Disturbed By Entry Of UAW At Volkswagen - And Response

Friday, February 07, 2014

I am most disturbed by the entry of the UAW at Volkswagen.  Ask any old timer what the unions did to Chattanooga's steel and foundry business long years ago.  If the employees would study Chattanooga's history with unions, they would think twice about this decision.

Governor Haslam, Senators Corker and Alexander are correct to be very concerned.  It has taken decades for our city and our state to recover.  We are proud to be a Right to Work State and this could be the beginning of a point of no return.  The majority of citizens were pleased that Volkswagen came to Chattanooga even though our city spent a huge sum of taxpayer's money in the process of sealing the deal, including waiving property taxes for VW for many, many years.  We've been pleased that they have made such a generous contribution to our community, but ask any long time citizen 50+ years old if they would have been so pleased had they foreseen the introduction of the UAW.

I would imagine that VW is a great place to work just the way it is. If you feel it isn't, look for other employment rather than ruin it for those who are satisfied. Also remember, the taxpayers who provided funds to help build this plant will also be the ones to continue to pay taxes for it once it is shuttered by the UAW just like their Pennsylvania plant. I can only imagine how horrified the satellite businesses who moved to this area in support of VW are at this point. 

Employees need to remind themselves that if this goes through they will no longer be in charge of their own destiny, but this issue is bigger than just you --  there will be no more automotive manufacturers coming to Tennessee.  There are too many neighboring southern states who will welcome them with open arms.  As for me, any thoughts of purchasing a Volkswagen have definitely been put on hold.

Cynthia Patterson

Chattanooga

* * *

I'm disturbed and weary of all of the predictable letters and opinions from folks that don't work at Volkswagen telling the folks that do work there how they should vote. It's for sure their right, but I find it sad we have rich folks (Roy Exum) and politicians (Ken Smith) and wanna-be politicians (Randy Fairbanks) jumping into the business of VW employees with both feet. In the latter's case, at least I know who I'll be voting against in District 1. Hopefully, VW employees are mature enough to think for themselves and will vote accordingly. Now, some folks are even saying that the industry and manufacturing gone from Chattanooga was, of course, because of unions. Really? Ever heard of air pollution regulations and the EPA? There's your smoking gun (no pun intended).

Right now unions are weaker than ever, and what do we have? Well, have you noticed the amount of items at Walmart made in China? Have you noticed the shrinking middle class and how it now takes two breadwinners working two jobs to make what one of them could have made 40 years ago? Have you noticed the incredible corporate profits and CEO salaries compared back then? Have you noticed how Amazon barely pays minimum wage (if minimum wage was where it should be, based on what it was 40 years ago) yet we think that's absolutely awesome and we are so lucky to have those jobs? The sad fact is, things are only going to get worse for the American worker. Outsourcing and greed have robbed the American worker of the chance to make a decent living and feed his family, yet we blame unions. We really should blame ourselves for allowing companies to make cheap items in every country but the USA.

Let's take it one step further. High gas prices? That's the unions fault. Snowstorms? Blame the union. Your dog died? The UAW probably poisoned it, too. The VW plant closing in PA? Well, it couldn't possibly be because they were making the antiquated Rabbit hatchback, a vehicle whose sales had slumped over the prior eight years fully by one third. It also couldn't have been because VW plants in Germany were putting intense pressure on management to invest money and new model development in the German plants instead of the US plant. Nope, it was all the union's fault.

There's a lot of reasons things have gone wrong over the last 40 or 50 years, making the middle class more of a fantasy than a reality, but don't blame the unions. Blame yourselves.

Herb Montgomery
Chattanooga


Kudzu Incursion On Scenic Highway

I don't know if I am the only Lookout Mountain resident to notice that Scenic Highway is about to be one and a half lanes. Kudzu is encroaching over the guard rail and onto the road. In many places you can no longer tell where the road ends and the guard rail begins. A number of new and older drivers don't need to be guessing about where the road ends. Tommy Dickinson (click for more)

Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Worley-Powered Vols Clobber Utah State, 38-7, In Opener

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee, trying to snap out of the doldrums of four consecutive losing seasons, started its 2014 campaign in fine fashion Sunday night before a season opening sellout crowd of 102,445 that endured a heavy rain story 30 minutes prior to kickoff. And senior quarterback Justin Worley, who missed the final four games in 2013 after undergoing thumb surgery, was ... (click for more)

Lookouts Reach Southern League Northern Division Playoffs With Doubleheader Win Over Smokies

The Chattanooga Lookouts are now playoff bound after sweeping a double-header against the Tennessee Smokies  to clinch the Southern League North Division for the second half of the season. The first game of the double-header was backed by a masterful gem of a game thrown by the starter for the Lookouts, Steve Smith (W, 3-2). Smith dominated the Smokies' lineup from top ... (click for more)