published Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Corker to VW: No union

NASHVILLE -- U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., says he has told Volkswagen officials that he thinks it would be "highly detrimental" to the German manufacturer if the United Auto Workers organizes its Chattanooga assembly plant.

"I was asked to give input, and I did," Corker said.

The advice stemmed from his experience trying to negotiate with the union during the 2008 federal bailout of GM and Chrysler, he said.

"I certainly shared with [VW] I couldn't see how there was any possibility it could be a benefit to them to enter into a contract with UAW," said Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor.

He stressed he is not "anti-union" and said he often employed union craftsmen when he ran a construction company.

But the UAW "breeds an 'us versus they' relationship, and I just don't think it's healthy for a company to be set up in that regard," Corker said.

Bob King, president of the 400,000-plus-member labor union, said the UAW is interested in organizing the VW plant.

"We want workers there, and not just Chattanooga but all nonunion assembly facilities," King said. "We want workers to have a choice to come into the UAW."

King, who became UAW president in June, said Corker is "talking about the past and not the present or the future."

There is a difference between "this 20th century perception of UAW" and "the 21st century reality where we're proactive on all these issues of quality and productivity," he said.

The UAW is "committed to the success of the employers that we represent, Ford, GM, Chrysler," King said, and the union supports a "winning formula" for overseas transplants "whether it be Volkswagen, Toyota or Honda."

Guenther Scherelis, Volks-wagen Group of America Inc.'s general manager of communication, declined to address Corker's specific comments as well as King's.

"At Volkswagen Chattanooga, the employees will decide for themselves about their representation," Scherelis said in an e-mail.

Asked if Volkswagen management would take a stance if the UAW seeks to organize a union, Scherelis replied, "Volkswagen Chattanooga has a neutral position."

VW's Chattanooga plant will employ as many as 2,500 workers starting early next year. The $1 billion facility will produce a midsize sedan aimed at the American market.

Changing landscape

Auto companies from Japan, Germany and South Korea have flocked to the United States in recent decades, locating largely in right-to-work states such as Tennessee where workers can't be forced to join unions to get jobs.

Nissan North America operates an assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn., and an engine plant in Decherd, Tenn.

Mike Randle, editor of Southern Business & Economic Development, said none of the foreign transplant automakers has been unionized except for a few joint ventures with American companies in other parts of the country.

"There are none in the South," Randle said. "That doesn't mean they haven't tried."

Nissan workers, for example, have twice voted against attempts to certify the UAW.

Randle said the transplants have been able to pay workers less than at Northern, unionized plants while still offering what is considered a good wage in the South.

An economic study, conducted earlier this year on behalf of The Grand Rapids Press in Michigan and other Booth newspapers, stated that "wages are typically high in the [states without right-to-work laws] compared to the Southern states."

It said Michigan had an annual manufacturing wage of about $74,000 compared with the lowest Southern manufacturing wage of about $53,000 in Tennessee.

"Differences in wages can be because of higher productivity and/or higher costs of living," the study by economist Hari Singh found. "However, a major factor is the level of unionization in the Non-RTW states compared to the RTW states."

Not having a union makes it easier to change how companies operate, Randle said, and also noted it eliminates the threat of union work stoppages.

Volkswagen is no stranger to unions. The UAW had a presence at a Volkswagen-owned plant that operated in New Stanton, Pa., between 1978 and 1988.

Volkswagen's parent company, Volkswagen AG, is unionized and under German law has a policy of "co-determination" that ensures union representation on the Wolfsburg-based company's supervisory board of directors.

No friend of UAW

Corker said he formed his views of the UAW when he was lead Republican negotiator with Democrats on the proposed auto-industry bailouts for GM and Chrysler in 2008.

"It was very, very apparent during the intense negotiations we were having that the success of the company was way, way, way, way down the list of what mattered," Corker said. "I just can't imagine any company of their own accord of being desirous of entering into a relationship with UAW."

But King, who noted he hopes to reach out to Corker, said any company with union employees is "going to have better quality and better productivity working with UAW because we've become experts in these areas, and we do it in a way that we really involve our membership."

The union's recent dealings with GM and Chrysler, King said, are "proving that business, labor and government can all work together [and] create jobs in the United States which we need desperately."

King said the union soon will propose to employers a less confrontational procedure for union campaigns.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

59
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
fairmon said...

The people at VW need to ask their self why does the UAW really want them in the UAW? The organizers and leaders can use a lot of convincing rhetoric but what is their real motive? What can they guarantee in writing to VW employees?

The UAW has added significantly to the per unit cost of American manufactured automobiles.

November 28, 2010 at 3:25 a.m.
XMarine said...

74k up north & 53k in Tennessee? Man,where did they get these two figures.Where is the 53k wage at ? Tell me so i can apply there!Lies to fit the side of the story.You will be surprised at what the wages are at the Michigan plants.Go to an official stats site & not a news service site.OH,someone just told me TVA pays the 53k...shoulda known!!!

November 28, 2010 at 6:24 a.m.
srojoe said...

