Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thumb on the Scales

Remember back in February when VW workers in Tennessee voted against unionizing the plant in Chattanooga? Even though VW itself supported the unionization efforts? This was a pretty big deal, because it looked for awhile like the unionization effort would succeed, marking a first for auto-manufacturing in the south.

After the election, however, the United Auto Workers asked the National Labor Relations Board to examine the vote at the plant, arguing that statements made by elected officials in Tennessee amounted  to improper interference in what was supposed to be a neutral election. The UAW argued that Senator Bob Corker and Governor Bill Haslam (among others) had threatened to withdraw state subsidies for the auto maker unless the vote went their way - their way being, of course, a vote not to unionize the plant. Withdrawing the subsidies would make it less likely that VW would expand production at the plant, thus making it less likely workers would keep their jobs, and providing a direct incentive for workers to vote against a union to keep the subsidies in place.

Corker and Haslam denied up and down ever making such a threat.

Turns out those denials were, how to put this delicately? Lies.

The corporation involved was for the formation of a union, based on their positive experience with worker participation in plant governance back in Germany. But the GOP can't let unions get a foothold in the south, lest other workers get ideas. Can't have the working man getting uppity, you know. Ain't profitable for nobody. Or at least, it ain't profitable for certain somebodies.

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