Volkswagen employees at the Chattanooga, Tenn. Plant had to make a decision whether to unionize or not, in the past week. Their options were to join the United Auto Workers or remain union-free.
GOP leaders were determined to put up a fight to prevent the union getting its hooks into the workforce.
The UAW has been trying for 30 years to get into this plant, because this union has been in a decades-long decline.
Republican Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said the main factor driving the union was the money they could make. While talking to the Washington Post, Senator Corker said “This is all about money for them. They feel like, if they can get up under the hood with a company in the South, then they can make progress in other places. There’s no question that the UAW organizing there will have an effect on our community’s ability to continue to recruit businesses.”
Especially now, Southern states are in a heated battle to retain local jobs. The concern for Republican lawmakers is that the UAW would push hard to extract more lucrative incentives for workers under their umbrella, and make it harder or even impossible to recruit other large corporations to the state. They had already seen this happen in Washington state, with Boeing.
The strange thing to note is that Volkswagen is cooperating with union efforts to organize. Using a German-style works council as a guide, Volkswagen thought it would be good for them, because that model allows the company to exchange data with employees and work together to resolve issues.
That is not the way it has previously worked with the UAW involved.
The vote cam in Friday night, in a defeat for the union, perhaps another nail in the coffin for the United Auto Workers.
The vote, 712 against, to 626 for unionization, crushed the UAW’s hopes 53 percent to 47 percent. Records show the Volkswagen plant employs 1,570 hourly workers.
The Tennessee Senator was ecstatic, “Needless to say, I am thrilled for the employees at Volkswagen and for our community and its future.”
It was not to be in a national environment of Americans growing tired of union
Union bullying of the undecided and public strikes were two reasons for workers to stay away from the union.
President Barack Obama added more than his two cents Friday, when he accused Republicans of supporting German shareholders over U.S. workers.
Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO, Frank Fischer, said, “Our employees have not made a decision that they are against a works council. Throughout this process, we found great enthusiasm for the idea of an American-style works council both inside and outside our plant.”
It is isn’t likely that this is the end of UAW activity. They can still smell the money, and will likely be looking for a new strategy to expand in the South.