Tennessee VW workers REJECT unionization bid by UAW

posted at 8:31 am on February 15, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

People around Chattanooga, Tennessee have been on pins and needles this past week, awaiting the results of a vote by workers at the Volkswagen manufacturing plant in their area deciding whether or not they would invite United Auto Workers into their town to organize workers. The wait is over, and the workers have told the giant auto workers ‘ union to pack sand.

Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation in a devastating defeat for the United Auto Workers union’s effort to make inroads in the South.

The 712-626 vote released late Friday was surprising for many labor experts and union supporters who expected a UAW win because Volkswagen tacitly endorsed the union and even allowed organizers into the Chattanooga factory to make sales pitches.

“This is like an alternate universe where everything is turned upside down,” Cliff Hammond, a labor lawyer at in Detroit, told The Wall Street Journal, noting that companies usually fight union drives.

That’s actually a fairly disingenuous reading of VW’s position. As it happens, I was right in Chattanooga for the past couple of weeks working on an unrelated project and was able to speak with a number of people on both sides of the issue, as well as follow all of the local coverage. VW never seemed to be in favor of the UAW. They simply wanted to provide the employees with some form of works council, similar to what they normally have in Europe, allowing them effective lines of communication with the management. Whether that was a locally organized structure or through the auspices of a union didn’t seem to much matter.

But the workers themselves and all of their neighbors were not short on opinions. One of the big questions seemed to be exactly what it would cost them to invite the UAW into their plant and what they would get in return. As this recent editorial in the local paper reflected, many of the workers had a clue as to where their dues money would be going.

First and foremost, the UAW enters the room. With it, VW employees who choose to join will dole out two and a half hours of pay per month for what the union says is a — wink, wink, nudge, nudge — strike fund. But the UAW would never strike the nice plant that allowed it a foothold in the South, right?

Where, in fact, does the UAW in general, among other places, put its money? In the 2013-14 campaign cycle so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, it has given $71,901 to Democrat candidates and zero, zip, nada to Republican candidates.

In the 2012 cycle, it gave $1,427,731 to Democrat candidates and $45,053 in efforts against Republican candidates. Republican candidates, meanwhile, got nothing.

VW workers, that would be your money.

Contrary to national popular opinion, the locals are still not big fans of Democrats – or politicians in general, from what I saw – and flushing part of their paychecks into a political machine rather than ensuring the security of their families was not a popular option. Still, the expensive campaign by the union swayed many of the workers into voting for the proposal… but not enough. Meanwhile, VW seemed to handle the entire affair with class.

Sebastian Patta, vice president for human resources, said, “While there was intense outside interest in this election, our managers and employees inside the plant maintained high quality production and continued to work together in a calm and respectful manner.”

“Our commitment to Tennessee is a long-term investment. We look forward to continuing to work with the state of Tennessee and the city of Chattanooga to support job creation, growth, and economic development today and into the future,” Fischer added.

Less reported in the course of this debate was the potential expansion of the plant and how Tennessee would handle it. VW has been looking to add yet another production line in Chattanooga for sports utility vehicles. This would generate even more jobs, both directly and indirectly. When the company first moved into the area, the state put together a generous package of incentives to help them get off the ground. There was already talk of a smaller, secondary package to get the new line started, but local politicians were saying that if the union came in and began kneecapping VW, such a package would have less of a chance of being passed.

In addition to that, people I spoke with also questioned why they needed such big gun protection “against” VW in the first place. Working conditions at the plant were described as very safe, the pay there was some of the best in the area and the benefits plan offered by the automaker is generous. Why start poking a stick in their eye?

Chattanooga has undergone a serious rebirth over the past couple of decades. Once a declining area with crumbling infrastructure, a lot of work and smart investment has turned the city into a tourist destination while simultaneously seeing several major employers – including Amazon, in addition to VW – opening up shop and bringing jobs to the low tax, high worker availability area. With the rejection of the UAW, residents seem hopeful that this trend will continue.

All of this may come as a surprise to President Obama, who was sure he was on the right side of history on this one.

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…

Obama said everyone was in favor of the UAW representing Volkswagen except for local politicians who “are more concerned about German shareholders than American workers,” according to a Democratic aide who attended the meeting with Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

How wrong can you be? The reason that position turned out to be such a bust for the President is an important one. After fierce debate, the workers were allowed to cast secret ballots in this vote, eliminating the union intimidation tactics which many feared. When they were left free to make their choice without worrying about repercussions, the workers chose to represent themselves locally and not invite the UAW to come in and begin killing the goose which has thus far been laying golden eggs.

