Metall had threatened to bar the company from manufacturing a new line of SUVs in Chattanooga, the only Volkswagen facility worldwide that is not unionized, unless it remained "neutral" by forfeiting its right to campaign against the UAW. The company went even further: It not only allowed the UAW to set up a vote drive office inside the plant, but denied unionization opponents similar space.

But voting for unionization would have been suicidal for VW workers, given that Tennessee has become the South's auto hub by actively marketing itself as a union-free zone. Three foreign automakers are located there. Not just in Tennessee, I noted, but in the South as a whole, workers tend to be strongly protective of their anti-union heritage. The UAW has tried various degrees of organizing drives at Nissan, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz without success. Indeed, at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, which might be the UAW's next target, anti-union workers have taken to wearing T-shirts saying, "If you want a union, move to Detroit."

Ouch!

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  1. In Germany, unions can veto management decisions that don’t serve worker interest. And IG Metall had threatened to bar the company from manufacturing a new line of SUVs in Chattanooga

    And Volkswagon manages to make money how?

    1. Subsidies I’m sure.

    2. BRUSSELS (Bloomberg) — The European Union has dropped its probe into German aid received by Volkswagen after the government reduced the planned subsidy for the automaker, the European Commission said.

      Germany will cut the aid for VW below the threshold requiring EU authorization, according to an official publication from the EU today. It didn’t quantify the subsidy the government now plans to grant the company.

      Boom.

    3. Being the only company with a decent diesel in the non-performance category?

      1. By the way, what is it with Europeans and diesel cars? Does diesel cost less there?

        1. I think the taxes were the same by volume, so if you could get 15% more mileage due to diesel’s higher energy content, that would be a big savings. Its still true here. If you can get diesel for less than a 10% premium, you’re stealing money. Especially now that turbos are cheap and reliable. You pretty much have to force air into a diesel to get it to explode completely. Natural aspiration isn’t very efficient.

          1. Thanks. My experience was with Malaise-era American diesels that smoked and couldn’t get out of their own way when you tramped on the pedal.

          2. They also have additional taxes based on engine displacement. Diesel engines can be smaller while handling the same load as a smaller engine. Add a turbo and you can get about the same feel as a gas engine.

        2. Diesel’s would be just as popular here if gas were more expensive and the environmental regulations here weren’t so stupid (modern diesel’s are often too clean to pass the emissions tests)

          Fact is you can get better fuel efficiency out of a Diesel than you can out of a hybrid

    4. In 2011, the EU started investigating Germany’s planned 83.7 million euro ($109.5 million) payment to Volkswagen to help the company cover the cost of changing vehicle production at a plant in the eastern German state of Saxony.

      Yeah, that’s absolutely your answer.

      http://europe.autonews.com/art…..pped-by-eu

      1. Not to mention the $1 billion subsidy mentioned above to keep them in Tennessee.

  2. Indeed, at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, which might be the UAW’s next target, anti-union workers have taken to wearing T-shirts saying, “If you want a union, move to Detroit.”

    Nice.

    1. That should be on a banner over the assembly line…

      1. If they employer put it up, it’d be harassment and a hostile work environment. They’re smart enough to just let the workers express the sentiment and avoid giving a union grounds to throw litigation at them.

  3. ah, if only MNG would return. He seemed to love da Unionz.

    1. He? I thought MNG was Stack?

      1. Nah, MNG was more in the Shriek mode of a “real” person who always stayed in the same character and had just enough non-crazy opinions on apolitical things to not get chased off of here like Dunphy.

        1. MNG used to, many years ago, post as “Mr. Nice Guy” and was a pretty sane liberal who wasn’t idiotic about guns or a number of other things TEAM BLUE goes FULL RETARD on. We even used to make lots of Strangers With Candy jokes. Then after he changed his handle to MNG, he started getting more and more trollish and seemed to no longer have any desire to actually talk about stuff in good faith and preferred to insult people. It was a pretty weird transformation and it took a while, but by the end he was pretty much 100% troll.

          1. I’m not convinced he wasn’t Tulpa. Remember the hardon he got for me around the same time I was insulting Tulpa a lot?

            1. That would not surprise me: because the original Mister Nice Guy did debate and concede points.

              The final iteration of MNG was a tulpidic combination of taunting quarter-assed socratic questioning, absolute unwillingness to admit error and a annoyingly paternalistic desire to ‘improve’ the thought processes of people on this board.

            2. I really don’t think he was Tulpa. His personality from before he went FULL TROLL seemed real enough, and I don’t think I ever saw Tulpa even understand a Strangers With Candy reference let alone make them.