Once, unions served a very real purpose and greatly improved the common worker's life. Today, unions have become political machines and take money from people that have no choice in the matter, and campaign for political hacks that give the political union leaders huge powers, through the union membership voting machine. If unions would stick to work place problems and stay out of politics, there would probably be a lot more union friendly people in the right to work states. I say yeah for Sen. corker for calling a spade a spade. Tennessee does not need the UAW organization, and Tennessee does not need the backstreet union dealings that goes with the UAW and other unions (SEIU ?). Unions add another layer of crap to communications between workers and companies that only serve to hold down the common man from advancement and making his/her life better and raising his/her family another rung on the socioeconomic ladder of life. If the people of Tennessee and the surrounding states from which VW and related businesses will draw workers really want to advance their families in this world, they will vote to keep unions out of the work place. If one studies history, one can see that unions are one of the first organizations that become a mouthpiece for the "change" politicians talk about and how union bosses sell out their membership for political advancement and perceived importance. No union, please.

November 28, 2010 at 6:38 a.m.
rolando said...

Here is what the UAW did for just one GM division in the 90s -- Delphi in Dayton, Ohio [a non-RTW state]. Delphi was the renamed DELCO [Dayton ELectric COmpany] that produced essentially ALL electrical products for GM cars for at least 50 years -- in 1912, they invented the first commercial auto starter system still used today.

  • The union did ALL hiring of workers. Delphi had no say in the matter. Under-the-table was a way of life; corruption and cronyism/nepotism/favoritism was rampant.

  • It set up the "team" concept for workers. If only ONE of the team workers stayed home, NONE of the team could work...although they were paid full pay. Team members from other partial teams could not be combined to make one complete team. All partial teams simply lounged around doing nothing -- because union rules did not allow it. They couldn't even change a light bulb because that took a job away from the union light-bulb-changer, the ladder-mover, etc, etc.

  • The four-day work week was almost the de facto standard there -- not because the company wanted it, but because workers stayed home "sick" on Mondays and/or Fridays. Woe be to you if you got one of those "hang-over Monday" assembled cars.

The list goes on and on. Any unionized work force becomes rapidly corrupted by union leaders. They wield tremendous power -- in the 60s or 70s, one union -- picketing for a very minor infraction -- effectively closed down our entire Eastern seaboard from Maine to Brownsville, Texas...on the refusal to cross a picket-line union rule.

Following WW2, the railroad unions stopped all rail traffic nationwide and refused to negotiate or mediate. Truman's very real threat to draft all of them and put them to work or jail ended that one.

In 1999, the year Delphi was spun off from GM, it had 19,000 employees. All UAW contracts were kept intact.

In 2001, Delphi Dayton had only 8,000 local UAW employees.

In 2005, Delphi Dayton declared bankruptcy. It closed its Dayton Electric Company business doors in 2007 after only 8 years as a separate company.

Thanks, UAW for having a heavy, tyrannical hand in killing off an American company that had been in the same business for almost 100 years.

Do we really want this to happen to our new auto assembly plant?

I cry a resounding NO.

November 28, 2010 at 6:49 a.m.
fairmon said...

Protecting from unjust termination? An employer has invested in procuring and training an employee what could be the motivation to unjustly terminate them, there are laws and recourse for those terminated unjustly. Two groups where guilt is rarely admitted, prisoners and terminated employees.

November 28, 2010 at 8:22 a.m.
theMonkey said...

Let's hope VW does not fold to Corker's agenda. Union workers are strong and dedicated to their jobs. Union workers do not play at political games with the likes of Mr Corker.

If Bob Corker has an issue with unions, he should address the workers. By going behind our backs and pushing VW to discourage unions, Bob Corker has stabbed his hard-working neighbors and fellow citizens in the back for a few extra dollars. Bob Corker is not in this to help out the worker; he is in this to help out his political career and himself.

Bob Corker is taking sides against the common worker and is trying to put Volkswagen in the middle; like a calf for butchering. Neither should stand for this.

Keep Corker out of the dialogue and let Volkswagen and the UAW settle this amongst themselves to the benefit of both parties. This endeavor does not need a political vulture circling overhead.

November 28, 2010 at 8:37 a.m.
tifosi said...

The UAW is a dinosaur that does create a "us vs. them" work environment. Just look at the companies that had to get bailouts when the economy got tough. The UAW is a distraction from getting things done. Chattanooga worked hard to get Volkswagen here and the economic benefits are just beginning. There are plans for more. Let's make sure Volkswagen never even considers expanding anywhere but Chattanooga. Keep out the UAW!

November 28, 2010 at 8:38 a.m.
Allison12 said...

During a recession, the rich like Corker have run for government cover. VW is not in Chattanooga for the good of the community. Grow up people, the local investment alone was $212 million, without the state of federal share. In August only 326 of 1,000 jobs were local residents. Most of the contractors used for the plant were from another state. VW is exempt from paying property taxes and stormwater fees, so small business will subsidize this corporation’s share of taxes for the next 30 years. It is extremely obnoxious for this company to take our money then excuse local hiring from with claims our people are not qualified. The truth about these Chamber of Commerce consulting deals will see daylight soon, and the consulting fees to the Chamber. This entire deal is not only about corporate greed, but the 6 figure players at the Chamber.

November 28, 2010 at 8:54 a.m.
Allison12 said...

Sen. Corker, you wrote the book on dirty politics and hard ball. The United Auto Worker don't have a chance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1smE1E...

November 28, 2010 at 9 a.m.
MasterChefLen said...

The Unions thugs and mafia type organizations. Look at the idiots protesting Jim Scales on Bonny Oaks/Hickory Trail awhile back, now they are protesting a minister on East Brainerd/ Morris Hill. What a bunch of losers. Perhaps they would have less time to protest if they were WILLING TO WORK at market wages. The UAW is upste because they helped drive (pun intended) jobs out of the rust belt, now they want to get a cut from auto jobs down south by doing absolutely NOTHING!!!

