Thursday, February 13, 2014
Das Auto Pushes Back in Tennessee
You've got a car plant and your workers there may want to organize a union. You could fight back in all sorts of ways but, no, you say "it's your choice." Suddenly you find yourself up against middle-class lovin' Republicans who, as it turns out, think it's your duty to keep any such thing as the middle class from gaining a toehold in their Tennessee.
Since Volkswagen wouldn't try to intimidate its workers into voting down the union, Senator Bob
Corker took the wheel yesterday, letting slip that he'd been "assured" that, if those workers only voted down the United Auto Workers representation, Volkswagen would add another vehicle to their assembly lines.
Volkswagen wasted no time in responding.
"There is no connection between our Chattanooga employees' decision about whether to be represented by a union and the decision about where to build a new product for the U.S. market," said Frank Fischer, chairman and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Chattanooga.
What's going on here? If Volkswagen is okay with a union, why are so many state and federal Republicans suddenly on the warpath, trying to intimidate both the workers and the company? The answer is explored at some depth in Chuck Thompson's book, "Better Off Without 'Em, A Northern Manifesto For Southern Secession."
Thompson chronicles how the South's supposed rise has been built, in no small part, on the back of a ready supply of cheap, non-union, redneck labour. In the South, the notion of "master-servant" relationship is extremely literal. Volkswagen, by not fighting fiercely against union organizing, is letting down the side. By remaining completely neutral it's positively heretical. Why, if VW workers got a union, that might give all those other rednecks working in all those other factories the wrong idea. What if all those peckerheads decided they wanted unions and proper pay and benefits and job security and pensions and every other hallmark of decency those companies flocked here to avoid?