published Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Partnership

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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.
alprova said...

It's been interesting to watch this union debate play out the way it has.

Corker's about to blow his cork.

September 13, 2013 at 12:20 a.m.
fairmon said...

A secret ballot vote will reveal how people feel. The question is what can the UAW guarantee them other than VW workers will pay dues. The employer or owner is only obligated to negotiate in good faith, there is no obligation to agree to any request or demand. The union needs the VW people a hell of a lot more than the people at VW need the UAW.

September 13, 2013 at 12:34 a.m.
PlainTruth said...

Listen up VW workers. You don't need to align yourselves with these thugs.

September 13, 2013 at 12:40 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Well, if US law forces unions and companies to fight, change the laws. (God spoke to Moses, not Obama.) But if workers and owners and managers can get together to consider and agree how to produce more and how to share out what comes in--more all around if more comes in, but realistic rather than fantasy guarantees if less comes in--fine. And maybe if VW prospers it could give back to us taxpayers, and to all the small businesses around here, some of the huge tax bribe it was paid to come. Be a part of the community rather than a competitor against us.

September 13, 2013 at 12:42 a.m.
alprova said...

Andrew, if I didn't know you better, I would say that your post had been written by a Socialist.

September 13, 2013 at 1:30 a.m.
fairmon said...

Why do U.S. laws prohibit the work council concept without a union being involved? You get two guesses, the first one doesn't count.

September 13, 2013 at 6:33 a.m.
joneses said...
September 13, 2013 at 7:16 a.m.
joepulitzer said...

"There's sucker born every minute." -- P.T. Barnum Ain't that right, alkarma?

September 13, 2013 at 7:42 a.m.

UAW at Chattanooga VW?

The workers (and business recruiters) of Mexico shout "Olé!!"

September 13, 2013 at 7:47 a.m.
GBO81 said...

I'm not certain why everyone is getting so upset about this. I mean, you'd think Hitler was coming to town. Fact is, this is up to the employees. If the majority wants a union as shown by the card count, let them have a union. Jeez, unless you've got some other reason besides, "I ain't abidin' them thur unions!", relax! It literally does not affect you one bit.

September 13, 2013 at 8:08 a.m.
PlainTruth said...

GBO81: If you don't think unionizing one of the best employers in a community has implications, you're living in a bubble. They most certainly affect communities. VW employees will rue the day they approve inviting the UAW thugs in.

September 13, 2013 at 9:46 a.m.
tifosi said...

If the UAW is a changed organization, then why is it not evident in Detroit where there is still a toxic relationship.

Word is - there are a lot of VW employees that signed cards under duress of fellow employees, but are now asking for their cards to be returned. The UAW has not done so. A secret ballot must occur for this to be fair.

September 13, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.
PlainTruth said...

Funny how leftist Tiffy changes his tune when HIS ox is gored. Typical.

September 13, 2013 at 10:04 a.m.
GBO81 said...

PlainTruth, I can understand your concern. However, Chattanooga was a great city before VW came. There are many other great employers in Chattanooga that whatever happens at VW won't tank this city. That said, I have no strong feelings for or against a union. It's the employees decision for better or worse. They seem to have chose the union so the biggest thing right now is to make sure it gets implemented the right way. The employees should also realize that the UAW isn't some sort of savior. Conversely, others need to understand the sky is not falling if the UAW is installed at VW.

September 13, 2013 at 10:18 a.m.
PlainTruth said...

Doesn't really concern me directly, GBO. Just have a hard time comprehending why the workers would vote these guys in. From all I've seen and heard, VW is a good and fair place to work as is. JMO

September 13, 2013 at 10:25 a.m.
Maximus said...

UAW nothing more than a Democrat special interest group with an antiquated business model. VW workers, if you have an issue take it to either your Legal or HR Department save yourself the Richard Trumpka mafia shakedown for dues. Only 7% of private industry in America is unionized don't be useful idiots for the UAW and the Democrats.

VW, Mercedes, BMW, Hyundai, and Nissan all came to the lovely, Southern Red Republican States to avoid the union mafia thugs. Look for VW to shut down the facility within a few years if the UAW/Democrat thugs take hold. If the UAW does take over Chatt/VW will they have to participate in Obamascare? Hmmmm? The UAW has done such wooooooooonderful things for that garden spot Detroit. Nice.

September 13, 2013 at 10:32 a.m.
TheCommander said...