November 28, 2010 at 9:27 a.m.
nowfedup said...

The billionaire Senator telling the $14/hour workers how great they have it and wants it to stay same. Amusing anti union posts going back years of data, but then let's play same game, go back to pre-unions days, child labor, no benefits, no retirements, fired for any reason and no protections for workers.

Amusing to note that "bail out of GM" was due to unions etc, according to Billions Corker, but years of tax give aways for VW, essentially giving foreign firm (and others, not just VW)in effect used tax money to subsidize VW, KIA (where Korea 2009 exported $500K to USA, allowed ONLY 6K USA autos in (Fair Trade?) and same for Japanese whom allow very few USA autos imported. NOTE ALL those nations here have and support VERY strong unions in home nation. Even Wal Mart China is union, unlike USA.

So old big bucks Corker, the mid-lower class real wages going down, but for some odd reason ONLY USA of all industrial nations had officials and some very dumbed down citizens that want to see their own workers get lower pay so foreign companies can ship more profits home, further damaging the dollars values.

Yep USA "leading nation", but the "Patriots" spelled "$atriots" want their neighbors and citizens paid less, kind of seems southern "Plant-a-tions" are back? Speaking of Unions, let's see $-Congress go on same "work for less and less perks-benefits" as the commoners they seem to hate

Yea Billion dollar Bob, let's see if we can wave flag and cut even more, in a state at bottom of education, health care and real worth gap at record numbers. So $14/hour X 2010(yearly work hours)around $29K, minus 1/3 for taxes etc, and around $20K/years, $1600 month, 400/week. Now big dollar Bob, do the budget for four person family food 150, home payments 600, insurance/car 500 and then how much for medical, retirement, education etc. Yep let's keep the wages down as management always does best for it's employees as history proves? And billionaires always do best for ???

November 28, 2010 at 10:42 a.m.
fairmon said...

Allison12, I admire your investigation and seeking the truth regarding local politics and activities. I am sure you will do the same regarding VW. I differ with you on some issues at this point. In time we are likely to view things similarly if our local leaders don't cause so much confusion no one can understand things.

I agree VW did not locate here for the good of the community. Like any company they are obligated to go where they think they will be most successful. I would hate to be an owner (stock holder) in a company that did not do that. Their locating here will benefit them and the community beyond projections if our local leaders and community activist don't screw it up. I trust the Chamber more than the city mayor and council.

I have done the hiring for several large companies in the area and I assure you finding a high number of qualified people in the city of Chattanooga is not very likely if the knowledge, skill and ability is the least bit challenging. VW qualifications are well documented, the process of verifying the requisite knowledge, skill and ability is valid. They have had to go outside the city and county to find qualifying candidates. What would you have them do, hire less qualified because of their location? Would that be in the best interest of other employees or VW?

If in fact VW hired intelligent and educated people the UAW or any other union will not gain favor. People who are not able to think and act for their self tend to look to government, unions or others to think for them and tell them what they should do and say, they become puppets. Is greed not the union motivation? They create no wealth or jobs.

November 28, 2010 at 10:43 a.m.
nowfedup said...

Note poster on Delphi, GM played games with Delphi, never upgraded the USA plants, build new ones off shore and was trying to get rid of USA Delphi, read the real truth on it as your story is a fable, management decisions and what they wanted build took down GM,much more then unions. GM and USA refused to go small car and imports got tariff free access to USA markets, unlike what the "Fair Trade" partners give USA. Even now day we cannot export to most of Asia, read before you rant for anti-union, seems real "Patriots" want their neighbors and citizens pay cut, ONLY nation that is doing so, why? NOTE How come RTW autos are not cheaper then competing models from unions shops, IT ALL about profits, and employees do not get them! Note none of the cut wages for fellow citizens EVER addressed that one.

November 28, 2010 at 10:48 a.m.
fairmon said...

nowfedup

Do you think VW wage and benefits are too low? What do you think they should be? A labor shortage is the best means of seeing improved wages and benefits. We need politicians to seek ways to create meaningful jobs but people need to be qualified and ready to fill them. There is a developing shortage of crafts skills and we will see them recruited from other countries because not enough Americans are in a position to fill them. The electrical workers requires members to develop, demonstrate and maintain competence. They still have some of the old John L. Lewis traits but do realize to demand good pay you have to have something to offer in return. They do have a good training program.

November 28, 2010 at 11 a.m.
Echo said...

Looking at how the UAW has failed their members at every negotiation in the last 15 years, if you need a union, the UAW is not the union you need.

Many local officials, VW Chattanooga plant employees, local contractors, EPB, Erlanger, and local suppliers worked very hard to make this plant happen and they did not need the UAW to do it. They also don't need the UAW to come down from their ash pile in Detroit to screw it up.

Allison12, $40 million of the $212 built a training campus to train local how to build cars and maintain car plants. This improvement belongs to the City/County not VW. It could be re-purposed, but it will never need to be if good cars come out of the plant. The product of the campus is industrial knowhow, it is more valuable than gold.

Other State/County/Local funds built roads, storm drains, utilities, and other necessary improvements. These improvements belong to Enterprise South which is owned by the City/County not VW.

Yes, it costs big money to convert a 1200 acre brownfield in the hills into a cutting edge industrial park. Other businesses will locate here. Why? It's nice, new, clean, and has it's own exit off of I-75 and a new rail line.

