Volkswagen Is A Battered Woman - And Response

Friday, February 7, 2014

It is evident that Volkswagen will never learn: the UAW is not good for auto manufactures, especially VW.  

Fifty years ago last month, the UAW, under then president Walter Reuther, struck a deal with President Johnson to not go on strike leading up to the 1964 election and to support his platform. In return, Reuther asked that "light trucks" be included in an upcoming bill that would tax imported goods from foreign countries. This last minute deal suddenly saddled VW's commercial division with a 25 percent tax per vehicle. Because of this "Chicken Tax,"sales in 1964 were down to 1/3 of what they were in 1963. While the other aspects of this tax have been repealed, light trucks remain taxed at 25 percent when imported from foreign countries. 

Fast forward 15 years to the late 1970s. Pennsylvania offered Volkswagen the largest incentives yet ($100 million) to locate their new plant outside of New Stanton, Pa. After signing a 30 year lease, they organized with the UAW. Within six months, the plant was on strike. After merely a decade of labor disputes a failure to maintain viability in the market, the VW Westmoreland Plant shut its doors. That plant currently sits empty, despite a two decade stint as a Sony assembly plant.

In 2011, Volkswagen rolled the first U.S. made vehicle off their assembly line right here off exit 9. After three years and $577 in incentives, VW had finally come back to the U.S. market. Sales went crazy and the Passat won the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year. Despite all of the success and over a half billion dollars of taxpayer money, VW wants to get back in bed with the UAW. 

Do the folks at VW remember these episodes? Have they already forgotten how adversarial the UAW has been to Volkswagen's efforts in the US? The UAW has taken every chance to pull VW back a step and hurt their sales, even when labor issues were not the issue. They have beat the German cars down every chance they get for the last 50 years. Just like a battered wife, Volkswagen keeps showing back up, saying everything is okay and expecting different results. Watch out for those eye-level doorknobs and falling down the stairs. If VW keeps inviting the UAW into their affairs, all of the future wounds will be self-inflicted. 

A "yes" vote gets you a membership card and a wife-beater shirt. 

Tim Giordano

* * *

Having seen numerous letters to Chattanoogan.com pointing out the evils of the UAW in an effort to dissuade VW hourly workers from voting for the union, I keep waiting for the union's rebuttal to these numerous charges.  

Perhaps the UAW's "methods of persuasion" just don't resonate well in such a genteel format as the opinion section of this fine website.  

Jim Nelson



Roy Exum: Evil This Way Comes

There is a line in Act IV of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, as some of the 20,000 students at Middle Tennessee State are taught, that reads: "By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes." The professors explain that in the 16 th century the “pricking of thumbs” meant an intuition of evil about to happen and every student at MTSU knows several white supremacy ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s All About People

The leaders of Hamilton County’s Mental Health Court held a heart-warming open house Friday afternoon and it was announced that just since February, the creation has saved the county over $3 million in incarceration costs. But to hear County Mayor Jim Coppinger or Judge Don Poole tell it, that’s not what is important. “Soon after the court started, a kind, quiet man I’ll ... (click for more)

Chattanoogan Hotel Sold By City To Lexington, Ky., Hospitality Group For $32 Million

The city has reached agreement to sell the Chattanoogan hotel for $32 million. The buyer is Schulte Hospitality Group of Lexington, Ky. The firm has 102 hotels in 26 states. Daisy Madison, city chief financial officer, said the proceeds would be enough to pay off all the city's remaining debt for building it. She said there had been interest in buying the hotel before, ... (click for more)

Janice Raper, 69, Killed In Accident On Lee Highway

Janice Raper, 69, was killed Sunday evening in a car accident on Lee Highway. Chattanooga Police responded at 7:54 p.m. to a traffic crash at 6800 Lee Highway. A Toyota Sienna, driven by Ms. Raper, was traveling northbound, attempting to make a left turn onto Hickory Valley Road.  A Dodge Challenger, driven by Charise Nash, 26, was traveling southbound on Lee Highway, ... (click for more)

UT Coach: Tennessee Not OK Being 3-4; Butch Jones Not OK Being 3-4

Embattled Tennessee football coach Butch Jones met with members of the media on Monday, a couple of days after the Vols lost to Alabama, 45-7. It was Tennessee’s fourth loss in five games and UT is an early 5 ½-point underdog to rival Kentucky on Saturday. The Vols are 31-1 against Kentucky since 1985, with the only loss, a 10-7 defeat, coming in 2011. Tennessee leads the overall ... (click for more)

No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs Aim To Break Losing Streak Against Florida In Jacksonville Saturday

On the surface, Georgia would seem to have a lot going for it heading into Saturday’s game against Florida in Jacksonville, a site that hasn’t been too kind for the team in red and black over the last quarter of a century. The third-ranked Bulldogs enter having won its last three games by an average margin of victory of 32.3 points. Florida needs a win to avoid its third ... (click for more)