UAW loses VW vote after Tennessee Republicans' threats

31 posts / 0 new
Last post
josh
UAW loses VW vote after Tennessee Republicans' threats

VW was willing, but Republicans weren't. Threats of loss of tax subsidies and unsubstantiated claims that the parent company said they would not expand if the union won overcame the neutrality of the company. Whether this was an unfair labor practice would appear to be a novel question, but one the union should test.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/business/volkswagen-workers-reject-...

http://www.turnto10.com/story/24731630/uaw-falls-87-votes-short-of-major...

Unionist

Yeah, this was infuriating. What we need to watch now is the Unifor campaign at Toyota.

NorthReport

Another defeat in a history of many, many defeats for the labour movement in the USA.

VW workers in Tennessee vote against having union representation

Ballot is a crushing blow to hopes of United Auto Workers to expand into the South and reverse years of falling membership

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/15/vw-workers-in-tennessee-vot...

cco

We want lower pay! But if we can't have it, we'll settle for no jobs at all!

Yep, that sounds like the TNGOP, all right.

NorthReport

It's not hard to figure out why the labour movement is failing. Organized labour nneds to start addressing their internal problems such as their lack of solidarity amoungst each other. It's the ole divide and conquer appraoch that always works so well for the bosses.

genstrike

Okay, we were treated to the absurd situation of anti-union politicians organizing against a union drive that the company seemed perfectly okay with.

But, I think part of the problem here is on how the UAW organized.

Judging from what I've read, the UAW essentially positioned themselves as useful lackeys of management, more interested in helping VW with their little works council project than they would be with defending members' rights and improving their conditions.  Not that, with all the concessions in the auto industry recently, the UAW has much credibility on the "improving their conditions" front.  It's no wonder the workers at VW voted no.  Just look at the dissatisfaction at Boeing after recent events - people don't like it when unions appear to be in the pockets of management.

josh

That had nothing to do with it in this instance. You had elected officials threatening the company and claiming that the company would expand elsewhere if the union won. This was not the company using divide and conquer tactics.

abnormal

josh wrote:
VW was willing, but Republicans weren't. Threats of loss of tax subsidies and unsubstantiated claims that the parent company said they would not expand if the union won overcame the neutrality of the company. Whether this was an unfair labor practice would appear to be a novel question, but one the union should test.

From Reuters 

Quote:
Despite the indignation of pro-union forces, 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.

As for politicians taking sides, Obama spoke out in favour of the UAW prior to the vote and that didn't seem to help much.

abnormal

Just found this statement:

Quote:
Organizing a Southern plant is so crucial to the union that UAW President Bob King told workers in a speech that the union has no long-term future without it.

[url=http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/15/workers-at-tennessee-volkswag...

and

Quote:
Standing outside the Volkswagen plant, Mike Jarvis, a three-year employee who works on the finishing line, said the majority had voted against U.A.W. because they were persuaded the union had hurt Detroit’s automakers.

“Look at what happened to the auto manufacturers in Detroit and how they struggled. They all shared one huge factor: the U.A.W.,” said Mr. Jarvis, who added that he had had bad experiences with other labor unions. “If you look at how the U.A.W’s membership has plunged, that shows they’re doing a lot wrong.”

[url=http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/business/volkswagen-workers-reject-for...

 

 

josh

abnormal wrote:

josh wrote:
VW was willing, but Republicans weren't. Threats of loss of tax subsidies and unsubstantiated claims that the parent company said they would not expand if the union won overcame the neutrality of the company. Whether this was an unfair labor practice would appear to be a novel question, but one the union should test.

From Reuters 

Quote:
Despite the indignation of pro-union forces, 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.

As for politicians taking sides, Obama spoke out in favour of the UAW prior to the vote and that didn't seem to help much.

You should read up before parroting right-wing talking points. Obama criticized Republican interference in the vote at a closed door meeting of Democrats. He did not publically threaten reprisal if they voted against the union or claim that he was told by a VW executive that VW would move out of Tennessee if the vote was not pro-union.

Try again.

Unionist

josh wrote:

You should read up before parroting right-wing talking points.

