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.
Workers at VW’s factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last Friday voted against representation by the United Auto Workers union (UAW), rejecting efforts by VW representatives to set up a German-style works council at the plant.
German workers enjoy considerable influence over company decisions under the legally enshrined “co-determination” principle which is anathema to many politicians in the U.S. who see organized labor as a threat to profits and job growth.
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.
“If co-determination isn’t guaranteed in the first place, we as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor” of potentially building another plant in the U.S. south, Osterloh, who is also on VW’s supervisory board, said.
And in just the threat alone, this repulsive union rep provides a prime example of one of the many reasons the UAW representation was soundly rejected by Chattanooga VW plant workers: thuggery, threats, and bullying. Don’t let the door hit ya, a**wipe.
BTW, here’s how Ed Kilgore at the popular left wing site Washington Monthly spun the news (bolded emphasis added by me):
This news falls with the predictable weight of another shoe dropping, but it’s interesting that it’s happening so fast, even as conservatives everywhere are still celebrating the successful intimidation of VW workers in Tennessee by local Republican politicians:
Got that? Both sides of the debate presented arguments for or against the UAW proposal, and ultimately the anti-UAW group decisively won. As a result of the vote not going their way, a VW labor rep essentially tells the TN workers who rejected the UAW that it will be their fault if VW decides not to invest anymore in the South beyond Chattanooga.
Assuming for purposes of debate let’s say that VW did decide to build another plant in the South in the future (which would make sense, considering Southern GOP Governors and their state legislatures have pushed hard over the last few years to make their states more friendly to businesses), not hinging any deal on potential unionization. Yet when they do try later to unionize the plant – and you know inevitably they would, workers there are going to feel obligated to vote in favor of it because they’ll remember this threat and want to keep their jobs.
But it’s Republicans who are “intimidating” VW employees (and potential future employees). Oookay. Right is wrong, wrong is right, and the facts just don’t matter to the left, especially when it comes to healthcare and, of course, jobs – as we’ve seen quite a bit over the last couple of weeks. It’s maddeningly pathetic, but predictable all the same.
(Hat tip: Memeorandum)