UPDATE: (Jazz) Doug Mataconis reflects on how this specific vote demonstrates the advantages of right to work policies for workers, not politicians.

In the end, though, the question of whether or not to unionize at this particular plant is one that was left to the workers and they are the ones who made the decision not to unionize. That’s how it ought to be in every part of the country, to be honest, and it’s one of the things that makes “right to work” laws far better than the “closed shop” rules that dominate in much of the north and (what’s left of) the industrial Midwest. The idea that people should be forced to be part of a Union in order to get a job is something that ought to be considered a relic of the 20th Century that ought to be abandoned..


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In Soviet America, Solidarity works hand in hand with the hegemonic blue political party.

Seems to be an upside down world these days.

It is highly unlikely that all of the shareholders of VW are German nationals.
I suspect most of the fiscally rational US investors and mutual funds hold stakes in the popular car company.

AesopFan on February 15, 2014 at 10:58 AM

BHO is ignorant of a great many things, but on economics the ignorance measurement curve goes exponential.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 15, 2014 at 11:12 AM

conservative hispanic on February 15, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Death spiral. They know they are done for and they don’t like it.

dogsoldier on February 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM

And third, having a robot deploy lugnuts with torque set to excruciatingly tight specs wuould pay back that $50/hr very quickly. No need for those cats.
 
HomeoftheBrave on February 15, 2014 at 9:33 AM

 
Let’s not get carried away here. Technology hasn’t advanced to the point where a drunk robot can overtorque a bolt and then crank it down another half turn just to be sure. We definitely need unions for that.

rogerb on February 15, 2014 at 11:17 AM

BHO is ignorant of a great many things, but on economics the ignorance measurement curve goes exponential.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on February 15, 2014 at 11:12 AM

“Profit AND earnings ratios!!!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Might be time to drop a few travel-bucks in Chattanooga. We’ve been looking for a central location for a girls weekend.

bettycooper on February 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

I was there a few years ago, a lovely place. Their Aquarium is world-class!

ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

And third, having a robot deploy lugnuts with torque set to excruciatingly tight specs wuould pay back that $50/hr very quickly. No need for those cats.

HomeoftheBrave on February 15, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Let’s not get carried away here. Technology hasn’t advanced to the point where a drunk robot can overtorque a bolt and then crank it down another half turn just to be sure. We definitely need unions for that.

rogerb on February 15, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Yepper, and with the failure at VW, the UAW is now going to start trying to convince robots to organize…

climbnjump on February 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Might be time to drop a few travel-bucks in Chattanooga. We’ve been looking for a central location for a girls weekend.
 
bettycooper on February 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

 
I was there a few years ago, a lovely place. Their Aquarium is world-class!
 
ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

 
+1. Be sure to ride the (unusual) boat on the river tour.

rogerb on February 15, 2014 at 11:35 AM

As a Chattanoogan I can tell you that most of us felt that the UAW and the Progressive goon squads that descended on this city were the ones interfering with the lives and future of our citizens. Not GOP politicians and concerned locals.

What I find amusing is that the Progressive thugs in this community are wildly accusing their opposition of intimidation for expressing their opinions and openly speculating about the impact of the UAW vote. But they don’t flinch at the constant string of lies that stream from the son of a bitch that occupies the White House.

Appalacher on February 15, 2014 at 11:36 AM

I read in a different article that the worker-employer council could not be done without a union representing workers, per US law. Huh?

VW wanted a German-style “works council” in Chattanooga to give employees a say over working conditions. The company says U.S. law won’t allow it without an independent union.

http://news.yahoo.com/uaw-falls-87-votes-short-major-victory-south-080715662–finance.html?vp=1

Sure, that makes sense. Instead of setting up an amicable council to solve issues & make a better product, let’s throw disfunction into the mix and force the relationship to be adversarial.

This is a microcosm of some of the problems with Big Gov(TM)

mdenis39 on February 15, 2014 at 11:38 AM

So you’re talking about the cosmetic stores at the mall. Interesting.

