The Union Side - And Response

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thank you, Roy Exum, for your side of the anti-union story. I'm sure you've told us everything we will ever need to know about unions. Well, not exactly. Of course, it's no secret that an easily manipulated, cheap, uneducated workforce has been a golden goose for businesses in the south ever since the Civil War ended. After reading your latest column/history lesson, I do understand your recent opinions much more clearly now. We are, after all, a product of our upbringing. 

Has anyone heard of N.F. Thompson? A Former Ku Klux Klan leader and anti-union activist if there ever was one, he was editor of the Tradesman, forerunner of our own News Free Press. Most folks aren't old enough to remember in 1934 there was a textile strike nationwide and the governor of Georgia declared Marshall Law and quickly rounded up strikers and sent them off to camps. So don't think for one second that you can't be anti-union and still employ thugs. Most of our local manufacturers in the thirties were members of the Southern States Industrial Council, a union busting organization that was more than willing to use force to get their way. A few years after that, striking hosiery workers in Chattanooga in 1945 were fired upon and wounded by anti-union folks during a peaceful parade. 

Of course, I need not bring up one of the worst fires in U.S. manufacturing history at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, also non-union, where 146 died trying to escape through locked doors. Nor should I bother mentioning child labor laws, the 40 hour workweek, and workman's compensation; all created with the help of unions. 

Lastly, just remember that today, with unions weaker than ever, the average worker has had less than a two percent raise (when adjusted for inflation) over the last 40 years. Obviously, this is different than CEO salaries, which have grown over the same period at a much more astounding rate of 725 percent. Maybe this helps explain the rash of anti-union letters and editorials from our political and social elites. 

It's amazing to me how we can care so much about horses and so little for the American worker. 

Herb Montgomery
Chattanooga

* * *

Gee Herb, 

Marshall Law - is that George Marshall Law, Thurgood Marshall Law, or the Law of the Marshall Islands? Yet it's amazing how you can quote every  fact of a historic non-union worker tragedy. Unions were an important part of our history, but history is the key word. Notice that the examples you cite have nothing to do with the labor movement in the past 50 years, simply because unions have done little to help the worker during that time, but more to help the union itself. It is an entity unto itself that the workers now have to keep alive, and it desperately needs more members to sustain itself.

If we want to look at the role of the union, specifically the UAW, in recent years in the state of Tennessee, we need look no further than the comparison between Spring Hill and Smyrna. Having friends and family in both communities, some of which were employed by both, the results were incredibly opposite. Smyrna, and Rutherford County, is one of the fastest growing areas in the state. Nissan has been a boon to that area, both in employment and creating many other economic opportunities, and they continue to do so without the union. Then you look at Columbia, where Saturn/GM brought in laid-off UAW workers from Michigan and the locals were lucky to get security or custodial jobs at best. Then, they go out of business and leave the economic wreckage for the locals. Even under the down-sized GM retooling, local unemployment is sky-high, and the economy and job perspective in the area is bleak at best for most families. Not much of a comparison. 

From recent and local history, I would think that Chattanooga stands a little bit better chance of economic success without the help of the UAW.

Lee Crews


Minister Favors Domestic Partners Ordinance - And Response

As a minister I have come to see the Domestic Partners ordinance, while not perfectly written, reflective of something much deeper than politics, government policy or fiscal issues. For me, it is a matter of social justice. I firmly believe the passing of the Non-Discrimination and Domestic Partnership Ordinance will permit our city to more perfectly reflect the higher standards ... (click for more)

Steve Smith Has My Support

Steve Smith has my vote for Public Defender in Hamilton County. The choice is an easy one in the upcoming election. Steve Smith is an excellent attorney who maintains impeccable ethics. He has the requisite experience to fulfill the requirements needed to lead the Public Defenders Office; he has experience in owning and operating a law office and managing an office staff. Steve ... (click for more)

DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Request For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters. Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person ... (click for more)

Graham Says County School-City Lawsuit Settlement "Stinks," But County Commission Approves It

The County Commission on Wednesday approved a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Hamilton County Schools against the city of Chattanooga, though several commissioners said they were not happy with the deal and Commissioner Joe Graham said it "stinks." Commissioner Graham was the lone no vote. He was joined by Commissioner Tim Boyd in a failed effort to defer it a week. ... (click for more)

Vols Open 2018 Season Against West Virginia In Charlotte

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.   ā€“ The Charlotte Sports Foundation announced Tuesday that the Tennessee Volunteers will open the 2018 season on September 1 against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers. All information related to kickoff date, time and tickets will be announced at ... (click for more)

Lookouts 8th Inning Rally Wednesday Burns Biscuits, 6-5

Down two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning third baseman Alex Liddi smashed his third double of the game to clear the bases and lead the Chattanooga Lookouts to a 6-5 win over the Montgomery Biscuits. The loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Biscuits while the Lookouts snapped a six-game losing streak. Recap After a scoreless first inning, the Lookouts got on ... (click for more)