VW Workers in Tennessee Say No to Union

Years ago, unions helped improve worker conditions, rights, benefits and wages.  For that we are all grateful.  However, nowadays, I see unions being more about liberal politics and driving costs so high that companies are forced to move out of the country in order to stay in business.

I’ve known unions to go on strike for months, leaving their members to struggle financially.  I recall one strike years ago that lasted 9 months.  The union representatives walked out of negotiations and wouldn’t talk to the copper mines for a couple months.  During that time they refused to meet and talk, the reps were getting paid, but the miners were losing their homes, cars and almost everything they owned.  That incident turned me against unions.

I’ve written a few times about unions and the right to work.  Arizona is a right to work state and the utility my dad worked for went on strike.  Dad had a choice of supporting the union or providing for his family.  He decided that family is more important and he crossed the union picket lines.  The picketers spit on him, called him almost every name in the book and a couple of them threw rocks at his truck.  Dad said the worse part of it was that some of these men were the people he worked with every day.

Tennessee is also a right to work state.  That means that workers have the right to choose between joining a union or not. There is a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga and last week the auto workers voted on whether or not to join the United Auto Workers union.

A lot of money was spent by the union and liberal Democrats to get the union into the Tennessee plant.  To my surprise, Volkswagen actually supported the union efforts, but local Republicans fought the union efforts.  They told the auto workers that if they bring in the union, that Volkswagen could end up leaving the state because they could lose out on tax credits if they unionized.  As with most unionizing issues, it was a bitter fight.

When the votes were counted, 626 auto workers voted to join the union and 712 voted against the union.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who is a former mayor of Chattanooga, was one of the Republicans that fought against the union.  After the vote, he said:

“Needless to say, I am thrilled for the employees at Volkswagen and for our community and its future.”

But the United Auto Workers union officials are not pleased with the vote and are not giving up.  Dennis Williams, UAW Secretary-Treasurer responded to the vote, saying:

“While we’re outraged by politicians and outside special interest groups interfering with the basic legal right of workers to form a union, we’re proud that these workers were brave and stood up to the tremendous pressure from outside.  We hope this will start a larger discussion about workers’ right to organize.”

Gary Casteel, UAW Region 8 Director also commented saying:

“We commend Volkswagen for its commitment to global human rights, to worker rights and trying to provide an atmosphere of freedom to make a decision.  Unfortunately, politically motivated third parties threatened the economic future of this facility and the opportunity for workers to create a successful operating model that that would grow jobs in Tennessee.”

I want to know how forcing someone to join a union, pay union dues every month and be subject to union dictation concerning strikes and other issues can be considered worker rights and an atmosphere of freedom?  Workers are much freer without the union than with.  Joining the union almost makes them a slave to union officials.

Obo King, UAW President was also outraged at the results of the vote and said that they are looking at possible legal action because of the outside interference from local politicians.  He implied that they may launch a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board which actually oversaw the balloting.

So here we have another example of liberal hypocrisy.  The union is complaining because of outside interference from politicians but unions in a number of states are involved in politics.  During the 2012 elections, union workers were told that they would be fined if they didn’t show up to support Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for the senate in Massachusetts.

Like so many other leftist liberal organizations, union leadership does not like it when the other side plays the same game they do.  They cry, stamp their feet and scream that it’s not fair, which is another reason I dislike unions.

My hat’s off to the 712 Tennessee workers who voted no to becoming union slaves.