This week, workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee are voting on whether to join the UAW (Union of Auto Workers). This vote comes with the support of the parent company in Germany, much to the chagrin of Republicans and Conservatives all across the South. The Right is well-known for pushing the “Right to Work” laws that break up the unions and makes it harder for unions to organize. Unlike the typical relationship seen here in the US, the German companies employ what’s called Work Councils. With the Works Council, blue and white-collar workers sit on a board with the decision makers of the company in order to work together to move the company forward.
I wrote about this back when it first came about, and now it seems that Tennessee lawmakers are making threats at VW as a result of their siding with the UAW in this effort.
On Monday, Tennessee State Sen. Bo Watson, R-Chattanooga, said if VW workers vote to join the UAW, then “I believe any additional incentives from the citizens of the state of Tennessee for expansion or otherwise will have a very tough time passing the Tennessee Senate,” according to local news reports.
So much for letting the free market do its thing and decide what’s best for everyone. If I were a member of Volkswagen executive management, I would tell that state Senator to keep his incentives as I move my plant somewhere else that respects my decisions to take care of my workers as they see fit.
If the company thinks it’s ok for the Chattanooga plant to have a Works Council, then why is elected officials doing everything they can to thwart the wishes of the company? Does ideology trump bringing employment to your state? That’s stupid as hell to think that way, but I’m not surprised at all that it’s happening.
For a bit of background information on VW’s Works Councils…
Volkswagen is being pressured by its Global Works Council, which represents workers at major VW plants around the world, to implement a works council system at the automaker’s lone U.S. assembly plant.
A German-style works council is different than the current labor setup of the UAW: Councils consist of a group of white- and blue-collar workers who meet with company management to discuss plant issues.
It seems like VW is trying to bring the TN plant in line with the rest of the company, albeit with a bit of pressure from others in the company. Republicans need to back off and let the company decide what’s best for them. These elected officials don’t run the company, and this country is supposed to be all about freedom and such. Why is it that people want to squash freedom when it runs contrary to their personal beliefs?