Unionized Plant Not In Best Interest Of Workers, Community

Monday, February 10, 2014

Over the last several decades, Tennessee has become a powerhouse of automotive manufacturing. With a strong market-share of vehicle production, GM, Volkswagen, and Nissan all show significant signs of growth. That is great news for Tennessee’s workforce and state economy. 

But the good news does not stop there. Because of Tennessee’s legislative successes to create a welcoming environment for manufacturing business, new facilities and suppliers are positioned to spring up all around the state.  

Others are also noticing Tennessee’s meteoric rise. In July of last year, Business Facilities once again ranked Tennessee as the top state on its Automotive Manufacturing Strength Ranking. Tennessee so impressed Jack Rogers, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, that he said: “Renewed commitments from GM, Nissan’s electric-car line scaling up in Smyrna and a growing supplier network have kept Tennessee in a commanding position in our automotive strength evaluation.”

Speaking specifically about the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, he added, “With VW intent on selling at least one million vehicles in the North American market, its new Chattanooga plant is ramping up to full production.” 

http://businessfacilities.com/tennessee-still-no-1-al-and-ky-coming-up-fast-in-bfs-automotive-manufacturing-strength-ranking/

While Tennessee is holding onto the automotive “king of the hill” title, Alabama is threatening to knock us off the top. Notably, both Tennessee and Alabama are right-to-work states that prevent employers from requiring union membership as a condition of employment. The growth of automotive manufacturing in right-to-work states has been so compelling that even Michigan, a historic union stronghold, passed a right-to-work law in 2012.  

Yet the United Auto Workers remains intent on unionizing the South, targeting the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant for a major organizing push. UAW president Bob King has acknowledged just how important it is to organize plants in the South. “If we don't organize the transnationals, I don't think there is a long-term future for the UAW," he said.  

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/13/uaw-transplants-idUSN1E76B23120110713

If the UAW is successful in its attempt to organize Volkswagen in Chattanooga, the UAW will bargain to be the ‘Exclusive Representation Agent’ for everyone in the bargaining unit – guaranteeing for them that every hourly employee in the facility will have to accept the contract restrictions that the union negotiates with the manufacturer. 

In other words, every hourly auto worker will then be associated with the UAW whether he or she wants to or not. Conservative union members and manufacturing employees will quickly find that the UAW’s one-size-fits-all representation spends millions of dollars every year to advance an extremely liberal political agenda and influence elections from the presidential level all the way down to local school boards.   

While Chattanooga may be the immediate bull’s eye of the UAW’s organizing attempt today, the ripples of its aim will spread throughout the rest of the state. For workers in the South, many with both economic and socially conservative viewpoints, the threat to their freedom and opportunity is real.   

When all is said and done, the UAW is a hyper-political organization with perspectives and policies contrary to those of many of the workers it claims to represent. The union has a history of using workers’ dues to influence elections at all levels of government.  Those policies have failed in Detroit and do not fit in a state like Tennessee that is trying to create automotive jobs and economic opportunity. And while many of Tennessee’s auto workers have already expressed their opposition to the UAW, the battle is far from over.  

Workers should absolutely have the opportunity to freely associate with each other and explore with their respective employers ways to improve their workplace and the quality of the products they produce. At the same time, Volkswagen can allow this to happen by using current, non-union workers, instead of insisting that only a UAW represented plant can enter into a works council agreement.   

Tennessee’s workers building an impressive industry must not invite an old-Detroit political machine to come between them and their employers. If they do, look for the new automotive era to continue growing across the border in Alabama, at the expense of Tennessee’s automotive workers and our state’s economy.   


Terry Bowman is a 17-year UAW member in Michigan, and the president and founder of Union Conservatives, Inc., a 501(c)4 non-profit organization with members in 35 states. Justin Owen is president and CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free market public policy organization.


Chattanooga Bar Association Poll Results Of Judicial Candidates Should Not Be Considered

I want to remind the voters to consider Catherine White for judge of Hamilton County Circuit Court and Joe Manuel for judge of Chancery Court in the Republican primary.  Both of their opponents have been advertising that each has won the endorsement of the 800 member Chattanooga Bar Association when their members voted between the candidates who are seeking the judicial position, ... (click for more)

Why We Are Voting For Joe Manuel For Chancellor

We are voting for Joe Manuel for chancellor.   We have known Joe for several years, meeting him first at the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club where he served as president.  He served during a time when he had to find a new meeting place for our weekly meetings and he guided us through that turmoil to a very satisfactory location that he referred to as “Our House” and ... (click for more)

City Set To Move Ahead On Study For Light Rail System; But Some Council Members Skeptical

City officials are set to move ahead in applying for a grant to study setting up a light rail system in Chattanooga, though some City Council members are skeptical. Blythe Bailey, city transportation director, said it might cost $20 million to set up a system that would use the Missionary Ridge Tunnel to go from downtown to the Chattanooga Airport as well as the Enterprise South ... (click for more)

Funeral Arrangements Set For Renee Card Monroe, Killed Monday In ATV Accident

Funeral arrangements have been set for Renee Card Monroe, 60, who was killed, along with her two grandchildren, Reagan and Jaxson Cohen, in an ATV accident on Monday when their ATV toppled into a pond. A lifelong resident of Chattanooga, Ms. Monroe was an active member of Eastwood Baptist Church where she helped lead a small Bible study group. Ms. Monroe was an entrepreneur ... (click for more)

Donnie Tyndall Hired To Lead Tennessee Basketball Program

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- University of Tennessee vice chancellor and director of athletics Dave Hart announced Tuesday the hiring of Donnie Tyndall as the Volunteers’ 19 th  men’s basketball coach. Tyndall will be introduced at a press conference at 2 p.m. ET at Pratt Pavilion. The 43-year-old Tyndall joins Tennessee from Southern Mississippi, where he posted ... (click for more)

Cleveland, Thompson Knock Trojans Out Of Share Of 5-AAA Lead

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Cleveland right-hander Taylor Thompson sent Soddy-Daisy hitters a clear message early in Tuesday’s District 5-AAA baseball game – “I’m on tonight, boys.” Thompson threw a neat three-hitter and struck out 10 as the Blue Raiders defeated Soddy-Daisy, 6-1, at Raider Field to knock the Trojans out of a share of first place in the district. “If I get settled ... (click for more)