Posts Tagged ‘UAW’


Special mention

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Special mention

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This is a map of the city the United Auto Workers built—with union wages and middle-class housing for whites, African-Americans, and others—that, over the course of the past three decades, was abandoned by the corporations that used to produce the autos, so as to search for even higher profits by moving production out of Detroit.

Now, according to the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force, almost $2 billion needs to be spent just to raze the abandoned residential and factory buildings and clean up the sites.

And there’s still no plan for actually doing something with those lots, much less for creating decent, well-paying jobs for the remaining residents of Detroit.

Next time someone claims the spectacular successes of capitalism, remind them also of its spectacular failures. Like Detroit.


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The United Auto Workers narrowly lost the union election at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. With 89 percent participation, 712 workers voted no, and 626 voted yes.

many of the plant’s workers are themselves conservatives — and have started to wonder why the politicians who represent them oppose their right to organize. John Wright, 43, is a test driver at the plant and identifies as a right-leaning independent. He says he makes between $30,000 and $40,000 a year, and supports a wife and three young daughters. When [Republican Senator Bob] Corker  — who takes more money from the securities and investment industry than any other — came back to Nashville to voice his opposition to the UAW, Wright was puzzled.

“I can’t for the life of me understand why the Republicans and big money are coming against us so bad. To me, they’re attacking the average worker,” Wright said, in the hours before the election results were announced. “To have politicians think that there’s nothing more important than coming down and picking on the little guy because he wants a union, there’s a national debt we’ve got to control, we have foreign policy things that we elect them to go up there to do, but you have to fly home for an emergency meeting because I want a union?”

Only in America

Posted: 14 February 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,


Today is the third and final day of voting on union representation at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga plant [ht: sm].

Republican Senator Bob Corker told Reuters on Thursday that he is “very certain that if the UAW is voted down,” the automaker will announce new investment in the plant “in the next couple weeks.”

Corker’s latest remarks contradicted an earlier statement by Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW Chattanooga, that there was “no connection” between the vote at its three-year-old Tennessee plant and a looming decision on whether VW will build a new crossover vehicle there.


Volkswagen has accepted the United Auto Workers’ attempt to unionize its Chattanooga, Tennessee manufacturing plants.

Scott Wilson, a VW spokesman, said: “Volkswagen values the rights of its employees in all locations to representation of their interests.  In the United States, it is only possible to realize this in conjunction with a union.  This is a decision that ultimately lies in the hands of the employees. For this reason, we have begun a dialogue with the U.A.W.”

But Republican politicians, local businesses, and outside right-wing groups are attempting to derail the drive.

Two of Tennessee’s most prominent Republicans, Gov. Bill Haslam and Senator Bob Corker, a former mayor of Chattanooga, have repeatedly voiced concerns that a U.A.W. victory would hurt the plant’s competitiveness and the state’s business climate.

A business-backed group put up a billboard declaring, “Auto Unions Ate Detroit. Next Meal: Chattanooga,” while a prominent anti-union group, the National Right to Work Committee, has brought legal challenges against the U.A.W.’s effort, asserting that VW officials improperly pressured workers to back a union.

In addition, Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader, has set up a group, the Center for Worker Freedom, that has fought the U.A.W. on several fronts, partly to prevent the election of labor’s Democratic allies who might increase government spending.

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Apparently, the United Auto Workers are edging closer to organizing, either with a works council or an independent union, Volkswagen’s manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Republican Senator Bob Corker is, however, opposed to the idea.

“We are talking with them all the time,” said Mr. Corker, a former mayor of Chattanooga who helped bring Volkswagen to Tennessee. “I’m reminding them that bringing the UAW in [to the Chattanooga plant] would damage our community’s prospects and damage our state. We know that right now it’s hurting our efforts to recruit other employers, other manufacturers to Tennessee.” Organizing the Volkswagen plant would be a significant victory for the UAW, which saw its membership decline steadily over more than two decades as the Detroit auto makers, hurt by high labor costs, closed plants and lost market share to foreign rivals.

Here we have a large multinational corporation that has not sabotaged a union’s organizing efforts, while one of the political representatives of the workers of that state is criticizing the corporation for even allowing the possibility of union representation.

Ah, only in America!