Obama weighs in on contentious union vote at Volkswagen plant

Obama weighs in on contentious union vote at Volkswagen plant
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/14/us-autos-vw-election-idUSBREA1...
Quote from article:

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday waded into a high-stakes union vote at Volkswagen AG's plant in Tennessee, accusing Republican politicians who oppose unionization of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers.

Will VW's Tennessee workers say yes to the UAW? Let's hope so.
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-uaw-labor-vw-norquist-ri...
Quote from article:

The vote has attracted an extraordinary amount of outside interest and pressure, including misleading public billboards, bizarre claims on local talk-radio stations and a general frothing from the anti-union right that worker-management cooperation is the first step toward Stalinism. The organizing vote also seems to have brought out the worst in some Republican state politicians, who have threatened future financial help for VW projects if the United Auto Workers wins the election. As my colleague Jon Healey wrote Wednesday, that is an inappropriate threat.
But I go further: The politicians are wrong to oppose this (especially those who usually condemn government meddling in private business; why are they meddling now?). As is the Grover Norquist-led Americans for Tax Reform, which has been spending heavily to try to persuade the VW workers to remain unorganized (it’s mystifying what a private labor agreement has to do with tax reform).

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-uaw-labor-vw-norquist-ri...

No votes yet

The President often lets his mouth lead when his mind should. Perhaps it's a side effect of all the pot smoking he did as a teen. According to the published reports Obama had this to say "Obama said everyone was in favor of the UAW representing Volkswagen". It's a bold statement to be sure but not one based on any factual information I'm afraid.
The Times Free Press, the Chattanooga newspaper, is in the midst of a poll of it's readers. Here's the link from 4p this afternoon http://www.timesfreepress.com/polls/2013/mar/should-vw-unionize-chattano... which clearly shows that despite what the President says not everyone is in favor of the UAW representing Volkswagen.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

I think you too Fred are clouded by your youthful experimentations. The poll means nothing. Like asking FoxNews or WSPD listeners if they think taxing the wealthy is a good idea. All would say no skewing what most Americans feel. The UAW has represented by default the Southern transplants for years getting the same wages as the north. Now that union membership has waned wages have fallen and a new urgency to regain the Middleclass autoworker is taking hold. What the FoxNews watching population of Chattanooga thinks doesn't matter. The workers of VW have to stand up to the shill politician Corker and demand fair representation. After all the workers and the company have no problem being unionized. Its the Corkers, Kochs, and Norquists meddling into the internal affairs of a private company.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

even if the UAW wins collective bargaining rights, union membership would be voluntary for each worker, isn't opposing the wish of the majority of workers to choose freely to form a UAW local to represent them a freedom of choice issue? Republicans claim they are all about freedom of choice in the workplace. That's why they claim to like Right-to-Work-for-Less laws!

And if the UAW wins the election and forms a union local at that plant, would the majority in the Tennessee legislature, supported by the Governor of Tennessee, refuse to give tax breaks to any new Volkswagen plant for Tennessee in the future? Might they even withdraw current tax incentives from the existing VW plant, which could cause VW to move the plant to another location? Would losing this plant which currently employs citizens of Tennessee, or future plants which would also employ citizens of Tennessee, not be a form of malfeasance by those elected officials? Wouldn't that be a case of rigid ideology trumping the best interests of the people of a state?

Dale, the odd thing about this very close vote was that plant management, known as Volkswagen Chattanooga, kinda sorta wanted the UAW to win so that it could establish a Workers Council at the plant, similar to how VW operates in the Fatherland. U.S labor law prohibits such councils when union representation doesn't exist. I think VW's stance was a recognition that a cooperative attitude has taken hold in organized labor in America.

Patience is a great virtue.

89% of eligible voters in the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga voted to NOT join the union
the vote NO-712 YES-626 Bob King the Pres. of UAW gets a huge blow to not just his membership but his ego. A real victory for the workers.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

Gary Casteel of the UAW blames "outside influences" and says there are "issues" to be worked out in the election. Apparently he is unwilling to accept defeat.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

Well yeah, when a sitting Senator is heard to remark that he was told that if the union is ratified, VW would not make their next product in that plant, that's, you know, voter intimidation and interfering in an election. Or it would be, if he wasn't a Senator with carte blanche legal protections. Still, it looks like there will be a do-over due to his outside influence and his running his mouth (just like oh-so-many Republicans).

