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 While the other aspects of this tax have been repealed, light trucks remain taxed at 25 percent when imported from foreign countries.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



High School Activities Bring Communities Together

Tailgates. Pep rallies. Friday night lights. The new school year is here. And that’s exciting news for student-athletes and high school sports fans alike.   Research shows that being a student-athlete is about a lot more than fun and games.  It teaches important life lessons, too. In fact, high school athletes not only have higher grade point averages and fewer school ... (click for more)

Fake News And Their Enemies

"The news has no enemies", are you kidding me.  What planet do you live on? I was a rabid CNN viewer, and I mean rabid viewer, as I traveled for my company for over 20 years.  So much so that I would not even check in at a hotel if I arrived and found they didn't carry that network.  Don't believe me, just ask my colleagues. However, over the years they have abandoned ... (click for more)

Opposing Sides Expected To Show Up For Coolidge Park Rally Thursday Night; Some Urged To "Bring Your Guns"

Chattanooga Police said they will be closely monitoring an organized rally at Coolidge Park on Thursday that may draw some of the same opposing sides that clashed - with deadly result - in Charlottesville, Va. The rally is set for 7:30 p.m. and initially was  in memory of a woman who was killed in the angry Virginia confrontation that initially began over a decision to ... (click for more)

Owners Of Larger Structures In Walker County To Pay More For Fire, Ambulance Service; Full-Time Fire Stations Increase From 4-6

Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield announced plans on Wednesday to update the county's fire fee schedule to offer improvements in fire protection and public safety efforts. The fee will now be known as a "public safety" fee and will fund fire and emergency management operations, along with contracted ambulance services.   The county will replace the existing ... (click for more)

Hixson's Janet Tate Resigning Volleyball Post After Season

Boyd-Buchanan handed Hixson a 3-0 volleyball loss Tuesday in what will be veteran coach Janet Tate’s final season with the Lady Wildcats. The Lady Bucs claimed the victory with set scores of 26-24, 25-17, 25-17 The Lady Bucs are 2-0 on the young season after beating Central 2-0 on Monday. Hixson (0-2) has dropped 3-0 setbacks in back-to-back days. The Lady Wildcats ... (click for more)

Vols' Sophomore TE Eli Wolf Surprised With Scholarship

Tennessee football Butch Jones surprised sophomore tight end Eli Wolf with a scholarship during at the start of Tuesday’s fall camp practice at Haslam Field. Wolf, a 6-foot-4, 224-pounder from Minister, Ohio, came to Tennessee as a walkon. "He's earned that playing for us and I can't say enough about him and what he's meant to our program,” Jones said of Wolf, whose brother ... (click for more)