This is what we get when we let our Federal, state, local government in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce go shopping for employers with our tax base. Who will be held responsible for Hemlock? When Wacker NEVER opens its doors in Bradley, who will be held responsible? Just like VW in western PA, Volkswagen will be gone from Chattanooga in 10 years or probably less. They DO NOT, nor do they care to understand the American car market. Don't be decieved, all these sales are "pipeline" sales which are dropping off rapidly now for the Passat. They are going to start building a crossover. They are about 7 years too late. By the time they are introducing this vehicle to the market place, the cross over will go the way of the mini-van. What is worse, there was an article about Haslam using financial incentives to keep VW from unionizing. This crossover will cost the tax payer hundreds of millions of dollars. Where does it end? Capitalism works everytime it is tried. Government making business investments is evil and will ALWAYS fail.

September 13, 2013 at 10:33 a.m.
Maximus said...

Gbo81...Chatt has one of the lowest per capita average incomes in TN. Largest employer is welfare.

September 13, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.
limric said...

Republicans are sworn to make you feel small

By giving you no time instead of it all

Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all

A working class hero is something to be

A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV

They tell you you're so clever and classless and free

But you're still peasants as far as I can see

A working class hero is something to be

A working class hero is something to be

There's room at the top they are telling you still

But first you must learn how to smile as you kill

If you want to be like the folks on the hill

A working class hero is something to be

A working class hero is something to be

~John Lennon

September 13, 2013 at 10:43 a.m.
TheCommander said...

Good words Maximus... The thugs, the lack of sales, and VW's lack of skin in the game will drive them away in a few years.

Why should the poor, welfare recipients and lower middle class of Chattanooga subsidize the $15.00 to $19.00 per hr. wages at VW, Alstom, etc... who get tax abatements and tax credits? And now WE in Chattanooga will be subsidizing UAW union dues!!! think about that one!!

Why should someone making $7.50 pay for someone else to make $19.00? That is exactly what is happening in our new economy.

September 13, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
PlainTruth said...

limric. groovy, right-on and solid.

September 13, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.
tifosi said...

PlainTruth said... "Funny how leftist Tiffy changes his tune when HIS ox is gored. Typical."

Unlike you, there are no party chains on my wrists. I never claim right or left, nor Democrat or Republican. Just right or wrong. You are wrong again.

September 13, 2013 at 11:21 a.m.
tifosi said...

PlainTruth said... "VW is a good and fair place to work as is. JMO".

Like all the other gibberish you have no knowledge of. Talkin' out your @ss as usual.

September 13, 2013 at 11:23 a.m.
PlainTruth said...

Soooo tiffy. Is it or isn't it a good place to work? It affords you time to post garbage on company time. daily.

September 13, 2013 at 11:27 a.m.
gypsylady said...

Curious. The Chamber is always touting the multiplier effect of corporate welfare. They never say much about the multiplier effect of higher wages.

September 13, 2013 at 12:02 p.m.
Maximus said...

John Lennon a doper. Beatles way overrated. For my money, best British rockers of that era, Stone and Led Zep. Commander, enough with the working for the man, class warfare pitty party. Sad that the Gov. and Feds are the top employers in Chatt. The private sector, the IBM's, Apple's, Smith and Wesson....the Fortune 500 drive America not your class warfare laments. All states, including TN are very smart to partner with and create great environments for companies like VW. Unlike government, in the private sector the profit motive, return on investment, and competition drives excellence and always will. Commander and others, stop being a victim and man up. Everyone have a great weekend. Go Vols.....Go Vandy.......Go Mocs!

September 13, 2013 at 12:10 p.m.
PlainTruth said...

gypsylady: Are the VW workers underpaid? What IS underpaid?

September 13, 2013 at 12:12 p.m.
TheCommander said...

Maximus, "very smart to partner"? "The fortune 500 drive America"? I thought small business was the engine that drove American growth and job creation? That is what is always said...

The public/private partnership has been destroying our economy and will. Show me the example of a successful public/private partnership?

Hemlock? Wacker? VW? (You say yourself that they won't be here in a few years) Solyndra? GM? Give me an example of success? The Tennessee Aquarium? Look at the financial statements and you will see the reality. We now build housing developments and mixed use developments with non-recourse loans through HUD that require 1% down. Is that captialism? That is more government inspired recklessness. I love when people make lots of money; they just need to invest and risk their OWN money and not ours.

You misunderstand me; I am in NO WAY for class warfare. I am for capitalism period! The public/private partnership between big business and big governement is keeping us from being competitive. It is in fact anti-competitive.

Answer the question: should people making $50,000 per year SUBSIDIZE those making $100,00 per year? All the states engaging in attracting business is creating NOTHING. We are just transferring jobs and creating billions in debt and profit for bond brokers. We are victims. Capitalism is the answer; not handouts to companies to shift jobs from one state to another. When companies focus on incentives, it takes their focus on making themselves a competitive business.