I'd like to see your source for the "do over" information. I know the UAW is already complaining but Volkswagen bent over backwards to allow both sides in the factory to talk with workers. It would also seem that a sitting President should trump anything a sitting Senator would say.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

Where's your source attributions? I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Else you can Google it up just like I have to Google up all the right-wing claims to disprove them.

Great point AC. I should give my source so that you will give yours. Here's mine http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2014/feb/15/vw-chattanooga-spurns-uaw... It's the Times Free Press of Chattanooga a local paper which was streaming the decision last night. Can you show me the site for the claim that there "will be a do over"? I know the UAW is claiming outside interference but they claim that anytime they lose a vote so it was expected.
This movement by the UAW has been under way for two years now and it's only been in the last months that "outside" influence has been a problem.
The bottom line in all of this is simply this- if a person believes they will be better off, be protected, help grow the middle class, etc etc then they would vote yea for the UAW, that didn't happen in Chattanooga. Now people can claim undue influence all they want but to accept that premise you have to accept the premise that the workers are not intelligent enough to form their own opinions on what is good for them. Is that what's being said?
They most likely will end up with a worker's council like other Volkswagen plants the UAW just won't be a part of it. Grover Norquist didn't have a vote in election, neither did any senator or governor, not even the president. Just simple hard working men and women who know they don't need a union to get what they want.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

Jim Crow is alive and well in Tennessee. A massive dark money campaign of fear and intimidation by the likes of Senator Corker, Grover Norquist and probable foreign sources overwhelmed the powerless factory workers of Volkswagen. Without the strong advocacy of a strong United Autoworkers all manufacturing in the United States will be doomed to the stifling control of a all powerful one percent global elite.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

What do you mean "powerless"? The workers are perfectly free to hold meetings, issue demands, strike and so on... all part of their natural rights. And the employer is perfectly free to meet with them, or ignore their demands, or terminate their employment... also all part of the employer's natural rights.

Stop whining. It's obvious you don't value liberty.

VW Vote is Defeat for Labor in South
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/business/volkswagen-workers-reject-for...
Quote from article:

Unlike most American companies, Volkswagen pledged to remain neutral, in some ways offering quiet support to the union.

Nevertheless, Republican politicians in Tennessee as well as some outside conservative groups made sure that the plant’s nearly 1,600 workers heard plenty of anti-union arguments.

Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, warned that auto part suppliers would not locate in the Chattanooga area if the plant was unionized, while Senator Bob Corker said Volkswagen executives had told him that the plant would add a new production line, making SUVs, if the workers rejected the U.A.W. In a series of interviews this week, Mr. Corker, a Republican and a former mayor of Chattanooga, asserted that a union victory would make Volkswagen less competitive and hurt workers’ living standards.

To step up the pressure, State Senator Bo Watson, who represents a suburb of Chattanooga, warned that the Republican-controlled legislature was unlikely to approve further subsidies to Volkswagen if the workers embraced the U.A.W., a threat that might discourage the company from expanding.

Volkswagen officials had urged “third parties” to remain neutral and stay out of the unionization battle. Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader, helped underwrite a new group, the Center for Worker Freedom, that put up 13 billboards in Chattanooga, warning that the city might become the next Detroit if the workers voted for the union.

Frank Fischer, chief executive and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga, rushed to respond after Mr. Corker said VW officials had told him they would expand the plant if the U.A.W. was defeated. Some legal experts said that if Volkswagen officials made such a statement, it might be construed as an illegal intimidation or inducement to pressure the workers to vote against the union.

In a statement, Mr. Fischer said, “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.”

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

"Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, warned that auto part suppliers would not locate in the Chattanooga area if the plant was unionized, while Senator Bob Corker said Volkswagen executives had told him that the plant would add a new production line, making SUVs, if the workers rejected the U.A.W. In a series of interviews this week, Mr. Corker, a Republican and a former mayor of Chattanooga, asserted that a union victory would make Volkswagen less competitive and hurt workers’ living standards.