Speaking of the completely rebuilt rail infrastructure at Enterprise South paid with Obama stimulus money in solid GOP district, an accident? Did some car company with a U.S. HQ in Washington D.C. make that happen? Sometimes a powerful partner can bring an advantage.

Compare $1 of Chatt/Hamilton/TN investment for every $10 invested by VW. VW has so much skin in this game, how can Chattanooga lose?

Only a few things can stop the route to success at VW Chattanooga - Tax burden, crime, the UAW, or bad schools. That is what happened in Detroit. Let make sure it does not happen here.

November 28, 2010 at 11:05 a.m.
Echo said...

"So $14/hour X 2010(yearly work hours)around $29K, minus 1/3 for taxes etc, and around $20K/years, $1600 month, 400/week. Now big dollar Bob, do the budget for four person family food 150, home payments 600, insurance/car 500 and then how much for medical, retirement, education etc."

Sir. Nobody owes you a living. Not VW, and not the U.S. Government. Labor seeks the highest wage and management seeks the cheapest labor. They considered Jackson, MI for this plant.

You seem to be able to read, write, add, multiply and divide. So if you don't want to work at VW, others will and you can go back to you job as an amateur economist and professional whiner.

Nobody who makes $29,000 a year, and owns a home, and raises a family of four pays federal taxes.

If you can't raise a family on your current wage, consider using a condom.

November 28, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

theMonkey said: "Let's hope VW does not fold to Corker's agenda."

The German people that I know do not think much of Senator Corker at this point so I doubt he will have much influence at Volkswagon. The Germans are eager to have this new START treaty ratified and Senator Corker’s conduct has been less than admirable in regard to the ratification of this treaty. Republicans might find Corker’s conduct amusing, but the citizens of Germany along with many other European Nation are not amused by Senator Corker's antics.

November 28, 2010 at 11:45 a.m.
xsiveporsche said...

The people who want the Union are those who also want something for nothing. # people went to there first interview with VW and were called back for there 2nd. All 3 declined as the work was to hard and demanding for them. Why. They do not have the work ethic that these companies need. Employees are more incompetent then ever before. Lets talk n phone all day, take breaks whenever we want. Work is not a place to play and get paid. It is a place to give an honest days work for an honest days pay. We need to hire only those who really want to work and if they don't fire them immeadiately. In 35 years I have rarely ever taken a sick day. I can not afford to. I own and run the company and must make decisions and always find new work for my employees. Would they like it if I took time off and then there was no more work for them. If I had to let them go I would have a hard decision to make. I think I would do like some others and find the parking lot and the Obama sticker and layoff those people. I have no tolerance for a lazy worker. Give me your best and I will in return pay you fair and take care of you. There are many weeks when my payroll is bigger than the income from the company but other times I make good money. I owe it to my employees but they also owe me for keeping them working in this economy. I can not do it without them and they can not do it without me. No Union or I would go under. I can survive as I have good saving and skills but could they?

November 28, 2010 at 11:57 a.m.
Allison12 said...

Harp3339 You are well informed. The local approach of exempting and funding big corporate entities is not sustainable. Just asking, who is left to pay taxes if the expanding list of 28 of Chattanooga’s biggest corporations and nonprofits are all exempt from paying property taxes? Ask for "the List" of "ad valorum" recipients from Chattanooga/Hamilton govs. OMG, Small business and home owners are subsidizing these corporate entities under a false notion of economic return that simply does not exist. The UT Study with accounting assumptions for the local bond issues of $40 million and other local funding of VW Fire hall, Welcome Center, indicates accounting principles that have no basis in reality and mirror a stimulus approach. VW does not pay property taxes (except school portion), stormwater fees, local sales tax, but creates 326 of 1000 (August 2010 report) for existing Chattanooga residents that pay the City/County portion. The only local revenue to the local tax base is sales tax generated from the workers that actually live in Hamilton County. The jobs at VW cost the taxpayers over $95,000 over 30 years. The UT study based the amortization period on 30 year rate of return and assumed the suppliers would be located in the immediate region. It is comical to believe that this plant will have a life of 30 years, no basis in reality. However, for the local investment to amortize, the plant must be operational for 30 years. The second assumption was the supplies would be located in the immediate region. Did not happen, the major suppliers are in Mexico and another in Michigan. In the meantime, a consultant party under the VW taxpayer funded umbrella is in fully play for the 6 figure players at the Chamber have received an additional $900,000 a year for "VW consulting," in addition to the million plus the City/County give to the Chamber from property taxes. When the truth is known, the deal makers will all be gone. The people paying the tax are small business, who create more jobs per captia than VW, and they do it without tax incentives.

November 28, 2010 at noon
Allison12 said...

Correction $95,000 per job at VW, 30 years rate of return, and suppliers located in region. Acct. assumptions

November 28, 2010 at 12:33 p.m.
llamapop said...

Employees in all industries were given the right to "collective bargaining" by the National Labor Relations Act of 1935. So you see, it is the law of the land that workers have the right to bargain as a group. Evidently, Mr. Corker doesn't believe in the law.

I ran hospitals and nursing homes before I retired. Many had unions. As a manager, I found that being sure management stops doing the things that make workers unionize, primarily a lack of fairness in the treatment of workers made existing with the union easier.

Most unions were charging employees about two hours pay a month dues. You see, unions are businesses. They take in money and give services. If the members feel the services aren't sufficient, they may vote out that union in favor of another. The workers must vote on the choice of union.