CWchangedhisNicagain on February 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM

I think he meant rogue which I’m sure most of you realized.

crankyoldlady on February 15, 2014 at 11:38 AM

The UAW and their friends will be back. Based on the 53-47% vote, all the UAW has to do is convince 44 people to switch their vote for them to win and te employees to lose…

Gohawgs on February 15, 2014 at 11:42 AM

svs22422 on February 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM

As far as I’m concerned, I’ll pay a bit more to buy a USA made product. I’ve never owned a foreign made car (although the parts it is made from is certainly questionable). I certainly don’t buy dog food made in China.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Gohawgs on February 15, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Yep.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2014 at 11:49 AM

svs22422 on February 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM
As far as I’m concerned, I’ll pay a bit more to buy a USA made product. I’ve never owned a foreign made car (although the parts it is made from is certainly questionable). I certainly don’t buy dog food made in China.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM

The problem is it’s hard to find anything that isn’t made in China. I’ve been looking at microwaves and they are all made there. Even small things. Go through Walmart and look at the labels. We can fix that by going to the trouble to look for things not made in China.

Shop locally and buy American.

crankyoldlady on February 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM

This is a victory for all to enjoy, something to warm your heart and revive your spirits on a blustery Winter Saturday. Well done!

slickwillie2001 on February 15, 2014 at 11:56 AM

YEAH!!!!!!

gophergirl on February 15, 2014 at 12:06 PM

svs22422 on February 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM

As far as I’m concerned, I’ll pay a bit more to buy a USA made product. I’ve never owned a foreign made car (although the parts it is made from is certainly questionable). I certainly don’t buy dog food made in China.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM

The problem is it’s hard to find anything that isn’t made in China. I’ve been looking at microwaves and they are all made there. Even small things. Go through Walmart and look at the labels. We can fix that by going to the trouble to look for things not made in China.

Shop locally and buy American.

crankyoldlady on February 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM

You have to look very carefully into any vehicle, no matter the manufacturer or where you think was made, to find the domestic vs foreign content. There are some ‘Japanese’ cars with more US-made content than GM, Chrysler or Fords.

My first priority, -no UAW involvement.
My second priority, -US assembled.

Whether it’s nominally a Japanese manufacturer, or Korean, or German, or Canadian or American, really doesn’t matter to me.

slickwillie2001 on February 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM

The UAW and their friends will be back. Based on the 53-47% vote, all the UAW has to do is convince 44 people to switch their vote for them to win and te employees to lose…

Gohawgs on February 15, 2014 at 11:42 AM

That won’t happen. UAW spent their shot. People are happy with working conditions and the company will be adding hundreds of new employees.

They don’t need a union.

dogsoldier on February 15, 2014 at 12:13 PM

This is a very good thing. Thankfully, the Detroit union leftist cancer will not be spreading south to what is left of America.

Whitey Ford on February 15, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I live in Chattanooga and to hear the UAW complain about outside influences makes me laugh a little. The UAW has been all over the place in the past few months. Their voice has most definitely been loud and clear. The local talk radio station (WGOW) has pretty much gone all in with support for the UAW. The workers who wanted to unionize have had plenty of platforms to let their voices be heard. And, of course, the President even gave his two cents. In the end, the UAW got what they wanted. They wanted the workers to get to have a vote and choose what they felt would be best. Well, they did.

mfrantom on February 15, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I agree, the $60 an hour is ridiculous…
astonerii on February 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM

As of a couple years ago it’s actually $73/hour counting wages benefits and retirement.

8 weight on February 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Democracy in action. Labor will just have to figure out why they can’t appeal to workers.

libfreeordie on February 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

I’m a Honda man and will be till I die.
KirknBurker on February 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM

As long as I can buy the Japanese version of your job, I’m OK with that.

8 weight on February 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Democracy in action. Labor will just have to figure out why they can’t appeal to workers.

libfreeordie on February 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

It’s not rocket science, libwit. Unions exist for themselves. Just like corporations exist for themselves, and people ultimately look out for #1 on the individual level as well. Absent thuggery or government interference (but I repeat myself), the good people of the Chatanooga VW plant made an informed decision that the costs of union membership outweigh the benefits. I bet you never took an economics class in your life, did you?

gryphon202 on February 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM

In the end, the UAW got what they wanted. They wanted the workers to get to have a vote and choose what they felt would be best. Well, they did.

mfrantom on February 15, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I agree with the sentiment, but that’s not what the union wanted. They didn’t want a vote, they wanted a certain result of that vote which they didn’t get. Every time you this happens, UAW will slip further into irrelevancy. That’s exactly why the AFL-CIO had been pushing so hard for card check.

gryphon202 on February 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM

My next car will be a Mustang.

Skywise on February 15, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Drive a 5.0L, it feels illegal.

