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Class Clowns On Parade In Chattanooga

Big win for union-busters this weekend.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant today have voted against union representation that would have led to the establishment of a works council that would have been the first such model of labor-management relations in the United States.

At the end of voting on Friday, Volkswagen workers voted against joining the union in a vote of 712 to 626.

I’m surprised the vote was that close, which is encouraging because if you listen to right wing media tell it, this was a huge defeat for President Obama and his thuggish allies, the United Auto Workers union.

Getting desperate for “victories” these days, dumping millions into the state to promote union-free work zones to stamp out the remaining 5% of unionized workers in Tennessee who are destroying jobs and freedom and coming for your guns(no shit), right wing activists like Grover Norquist took to arms with a new front group called, The Center For Worker Freedom, providing the same misspelled signs that have come to define movement conservatism.

An anti-UAW union message is visible on a billboard for northbound motorists in Chattanooga, Tenn. The sign misspells the word politician. Photo: Tim Barber, Chattanooga Times Free Press/USA Today

An anti-UAW union message is visible on a billboard for northbound motorists in Chattanooga, Tenn. The sign misspells the word politician. Photo: Tim Barber, Chattanooga Times Free Press/USA Today


That’s right. A full-on assault, propping up 13 billboards plastered across the state, complimenting radio and television ads, websites, and an aggressive door-to-door campaign to see to it that you vote their way to work longer and harder for less, and without a voice in the workplace– paid for by billionaires who gladly pay their corporate union dues to the union of multinational corporations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dues that are coming out of the pockets of union and anti-union members alike, one way or the other. Which is funny because paying union dues is a major complaint for anti-union imbeciles who are living off the raised standard of living that unions built, and they seem to have no idea.

But go ahead and listen to Grover Norquist because he’s got smarts real good. Your children are in good hands. Can’t you read? No? Just leave all the thinking and spelling to the job creators.

With all that heavy-handed propaganda, right wing nut jobs were still nervous that workers might vote to unionize, so they sent out Sen. Bob Corker to sweeten the deal.

Just as VW workers began voting last week, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker claimed to have been told by an unnamed top company executive that a vote against the union would guarantee that Chattanooga would be chosen as the production site for a new line of SUVs — a claim quickly denied by VW. Then there was the warning from the aforementioned Watson that if the plant were unionized, the Republican legislature would refuse to appropriate an estimated $700 million in state subsidies necessary to win the SUV expansion and the several thousand new jobs it would generate.

Republicans in the legislature were threatening to withhold $700 million in state subsidies if workers voted to unionize. Because democracy. And free markets.

The Facebook page devoted to getting the word out accused the UAW of everything from unAmerican activities and a communistic agenda in ceding control of their rights to a foreign automaker. A foreign automaker which, by the way, operates 106 plants worldwide, with only three operating without a workers’ council(required by law in Germany). Two are in China and the other is in Chattanooga, Tennessee. How on earth did Volkswagon ever become so powerful and profitable under the widespread tyranny of union thuggery? And they’re encouraging it? They obviously don’t know what’s good for them.

This shady behavior is probably what brought out the UAW’s top thugs looking to smite the mighty American foreign automaker in its hegemonic pursuit of global domination, UAW Secretary-Treasurer Dennis Williams tried the old ‘divide and conquer’ trick so typical of labor unions today, saying of his arch nemesis, “Volkswagon’s a class act.”

Anyway, unions make us all lazy and greedy, as Bill Moyers noted,

…between 1979, when 24.6 percent of Tennessee’s workforce belonged to a union, and 2013, when that number had fallen to just over six percent, workers’ productivity increased 75.6 percent but median hourly wages only rose 12.5 percent.

On another website used to suppress unionization at the Volkswagon plant, No To Uninformed Auto Workers, they list 10 reasons why you will should vote no or face economic destruction, a couple key points stood out to me:

The UAW has worked to silence our voices and had VW put a “gag order” on our supervisors and managers who are not allowed to share their personal opinions or views with us. Is this the UAW’s idea of Democracy?

On their front page, they tell you what democracy looks like– “Now, it’s our time to vote! And, VOTE NO!”

They complain about outside groups coming in to thwart democracy, while telling people to “vote no!” Using outright lies and fear-mongering(they’re even coming for your guns!), flanked by Republicans in the legislature threatening both VW and its workers with lost jobs and hundreds of millions in subsidies if they don’t vote their way, these people are everything they say they hate about unions, and worse.

Steve, “the father of a quality control manager at the plant” who voted “no,” said, “Well, you know, I think at one time they were very useful. But now, I don’t know that you get that much benefit from them, when they first came in, it was a good thing, because workers were really getting taken advantage of. But it’s not so much the case anymore.”

Exactly, Steve. Who needs worker protections when you’ve got Grover Norquist and his misspelled signs backed by millions in outside spending just to narrowly defeat an outmatched worker uprising?

This is winning for conservatives. Holding you down while they pummel you, and then mocking your failure to defeat them.

Looking at the vote tally in Chattanooga, after all that’s been said and done, after everything they’ve thrown at this, one thing is clear: There’s still plenty of fight yet left in the American worker.

Don’t let the false confidence in those used car salesman smiles fool you, or the gloating of right wing media and ‘politicans’ discourage you, they’re getting more and more desperate in making this sale. If you take a closer look, you can see them sweating.