September 13, 2013 at 12:34 p.m.
tifosi said...

PlainTruth said... "Soooo tiffy. Is it or isn't it a good place to work? It affords you time to post garbage on company time. daily."

I guess you are on welfare then.

September 13, 2013 at 12:49 p.m.
PlainTruth said...

Tiffy: Maybe that made sense to some, but not to me. Better pull over to your wifi spot of choice and reply back. On company time.

September 13, 2013 at 12:51 p.m.
soakya said...

There is hypocrisy on both sides. The liberals hate corporate welfare except at the local level. They are always crying about corporations not paying their fair share. I guess as long as it provides you a job you just don't care about the overall effects.

The so called conservatives say they want a free market except when they want a VW, Wacker, Hemlock, Amazon, Electrolux, Alstom and the like. If you conservatives believe that's the free market you are sadly mistaken.

You can keep hoping its working but the financial statements of TN, Hamilton County, and Bradley County show otherwise.

September 13, 2013 at 1:18 p.m.
michaelgy103 said...

A lot of red rat a** union haters on this thread, about what I would expect from the confederacy!

September 13, 2013 at 2:12 p.m.
charivara said...

Did the idea and the once-upon-a-time reality of the 8 hour work day, the five day work week, the minimum wage concept, the paid vacation, the safe workplace, and the prosperous middle class come from the goodness of employers’ hearts? Was it the result of each worker by herself meekly asking for it? How did all that happen? Clue: conservatives had nothing to do with it.

September 13, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
TheCommander said...

well said sokya. This is not about party. Welfare is wrong in all forms: whether it be individual or corporate, tt produces the same results.

September 13, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.
PlainTruth said...

charivara You're right. Wasn't conservatives. Was the far left union thugs that ripped off millions from their members over the years.

September 13, 2013 at 2:55 p.m.
conservative said...


I agree with much of what you say.

However, I don't blame any company or industry from accepting a deal that will reduce their taxes. I favor zero corporate taxes since that tax has to be passed onto the consumer in the form of higher prices.

Companies want to make maximum profits. I don't fault them for moving to low tax states.

The vast majority of Americans are Liberal and will never accept the notion that a successful business be allowed to keep it's profits so again I don't blame business for making a deal to reduce their taxes.

A true capitalist system will never be realized in this country as long as Americans can vote themselves government largesse at another's expense.

September 13, 2013 at 3:10 p.m.
soakya said...


You're exactly right. I don't blame them either, I blame politicians and the chamber of commerce.

I also agree with your opinion on corporate taxes for a couple of reasons. One, earnings are taxed at the shareholder level when dividends are distributed. They are in effect taxed twice on earnings. Two, it would be more equitable. Politicians would not be able to pick and choose the industry they fancy the most.

I believe you are also right about as long as we can vote our self money from the treasury at others expense we will continue down this path, until it collapses. But don't worry 17 trillion is not a real debt crisis according to some.

September 13, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.
conservative said...


Great, do you agree with this:

I have noticed that Liberals often misuse the term "corporate welfare."

They often use the term "corporate welfare" when a tax cut or deduction is given.

Welfare is taxpayer money given to another.

I of course am opposed to giving companies taxpayer money but this as far as I know is seldom done.

Also if it is written in the tax law such as deductions for business then it is not corporate welfare just as it is not welfare when a individual claims deductions on his personal income taxes.

September 13, 2013 at 3:54 p.m.
fairmon said...


Also if it is written in the tax law such as deductions for business then it is not corporate welfare just as it is not welfare when a individual claims deductions on his personal income taxes.

They are either welfare or showing favor. Why is there not a rate based on income without exceptions to the rate? Lower the rates and all at that income level pay the same rate. Businesses pass on all legislated cost to the consumer so why should they pay any tax? Insiders call business taxes "the fools tax" since the fools actually paying it don't realize it and even insist on making the rates higher for those low life businesses.

Why are there different rates for single, married filing jointly, head of household etc. It is either welfare or to discriminate against those paying the highest rate when income is equal. Those opposed to gay marriage need to quit being hypocrites and abolish the 1100 ways in the tax codes to discriminate against those remaining single by choice, the issue goes away. But no, they want to keep their favored position and have the politicians allow them to have their way in the gay marriage issue also.

September 13, 2013 at 4:46 p.m.
soakya said...

