Saturday, February 22, 2014

UAW Appeals Worker's Decision Not to Accept UAW / A Note to the Ukrainian People

Following up on my previous blog, "Employees Reject UAW Representation" ( and given the continuing events with this story, I wanted to let you know what's happened since the employees of the Volkswagen Plant in Chattanooga Tennessee voted to reject union representation by the United Auto Workers last week by a margin of 712 to 626. Apparently not taking "no" for an answer, representatives of the UAW have filed an appeal with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) wherein they are alleging outside interference by the elected officials and "special interest groups".

According to the appeal, which must be filed within seven days of the vote, the UAW claims that elected officials have used veiled threats to the plant's economic future to withhold taxpayer based incentives if a union should go in. Specifically, the UAW addresses alleged remarks made by US Senator Bob Corker that Volkswagen would bring production of a new SUV to the Chattanooga plant if the employees rejected the union. In addition, it was claimed that a unionized plant would be less likely to win further incentives from the state (taxpayer incentives to the plant have amounted thus far to approximately $260 million dollars). UAW President Bob King called Senator Corker's statement "an outrage", which he said also applied to similar statements supposedly made by Governor Bill Haslam and various state legislators.

In response, officials at the VW plant said that whether or not the plant got the SUV deal had no bearing whatsoever whether the plant voted in the union or not. In fact, plant management had actually been in favor of unionization. Meanwhile, Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said in a statement that the "outside groups" referenced were actually supportive of the union's efforts and that the UAW was "blaming everyone but themselves for swaying the vote against the union". In fact, President Obama had openly spoken in favor of the union bid.

Senator Corker stated that the union's current actions demonstrates that the UAW "is interested in its own survival and not the interests of the employees at the Chattanooga Volkswagen facility". He went on to state that "The workers at Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant spoke very clearly last week, so we are disappointed the UAW is ignoring their decision and has filed this objection," Corker added that "Unfortunately, I have to assume that today's action may slow down Volkswagen's final discussions on the new SUV line."

The UAW is hoping that the National Labor Relations Board will throw out the vote and require employees to vote again, obviously with different results. While in cases like these where the NLRB will typically rule in favor of the appeal, it will be interesting to see if the UAW again gets rejected. If so, it standing among the general public, union members, and other unions will take another hard hit. Even if it's successful, it will be hard to shake the strong arm appearance that a new voted will engender, and to the general public it will appear as if the UAW really is struggling for its own interests and not for the best interests of the plant employees, not to mention a serious case of "sour grapes" for not getting the answer it wanted. To put it in Southern terms, this Belle's dance card was already filled by a German suitor, and as they say, "you dance with the one who brought you". In my opinion, it sounds like there was some attempted outside pressure by all sides, but the employees successfully ignored it and made the decision they wanted and in the end, that's the only opinion that should really matter.

UAW appeals Volkswagen union vote in Chattanooga to NLRB, claims outside interference

Labor Expert: UAW may not be done with Volkswagen Chattanooga yet

UAW Appeal to the NLRB

A Note to the Ukrainian People

Congratulations go out to the Ukrainian People for the recent success that their courage and passion has finally brought. It's a victory that I'm sure is bittersweet. As many of you know, the people of the Ukraine had been battling their government for closer ties to the West in the hopes of improved economic conditions as well as a more honest, open and democratic government and national self-determination. The now former government of Victor Yanukovych was noted for its corruption and push towards greater government crackdowns on the freedoms won in the 2004 Orange Revolution. Approximately 82 protestors had been killed according to the Health Ministry.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who had been held political prisoner for the last two years was released and spoke to over 50,0000 supporters in Kiev's Independence Square where she praised the people and urged them to continue with their protests until their full demands have been met.

I would personally like to say to the People of the Ukraine that ordinary Americans everywhere are very proud of you, your sacrifices, and your commitment to freedom. We could learn much from you. We wish you much success.

Ukraine's Tymoshenko rallies protestors in Kiev

Thousands Storm Victor Yanukovych's Palace, Finds His Private Zoo And Other Luxuries

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