That would be highly abnormal.

 

NorthReport

And of course Harper has allied himself with the GOP.

Union leaders condemn 'despicable' GOP effort to influence UAW vote

Recriminations fly after Volkswagen employees at Tennessee plant narrowly vote against joining United Auto Workers union

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/17/union-leaders-tennessee-uaw...

abnormal

Unionist wrote:

josh wrote:

You should read up before parroting right-wing talking points.

That would be highly abnormal.

True.  But I apologize for interjecting facts into the discussion.  [I've been suspended for that before.]

 

onlinediscountanvils

Nicole Aschoff: [url=https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/02/tennessee-car-sick-blues/]Tennessee Car Sick Blues[/url]

Rank-and-file autoworkers have been saying this for decades. They understand that power doesn’t come from friendly campaigns and negotiating with management. It doesn’t come from neutrality agreements and promises to behave responsibly and keep the bottom line in sight at all times. As long as the UAW leadership follows this definition of power, they will keep losing until they disappear.

Power comes from rank-and-file workers getting angry and doing something about it. It comes from people organizing themselves from the inside-out and the bottom-up. It comes from unions having a place in the community. If the UAW wants to increase its power it will stop focusing on high-profile plants where victory will improve its image and prestige and instead, start organizing supplier workers who are desperate for a union. Granted, the UAW has had a few successes at Tier 1 suppliers over the past few years, but the bulk of its passion and organizing budget have gone to organizing the transplants.

More than 70 percent of production workers in the US auto industry are employed by suppliers. Thousands of autoworkers in the supplier sector are toiling in sweatshop conditions (some of them right in Detroit), working seven days a week for lousy wages and no sick pay or healthcare. The UAW needs to show that it will use what muscle it has left to help out workers who don’t add to its bottom-line, whose unionization won’t make a punchy press release or the front page of the New York Times. This will show autoworkers everywhere that the UAW is not just about its strike fund and trying to hold on to what it’s got. It will prove that the UAW is willing to go all in on risky bets, to organize workers who need help regardless of whether their plant is strategic, or likely to close down.

The UAW needs to examine its fighting roots and remember where power comes from – rank-and-file workers.

genstrike

Here's an interesting analysis.  I tend to agree - seems to me like the loss was as much due to a failure of strategy and tactics as it was to external forces.

How The UAW Lost Chattanooga

Quote:

If we want a glimpse of what the future of successful union organizing in the South looks like, then a great place to start is the NAACP-led Moral Movement in North Carolina. At the Moral March on February 8th, eighty thousand people from across the South came together, with unions providing significant logistics, support, and participation. Labor unions from across the length and breadth of North Carolina sent delegations, as did unions from neighboring states. Locals formed in past fights, like the UFCW local representing Smithfield Foods’ workers, showed up to march shoulder-to-shoulder with those embroiled in new ones, like those organizing in fast food restaurants. Labor leaders like Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers and NC AFL-CIO President James Andrews shared the stage and spoke on issue that affects all working people. Issues like voting rights, the environment, climate change, and education shared space with unemployment insurance, a minimum wage increase, and the right to organize. And this was only its latest chapter in a story filled with principled civil disobedience against a state government out of control.

The worst thing that can come from this defeat is to question whether the South is ready for large-scale labor organizing. The answer to that is yes, but it can’t be organized in a lazy fashion. The Moral Movement, as well as the worker center movement, has modeled a path forward for engaging communities broadly and training organizers who are indigenous to those communities specifically. An organizing campaign this disappointing would fail in even the most politically friendly environs, so its failure in a region that has been traditionally hostile to worker activism comes as no surprise.

The blame for the Chattanooga Collapse of 2014 should laid at the feet of the UAW, and not the workers (or their communities) that they so haphazardly sought to represent.