To step up the pressure, State Senator Bo Watson, who represents a suburb of Chattanooga, warned that the Republican-controlled legislature was unlikely to approve further subsidies to Volkswagen if the workers embraced the U.A.W., a threat that might discourage the company from expanding."

That right there is intimidation (by elected officials and a political party) of voters in the union election. Which is going to get the NLRB involved to throw out the election and hold a do-over.

If they were Dems shouting pro-union things, we'd have had 3 posts from the conservatives here calling for a do-over due to intimidation and union thuggery and so on. But Fred and Company won't dare admit their own double-standard because they're intellectually dishonest.

From today's Detroit Free Press- from a VW worker-Volkswagen has been really good about it,” said Craig Snyder, 42, of Chattanooga. “They just want people to vote the way they feel.”

Volkswagen has said it favors the creation of a German-style “works council,” which gives workers a voice on a variety of product and other decisions. Under U.S. law, a union must represent employees for a company to form a works council.

But Snyder voted against the UAW because, he said, Volkswagen is the best employer he’s ever worked for.

“How is somebody here really supposed to know what a works council is going to be like?” Snyder said. “You can have somebody tell you one thing and somebody tell you another thing. Nobody really knows.”

His coworker, 21-year-old Michael Taylor of suburban Hixson, also voted no.

“I just didn’t feel like we needed an outside group coming in to represent us,” Taylor said.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

The UAW suffered a devastating defeat at Volkswagen’s plant here as workers rejected union representation by a 712-626 margin.

Very interesting discussion on Twitter among labor side twitterati. Some saying the death of organizing in the South. Others saying this is an inspiring reason to rally and build the movement. Most comments seem to agree that the major reason that the UAW lost the election was two-fold

1) Many workers were aware and considered the past history of the UAW in Detroit and determined they didn’t want that same thing to happen in Chattanooga. They didn’t like the UAW. One writer reports that VW workers who voted against the UAW indicated to him that they would consider voting in favor of another union.

2) The UAW lost the election despite having a neutrality agreement. Some traditional labor organizers are criticizing UAW leadership for missteps, saying they weren’t aggressive enough about campaigning against VW and that they don’t know how to organize anymore.

Labor’s Decline and Wage Inequality
http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/04/labors-decline-and-wage-ine...

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Because so many in my own extended family have moved down south in the past several years, I have gotten a lot of actual - what's really going on - info on various national topics, including illegal Mexican immigration, and the actual jobs situation.

In 1985, a sibling & their family moved down south (good job offer from a furniture designer who did business with Pilliod's). Most recently two cousins and their offspring have moved to another southern state... with their 70-something parents planning a similar move. They have ALL (other than the retired parents) moved for better and more secure jobs. It's just that simple. It's just exactly that simple.

Oh and let us not forget the comments made by the sitting Republican senator and governor and others to the effect of a union win would mean no incentives and no new product lines and no suppliers would come to the area. That had something to do with it.

I wonder how many southern autoworkers visit this website to read the chart? Can't be many I suppose, but if even one reads it then it will have served it's purpose. I keep reading and hearing about sitting senators and governors weighing in the vote and affecting it, but have seen no proof just conjecture. I have read the Chattanooga paper and watched Chattanooga news reports both last night and this morning and have yet to hear one autoworker say they voted no because of either influence. In fact most have made it very clear that both sides were represented fairly in the plant and that VW was a neutral party. I hope one of you will post some proof soon.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

Workers voting against the union said while they remain open to the creation of a German-style “works council” at the plant, they were unwilling to risk the future of the Volkswagen factory that opened to great fanfare on the site of a former Army ammunition plant in 2011.

“Come on, this is Chattanooga, Tennessee,” said worker Mike Jarvis, who was among the group in the plant that organized to fight the UAW. “It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to us.”

Jarvis, who hangs doors, trunk lids and hoods on cars said workers also were worried about the union’s historical impact on Detroit automakers and the many plants that have been closed in the North, he said.

“Look at every company that’s went bankrupt or shut down or had an issue,” he said. “What is the one common denominator with all those companies? UAW. We don’t need it.”

