Volkswagen Is A Battered Woman - And Response

Friday, February 07, 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 While the other aspects of this tax have been repealed, light trucks remain taxed at 25 percent when imported from foreign countries.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


Vote For Rhonda Thurman

In reference to Hamilton County District 1 Commission Race, I encourage you to vote for my friend of 20 plus years, Rhonda Thurman.  On a personal note I will relate a few things about Rhonda that you may or may not be aware of.  First and foremost, Rhonda  will not lie; she is most trustworthy and honest.  Secondly, Rhonda is a humanitarian.  ... (click for more)

A Vote For Christie Sell Is The Right Choice

What a privilege it is to write this letter on behalf of Judge Christie Sell.  I met Judge Sell years ago, and have been very blessed to call her a friend and mentor over the last two years.  As a young female attorney in Hamilton County, it is extremely important to have a respected female mentor. Judge Sell has been that person for me. She swore me into the practice ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Stops Erlanger Foreclosure Of Hutcheson Hospital

In a ruling Friday, a Federal Court Judge in Rome agreed with Hutcheson Medical Center and Regions Bank to grant the request for an injunction, effectively stopping the foreclosure efforts of Erlanger Health System against Hutcheson. In stopping the foreclosure set for next Tuesday, the judge held that the public interest in keeping the hospital doors open was “insurmountable.”  ... (click for more)

Mediated Resolution Reached In TVA Kingston Lawsuits

A mediated global resolution has been achieved in 63 lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court involving more than 850 plaintiffs asserting claims against the Tennessee Valley Authority arising from the 2008 ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant. The resolution, outlined in documents submitted Friday to the U.S. District Court in Knoxville, comes after nearly two years of ... (click for more)

Live Viewing Party Of The National Championship Offered At First Tennessee Pavilion

Chattanooga Football Club fans will get one more chance to gather and cheer on the team as it battles for the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) National Championship powered by Mitre.  On Saturday, from 7-11:30 p.m. at the First Tennessee Pavilion, Big River Brewing Company, Volkswagen Chattanooga, Memorial, Finley Stadium, and EPB Fiber Optics are hosting ... (click for more)

Larry Fleming: Phil Schmidt Made Life Better For Those That Knew Him

The sad news came Thursday morning in a phone call from Jill Bowling, the daughter of Phil Schmidt, longtime photographer at The Chattanooga Times – for years he served as chief of the department – had passed away minutes earlier at TriStar-Centennial Hospital in Nashville. Through Jill’s tears she said, “Daddy died this morning.” It was a phone call I didn’t want to get and ... (click for more)