Unionist
Red Winnipeg

In a country that allows jobs to flee to Mexico and elsewhere, I think workers are in a fix. If they unionize (and thus drive labour costs up), they risk ending up like Detroit. Until jobs can no longer be exported, workers are probably going to settle for the $27/hour in total comp being paid at a non-union plant rather than risk a compete loss of jobs.

josh

Volkswagen's top labor representative threatened on Wednesday to try to block further investments by the German carmaker in the southern United States if its workers there are not unionized. . . . . Chattanooga is VW's only factory in the U.S. and one of the company's few in the world without a works council. "I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the south again," said Bernd Osterloh, head of VW's works council.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/19/us-vw-usplant-idUSBREA1I0S820140219

josh
josh

"Before the NLRB were to find that politicians or groups interfered with the conditions of the election, it would typically have to establish that the politicians or groups were acting as agents of the employer," Cohen says. "Without establishing that an agency relationship existed--which would require evidence--it is highly unlikely that an election would be overturned and rerun.

The UAW, though, is aiming to prove something different: Not simply that politicians made statements about the union drive either way, but that they actively threatened to cause trouble for the company if its employees went union, and had the authority to back it up. That's the substance of the Tennessee GOP's prediction that tax incentives for further expansion at Volkswagen would be jeopardized if the UAW successfully organized it. In addition, the UAW claims, Sen. Bob Corker's (R) "assurance" that Volkswagen would make its new line of SUVs in Chattanooga if the union were rejected created a situation in which voting for the union put future growth at the plant -- and, to a certain degree, a worker's job security -- at risk.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/02/24/could-the-uni...

Slumberjack

NorthReport wrote:
It's not hard to figure out why the labour movement is failing. Organized labour nneds to start addressing their internal problems such as their lack of solidarity amoungst each other. It's the ole divide and conquer appraoch that always works so well for the bosses.

As well, the larger, well established union rank and file typically earn higher middle class wages, and so it would likely take an awful lot of convincing for everyone to see the common interests at stake with minimum labour trying to organize.

DaveW

Volkswagen has 105 factories and 104 have union presence; they expect it as part of co-management traditions

funny thing, noted Times business writer, is that Volks position is probably the opposite of what state legislators anticipated, and Le Devoir economics writer calls it "surreal" that company is more pro-union than public officials:

http://www.ledevoir.com/economie/actualites-economiques/400845/perspecti...

Il semble, toutefois, que la loi américaine interdise à l’entreprise de créer, elle-même, une organisation ayant pour rôle de représenter ses employés. Cette règle vise à protéger le droit d’association des travailleurs contre un patron qui voudrait les prendre de vitesse et mettre lui-même en place un syndicat lui étant favorable. Il apparaît, cette fois, qu’elle aura l’effet inverse.

 

 

 

 

onlinediscountanvils
NDPP

Hegemony Begins in the Workplace

http://www.leninology.com/2014/02/hegemony-begins-in-workplace.html

"Hegemony begins in the workplace, alright. One side won because they understood this, and the other side didn't."

DaveW

 

Lenin?? sorry, a monster; I am closer philosophically to Lennon Surprised

josh

documents leaked to NewsChannel 5 Investigates offer conclusive proof that the Haslam administration wanted a say in the automaker's deal with organized labor -- in exchange for $300 million in economic incentives to help VW expand its Chattanooga operations.

. . . .

The Haslam administration declined to provide anyone to go on camera to answer questions about the documents.

But we also obtained emails that show that Senator Corker's chief of staff was in direct contact with anti-union organizers who were brought in to fight the UAW. He then shared those emails with people in the Haslam administration who were in charge of the incentives.

The union has asked the National Labor Relations Board to order new elections, citing interference by Tennessee political leaders.

http://www.newschannel5.com/story/25122909/haslam-administration-linked-...

josh

The United Auto Workers has issued subpoenas to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Gov. Bill Haslam and 18 other officials as part of a challenge of a vote rejecting union representation at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

The subpoenas, dated Wednesday, demand written communications and other documents concerning the union in the weeks preceding the three-day vote at the plant in February. . . .

