Roy Exum: Don’t Fall For Herr Wolf

Sunday, June 23, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

One of the great axioms in life – trust me on this – is the minute you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. So, get this, by the middle of Saturday afternoon about 70 percent of over 1,000 readers of the Times Free Press had responded to a straw poll that our Volkswagen Assembly plant “should unionize in order to expand.” That’s like catching cancer for the insurance benefits.

The story got started early on Saturday morning when the page-one headline blared, “No works council, no VW growth”  and the story quoted some rabble-rouser in Germany named Stephan Wolf, who makes his pocketful of euros antagonizing the VW front office. He is no more than the Deputy Council Chief of Germany’s version of America’s now-dreaded United Auto Workers. He ain’t the head guy of anything … if you believe one word that comes out of such a jester you are nuts.

The story line is that later this year Volkswagen will decide whether to build a new facility that will produce a new model either here in “The Scenic City” or on the far-away baked dirt of southern Mexico. I’m not a German and I’m never going to “Cartel Country” again but if the answer isn’t obvious there’s got to be a far better reason than has yet come to light.

On the other hand, I can flat-out guarantee VW wants no partnership of any kind with the UAW. A second grader could read the sad history of the now-shuttered Westmoreland, Pa., plant that was rife with union angst before it was padlocked in November, 1986. Then have the same child read about the UAW’s impending extinction. That is, unless the now-gasping Auto Workers can get a toe-hold in Chattanooga. The now-enlightened elementary student will vote “no” in a straw poll every time. So will anyone else who studies the contemptuous UAW, the current blight in the worst city in America the union most definitely caused (Detroit,) and a fabled history of lies and deception.

Are you going to believe a rake like that! Suddenly this obvious union shill is threatening Chattanoogans with the misguided notion that he leads Volkswagen’s decision makers. That’s totally untrue. I’ll bet you a dime to your doughnut VW leaders would just as soon Herr Wolf drift quietly off to somewhere far away and never return. He is clearly trouble with such an irresponsible pronouncement.

But now look what just happened. This German union pretender is giving 700 of my neighbors the quivers from far across the ocean? That’s a first since Hitler! And it is almost as absurd as the apparent belief that we’ve got to open our doors to unions after they darn near ruined our entire city less than 50 years ago. I had a teacher who reminded us often that “He who does not study history will be forced to relive it.” This will never again be a union town – too many lives are already deeply scarred.

You need not take my word. Go to any search engine on the Internet and type in “United Auto Workers.” Read any story and carefully study membership declines, Ask why. Why do the Japanese loathe the louts, and why they are about as welcome at Amazon or any other local corporation as a swarm of locust. The only reason they are playing footsie with our VW workers is – voila! – their money.

The UAW knows that despite what 700 Times Free Press readers may answer in a nameless poll, the rank-and-file at Enterprise Park will never risk the comfort they now have at VW by joining the UAW. But if they can finagle a “works council,” which is now illegal in the United States (laws have never been a union bother), the UAW may still find a way to take a portion of everybody’s VW check just the same.

You know that failed VW plant in Pennsylvania, the Westmoreland fiasco? I am told that there are still people who went out on strikes still getting union benefits in that ghost town. Any fool should study why the UAW is desperate for money -- Chattanooga’s money – and see where that money is really going to go. Anyone who has a vote simply needs to study the truth (but make sure your teacher is real.)

Then again, the better reasoning is that if Chattanoogans are stupid enough to listen to unions, the Mexican plant will soon be the site of the new SUV plant by default. What Volkswagen employers need to worry about are the 200 jobs that were cut this spring when production out-paced sales but the state of Tennessee has a greater problem. Unless a future work force is properly educated, VW is going to go far and wide to seek capable production workers.

Thus far Chattanooga State has stepped in to help but overall education in Tennessee has not yielded the caliber of worker VW says it must have on the assembly line. When VW iced the 200 “contract workers,” the governor signed a hurried law that said, in essence, “then refund some of the incentive money that you got after promising that this would never happen.” There’s big work to do without the threat of parasites.

Sure, there are problems but trust VW’s leadership to find the solutions, not some “work council”, the UAW or some German union sooth-sayer named “Herr Wolf” because I’ll make you one more promise -- I’ll guarantee you Wolf ain’t going to have one thing to do with where the new little SUV will be built.

Book it! And don’t fall for any more silly threats.

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