Pocketbook issues were also on opponents’ minds, Jarvis said. Workers were suspicious that Volkswagen and the union might have already reached “cost containment” agreements that could have led to a cut in their hourly pay rate to that made by entry-level employees with the Detroit Three automakers, he said.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

The U.S. Auto Industry – It’s North vs. South All Over Again
http://www.accuval.net/insights/featuredarticle/detail.php?ID=41

Lower wages results in lower finished goods costs

The foreign automobile manufacturers have another advantage over their Big Three counterparts – lower wages and a younger (non-pension collecting) workforce. An experienced auto worker in the South earns approximately $25 per hour, which is slightly lower than the same worker in the North who makes $29 per hour. Once the additional expenses of health care, benefits and pension costs are factored in, the difference changes markedly in favor of the South. For example, GM spends approximately $1,525 per vehicle on health care; Toyota spends only $300 per vehicle. Southern autoworkers tend to be younger than their Northern counterparts. This results in lower pension costs overall. GM currently supports more than 600,000 pensioners while Toyota supports only 700. Using the scenario above, the Southern autoworker costs about $58 per hour compared to $76 per hour for Northern counterparts.
That was in 2009:
Contract workers at Nissan Canton Mississippi abuse. 1000 $12hr temporary contract workers low employee costs. Race to the bottom wages.
http://www.jacksonadvocateonline.com/?p=9858

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

"Lower wages results in lower finished goods costs"

This is how capitalism is supposed to work. Costs are driven down, first by economies of scale, then by labor arbitrage.

Don't like it? Then stop demanding lower costs for the products and services that you buy. OH NO, sorry, I forgot who I was talking to. You won't be doing that. So it looks like things will just be getting worse for you.

Mississippi auto workers accuse Nissan of anti-union labor violations
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/10/11/nissan-accused-ofantiun...

The report says workers also accuse Nissan management of favoritism among employees, issuing retaliatory job assignments, allowing pay disparities between the Canton plant and the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., denying them bathroom breaks and freezing their pension plans among other things.

"A lot of us who have been here longer see the need for a union," said Everlyn Cage, another plant employee. "But the younger people who went through all these meetings, they are scared about losing their jobs if they get involved."

Nissan says that in the 10 years the Canton plant has been open, employees have "chosen to maintain a direct relationship with the company rather than inviting an outside party like the UAW to speak for them." The report contends that Nissan has mounted an aggressive campaign to prevent workers from having a vote to elect union representation.

Employee Betty Jones agreed in the report that fear is what keeps she and her co-workers from unionizing.

"I love what I do. I love the people in this plant," said Jones. "I give the company more than 100 percent every minute of every day. But they just want us to come in and work and keep quiet. A lot of people do that because they're scared. That's the problem, the fear. We just want a fair election without the fear." (MORE) http://dobetternissan.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Compa-FULL-REPORT_E...

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Report Outlines How Nissan in Canton Violates Workers’ Human Rights Standards to Organize and Bargain Collectively
http://naacpms.org/report-outlines-how-nissan-in-canton-violates-workers...
"Worker Jeff Moore, a body shop quality technician hired in 2001, stated that anti-union intimidation began early on. “In the first meetings, managers told us that Nissan is totally non-union and didn’t want any part of unions, that unions make plants close,” said Moore. “Everything they said about unions was negative, nothing positive. It’s like they were drilling it into our heads, stay away from the union,” said Moore.
Workers also recounted “captive audience” meetings in which they were forced to watch films and hear speeches filled with implicit threats of plant closure if they formed a union, and orchestrated one-on-one meetings with supervisors warning of dire consequences if they choose union representation.
Nissan, the report says, also targets their anti-union behavior at hundreds of “associates” or temporary workers, many of whom do the same work as regular Nissan employees but are paid lower wages and have less job security. The report concludes temporary workers, because of their tenuous situation, often feel even more susceptible to the company’s intimidation and climate of fear if they support a union."

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

"managers told us that [...] unions make plants close"

This isn't an anti-union tactic. It's a truism. Telling the truth isn't illegal nor is it propaganda.

Globalism is crushing Western private unions. This is how it is. The global mean wage is about two bucks an hour. Either abide by it, or go out of business. There's no third option.

