What Have The Unions Done For Me? - And Response

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Here's some facts on what the unions have done for the American working through negotiations.

Weekends off, breaks including lunch breaks, paid vacations, sick leave, paid medical leave, social security, minimum wage, 8-hour work day, overtime pay, child labor laws, 40-hour work week, worker's comp, pensions, age discrimination, sexual harassment laws, holiday pay, military leave, equal pay acts of 1963 and 2011, and laws ending sweat shops in the United States just to name a few.  For these benefits you should thank a union.

Chuck Mehan
East Ridge  

* * *

Like most folks, I have some thoughts on the coming vote regarding the UAW and our Volkswagen assembly plant.  These thoughts are from my upbringing and surely influenced by my parents.  I won't go into them, but with all the publicity the vote is getting, I have been giving it some thought. 

In an effort to remove my personal thoughts, I have pondered the union question and tried to understand what the real issue is.  Potential added costs to VW vehicles is often touted as a downside.  Tremendous strides in workplace quality and fairness by the union is shouted back by the other side. 

The question that keeps coming to my mind is, "why does the UAW want to add the 1,600 Chattanooga VW workers to its rolls?"  Otherwise stated as "what's in it for the UAW?" 

I see three possible reasons why the UAW might want to unionize our VW plant. 

1.  The addition of 1,600 new members.  To a group whose membership numbers 250,000 (using numbers I have seen on this site), that is only a .64 percent increase in the UAW's rolls - doesn't seem like a significant increase. 

2.  The leadership of the UAW may have an enormous, altruistic concern for the welfare of the Chattanooga/VW 1,600 workers and only wants to represent them to protect their interests and rights. 

3.  Establishing labor representation at a foreign manufacturer in the Southeast might be strategically important to the future of the UAW itself. 

If others can point out additional reasons, I would be happy to hear them. 

My conclusion after considering the above reasons, is that only #3 could warrant the effort and expense the UAW has expended to win the coming vote. 

That said, I would hope that the employees would consider the motivation of both sides lobbying for their own interests.  As a Chattanooga native, my concern is for the best interest of our community.  That includes the 1,600 that will actually be voting.  I remember the staggering number of applicants when the jobs were posted.  VW got to select from the cream of Chattanooga's labor crop.  I don't remember union representation being a concern at that time. 

Again, if I am overlooking additional reasons for the UAW's motivation, please point them out.  I fear that their motivation is self serving and has little to do with the interests of the 1,600 Chattanooga workers that will be determining the outcome. 

However the vote goes, I wish the best for all of us. 

J. Scott Gentry

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com; Include Your Full Name, Address, Phone Number For Verification

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to  news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. This includes your home address and phone number. We do not post the contact information, but need it for verification. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: His Heart Is Pure

I’ve been sent Kelly Atkins’ marvelous story via email, “God Lives Under the Bed,” by three totally different people in the past 10 days and today might be just the day to share it. If for no other reason, I want to set the record straight on what has become a classic tale. Lordy, it has buoyed the spirits of many like myself. Kelly first wrote her “anonymous” story 25 years ago. ... (click for more)

Volkswagen Sets Press Conference To Announce New Project; Governor Haslam To Attend

Volkswagen has called a press conference at its Chattanooga plant on Monday to announce "a new project." Governor Bill Haslam is among those set to attend. Also taking part will be Antonio Pinto, president and CEO of the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant, and Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen group of America. The announcement will be at 2:30 p.m. at the plant ... (click for more)

Clark D. Nolan, Accused Of Imprisoning And Assaulting Wife, Found Competent To Stand Trial

A Graysville, Tn., man who allegedly strangled, assaulted and threatened to kill his wife while holding her prisoner in their home is competent to stand trial, according to two forensic evaluators. Psychologist Robert W. Brown Jr. and forensic coordinator Todd Wiggins reported to Sequatchie County General Sessions Court that they evaluated Clark Dean Nolan on charges of aggravated ... (click for more)

Scott Chandler Named Ooltewah Football Coach

Ooltewah High School is honored and privileged to name the new head football coach. After several quality applicants, the football search committee has decided to name Scott Chandler to this position. He brings great passion, knowledge, and experience to this football team and its staff. His belief system is impeccable, and because of this, he will bring great pride and ... (click for more)

Lady Vols Soar Past Liberty, 100-60

KNOXVILLE -- No. 12/13-ranked Tennessee soared past Liberty, 100-60, as the No. 3 seed Lady Vols scored their highest point total in an NCAA Tournament game since 2006 when they defeated Army, 102-54.   Rennia Davis led UT (25-7) with 18 points and 11 rebounds, marking her ninth career double-double and tying her with Tamika Catchings for the fifth most double-doubles ... (click for more)