8 weight on February 15, 2014 at 12:28 PM

crankyoldlady on February 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM

You are absolutely right on this on. I can usually buy glass made here. I just bought an amoire at a consignment shop for more storage and it was solid wood, made in America and $160. North Carolina is hurting because of the lack of furniture and fabric mills. There are a lot of things made more difficult than it should be to do business here, the EPA being amongst them.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM

One cool thing is at least the UAW was forced to spend money on their actual objectives rather than fighting the IRS like conservatives are forced to do.

Cindy Munford on February 15, 2014 at 12:43 PM

As long as I can buy the Japanese version of your job, I’m OK with that.

8 weight on February 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Accords have been made in Ohio for more than 25 years…

Gohawgs on February 15, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Wise decision, the UAW is pathetic. They wield no real power anymore.

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM

They don’t need a union.

dogsoldier on February 15, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I agree that the employees of VW in Chat. don’t need a union interfering with the employee/mgmt relationship but, that doesn’t mean the UAW (or others) won’t be back. I worked for a company where a union tried 3 consecutive years to unionize a plant only giving up after the 3rd vote had them losing 80-20%…

Gohawgs on February 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM

How wrong can you be? The reason that position turned out to be such a bust for the President is an important one. After fierce debate, the workers were allowed to cast secret ballots in this vote, eliminating the union intimidation tactics which many feared. When they were left free to make their choice without worrying about repercussions, the workers chose to represent themselves locally and not invite the UAW to come in and begin killing the goose which has thus far been laying golden eggs.

Well said, Jazz.

This is going to be downplayed, but given the President’s efforts to stack the NLRB with pro-union goons, to promote (ie payback) the unions for the millions of campaign contributions, and opposition of ‘right to work’ states and policies, this is a major defeat of a core premise of the President and his progressive agenda.

Combined with Scott Walker’s successful campaign to defang public sector unions in Wisconsin, we’re seeing another area where the people are rejecting the collectivism and thuggery of unions to kill the goose laying the golden eggs.

Unions are increasingly struggling to define and explain the value that they bring and deliver. As this increases, the more we are going to see them embrace thuggery in order to keep a grasp on relevance.

Athos on February 15, 2014 at 12:55 PM

The UAW’s greatest gains in member ship recently are casino workers…cause they are United Auto Workers and Card Shufflers…

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Ok HA filter doesn’t like that word…

UAW’s greatest gains in membership are being made in C45iN0s.

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 12:56 PM

I’m from Detroit.. UAW RUINED the D. Good to see people in Tennessee are quick on the uptake. Keep the Socialism in the blue states and the red ones will prosper.

msualex on February 15, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 12:56 PM

I always use ca$hinos.

slickwillie2001 on February 15, 2014 at 1:26 PM

I was there a few years ago, a lovely place. Their Aquarium is world-class!

ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

+1. Be sure to ride the (unusual) boat on the river tour.

rogerb on February 15, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Thanks. Y’all rock!

bettycooper on February 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

A vote was cast by the most concentrated locals you can have (the actual employees) to keep from outside influence infiltrating their ranks.

The POTUS then complains this was done by outside influence.

His hackery robs him of all rational judgment.

anuts on February 15, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Leftists the world over, may your heads all go poof, from frustration.

Schadenfreude on February 15, 2014 at 1:47 PM

I was there a few years ago, a lovely place. Their Aquarium is world-class!

ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM

+1. Be sure to ride the (unusual) boat on the river tour.

rogerb on February 15, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Thanks. Y’all rock!

bettycooper on February 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Well YOU rock! On that trip, I left my jacket in my hotel room, and didn’t realize it until I got home. I called the hotel to see if that’s where I left it, and sure enough, they MAILED IT to me. Never expected that. Real Southern Hospitality.

ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 1:47 PM

The idea to move the plants to the US was precisely to avoid unionization.

Leftists are always fascist thugs.

Schadenfreude on February 15, 2014 at 1:47 PM

I heard that the UAW was also working with the German autoworkers union, and that union was opposed to VW expanding outside of Germany. How would that help American VW workers?

Iblis on February 15, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Unions? Well, I don’t live in Tennessee, but I have a personal illustration. Where I live there are two big grocery store chains: Giant and Safeway. Both union, dontchaknow. Then a few years back we got this place called Wegmans. Oh, man. What a difference. Sometimes you can’t find a place to park it’s so popular.
And yeah, it’s non-union.

Galtian on February 15, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Gohawgs on February 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM

That effort in Tennessee cost the UAW a bundle. If the plant expands it will be more difficult and more costly for the thugs to win.