GM and the UAW have lived together longer than Mr. Corker has been living. The process at GM to reach an agreement with the union is governed by law. If the union is demanding too much, the company can decline and the workers strike. In a strike, no one wins and no one makes any money. In GM's hay-day the workers demanded a larger share of the profits and GM approved. When things got tougher in the car business, unions gave back. GM's troubles today were created by a stodgy management, products people wouldn't buy etc.

Note that Mr. Corker was involved in the first attempt to bail out GM. With his view toward UAW, the talks failed. After that GM closed Saturn, idling 3000 TN workers. After Mr. Corker left the negotiations, an agreement was reached and GM is coming back still without Saturn. GM says they may use about 400 workers at the Saturn plant.

Mr. Corker also intervened in the debate to put consumer safeguards on the financial institutions, after they lost about 30% of my 401K funds. He basically was arguing to do nothing new. You see, he is Lamar Alexander and the RNC's water boy. He hasn't got an idea of his own.

What gives him the idea that we care what he thinks VW should do about their labor relations. This is still America. VW and their workers will decide what to do.

We, as voters Republican, Democratic, Independent, need to seek a qualified candidate to replace Mr. Corker starting now.

November 28, 2010 at 12:42 p.m.
nowfedup said...

ECHO Sir. Nobody owes you a living. Not VW, and not the U.S. Government. Labor seeks the highest wage and management seeks the cheapest labor. They considered Jackson, MI for this plant.

You seem to be able to read, write, add, multiply and divide. So if you don't want to work at VW, others will and you can go back to you job as an amateur economist and professional whiner.Nobody who makes $29,000 a year, and owns a home, and raises a family of four pays federal taxes.

If you can't raise a family on your current wage, consider using a condom.

ECHO noted that you did not do a budget nor much else, note am used to managing union workers, and now run own business and both science and business degrees. You really dodge the issues with cheap name calling, still waiting for a reality budget on 20K after taxes for family of four. ^600 month home payment rent, 150 WEEK for food for four (low est there) AKA 600 month, car, utility, insurances, medical and requirement and college. So mouth of south, let's see your numbers.. and yes they do pay taxes every month. lot of hot air on your part, little data, so stoop to insults, about what I'd expect..

November 28, 2010 at 12:50 p.m.
acerigger said...

If you intend to be a blue-collar worker rather than a white-collar careerist, it’s a smart move to consider becoming a union member. Here are seven practical reasons why.

  1. Money. Generally speaking, union jobs pay significantly more than non-union jobs. It’s as simple as that. If wages matter to you, then you’ll want to join a union, because you’ll make more as a union member. That’s part of the reason companies resist having a union workforce. They don’t want to part with that money.

  2. Benefits. Pensions, medical insurance, paid vacation, holidays, personal holidays, sick pay, overtime premium pay, penalty pay and shift differential are generally not only better in a union shop, often the only way to obtain them is through a union contract. In truth, many of these benefits and perks don’t exist without a union providing them. That’s another reason why companies don’t want to go union. Under a union contract they have to share those goodies.

  3. Safety. This is a stark and sobering reality. The safety record of union facilities is demonstrably superior to that of non-union facilities. Anti-unionists can talk all they like about OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) being the “great equalizer,” but it simply isn’t true—no way, no how. Besides being understaffed and over-extended, OSHA has been effectively gelded by eight years of Bush administration anti-worker neglect and mockery.

A union contract gives employees the immediate right to insist on a safe work environment. Union facilities have an infinitely better safety record.

  1. Dignity. As a union worker you don’t have to put up with flaky bosses, arbitrary decisions, or co-worker harassment. You can still be fired for substandard work performance, but you don’t have to tip-toe around in fear or be at the mercy of weird or grossly incompetent managers. Because administering the provisions of a union contract requires a certain level of expertise, you tend to get better, more efficient bosses.

  2. Security. The boss can’t walk up and fire you because he wants to give your job to his wife’s nephew, who’s looking for a summer job before returning to school. Management can’t lay you off out of sequence. They can’t demote you arbitrarily. Nor can they prevent you, without sufficient cause, from promoting to the next higher job when it’s your turn. African Americans and women didn’t get their fair shot at higher-rung manufacturing jobs until labor unions gave it to them, a fact that doesn’t receive enough recognition.

  3. Competence. Surprise! Union workers tend to be better workers than non-union workers. Not only will better workers apply to a union facility, but management will have a significantly greater number to choose from, allowing them to hire the very best

November 28, 2010 at 1:49 p.m.
Allison12 said...

NowFedup I do not owe VW a living, and they are IN FACT a governmental funded corporation to the tune of $212 million of local money. While VW doesn't owe me a living. I sure the H--- do not owe them a living.

November 28, 2010 at 2:11 p.m.
fairmon said...

wildman

Neither of those, never received any welfare and no trust fund. I have worked my ass off for over 40 years starting when I was 14 and have saved to provide for me and mine and I don't like having it confiscated from me by a bunch of ignorant politicians, which make up the majority of both parties, telling me we must share. I do share and contribute to charities of my choice such as Community Kitchen, Salvation Army and Habitat For Humanity and Saint Jude's hospital. A high percent of each contribution goes to the intended cause, compare them to any government program.

In case I haven't been clear I think both parties are corrupt by lobbyist and special interest and I don't care for either of them. Local, state and federal keep taking more and more under the pretense of helping us. I have always avoided hating but Nancy Pelosi presents a real challenge. Poor old Harry Reid and John McCain are just a little on the dumb side. I don't think Baener(sp) will be all that great either.

