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 While the other aspects of this tax have been repealed, light trucks remain taxed at 25 percent when imported from foreign countries.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


Tennessee Business Expansions On Rise Across State

In 2016, Tennessee was named State of the Year for Economic Development by Southern Business & Development Magazine based on project totals and the variety of industries that invested in the state and created jobs. To a great extent, Bradley and Polk Counties have benefited from that investment.   From February 2015 to February 2016, Cleveland/Bradley County led the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 100 Graduation Truths

A tad over 25 years ago -- 1991 to be exact -- a brilliant Nashville advertising executive created a list of life’s truths to present his son on the eve of his high school graduation. From that, a glorious book entitled “Life’s Little Instruction Book” was born and H. Jackson Brown Jr. created a gold mine. I’m talking two years on the New York Times’ best-seller list. I am one of ... (click for more)

Woman Killed By Falling Tree At Neighborhood Near Hunter Road

A woman was killed by a falling tree outside her home in a neighborhood off Hunter Road late Monday morning. At about 11 a.m., Hamilton County Sheriff deputies were dispatched to the 7300 block of Landlock Drive near Micasa Lane. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the victim is being withheld until notification can be made to her next-of-kin. ... (click for more)

Public Defender Says Another Entity Needs To Continue Funding For New Mental Health Court

Public Defender Steve Smith said another entity needs to take over funding the new Mental Health Court. He said Criminal Court Judge Don Poole has agreed to oversee the court and will make a budget presentation to the County Commission on May 31. Mr. Smith told members of the Pachyderm Club on Monday that he has been funding the program through the services of Anna Protano ... (click for more)

State Softball, Baseball Matchups Set

The opening 2017 state tournament baseball and softball matchups involving local high school teams have been finalized. The next-to-last pairing came Sunday morning when Ooltewah (32-8) drew Dyer County (19-15) for a Tuesday game with a 4 p.m. (CT) start on Field 1 at the Starplex softball complex in Murfreesboro. Ooltewah, which lost to Soddy-Daisy in the District 5-3A ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Reaches Class A/AA State Soccer Tournament

The setting was nothing new for the seven seniors on the Boyd-Buchanan boys’ soccer team, but this time the Bucs got to celebrate a different outcome.   Playing in their fourth consecutive Class A/AA state sectional, the Bucs put three years of heartbreak behind them by earning a 1-0 victory over Merrol Hyde and a trip to this week’s state tournament in Murfreesboro. ... (click for more)