People have wised up to them.

dogsoldier on February 15, 2014 at 1:51 PM

I live in Chattanooga and to hear the UAW complain about outside influences makes me laugh a little. The UAW has been all over the place in the past few months. Their voice has most definitely been loud and clear. The local talk radio station (WGOW) has pretty much gone all in with support for the UAW. The workers who wanted to unionize have had plenty of platforms to let their voices be heard. And, of course, the President even gave his two cents. In the end, the UAW got what they wanted. They wanted the workers to get to have a vote and choose what they felt would be best. Well, they did.

mfrantom on February 15, 2014 at 12:17 PM

I love that the unions gave it their best shot and they still couldn’t make it happen. Great good news!

ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 1:51 PM

The POTUS then complains this was done by outside influence.
His hackery robs him of all rational judgment.
anuts on February 15, 2014 at 1:38 PM

At least he’s really smart shot other things like European languages and military medical jobs.

Nutstuyu on February 15, 2014 at 1:54 PM

Cliff Hammond, a labor lawyer at in Detroit…

Ah, the UAW striving to bring the success of Detroit to Tennessee.

RJL on February 15, 2014 at 1:54 PM

shot about

Nutstuyu on February 15, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Democracy in action. Labor will just have to figure out why they can’t appeal to workers.

libfreeordie on February 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Democrat Media in Action.

al-Associated Press, Friday night at 11:17 PM:

King, however, stuck to statements he made earlier that the union would seek a vote and respect any decision made by workers.

“While we certainly would have liked a victory for workers here, we deeply respect the Volkswagen Global Group Works Council, Volkswagen management and IG Metall for doing their best to create a free and open atmosphere for workers to exercise their basic human right to form a union,” King said in a statement.

al-Associated Press, less than 4 hours later:

After 53 percent of the workers voted against his union, King said he was outraged at what he called “outside interference” in the election. He wouldn’t rule out challenging the outcome with the National Labor Relations Board.

“It’s never happened in this country before that the U.S. senator, the governor, the leader of the House, the legislature here, threatened the company with no incentives, threatened workers with a loss of product,” King said. “We’ll look at all our options in the next few days.”

lol

Del Dolemonte on February 15, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Democracy in action. Labor will just have to figure out why they can’t appeal to workers.
 
libfreeordie on February 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM

 
+1
 

Volkswagen received over 35,000 applications for its initial hiring batch of 1,500 employees, and applicants continue to stream in by the thousands.
 
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2011/09/chat-s23.html

 
Citing a socialist website for those numbers was too humorous to pass up.

rogerb on February 15, 2014 at 1:58 PM

They don’t need a union.

dogsoldier on February 15, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Wait, nothing says Great Work Ethic and Valuable Job Skills like UNION!!

I used to say they should be banned like asbestos, but if all 50 (57?) state became Right to Work…

Sure, you want to unionize..go ahead..let us know how that works out for you….

Funny how that works.

BigWyo on February 15, 2014 at 2:01 PM

At least he’s really smart shot other things like European languages and military medical jobs.
Nutstuyu on February 15, 2014 at 1:54 PM

True. That counter deducts my point by 3,000%!

anuts on February 15, 2014 at 2:02 PM

I love that the unions gave it their best shot and they still couldn’t make it happen. Great good news!

ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Between 1989 and 2014, the UAW donated $54 million to Democrats. That’s 4 times as much money as the evil Koch Brothers have donated to Republicans.

Del Dolemonte on February 15, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Working conditions at the plant were described as very safe, the pay there was some of the best in the area and the benefits plan offered by the automaker is generous. Why start poking a stick in their eye?

How much does VW pay American workers? In Germany, the average autoworker earns over $60 an hour. It’s understandable that workers don’t want to support a union that doesn’t reflect their political beliefs but I wonder how many of their self interests will be affected by not unionizing.

bayam on February 15, 2014 at 2:05 PM

How much does VW pay American workers? In Germany, the average autoworker earns over $60 an hour. It’s understandable that workers don’t want to support a union that doesn’t reflect their political beliefs but I wonder how many of their self interests will be affected by not unionizing.

bayam on February 15, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Less than five miles from where I live a 1.2 million square foot Chrysler facility was bulldozed to the ground. The equipment was moved to Mexico. It is quite a few acres of empty green space now.

I wonder how many self interests of those UAW workers are getting met.

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 2:12 PM

PRAISE THE LORD!

locomotivebreath1901 on February 15, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Maybe the VW workers didn’t want to turn their auto manufacturing facility into an unsustainable ponzi scheme pension and health insurance benefit facility.