Only a fool believes anyone other than the consumer pays any taxes. SB HR-25 which will never see the light of day is the only fair system we could have.

November 28, 2010 at 2:23 p.m.
hambone said...

So, VW is consulting Little Bobby Corker on labor relations. They will need to have spanish classes too!

November 28, 2010 at 2:40 p.m.
rolando said...

Rant on yourself, nowfedup. I notice you refused to address any of the points made on UAW Delphi operations other than to blame anonymous "executives" while holding the unions blameless. Its always somebody else's doing, right?

I addressed what happened at just ONE company [with a bit of background]. You, on the other hand, rambled and ranted about how evil the companies are/were. Well, where are those companies today? Overseas, that's where...along with the jobs.

So how about that GM Volt, huh? People just scrambling to buy it, right? Not. They are standing in line to buy something they want -- pickups, suvs, etc. As many as Ford, Cadillac, et al can build. You know, real cars...

Anyone who DOES buy a tinfoil SmartCar et al for highway driving knows nothing about physics, inertia, mass, Newton's laws, etc. Either than or they care nothing for their family. And that says nothing of the REAL pollution caused by their precious battery-driven cars. They think lithium, nickel, cobalt, etc drops pure from the sky like manna. They also think electrical power to charge those "cars" is created by that little outlet in their wall...if they even think about it, which I doubt.

Delphi Dayton experience a fable? NOT! It happened. I was there. It could happen here. Where were YOU? You think VW chose a RTW state by accident? Sure they did.

It is the worker's choice here whether to have a union or not...it is also their choice as to whether or not to join it and still keep their job. Let us not forget the unions want a card-check system so it can keep track of how their individual members vote...

November 28, 2010 at 3:37 p.m.
rolando said...

Spanish classes, hambone? Only if you and your ilk have their way.

Learn English or get out.

This is still OUR country.

November 28, 2010 at 3:41 p.m.
sideviews said...

The workers at Volkswagen will ultimately decide if they want a union. VW operates very successfully in Germany with a union and appears to be starting up well here without a union. The workers decide whether they want union representation and I'm confident Volkswagen will work well with either union or non-union workers. Now compare that with the business associations that compel people to support their programs without any vote. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce gets public money from the city, the county, the Tennessee Valley Authority and EPB and nobody votes on whether they want to support the Chamber and its anti-labor policies. The fruits of many workers efforts help fund the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce -- even when that group works against workers' interests. Bob Corker conducted secret meetings at his home in 2008 with Chamber of Commerce officials to negotiate tax breaks and investment incentives for Volkswagen. Labor and the taxpayers had no say at that bargaining table. I wish the same business types and Republicans who continually whine about union card check certification for representation (which never did pass Congress) would quit complaining about unions that continue to shrink in size and importance. Less than 7 percent of Tennessee workers belong to unions and there hasn't been a labor dispute in Chattanooga or a major new industrial union organized in recent history. Why is it that unions are blamed? Because business groups need something to generate dues. The UAW agreed to wage concessions even while Wall Street was bailed out and the CEOs of most Chattanooga corporations continued to raise their pay. Unions helped build America's middle class. But unfortunately, as union influence wanes, so does middle class America. That should worry all of you people trying to sell goods and services to middle class customers.

November 28, 2010 at 5:08 p.m.
Skeptic101 said...

I read this article twice and I still don't read who asked Mr. Corker for his input. Who was it?

I'm sure Volkswagen doesn't need Bob Corker's advice on how to run their business. I think he could learn a few things from them on when to speak out and when to keep quiet.

Mr. Corker says he was confronted by Union and Company negotiators in his role as a "lead Republican negotiator with Democrats on the proposed auto-industry bailouts for GM and Chrysler in 2008". So he learned that the UAW has some tough negotiators. I'm sure GM and Chrysler sent negotiators who were equally as tough. Did he think that either were going to send their second string? Welcome to the real world of big business and big unions. Apparently, based on this article, that's all he learned. I got the impression that Volkswagen believes it can handle the auto business and the UAW just fine on its own and doesn't need "advice" from Mr. Corker to muck things up for them. They are business pros and know "when to hold'em and when to fold'em", thank you very much.

November 28, 2010 at 5:51 p.m.
rolando said...

And your business expertise that qualifies you to make such statements about Corker lies where, Skeptic?

Corker is a self-made man; he made his money the hard way by working in construction, then buying his own company, etc.

He favored the bailout provided certain conditions were met; the stubborn unions refused. So did Coker, God bless him.

November 28, 2010 at 7:18 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Skeptic101 said: "I read this article twice and I still don't read who asked Mr. Corker for his input. Who was it?"

Must say I was wondering the same thing. I suspect no one requested his input. It's not like Corker is well respected and trustworthy when it comes to any kind of serious negotiations.

November 28, 2010 at 7:36 p.m.
Rivieravol said...

Take a look at Detroit and Flint, Michigan if you want to see what Union membership does for a community.

November 28, 2010 at 7:51 p.m.
acerigger said...

Ravioli,take a look at the South if you want to see what a non-union environment does for a region!

November 28, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.
Skeptic101 said...

One would not have to have a great deal of business expertise to see that Mr. Winterkorn doesn't need advice from anyone, especially Mr. Corker, about building cars or labor relations. VW's silence says everything.

Mr. Corker is first a politician. I'm sure he saw some personal political benefit to publicly providing unsolicited advice to VW's management. I'm just afraid that VW might find it somewhat irritating.

