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Tennessee Volkswagen plant votes against union in UAW defeat

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The Lame & The Ludicrous
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From http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/15/us-autos-vw-election-idUSBREA1D1DP20140215

(Reuters) - In a stinging defeat that could accelerate the decades-long decline of the United Auto Workers, employees voted against union representation at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, which had been seen as organized labor's best chance to expand in the U.S. South.

Retired Tennessee Circuit Court Judge Sam Payne, who oversaw the count, said workers voted against UAW representation by 712 to 626.

Advocates on both sides sought to sway workers' opinions to the very end. Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga who helped win the VW plant, said on Wednesday after the first day of voting that VW would expand the factory if the union was rejected.

"Needless to say, I am thrilled," Corker said in a statement after the results were disclosed. An announcement of whether a new seven-passenger crossover vehicle will be produced in Chattanooga or in Mexico could come as early as next week, VW sources told Reuters.

Pro-union advocates blamed Republicans for trying to manipulate the outcome, and President Barack Obama waded into the discussion early on Friday, accusing Republican politicians of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers.

But legal experts earlier had said that any challenge of the outcome, based on Corker's comments, would be difficult, given broad free speech protection for U.S. Senators.

The loss in Tennessee could further dent the prestige of the UAW, whose membership has plummeted 75 percent since 1979 and now stands at just under 400,000.

The decision also is likely to reinforce the widely held notion that the UAW cannot make significant inroads in a region that historically has been steadfastly against organized labor and where all foreign-owned assembly plants employ nonunion workers.

The results were particularly surprising for UAW supporters because VW had allowed the union access to the factory and officially stayed neutral on the vote, while other manufacturers have been hostile to organized labor.

Local anti-union organizer Mike Burton cheered the results. "Not on our watch," he exulted.

"We think it's unfortunate that there was some outside influence exerted into this process," a red-eyed Gary Casteel, regional director of the UAW, told reporters after the results were announced, adding that the process needed to be "evaluated".

For VW, the stakes also were high. The German automaker invested $1 billion in the Chattanooga plant, which began building Passat mid-size sedans in April 2011, after being awarded more than $577 million in state and local incentives.

VW executives have said the new crossover vehicle, due in 2016 and known internally as CrossBlue, could be built at either the Chattanooga plant or in Mexico.

Some 89 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, Judge Payne said. The election was held over three days.

(Additional reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit and Andreas Cremer in Berlin; Editing by Matthew Lewis, Ross Colvin and Ken Wills)
 

xytbyk

Go Kart Champion
Location
Santa Monica, CA
There's some irony in somebody from UAW complaining about "outside influence." Also, lulz at calling the an anti-union advocate an "organizer." It's probably accurate to the situation, but still a funny choice of words.
 

PRND[S]

The Lame & The Ludicrous
Location
Southern California
Car(s)
'15 LSG Golf R
Also, VW seems to have been neutral on the issue and decided to let the workers settle this among themselves.

It seems that the workers have no real complaints about their jobs, their compensation and the relationship with their employer. They decided they'd rather keep the money they would otherwise pay in union dues.
 

Gunkata

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Lombard, IL
^ indeed. VW has unions in europe, where the labor forces hold much more power than they do here, so they were ready for it and really seemed to have no issue with it. I agree, if the employees figured they were fine as is, and not having to have dues and so on, and their benefits were decent from VW, doesn't make sense to make the move to unionize.
 

lamb110

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Location
Elburn, IL
Cant stand scummy unions. They've never done anything but hold this country back. Good riddance.
 

danielj1

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Location
Seattle WA
Cant stand scummy unions. They've never done anything but hold this country back. Good riddance.

Oh I disagree. Unions were highly needed during the industrial revolution as they served as a powerful voice for fair treatment of workers. Who knows what our labor laws and pay scales would be today if they didn't helps set a foundation. Unfortunately became greedy and are now paying the price (as are we).

Today, their thinking is antiquated and their membership is decreasing - they really shot themselves in the foot.
 

Zillon

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Location
Bucks, PA
Oh I disagree. Unions were highly needed during the industrial revolution as they served as a powerful voice for fair treatment of workers. Who knows what our labor laws and pay scales would be today if they didn't helps set a foundation. Unfortunately became greedy and are now paying the price (as are we).

Today, their thinking is antiquated and their membership is decreasing - they really shot themselves in the foot.

This.

The UAW is one of the worst examples of modern unionization.
 

Gunkata

Go Kart Champion
Location
Lombard, IL
Lamb is the ultimate troll ;)


But yes, Unions did a lot for this country's workforce that the average joe today has no idea. That said, there are definitely many issues surrounding some of today's unions, depending on the field/industry.
 

rs999

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Location
Chesapeake, VA
^ indeed. VW has unions in europe, where the labor forces hold much more power than they do here, so they were ready for it and really seemed to have no issue with it. I agree, if the employees figured they were fine as is, and not having to have dues and so on, and their benefits were decent from VW, doesn't make sense to make the move to unionize.

I've dealt with German Unions on both the white and blue collar sides. You can't compare US labor unions and German Unions 1:1.

In the US, it's all about management and the CEO being the man and keeping the laborer underpaid and in sweatshop conditions.

In Germany, unions are more like trade organizations, most of the time they just seek to equalize benefits, but not pay, across all members of their organization and to give their members a collective voice to communicate with management.

American Unions needs to die then be reborn because the current mentality and operations do not fit with today's global trade environment. Since it's no longer labor vs management it's now labor and management vs the rest of the world.
 

XGC75

Go Kart Champion
Location
sw mi
Oh I disagree. Unions were highly needed during the industrial revolution as they served as a powerful voice for fair treatment of workers. Who knows what our labor laws and pay scales would be today if they didn't helps set a foundation. Unfortunately became greedy and are now paying the price (as are we).

Today, their thinking is antiquated and their membership is decreasing - they really shot themselves in the foot.

This x1000. I've followed the automotive industry since high school. The UAW's moves always seemed like bullying rather than constructive collaboration. Back in the early 2000's, their membership was getting paid a LOT of money for the work, great benefits and retiring early with a heavy pension. (Imagine working for Chrysler out of HS making $16.50 an hour with full medical and dental. When you're 45, making $35+/hr, you retire making that 16.50/hr with full medical and dental FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE)

Ford, GM and Chrysler were making a lot of noise about how they couldn't afford to continue paying retired workers' pensions. Eventually they were forced to shut down plants and bankrupt to free themselves of a majority of the UAW baggage. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you...
 

Gunkata

Go Kart Champion
Location
Lombard, IL
I've dealt with German Unions on both the white and blue collar sides. You can't compare US labor unions and German Unions 1:1.

In the US, it's all about management and the CEO being the man and keeping the laborer underpaid and in sweatshop conditions.

In Germany, unions are more like trade organizations, most of the time they just seek to equalize benefits, but not pay, across all members of their organization and to give their members a collective voice to communicate with management.

American Unions needs to die then be reborn because the current mentality and operations do not fit with today's global trade environment. Since it's no longer labor vs management it's now labor and management vs the rest of the world.

:word:

Never said they were the same ;)
 

lamb110

Go Kart Champion
Location
Elburn, IL
We need another Reagan in the White House, he knew how to handle the unions.
 
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