The union is challenging the result to the National Labor Relations Board. A hearing is scheduled for April 21.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2014/apr/10/uaw-subpoenas-haslam-corker-vw-...

josh

The United Auto Workers union said Monday it was ending its legal challenge to a union election in February in which voters at Volkswagen AG's Chattanooga, Tenn., plant, narrowly rejected forming a German-style works council. The Detroit-based union said it was withdrawing objections filed with the National Labor Relations Board — ahead of a hearing scheduled for Monday in Atlanta.

King said the UAW based its decision on the belief that the NLRB’s "historically dysfunctional and complex process potentially could drag on for months or even years." The UAW had subpoeaned Tennessee politicians seeking to force them to attend an NLRB hearing and turn over documents about whether the state improperly sought to withhold incentives for building a new mid-size SUV if workers had agreed to form a union.

King cited refusals by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., to participate.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140421/AUTO0104/304210052#ixzz2zWtq...

Unionist

Taking a page from Unifor?

[url=http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014307100142]UAW forming local union for workers at VW's Chattanooga, Tenn., plant[/url]

Quote:

The UAW has formed a local union in Chattanooga, Tenn., to represent employees at the Volkswagen plant, the union’s latest step to represent workers who rejected it by a narrow margin in February.

Participation will be voluntary. The union will not have legal recognition from the German automaker until a majority of its workers have joined, the UAW said.

“We would fully expect that Volkswagen would deal with this local union if it represents a substantial portion of its employees,” UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel said today. “It’s dependent on the employees and what they want to do.”

Casteel said the creation of Local 42 will avoid the need for another election that could involve “third-party interference.”

If the UAW can pull this off and VW recognizes the union, it would be the union’s highest-profile organizing victory in years and mark its first entry into an auto assembly plant in the South.

josh

Skilled workers at the Chatanooga VW plant vote to join the UAW.

http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/2015/12/04/uaw-volkswagen-chattano...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..again i didn't want to open a new thread for this post..so here i'll put it. if it's ok josh? 

UAW Just Agreed to Let Ford Use Technology to Monitor Assembly Workers

Somehow it was left out of the contract highlights the United Auto Workers prepared for members: the tentative new agreement with Ford will allow the company to use new technologies to take time-and-motion studies to a whole new level.

The new language falls under the heading of “production standards” and states that the union and company will choose “pilot locations” to use new technology tools such as “digital video recording and walk path mapping devices” as well as “motion tracking systems and additional productivity implementing tools.”

On Facebook, workers discussed all the ways that management could use technology to target and harass workers and find new ways to eliminate jobs. “If we allow this kind of technology in now, there’s no telling how bad it could get by next contract... just like the tiers!” wrote one worker.

“I’m just shocked,” said Scott Houldieson, a body shop electrician at Ford’s Chicago Assembly plant. “If this is implemented, it will be like having a digital industrial engineer following your every move, trying to find new ways to speed up the pace of work and increase productivity.”

SURVEIL AND CONTROL

Similar technology is already being used by many large employers to squeeze more out of workers in hospitals, hotels, grocery stores, and parcel delivery.

Workers at Amazon’s gargantuan warehouses, for example, are expected to pack and sort hundreds of packages every hour. Amazon workers describe dehumanizing, sweatshop conditions, where people pass out from dehydration after being forced to move 250 packages an hour with no air conditioning or water.

Amazon workers are not only treated like robots, they’re also monitored by them. An investigation by The Verge found that workers were automatically fired if they failed to meet productivity standards that were monitored by an automated tracking system.

Meanwhile at UPS, “technology monitors our every move,” said Nick Perry, a delivery driver and steward in Teamsters Local 413 in Columbus, Ohio. Every day he gets into a truck loaded down with sensors that track “seatbelts, speed, exact location of the truck, exact location of our scanning device, selection time, how many times our bulkhead is open, rear door selection times, how many seconds between scanning a box until truck is started, if we followed an ‘approved’ way to drive to a stop, if we didn’t drive fast enough or if we drive too fast, and tons more stuff.”

All that surveillance is used to exert greater management control over workers, drilling them on their choices and how they spend every second.

“As a union steward I have to defend my members in the office over petty harassment about this technology,” said Perry. “Supervisors question seconds throughout our day on a daily basis to get us to stress out and speed up.”