November 29, 2010 at 12:02 a.m.
rolando said...

acerig: Last time it counted -- BO [Before Obama] -- the union-free Right-To-Work Old South had the third largest economy in the WORLD. Probably fifth or worse by this time but still a long, long way ahead of the so-called "Industrial North".

The union-constipated North? It isn't even in the running...all it can produce today is rust...and whiners with their hands out looking for the dole.

November 29, 2010 at 12:34 p.m.
acerigger said...

via wikipedia; After World War II, with the development of the Interstate Highway System, household air conditioning and later, passage of civil rights bills, the South was successful in attracting industry and business from other parts of the country. Industry from the Rust Belt region of the Northeast and the Great Lakes moved into the region because of lower labor costs and less unionization. Poverty rates and unemployment declined as a result of new job growth. Federal programs such as the Appalachian Regional Commission also contributed to economic growth.

While the Southern United States has advanced considerably since World War II, significant poverty still persists in the more isolated and rural areas. Areas like the Black Belt, the eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia areas in Appalachia, the Mexican border area along the Rio Grande in Texas, and the Deltas of Mississippi and Arkansas suffer the most poverty in the South today. In the last two generations, the South has changed dramatically. In recent decades it has seen a boom in its service economy, manufacturing base, high technology industries, and the financial sector. Examples of this include the surge in tourism in Florida and along the Gulf Coast; numerous new automobile production plants. This economic expansion has enabled parts of the South to boast of some of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.

November 29, 2010 at 2:57 p.m.
JohnBravo said...

I have spent the last 20+ years in manufacturing management. I've worked in facilities where the workers were organized by the UAW. I've worked in non-union facilities as well. My father was a member of the Boilermakers & Blacksmiths union. It was union wages that put me through college and afforded me the opportunity to be where I am today.

The right of workers to unionize should be, no must be defended. We, all of us who hold a job or work for a living, owe a debt of gratitude to those men and women who put it all on the line (including their lives) to secure better wages, better working conditions, safe workplaces, etc. for themselves and posterity.

As a member of management, I have worked, and will continue to work to ensure that the employees at our facility never vote to be represented by a union. The reason? Simple - if the workers vote in union representation it is because I, and my fellow managers have utterly failed in our responsibility to lead the organization.

Given the comments by Guenther Scherelis, I'd say the VW leadership is well aware of its responsibilities and will work to build an organization in Chattanooga that balances the needs of owners, customers, and employees. If the management team in Chattanooga does this, then the employees will vote down any unionization efforts. Guaranteed.

Mr. Corker probably should stick to politics because he clearly doesn't understand how to manage a successful business.

November 29, 2010 at 3:32 p.m.
JohnBravo said...

The people who want the Union are those who also want something for nothing. # people went to there first interview with VW and were called back for there 2nd. All 3 declined as the work was to hard and demanding for them. Why. They do not have the work ethic that these companies need. Employees are more incompetent then ever before. Lets talk n phone all day, take breaks whenever we want. Work is not a place to play and get paid. It is a place to give an honest days work for an honest days pay. We need to hire only those who really want to work and if they don't fire them immeadiately. In 35 years I have rarely ever taken a sick day. I can not afford to. I own and run the company and must make decisions and always find new work for my employees. Would they like it if I took time off and then there was no more work for them. If I had to let them go I would have a hard decision to make. I think I would do like some others and find the parking lot and the Obama sticker and layoff those people. I have no tolerance for a lazy worker. Give me your best and I will in return pay you fair and take care of you. There are many weeks when my payroll is bigger than the income from the company but other times I make good money. I owe it to my employees but they also owe me for keeping them working in this economy. I can not do it without them and they can not do it without me. No Union or I would go under. I can survive as I have good saving and skills but could they? Username: xsiveporsche | On: November 28, 2010 at 11:57 a.m. ==================== xsiveporsche, I want to thank you for doing what you do to build your business and keep your employees engaged and working. Sounds like you understand what I was talking about when I said management needs to balance the needs of it's owners, customers, and employees in order to be successful. Keep up the good work.
Though I don't work for you, I still commend your efforts. By the way, I wouldn't go lay off those with Obama stickers if you really want to keep your business running, they are likely the most productive people you have!

November 29, 2010 at 3:46 p.m.

Senator Corker offered his opinion based upon many years of experience in business AND the many hours of recent negotiations with failed GM and Chrysler.

So you libs can moan and groan all you want but he only offered his opinion, here.

VW will do what is best for their company and I suspect it will not involve a union workforce.

November 29, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.
acerigger said...

R.I.P. bookie

November 29, 2010 at 5:18 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

"Ravioli,take a look at the South if you want to see what a non-union environment does for a region! Username: acerigger | On: November 28, 2010 at 11:28 p.m. "

""This economic expansion has enabled parts of the South to boast of some of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States.""

acerigger | On: November 29, 2010 at 2:57 p.m.

November 29, 2010 at 7:48 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

"Mr. Corker probably should stick to politics because he clearly doesn't understand how to manage a successful business."

"By the way, I wouldn't go lay off those with Obama stickers if you really want to keep your business running, they are likely the most productive people you have!"

ROFLMAO!!!

Those are great. Tell us some more.

I haven't had such a good laugh in quite some time.

November 29, 2010 at 7:51 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

Anyone want to comment on how well things worked out when the UAW got a foot in the door at the, now gone, VW plant in PA.

Anyone want to comment on why the not-so-big three US auto manufacturers are assembling so many of their cars in places other than the US?