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 2:15 PM

How much does VW pay American workers? In Germany, the average autoworker earns over $60 an hour. It’s understandable that workers don’t want to support a union that doesn’t reflect their political beliefs but I wonder how many of their self interests will be affected by not unionizing.
bayam on February 15, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Who knows. I doubt it’s enough to turn their cost structure upside down though.

anuts on February 15, 2014 at 2:21 PM

http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2011/12/21/germany-builds-twice-as-many-cars-as-the-u-s-while-paying-its-auto-workers-twice-as-much/

alanfl 2 years ago
Actually working there and here in Canada I can tell you most of the answers here are leagues off base. The secret to Germans purchasing German products is very much one of national awareness. They know to buy German is to support Germany and therein themselves and their neighbours, period. They refuse to buy “junk” as witnessed in the never spoken of in North America’s media and absolute in its scale failure of Walmart within and especially in Lower Saxony which would very much have been the target market counted upon. Even those with the least disposable income available, Lower Saxony’s lower middle class workers, do not buy junk EVER nor foreign goods when a German product is available in that niche. Self realization on the topic of consumption is very much something Germans across their country are uniquely aware of in the Western world. They will always do without one thing in order to buy responsibly on another more needed. Would that fly in America or Canada for that matter? Absolutely not as we purchase with the immediate gratification of having “more for less” (sound familiar folks?) very much at the forefront of our consumption.

We have to comprehend a German Union and an American one also are only similar in their use of the word ‘union” in describing themselves. Slacking at a North American shop is deemed “sticking it to the man” whereas in German that is shamefully “placing the burden of your workload onto the shoulders of the worker after you” and collecting pay not deserved. Here in north America one can “cause” downtime by throwing a belt, in the case of mining as an example, while suffering merely a warming for such loss of productivity. Regardless of conduct and just shy of committing a criminal offence, the Unions in North America will intercede on their member’s behalf and see it as being “against” the wishes of the corporate entity on the matter. In Germany doing such is sabotaging the workplace and intolerance for such is absolute within the corporate entity, the unions involved and the government’s representatives on site. Try that three times in your working lifetime and you’ll need a new trade within Germany as the union steward himself will see you off the premises and out of the union entirely. The Union, governmental safety official and the controller of the corporation himself are all on the same page regarding their given industry’s health. A successful company requires a safe work environment and by providing such ingratiates itself to ITS’ workers who openly display their appreciation through stellar productivity. Let that last bit set in. In Germany, unlike anywhere else I know of, both the corporate entity and the workers themselves feel an attachment to each other and an awareness of the others’ well being. They truly see more in their relationship than merely dollars and cents.

To those trying to compare a North American Union to one in Germany, please don’t. The separation is far greater than any found in comparing apples to oranges.

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Maybe the Tennessee workers were afraid that union goons from the rust belt would come to Tennessee and claim their jobs based on seniority?

slickwillie2001 on February 15, 2014 at 2:30 PM

As long as I can buy the Japanese version of your job, I’m OK with that.

8 weight on February 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Accords have been made in Ohio for more than 25 years…

Gohawgs on February 15, 2014 at 12:47 PM

And the profit from those Accords goes over the Big Pond. The Japanese make good cars but they do not exactly deal from the top of the deck when it comes to free trade.

8 weight on February 15, 2014 at 2:31 PM

…Try that three times in your working lifetime and you’ll need a new trade within Germany as the union steward himself will see you off the premises and out of the union entirely….

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Oh my, in Germany a union goon can actually be fired? What amazing innovation!

slickwillie2001 on February 15, 2014 at 2:37 PM

so does wages,and working conditions, as rouge management grows stronger!! back to the ” company store.’

svs22422 on February 15, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I’m confused. My daughter works at a manufacturing company that makes rubberized car parts. Their “company store” consists of a pharmacy where she can get her $900+ medicine for $20. You say that like its a bad thing.

dominigan on February 15, 2014 at 2:42 PM

And the profit from those Accords goes over the Big Pond. The Japanese make good cars but they do not exactly deal from the top of the deck when it comes to free trade.

8 weight on February 15, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Bullcrap. Profits from any auto maker go to the stockholders, and to reinvestment into company growth in the way of building new factories and developing new products.

Which automakers are building new plants in the USA? Which automakers are building new plants in Red China and other countries outside the USA?

Which countries do the stockholders in the auto companies reside in?

slickwillie2001 on February 15, 2014 at 2:42 PM

And the profit from those Accords goes over the Big Pond. The Japanese make good cars but they do not exactly deal from the top of the deck when it comes to free trade.

