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Union Vote in Chattanooga Doesn’t Go As Expected

Posted on February 15, 2014

Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have voted against union representation, a devastating loss that derails the United Auto Workers union’s effort to organize Southern factories.

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

The UAW for decades has tried without success to organize a foreign-owned plant in a region that’s wary of organized labor. The loss now makes it even harder for the union to recruit members at another Southern factory.

“If they can’t win this one, what can they win?” asked Art Schwartz, a former General Motors labor negotiator who now is a consultant in Ann Arbor, Mich.

UAW President Bob King, in a 2011 speech to workers, said the union has no long-term future if it can’t organize the Southern plants.

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19 thoughts on “Union Vote in Chattanooga Doesn’t Go As Expected

  1. Finally, workers with some common sense.!!! kudos to you all.

  2. So much for the UAW efforts to turn Chattanooga into "Detroit South".

  3. The union "has no long term future". Good news.

  4. Tinkerbell_35 says:

    JVance, amen, wonderful news!

  5. Too bad other sections of the country don't have the GOOD SENSE that they had in REJECTING UNION THUGS and having to PAY these OBAMABOTS their $$$ for Nothing except to be used to keep ole barry and his cronies in office!! KUDOS to the ones who voted AGAINST, SAD that there were obamabot IDIOTS who voted for it, so they could lose their jobs!! It has worked out Great for DETROIT!!! DUH!!!

  6. Obama is probably wondering about how the 'vote counters' failed to perform in accordance with his executive order.

  7. "UAW President Bob King, in a 2011 speech to workers, said the union has no long-term future if it can’t organize the Southern plants."

    Then dissolve your organization and get a real job (if there are any industries left that haven't been unionized and regulated out of existence)!

  8. I wonder how many of the 626 yes voters got "friendly" visits from the union organizers' thug enforcers before the vote.

  9. Kendall Svengalis says:

    Great news. Why anywone would want to be a forced union member in this day and age is beyond me. Unions are one reason why we have Obama and Democrat control of the Senate. They steal from their members to advance candidates favorable to the goon leadership.

  10. Karyn L Hatfield says:

    Yeah, way to go (or not to go).

  11. Sounds like the Obama dominated NLRB will be pushing for more "Card Check".

  12. Rattlerjake says:

    Only 712 have sense, there are still 626 that haven't a brain amongst them. Guaranteed the 626 workers who voted for unions are mostly black, ALL democraps, and are the least performing workers in the whole bunch. Any bets?

  13. Robert Whatever says:

    This is precisely why the unions and their favorite crony, Obama, want non-secret ballots in these types of elections: so they can intimidate the workers into voting for the union. It will take exceptional fortitude to vote against the union knowing they will make your life a living hell if you vote against them and they know who you are.

  14. I live in a union shop state, which means if the place you want to work is unionized, you HAVE to join the union in order to work. You have no choice. I’ve belonged to 2 unions and my experience is that the most pro union workers are usually either the lowest skill workers or the laziest and most incompetent. There have been a few exceptions, but not many. In 2014, Really good workers usually don’t need a union! They can practically write their own ticket!

  15. I've worked for an airline that was union, and one that was non-union. It was like night and day. Morale was so much higher in the non-union shop. Now I work for another organization, one that is unionized. Morale is the pits. There is a lot of distrust and ill-will between labor and management. You mostly hear about how unionization begets a surly, incompetent and lazy labor force. But it works the other way as well–management, since they feel the union is taking care of its membership, has no interest in looking after its workers. Good companies don't operate like this. The whole union-shop scenario is anti-productive.

  16. I've found that the misery starts before the unionization. Bad management begets a desire for unions, which actually improve the situation for a short while. Then, the unions freeze the structure of labor, locking the workers into the market conditions of whatever year the union started. And it rarely is the case that a management team gets thrown out for losing a unionization vote, which EVERY management team that loses should have happen to it (note: this would be REALLY sweet in a government bureaucracy; I can dream.)

    Unions are a symptom of bad management; the "Big 3" automakers are a classic example of this, and the comparison to how German- and Japanese-managed plants run is instructive. I'm just sorry we had to bail out the bad management and bad union decisions of GM.

  17. i don't believe that this is over, the union will keep pushing. it could get violent, thats what unions do when they don't get their way.

  18. Phillip the Bruce says:

    Don't forget that many union contracts are written in terms of the minimum wage, so it the MW increases, union members get an automatic raise without renegotiation. That's one reason politicians favor the increases – like MD Gov O'Malley, who has all but officially announced that he will run for Prez in '16 if Hillary does not.

  19. toosmarttovoteGOP says:

    "I've had conversations today and based on those [I] am assured that should the workers vote against (my emphasis) the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga," said Sen. Bob Corker, who neglected to say with whom he'd had the "conversations".

    Volkswagen says otherwise. In fact, in the past few weeks Volkswagen officials have made several statements that the vote will have no bearing on whether the SUV will be made at the Chattanooga plant or at a plant in Puebla, Mexico.

    None. Nada. Zero. Zip. No. Effect. At. All.

    Ya don't suppose that Sen. Corker was lying about that, do you?

    Coming into the vote, both sides knew what was at stake — the union drive was a direct threat to the low-wage economy on which the South’s manufacturing base has been built.

    If Volkswagen told workers that it would move production away from Chattanooga on the basis of a union vote, that would be a violation of labor law.

    Telling a public official that and sending him out to levy said threat wouldn't be a lot better. It's also in direct contrast to something a real, living VW official said last fall. Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's global works council, said in a statement that forming a council was important if the plant wanted to produce other VW cars and that he would keep talking with the UAW.

    Corker's public and legally questionable threats are an appalling move by a public official. It's not his first such public temper tantrum over the possibility of a union in Chattanooga either. He's called Volkswagen "very naive" for its openness to a union in the past. Apparently he's chosen to ignore VW's several decades of experience on the matter in favor of his own ignorance ideology.

    It seems that now he's apparently "graduated" to making the threats he wishes VW would—no matter cost to his state's economy.

    Well financed union-busters mounted a coordinated campaign against organized labor telling Tennesseans, among other lies, that the union wanted to take their guns.

    Stephen Greenhouse reported for The New York Times that “Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader, helped underwrite a new group, the Center for Worker Freedom, that put up 13 billboards in Chattanooga, warning that the city might become the next Detroit if the workers voted for the union.”

    What’s more, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said that a ‘yes’ vote would result in the company losing its tax incentives. A powerful state lawmaker called the union drive “un-American,” because apparently people getting together to make their lives better is unpatriotic. Wtf?

    Tennessee has the fifth lowest median household income in the US. This vote will not help Tennesseans.

    Once again, millionaire politicians succeeded in scaring people who need jobs into thinking they would lose them.