Anyone who thinks the UAW is good for the economy of any region should move on up to Detroit or Flint and see how things are going up there. It isn't just the business environment that gets poisoned. The UAW rot creeps into the political and cultural landscape as well via the entitlement mentality they foster.

Unions had their place, some still do, but most are just zombie dinosaurs feeding from the body of America's manufacturing base, and destroying our competitive edge.

November 29, 2010 at 8:15 p.m.
rolando said...

Here's what unions do when management tells them to put up or shut up...

http://www.fox6now.com/news/witi-100912-harley-vote-advancer,0,1376390.story

Can't say as I blame them. It was THEIR jobs on the line...which always makes a difference.


hey, acerigger -- pick something reliable...wikipedia ain't it.

November 29, 2010 at 8:32 p.m.
acerigger said...

Funny Rolando, I thought it kinda,sorta backed up what you said about the south's economy. But since it said explicitly "parts of the south" maybe not so much.

November 29, 2010 at 11:19 p.m.
camo705 said...

Nissan management brainwashed & threatened there employees for voting YES to the UAW. The workers should be able to decide for themselves. Did anyone really want Corkers views on the UAW or did he just offer them ??

November 30, 2010 at 12:24 a.m.
hambone said...

It has always irked me when I hear a politician brags about being a sucsessful business man.

If he was that good at it he would still be in business and not in politics!

November 30, 2010 at 12:46 a.m.
maytag40 said...

Funny that a man, who has done absolutely nothing for Tenn., and voted himself wage increases every year he's been in office, has free healthcare, full retirement after 4 years of non-work, doesn't want people from Tennessee to make decent wages. Corker hates unions like every republican politician does because the UAW has called them out. VW and Corker are counting on people from Tennessee to be as ignorant as people from Alabama and work in a job that can fire them because the foreman doesn't like you. The last thing a loser like Corker wants is the UAW campaigning to kick his useless butt out of a job that he doesn't do any work at. By the looks of these posts Tennesee has an abundance of uneducated rednecks who will work for $13.50 an hour, good luck rubes!

November 30, 2010 at 4:44 a.m.
rolando said...

maytag, Congressmen retire under Social Security. No Congressional pay raises take effect until after the next election; they raise it for the next Congress.

Their retirement income is based on several factors; time in Congress, average of the high three years of service, age, etc.

See the package, as of 2007, at www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pd... That came from the second entry after googling "senate retirement package".

I won't even discuss the "...because the foreman doesn't like you" thing. There are laws covering that.

You sound like a featherbedding, disgruntled, laid-off [fired] for sitting around, union member.

November 30, 2010 at 6 a.m.
camo705 said...

This Page is very interesting, after working for a Non-Union Major Auto Manufacturer for 10 years. Corker should keep his views to himself. Let the Technicians decide if they like there low wages and management!!!

November 30, 2010 at 11:05 a.m.
trades_guy said...

Yea, Bob Corker the working man's hero. He made millions from the labor of undocumented workers by using contractors to give him the shield of plausible deniability.

Of course he doesn't like unions. Mr. Self-proclaimed negotiator scored a big fail in DC when he went up against the UAW. But he did it to himself by voting to approve $700B in ball-washing bailout cash for his rich, to-big-to-fail Wallstreet cronies. After that, his credibility as fiscal conservative was shot.

Imo, Corker has gone the extra the mile to make sure everyone knows he is the enemy of working women and men.

November 30, 2010 at 9:21 p.m.
GBO81 said...

I find it quite interesting that people keep throwing out this $14/hour number. That's not quite accurate. The starting salary is $14.50/hour to start. Over a period of three years, this will grow to $19.50 an hour. That translates into $30,160 - $40,560 over three years. That's not even including the overtime that will be required. The latter number is higher than what most 4 year college graduates are making when they graduate. So, I really don't think there is any room to complain for a job that only requires a high school diploma/GED.

Quite a few of my friends work for VW and they are all well aware of this UAW issue. Guess what, they want no part of it. Not only that, the vast majority of production employees are of the same mindset. Yes, the decision will be left up to the employees. Guess what, that doesn't mean they will accept the union propaganda being put forth in these comments. The last thing they want is to be the next Detroit, or Delphi, or New Stanton, PA. This entitlement mentality is antiquated and has no part of the modern business world. It would seem that the most people actually employed at VW (not relics with an entitlement mentality) very much understand what the likes of the UAW and SEIU do to communitites. Because of this, Volkswagen AND its employees will have fantastic success here.

December 1, 2010 at 7:43 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

That's funny GBO91... I have a few friends, and several former coworkers, who are working for VW that are hoping for the Union.

Of course they were members American Postal Workers Union before the downsize.

I guess that just shows that we hang out with different people.

December 3, 2010 at 12:42 p.m.
tanzarian said...

Capital is uncaring of the needs of the worker. There are issues of corruption, but unions are necessary as a counterweight against companies that will pay their employees as little as they can get away with and treat them as horribly as possible if it saves them money and they can get away with it.

Ya know, Germany is highly unionized and their auto industry is doing just fine. Almost as if the whole idea of unions being the downfall of American manufacturing is complete bull.

December 28, 2010 at 2:50 p.m.
TheCommander said...

Tanzarian, "Capital is uncaring of the needs of the worker"? Really?

Capital is the workers best friend; Wages are HIGHER the more capital intensive the industry is. Watch some Milton Friedman

September 10, 2013 at 7:01 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.