Since he came to power, Steve Harper has shown himself to be staunchly anti-labour. The mere hint of collective bargaining turns him apoplectic. He runs into the public square, yells "the economy" and - voila - back to work legislation magically tumbles from his pants.
Harper comes by this redneckery honestly. He's only following the example of his American Idols, the tea party Republicans. The Repugs praise the middle class and perform ritual dances around middle class values yet never pass up the chance to derail the engine of middle class prosperity, unions.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in Tennessee. Automaker giant, Volkswagen, has a plant in that state and that plant has workers, lots of them. And those workers, it seems, think they might like to have a union.
This is, of course, the American south where employers generally don't tolerate unions and workers know how to do what they're damned well told. So, when Volkswagen decided the company would remain neutral on the union campaign, the powers that be took that as positively heretical. State legislators got in such a tizzy they actually threatened the company.
In a press conference to address the potential unionization of the Volkswagen plant, State Senator Bo Watson said, "Should the workers at Volkswagen choose to be represented by the United Auto Workers, then I believe any additional incentives from the citizens of the state of Tennessee for expansion or otherwise will have a very tough time passing the Tennessee Senate." .....
Senator Watson said, "I believe the members of the Tennessee Senate will not view unionization as in the best interest of Tennessee. The Governor, the Department of Economic and Community Development, as well as, the members of this delegation, will have a difficult time convincing our colleagues to support any Volkswagen incentive package."....
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick said... "The taxpayers of Tennessee reached out to Volkswagen and welcomed them to our state and our community. We are glad they are here. But that is not a green light to help force a union into the workplace. That was not part of the deal.
Now that, kids, is the ugly face of the corporatist state writ large. They'll look you square in the face and tell you they're all for the middle class and everything it stands for and they won't bat an eye when they see to it that reality never happens. And we've got that very same mentality at large in Stephen Harper.