I don't have a problem with deductions that are available to everyone. Corporations just like any other business that take ordinary and necessary business deduction is not corporate welfare. Shareholders should only be paying federal or state tax on earnings when they are distributed as dividends. They should however be paying their property tax which is an expense of doing business as it is for all business's.

However, a problem you see with deductions is that politicians try to influence behavior thru the tax code. And politicians always think they know what's best and when it doesn't work out like they planned no one is ever held accountable.

There are a few things written in the tax code that are considered welfare. Refundable credits would be considered welfare. The earned income credit is just one refundable credit where one can pay zero federal taxes into the system and receive a huge refund back. Again, I don't blame anyone for taking every credit or deduction available to them, I'm sure we all have, it would be foolish not to.

I believe we agree on more than we disagree.

September 13, 2013 at 5:05 p.m.
conservative said...


"earnings are taxed at the shareholder level when dividends are distributed. They are in effect taxed twice on earnings. Two, it would be more equitable. Politicians would not be able to pick and choose the industry they fancy the most".

Yes, you are right and I believe commander would agree and maybe 1-5% of others as well but that will not get us anywhere. We are outnumbered by far.

Most Americans want other people's money and there is no stopping them.

Consider, most Americans want higher taxes on corporations and don't believe or want to hear that the taxes will be passed on to them when they buy a product or service.

How dumb is that?

Consider, Liberals want higher taxes on oil (gasoline) and a carbon tax which will only "skyrocket" as Owebama said, their electric bill.

Now how dumb is that?

Most Americans want other people's money and there is no stopping them.

September 13, 2013 at 5:05 p.m.
charivara said...

Plain Truth: don't know much about history or how laws are made, do you? All those “ripped off” workers were the middle class that is being run into the ground by a union known as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That’s just one union of corporate interests. In your terms, they’re far right thugs “ripping off” millions from their members. And those members get billions in return by getting laws made screwing people who actually work for a living.

The plain truth is you are a fool who’s been led to believe that workers banding together to protect their interest is bad while ignoring the fact that corporations banding together for their benefit is not. A fool and a hypocrite.

September 13, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.
PlainTruth said...

Wow, charivara. Why the tirade?

September 13, 2013 at 5:43 p.m.
charivara said...

Great response. But it doesn't explain why a union of corporations is better than a union of workers and how it leads to a better life for all of us. Makes you a know-nothing windbag as well.

September 13, 2013 at 5:55 p.m.
jesse said...

Got a lot of new pro union posters on here since this came up w/V.W. wonder why??

September 13, 2013 at 5:59 p.m.
PlainTruth said...

Charivara got me terrified of that booger-bear, The Chamber oh Commerce.

September 13, 2013 at 6:06 p.m.
Maximus said...

Commander....uhhhhhh...every U.S. private sector defense contractor is subsidized by the government and and the tax payer. The B52, still bombing scumbags after all these years is a great example of tax money well spent! That's why I write.....FOR AMMO AND BOMBS on the FOR line every year when I send my check to the IRS! Mushroom clouds over Japan to end WWII, another example of American tax dollars well spent! Boo ya!

September 13, 2013 at 6:11 p.m.
Maximus said...

Government employees and teachers unions need to be abolished. Talk about Democrat party special interest groups.

Vomit bags anyone?

September 13, 2013 at 6:14 p.m.
tifosi said...

I don't oppose a union at VW. I just do not want the UAW in there. We have had our challenges in the first years, but all start-ups do. This is my second plant start-up. I spent time in organized auto plants and saw the divisiveness. Volkswagen had to shut the doors of the Westmoreland, PA plant because of a UAW wildcat strike. The UAW says it is a changed organization. I see no evidence of that in any other plant they have organized. They helped close the Saturn plant, because it was a modified form of representation by the UAW that did not suit them. There are many former Detroit auto employees at the Chattanooga plant. I have not heard anything positive from them either.

Get any other union to come in. Just not the UAW. A secret ballot must occur to find out the truth and let a democracy truly decide. Why is the UAW afraid of this???

Why doesn't the UAW return the cards that folks are requesting? Instead of strong-arming them.

The UAW is a big bully!!!

September 13, 2013 at 6:23 p.m.
soakya said...

''VW Westmoreland has been operating at less than half its designed capacity for the past five years,'' the company said today. ''After a thorough analysis of both the financial implications and market outlook, our board has made the decision to phase out U.S. assembly operations.''

They couldn't sell enough cars is why they closed.

September 13, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
tifosi said...

Toledo Blade:

Pittsburgh (AP) - While rising gasoline prices and inflation are taking a toll on most American auto manufacturers, production is booming at Volkswagen's Pennsylvania factory, the only foreign-owned auto assembly plant in the United States.