8 weight on February 15, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Sorry bud, but I live in Ohio which has multiple Honda plants. Those profits are invested in local plants, with local workers… which is why they make more than their union equivalents.

dominigan on February 15, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Unions? Well, I don’t live in Tennessee, but I have a personal illustration. Where I live there are two big grocery store chains: Giant and Safeway. Both union, dontchaknow. Then a few years back we got this place called Wegmans. Oh, man. What a difference. Sometimes you can’t find a place to park it’s so popular.
And yeah, it’s non-union.

Galtian on February 15, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Absolutely. At one time, two of my daughters worked for local grocery stores in our town, one unionized one not, working about the same jobs. The non-unionized paid more, had a much nicer atmosphere and even enabled their workers to “make it right” with a $100 allowance to swap out products for those who had complaints. Non-union is MUCH better for the workers, customers and the company.

dominigan on February 15, 2014 at 2:45 PM

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2010/09/detroit-tv-station-catches-chrysler-workers-drinking-drugging-during-lunch/1

I worked at a supermarket where the liquor department manager also owned a liquor store down the street from the Chrysler plant. He sold cases and cases of airplane bottles of liquor to the UAW workers at shift changes.

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Considering the recent news that the Treasury Dept. will be requiring employers to ‘attest under penalty of perjury that no staffing decisions were made based on Obamacare’, we can look for this next from the Treasury Dept.: An IRS form requiring each VW employee in Tennessee to ‘attest under penalty of perjury’ that they did not vote NO on the union bid.

This will be needed in court to prove VW manipulated the vote.

Anyone who fails to sign the form and answer properly will be subject to a $50,000 fine and up to 2 years in prison.

Just another service from the Obama Administration.

s1im on February 15, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Yepper, and with the failure at VW, the UAW is now going to start trying to convince robots to organize…

climbnjump on February 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

SEIU is been very successful at that.

de rigueur on February 15, 2014 at 2:56 PM

I love you, Tennessee. Now it you could just do something about your Senators …

besser tot als rot on February 15, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Why start poking a stick in their eye?

Because unions have never really been about helping the employee, but about gaining power over the employer. (And, more recently, about getting $$$$$ which they can give to Dem politicians who help them gain more power, so they can get more $$$$$$, which they give ….)

GWB on February 15, 2014 at 3:04 PM

so does wages,and working conditions, as rouge management grows stronger!! back to the ” company store.’

svs22422 on February 15, 2014 at 10:05 AM

“…ROGUE…”

“company store” BWAHAHAhahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Solaratov on February 15, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Some ass-chapped prog on another blog is claiming that it is all the fault of the Tpublicans. He is so fond of that little misspell, he misspells it five times in his blogpost.

But of course he was really just parroting the words of his Dear Leader, who said the same thing over in that warm and snuggly state of Maryland, the afternoon of the vote.

Sting on February 15, 2014 at 3:09 PM

maybe the day will come when these ”righteous companys ” wont have to leave the good ol USA, and make their junk right here.

svs22422 on February 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM

So…you’re saying that union labor turns out junk?

Solaratov on February 15, 2014 at 3:13 PM

It is highly unlikely that all of the shareholders of VW are German nationals. I suspect most of the fiscally rational US investors and mutual funds hold stakes in the popular car company.

AesopFan on February 15, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Volkswagen is actually controlled by the german state government of Lower Saxony. Through a specially drafted Volkswagen Law the goverment can call the shots, while merely owning 20% of shares.

In the 2012 cycle, it gave $1,427,731 to Democrat candidates and $45,053 in efforts against Republican candidates. Republican candidates, meanwhile, got nothing.

This is indeed a problem the labor movement must adress. The official business of representing all workers must come before and be seperated from more general political struggles. That workers who are more conservative might want to vote against their long term political interests shouldnt deprive them of representation in the struggles with their bosses.

Pasionaria on February 15, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Let us also remember that the media, all of the media, are union members, even those at Fox. Wonder whose side most of the media was in the recent vote?

polarglen on February 15, 2014 at 3:18 PM

HELLO…………DETROIT

TX-96 on February 15, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 2:29 PM

The area I live in in western Ohio was settled mostly by immigrants from Lower Saxony. The populace is still relatively intact. They are conservative, hard working, and don’t spend their money irresponsibly.

crankyoldlady on February 15, 2014 at 3:29 PM

I love you, Tennessee. Now it you could just do something about your Senators …

besser tot als rot on February 15, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Algore 2016?

