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Anti-union conservatives are worried that if the UAW successfully organizes Volkwagen's Tennessee plant, it will create a domino effect in the South.
After Volkswagen issued a letter in September saying the company would not oppose an attempt by the United Auto Workers (UAW) to unionize its 1,600-worker Chattanooga, Tenn., facility, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was flabbergasted.
"For management to invite the UAW in is almost beyond belief," Corker, who campaigned heavily for the plant’s construction during his tenure as mayor of Chattanooga, told the Associated Press. "They will become the object of many business school studies—and I'm a little worried could become a laughingstock in many ways—if they inflict this wound"
Leaked documents obtained by In These Times, as well as interviews with a veteran anti-union consultant, indicate that a conservative group, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, appears to be pumping hundred of thousands of dollars into media and grassroots organizing in an effort to stop the union drive. In addition, the National Right-to-Work Legal Defense Foundation helped four anti-union workers in October file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that Volkswagen was forcing a union on them.
As the only major VW plant in the United States, Chattanooga is also the only plant whose workers have no opportunity to join German-style “works councils”—committees of hourly and salaried employees who discuss management decisions, like which plant will make specific car models, on a local and global scale.
Organizing with the UAW, workers say, would help them to both form new works councils and gain representation at existing ones—which, in turn, would attract more jobs to the area.
“I personally feel like not having a union and not participating in a works council is going to do more damage for future expansion and new product development in Chattanooga than any unionization would do,” says Volkswagen employee Justin King. “The way VW works on the international level, [management] almost expects to work with a union. Now, we aren’t able to say, ‘Hey we would like to build that new SUV, or we would like to hire some new workers.’ We are only hurting ourselves by not going union.”
Read more on: inthesetimes.com...
In 2010, Germany produced more than 5.5 million automobiles; the U.S produced 2.7 million. At the same time, the average auto worker in Germany made $67.14 per hour in salary in benefits; the average one in the U.S. made $33.77 per hour. Yet Germany’s big three car companies—BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz ), and Volkswagen—are very profitable.
There are “two overlapping sets of institutions” in Germany that guarantee high wages and good working conditions for autoworkers. The first is IG Metall, the country’s equivalent of the United Automobile Workers. Virtually all Germany’s car workers are members, and though they have the right to strike, they “hardly use it, because there is an elaborate system of conflict resolution that regularly is used to come to some sort of compromise that is acceptable to all parties,” according to Horst Mund, an IG Metall executive. The second institution is the German constitution, which allows for “works councils” in every factory, where management and employees work together on matters like shop floor conditions and work life. Mund says this guarantees cooperation, “where you don’t always wear your management pin or your union pin.”
The contract doesn’t expire until 2016, but the company is threatening to move production of the huge new 777X out of Washington to avoid the union.
The company’s proposal was not made public until last Wednesday. Union members were then told they would vote on Wednesday, November 13.
People in the USA do not have a 'right' to work.
They have a 'right to pursue happiness'. If the pursuit of happiness requires work be done, work is an elective, as evidenced by the people living off the middle-class dole.
Individual- "I can't afford to get by."
Gov't ... minimum wage goes up.
Landlord - "I can't pay my property taxes."
Gov't ... rent goes up.
Individual - "I can't afford to get by."
Gov't ... minimum wage goes up.
And I intentionally left out the cost of food.
edit on 11/14/2013 by abecedarian because: (no reason given)
reply to post by Cabin
I've been told that US conservatives dislike unions, basically because in the US they are set up disfunctional and are even corrupt.
In contrast to this, unions in Germany cannot afford any criminal behaviour or cronyism/corruption, because they have to function properly and are strictly organised and under public scrutiny.
So (as I was told) you'd have to fix your unions first before you can expect them to bring about the same advantages.
Right to Work in the US does not outlaw unions. It outlaws unions from forcing you to join them. Essentially you can work at a shop that has a union and choose not to be a member of that union. In other states the person has no choice whatsoever. If you work where there is a union, you are forced to be a member. We're all for personal choices, right?