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


Molehills On The Mountain

It just so happens that a very flat, level road on Signal Mountain named Mountain Creek  just received the first ever speed bumps on the mountain in its entire history. Please take the time to drive on Middle Creek and try to figure out how this road could possibley qualify under any public safety criteria for speed bumps, let alone the very first on Signal Mountain. I should ... (click for more)

Distaste For Competition

Councilman Hakeem said the new set-up was a threat to the continued viability of cab companies. Bad for the taxicab industry but good for the public. Taxi medallion prices are falling and so are sales volumes and the taxicab industry is fit to be tied. In New York medallion prices have fallen 17 percent in a just over a year and over 20 percent in Boston.  The taxi cab ... (click for more)

Erlanger To Proceed With Manager Bonuses In 2 Steps; Considering Employee Performance Incentive Plan

Erlanger President and CEO Kevin Spiegel said Wednesday night that the hospital plans to proceed with $1.7 million in manager bonuses in two steps. Current participants in the incentive program will receive 50 percent of the approved 2014 performance plan this month. The remaining 50 percent will be paid to the management group in July 2015. At the same time, Mr. Spiegel ... (click for more)

Man Shot In Chattanooga On Wednesday Afternoon

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot Wednesday afternoon. At approximately 3:16 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a local hospital for a person shot. P olice were advised that a male victim arrived suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. O fficers are attempting to locate a crime scene at this time. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with ... (click for more)

UTC Cagers Upset No.7 Stanford

The giant killer has done it again. Relying on hustle, determination, key 3-pointers and 10 made free throws down the stretch the Chattanooga Mocs defeated visiting No.7 Stanford women 54-46 Wednesday at McKenzie Arena Playing before 2,128 cheering fans, the Mocs (7-3) registered their second win of the young season over a top 10 team, having beaten ... (click for more)

Vols Land 4-Star JUCO Running Back Alvin Kamara

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee football coach Butch Jones has signed junior college four-star running back Alvin Kamara, who is from Norcross, Ga., and originally signed with Alabama and then transferred to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. Information on Kamara: ALVIN KAMARA R-Sophomore • Running Back • 5-11 • 200 Norcross, Ga. • Norcross H.S./Alabama/Hutchinson ... (click for more)