              1. Come back when you have a substantive argument. I bet you don’t even have a PhD in Labor Studies like me, you idiot.

                1. Oh, right. Totally forgot the credentialism part. Like many things, I miss the ghost I carry around in my head more than the actual thing itself.

                2. Go back to your tractor pull, Warty.

                  1. When did he leave? It seems to me that I remember him posting shortly after registration began, but not long after.

                    1. Yeah. He pretty much said he wasn’t coming back. I forget, did he get his feelings hurt because someone registered MNG from under him, or did he just not want to deal with registration?

                    2. Registration drove him off. My theory has always been that he liked to tease, troll, puppet and insult under different handles and registration made it too difficult for him to have his fun.

                    3. My theory has always been that he liked to tease, troll, puppet and insult under different handles and registration made it too difficult for him to have his fun.

                      You don’t think it just got too hard to do both MNG and John at the same time, do you?

          2. I think I’ve blocked the final era of MNG from my mind, but that actually sounds really familiar.

            1. I incifed him late in the era, so didnt even know he had left for a while.

            2. Registration killed off that set, along with Neu Mejican.

          3. I don’t think it was weird; it was the result of losing too many arguments with people he considered his inferiors, coupled with fears of being mocked for changing his positions in absolutely non-collegial atmosphere here.

            It was a pity; I liked him initially. But I found myself eventually tossing him into Reasonable’s bin because he was so tiresomely determined to twist people’s words into strawmen for him to burn.

            1. He and I got along quite well at first, and then he finally decided that he was going to insult me too, at which point I just mostly ignored him. Like you say, I think he got tired of getting proven wrong when he felt he should have been right, and devolved into insults as a reaction. Him starting to talk about how he made more money than other people was a pretty strong tell of that.

                1. MNG was slamming Wal-Mart,and I said I shopped there as the selection was OK and the prices good. And he told me to shop there on the way to the Tractor Pull…and that’s how I inspired the Tractor Pull meme.

                  Also…maybe MNG was Rollo ?

                  1. Rollo was Tulpa. That’s how we found out he was sockpuppetting; he forgot to change his handle and responded as the wrong sock.

                  2. Never really understood the hate so many people have for Walmart, aside from the non-union thing. People have a problem with getting good deals on groceries and stuff?

                    Hell, Walmart isn’t even the cheapest place I shop at — they seem extravagant compared to the dollar only store.

          4. I didn’t know he was Mr. Nice Guy. Huh.

            1. And now he’s no more.

        2. . . . chased off of here like Dunphy.

          I’m just now starting to hang around here again after being away for most of the last year . . . what happened to Dunphy?

          1. Dunno. He disappeared a little before the Great Tulpa Sockpuppet Outing.

          2. Dunphy abruptly stopped posting. I don’t think he was chased off. My guess is he got a job… or died of autoerotic asphyxiation in the Ho Rain Forest, and nobody has found the bones in the woods.

          3. Maybe he strained something lifting.

            hth

            1. I remember when he posted a picture of his traps, and they were thoroughly unimpressive. It was sad.

              1. Eeew – why would he think anyone would interested in that…? What a creep.

                smooches

  4. The company went even further: It not only allowed the UAW to set up a vote drive office inside the plant, but denied unionization opponents similar space.

    Ding! That’s why they are dropping this. They overreached, and don’t want that to create a precedent that might limit their overreaching in the future.

  5. In Germany, unions can veto management decisions that don’t serve worker interest.

    How is it again that Germany is a world economic power? How does anything even get done in the EU?

    1. The German worker, in aggregate used to be far more pragmatic about actually doing work than his Italian or French counterpart. So they were essentially competing against unionized Americans.

    2. I’ve worked for some large multi-nationals, and how anything gets done in Europe is an enduring mystery.

      1. Swiss Employment Law nods its head in agreement.

    3. My understanding that in Germany at least, the unions work with the companies to develop polices and goals that benefit every body including the company as a whole. In the U.S., it appears a lot of unions could care less about the success of the company, just so long as the employees appear to get theirs.

    4. Germany’s a world economic power because most of the rest of the large countries of the world have worse systems.

      Taking only the countries of 40 million or more population the rank by current Index of Economic Freedom is US, UK, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Columbia, Spain, Mexico, France, Turkey, South Africa, Italy, and why bother continuing now that anybody else is in the Mostly Unfree category.

      Germany’s got the second-best system in Europe among nations of 40+ million people, plus the second-largest population after Russia in Europe. Of course they’re a major economic power.

      And it doesn’t hurt that the German themselves are culturally good workers even under stupid systems; they came closer than anyone else to making Stalinist Communism work.

  6. In the U.S., it appears a lot of unions could care less about the success of the company, just so long as the employees appear to union organizers get theirs.

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