Corker’s Anti-Union Stance Blows Up In His Face

[UPDATE]:

Good piece on this here (h/t, Crockett Policy Institute).

I thought this part was adorable:

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Friday that some auto suppliers considering moving closer to Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant may balk if the United Auto Workers succeeds in unionizing the factory.

“[VW] wants more suppliers closer to them. We’ve worked really hard to do that. A lot of those suppliers are saying, ‘If the UAW comes into the plant, I don’t know if we’ll be as close as we would,”‘ the governor said.

Haslam, speaking to Times Free Press reporters and editors, said business recruitment to the state is being hindered by the UAW’s organizing efforts at the plant.

“I’ve had several folks recently say that if the UAW comes, that would dampen our enthusiasm for Tennessee,” he said. “They feel like, ‘We’re looking at Tennessee because it’s a right-to-work state.'”

Please name one, Governor. ONE. Also, to the news media which publishes this stuff? How come you never ask that fucking question in the first place?

Republicans love, love, love to fearmonger about these imaginary businesses which will be yanking their jobs if x, y, z happens (or doesn’t happen.) They love to talk about these people they know who said these things, but they rarely mention a name. Which makes me think mostly they’re just talking out of their ass.

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Are Tennessee’s foreign auto manufacturing plants unionizing? Looks like that may be happening:

A majority of the workers at Volkswagen’s Tennessee plant have signed cards signaling they want union representation, according to the United Auto Workers. But so far, the UAW isn’t rushing the global automaker to meet them at a negotiating table.

UAW president Bob King said he’s being patient and that he has “deep respect” for VW, which recognizes unions in all of its major plants, except for Chattanooga.

Sen. Bob Corker, who brought the VW plant to Chattanooga, is none-too pleased about it, either. In fact, he’s hopping mad:

“For management to invite the UAW in is almost beyond belief,” Corker said. “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.”

I think the laughingstock here is Corker. I’ve always thought it was part of the Republicans’ national strategy to bring foreign car manufacturers down here as a way of undermining the UAW. We’re certainly told ad-nauseum that it’s because we’re “right to work” that these auto manufacturers are locating south of the Mason-Dixon line as opposed to the Midwest or places like Detroit.

But VW is different from companies like Nissan and Toyota. Under German law, labor representatives have half the seats on Volkswagen’s supervisory board, and it is these folks who are raising concerns that Chattanooga is VW’s only non-unionized plant. With VW being pressured by its own board to deal with organized labor at its U.S. plant, it seems likely a deal will happen.

That’s bad news for Corker, the naive dufus who unleashed this on the South. If the Chattanooga plant goes union, it’s just a matter of time before the rest follow. German automakers like Daimler, which has an Alabama plant, and BMW, which has a facility in South Carolina, will face similar pressure from their boards. Employees at Nissan’s Smyrna plant have met with UAW representatives this year, as well, and it makes sense if the Germans go, the Japanese will follow.

I just love that if and when these auto plants unionize, it’s all going to be Corker’s fault.

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11 Comments

Filed under Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee, unions

11 responses to “Corker’s Anti-Union Stance Blows Up In His Face

  1. GregH

    Maybe Mercedes and BMW plants will follow, but I doubt the Japanese will. Very different culture there – VERY consensus-oriented and there is a greater sense of “belonging” to the company among rank & file workers as well as salary men, unions, where they exist, are not generally as confrontational + their CEOs only get paid 67 times what the average worker gets – not 354 times the average worker like here in the good ol’ USA. I don’t see Japanese unions or workers pressuring Japanese management on behalf of the UAW.

    • They may not get pressure from their boards but here in the U.S. they’ve narrowly defeated union pressure, and if the plants up the street are union, that will create market pressure for them to follow

      • GregH

        I heard Nissan management was rabidly anti-union and they play some serious hardball with any organizers. Good luck to the union.

  2. democommie

    “I heard Nissan management was rabidly anti-union”

    if that’s true and, if the “management” is home office (jjapanese) and not U.S. then they need to be aware that union pressure is nothing compared to U.S. DoL pressure, never mind what the U.S. Attorney’s office could get up to. Walmart gets away with it because they have thousands of local pols in their pockets. Nissan does not and can’t build that sort of firewall between themselves and regulators. Isn’t Nissan one of the auto companies who was caught diddling the numbers on safety issues? Yeah, they may want to play hardball with the UAW but getting shut down by the feds is not what they want.

    FUCK anti-union asswipes.

    • GregH

      From what I’ve heard, this is strictly the local plant managers/ or US subsidiary being so hard-assed about the unions. Now that Renault is a big chunk of Nissan, the corporate office is probably agnostic about unions.

      • Renault … the French? Aren’t they … socialist??? :-)

        It will be interesting to see, that’s for sure.

      • democommie

        So, what I said, only more so. If they want to fuck with the UAW what they need to be aware of is that the unions can play hardball to, especially when other plants are organizing.

        I’ve stood on a picket line a few times and it can get ugly for both sides. What the employers cannot do (at least in most cases) these days is use goonz to break up organizing meetings and the like.

        I am well aware of the fact that megacorp in its various guises is able to flout labor and other laws. When they eventually trip over their own swollen pen–, er, hubris, they wind up looking stupid and paying the money to both their own lawyers and the feds for violations. It is never simple but there are ways to beat those assholes.

  3. That’s good news ! My Grandpa was a labor union lawyer.

  4. yutsano

    Unions in Germany are structured differently than they are in the US, so VW was hoping that would allow them to stay without a union at Chattanooga. I’m surprised it took the union reps in Deutschland this long to pressure them.

  5. Great article Southern Beale. I found your blog via Wonkette and I love it. I added you to my blogroll. I’m an academic who discusses U.S. history through a uncompromisingly liberal view at “That Devil History” http://thatdevilhistory.wordpress.com/. Keep up the good work.