It's called, raise wages and standards of living in other countries. This is happening almost everywhere in the world. Remember when "Made In Japan" meant junk back in the 1950s? As Japanese manufacturers improved their products and worked with their unionized workforce to improve wages and working conditions, and as they sold more of their products and made higher and higher profits, living standards increased concurrently. The sites of cheap production moved to places like South Korea, which has more recently undergone its own evolution into a society with better wages and living standards. Others will improve as well. That "global mean wage" has nowhere to go but up and up!
So sorry that I take a positive attitude toward this, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass!

Of course the Global Mean Wage will go up. But Liberals can't do math. Take the weighted average of 150 million American workers @ $16/hr and 2.5 Chindians at $2/hr. Hint: American wages will drop. A lot. The rise in the GMW is irrelevant, which is why you twits keep bleating powerlessly about needing to be unionized.

(150/2650) x $16 + (2500/2650) x $2 = $0.91 + $1.89 = $2.80

Yeah, that's great news for Chindians (a 40% raise!), but it's a catastrophe for Americans... unless Americans get off their high horses and realize they need to submit to this system like everyone else must. We must OBLITERATE our expensive civilizational overhead in the West in order to survive on the GMW of the peak globalist era (which will fill most of the 21st Century). That means we must destroy our expensive government, First World infrastructure and yuppie lifestyles.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! (To be precise, you have stated that "the sky" has already fallen.)
Japan changed for the better. South Korea changed for the better. Even in China, the standard of living is on the way up, up, up. You just can't accept the idea that others can raise their standards of living, even though there is hard evidence that this has happened in less developed countries.
GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass, your post here is yet another piece of evidence that you never allow facts to get in the way of your preconceived notions, especially with your extensive credentials. OOPS! I forgot! You don't HAVE any credentials for making your predictions of doom and gloom!

Same old, same old, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass. With nearly every post, you keep reproving that my description of you is spot on!

We outsourced our pollution to China, in effect. Don't you Liberals claim you pay attention to externalized costs? The Human cost of pollution in China means their standard of living rose nowhere near as much as you intimate.

Liberals can't permit any information that goes against their ideology. Fortunately we have Internet forums where this information can't be censored.

And I note that you didn't even mention weighted averaging. Liberals can't do math... at least, math that shows their ideology is bullshit.

blah, blah, blah...Most of us are profligate idiots in GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass's eyes.

Your posts keep reinforcing my descriptive addition to your handle, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass. You just can't think outside of the glass!
And you state that "liberals can't permit any information that goes against their ideology?" Look in the mirror, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass. You are a prime example of someone who won't allow facts to get in the way of your doom and gloom view of life, aka your personal ideology.
What a sad person you are!
BTW -- Public pressure within China is getting China to do better environmentally. I wouldn't expect you to post that, GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass, because you don't like to acknowledge anything that goes against your sad, doom and gloom beliefs.

"Public pressure within China is getting China to do better environmentally."

Not to any noticeable degree. The Chinese industrial monster is still growing. The disaster they're building is still in its growth phase.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollution_in_China

Maybe you should check the credentials of the wiki editors.

"Liberals can't do math." They can't? My son did not have to take any math as an undergraduate because he scored a "5" on the AP Calculus test before going to college. He's gay, is married to a man, and lives in Nancy Pelosi's congressional district in San Francisco. You think that he might be liberal?
When I took the GREs, after having only taken the 2 required math courses as an undergraduate, I scored in the 92nd percentile.

You should really be careful when you make such generalizations.
Sorry GZ aka Mr. Empty Glass. I know how much ideologues HATE facts!
And your math credentials are?
Would you like to use some more profanity here to reinforce your arguments?

GZ is a lot of things but I wouldn't call him an ideologue. He's an unabashed Libertarian in many respects but I don't think he blindly follows any ideology. Only issue I'd take with your whole post dale.

MikeyA

"They can't?"

No, they can't, not when math leads them to conclusions that run against Liberal doctrine. Since Liberal doctrine generally opposes private enterprise and individual responsibility, then you almost invariably find Liberal math is crippled in those instances. That's why we find Liberals supporting economically stupid things like price controls... like the minimum wage, even though modern capitalism punishes those things with outsourcing, offshoring and efficiency drives.

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