Del Dolemonte on February 15, 2014 at 3:52 PM

I’m from Detroit.. UAW RUINED the D. Good to see people in Tennessee are quick on the uptake. Keep the Socialism in the blue states and the red ones will prosper.

msualex on February 15, 2014 at 1:11 PM

I lived across the street from Lafayette Park. Two blocks away, the slums started. I was only 1/4 mile from I-375 too.

307wolverine on February 15, 2014 at 3:53 PM

MSM has been pretty quiet about this.

And the Big Zero chose the wrong side, yet again.

COgirl on February 15, 2014 at 5:04 PM

My son was out of work for 6 months and last year was happy to find a job working for a nationwide supermarket. It’s a union shop, so he was forced to join the United Food & Commercial Workers Union. Union policy states that he has to work full time for 3 years before he gets healthcare, but the supermarket started cutting everyone’s hours a year ago. The contract was up 5/2013, so the union big wigs held a meeting to pacify the grumbling workers and told them that they feel things are fine, so everyone will continue working on an extended contract that’s 5 years old, but if you have a “grievance” talk to the shop steward. Also, all new hires that started on 1/1/2014 will be put directly into DeathCare exchanges with no store contributions not the BCBS policies the older workers receive, which means no dental or optical along with no health care.
This, is the “new normal” union representation. Who needs or wants to pay for this?

AppraisHer on February 15, 2014 at 5:13 PM

How much does VW pay American workers? In Germany, the average autoworker earns over $60 an hour…

 
Gosh, I wonder why they would build a plant somewhere else?
 

It’s understandable that workers don’t want to support a union that doesn’t reflect their political beliefs but I wonder how many of their self interests will be affected by not unionizing.
 
bayam on February 15, 2014 at 2:05 PM

 
Please stop concerning yourself with what other adults do behind closed doors.

rogerb on February 15, 2014 at 5:37 PM

So…you’re saying that union labor turns out junk?

Solaratov on February 15, 2014 at 3:13 PM
actually I was talking about all the junk that American company’s send back from China. correct me if i’am wrong, but I think everything from drywall,tire’s,toy’s, ect….have been proven to be junk. I avoid Chinese products whenever I can.

svs22422 on February 15, 2014 at 5:54 PM

UAW is challenging the vote. Now watch Obama admin step in (via NLRB?) and essentially throw it out.

Obama will not let this stand without a fight. This is the beginning, not the end. He’ll do ‘whatever it takes’.

petefrt on February 15, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Murphy9 on February 15, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Another one…

800-Pound Runaway Snowball Slams Into College Dorm…

You don’t suppose those boys were passin’ the doobie, do you?

petefrt on February 15, 2014 at 6:13 PM

The UAW already owns GM…..
Let’s see how long before it goes “bankrupt” again.

redguy on February 15, 2014 at 7:19 PM

So…you’re saying that union labor turns out junk?

Solaratov on February 15, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Yep, they are called Chevy’s

redguy on February 15, 2014 at 7:21 PM

“At a certain point, you have enough unions.”

Akzed on February 15, 2014 at 7:29 PM

This is indeed a problem the labor movement must adress. The official business of representing all workers must come before and be seperated from more general political struggles. That workers who are more conservative might want to vote against their long term political interests shouldnt deprive them of representation in the struggles with their bosses.

Pasionaria on February 15, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Socialists are among us. This commenter believes anyone who chooses self over group is faulty.

The official business of representing all workers must come before and be seperated from more general political struggles.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Thats rich. Hook, line, sinker, rod and reel for this one.

BobMbx on February 15, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Shop locally and buy American.

crankyoldlady on February 15, 2014 at 11:54 AM

The President and his allies hate me. Why should I do anything that isn’t in my best interest? If it means buying foreign made products so be it.

alanstern on February 15, 2014 at 10:31 PM

And the south shall rise again.
Southerners maybe slow, but they ain’t stupid.

mmcnamer1 on February 16, 2014 at 12:13 AM

I would like to see a Southern auto union start up and organize all these car factories in the south before the UAW gets it done. Sooner or later, they will break through, and when they do, the other dominos will fall.

cimbri on February 16, 2014 at 2:38 AM

Read Lee Iococa’s book. Unions had no idea what it took to put an auto together.

mixplix on February 16, 2014 at 6:49 AM

At one time there was a reason to have unions. The day has passed. Can someone explain to me why one of the largest unions groups is of government workers?

SC.Charlie on February 16, 2014 at 7:59 AM

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