"We are just about to a peak of 1,000 cars a day." plant spokesman Chet Bahn said. "If we are not there at the moment, it'll be tomorrow or the next day"

Volkswagen's operation has been bucking the trend in the American auto industry...,4575473

I guess "bucking the trend" did not set well with the UAW. American owned was the motto at the UAW.

My what big teeth you have!

September 13, 2013 at 7:07 p.m.
soakya said...

"When the Pennsylvania factory was opened in 1978, Volkswagen officials spoke confidently of capturing 5 percent of the American car market and said they needed a local factory to satisfy demand. But the company's share peaked out at 3 percent in 1980 and was down to 1.9 percent in the first 10 months of this year."

September 13, 2013 at 7:46 p.m.
tifosi said...

Soakya: Why does the UAW not want a secret ballot?

Why won't they return cards to those requesting them?

September 13, 2013 at 7:59 p.m.
soakya said...

Probably because they are a bunch of thugs and membership is declining and they are trying to get a stranglehold on the employees and a foothold in the south. I'm just saying they were not the reason the PA plant closed, lack of demand was the reason.

If VW wasn't subsidized by taxpayer money anybody other than an employee would more than likely care less if VW employees decided they wanted union representation. If VW loses their own money it doesn't bother me one bit.

By the way that PA deal cost the taxpayers around 100 million dollars in 1977 dollars and around 370 million in current dollars. They stick us with 100 million dollars, I bet they didn't have any clawbacks then, and they come back for more and we just say, how much?

And don't think for one moment VW wouldn't do it again if sales go south with or without a union.

September 13, 2013 at 8:38 p.m.
tifosi said...

I'll give them credit. When the economy tanked, the Asian manufacturers retreated and VW never blinked an eye. They built the plant and put many to work when it was desperately needed.

September 13, 2013 at 8:44 p.m.
degage said...

tifosi, I don't often agree with you but this time I have to agree with you about the union not wanting a secret ballot. It's called bullying people into the union. They need the money for their expensive vacations and politics. I would have liked to been a fly on the wall today when the union boss thugs were at the white house.

September 13, 2013 at 8:50 p.m.
PlainTruth said...

That crowd at the Whitehouse today makes me wanna puke.

September 13, 2013 at 9:25 p.m.
fairmon said...

The UAW is seeking to improve job security. The job security they seek is for those in the plush union hierarchy. Can they guarantee VW employees higher wages, better benefits and job security? What can they provide that the labor laws doesn't require? What will they bring to the party that VW does not already provide beyond the legislative requirements? VW employees could tell the UAW to take a hike and those employees desiring a union petition for an independent union which would be their own without being told what to do by a third party.

GM will be back to the public trough within the next five years or shortly after their tax break ends. The UAW and weak management is a combination that would destroy any business, GM has both.

September 13, 2013 at 10:45 p.m.
tifosi said...

Much of the effort to bring the UAW in is by certain members in management. The manager of HR is the brother of a leader in the German IG Metall union. Folks in Wolfsburg are calling some of the shots on this. The Metall members make up 50% of the VW board. The Metall will not approve any new models to be built at the Chattanooga plant until a works council is installed. Some say that a union is required to have a council. Some say it is not necessary. Chattanooga is the only VW plant in the world without a council.

Other unions have been approached, but they have refused to enter UAW turf.

September 13, 2013 at 11:01 p.m.
rick1 said...

A total of 428 American labor union officers and employees were paid more than $250,000 in 2012, in stark contrast to union propaganda expressing solidarity with “the middle class.”

September 13, 2013 at 11:24 p.m.
gypsylady said...

Oh wow, Mediatrackers. Now there's an independent fact checking organization. I'm not sure where they got those figures, but they don't match up with any other sites.

September 13, 2013 at 11:37 p.m.
rick1 said...

Gypsylady, try reading the article it states the nation’s 100 highest-paid union bosses, listed below, were paid a sum of $52.1 million during unions’ 2012 fiscal years, based on disbursements reported to the U.S. Department of Labor. This amount does not include insurance or retirement benefits.

Check the link in the article for the U.S. Department of Labor.

September 14, 2013 at 7:38 a.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

German industry is highly unionized using the model that VW seeks to implement in the Chattanooga. It is COLLABORATIVE not COMBATIVE which is a concept foreign to many. Check out how the German economy is performing compared to ours. There may be lessons that can be learned from their model if we're open to learning. Or we can keep doing what's working so well right now for the country.

September 15, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

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.