February 15, 2014
The Party of Mean and Crazy

This item was delicately buried on page three of the Business section of the February 12th New York Times (excerpted): “As workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., prepare to vote this week on whether to join the United Automobile Workers … State Senator Bo Watson warned that if VW’s workers voted to embrace the U.A.W., the Republican-controlled legislature might vote against approving future incentives to help the plant expand.

“A loss of such incentives,” the report continued, “could persuade Volkswagen to award production of a new S.U.V. to its plant in Mexico instead of to the Chattanooga plant.…” Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee also weighed in against the union, calling it “a Detroit-based organization” (gasp! touché.) whose key to survival was to organize plants in the South. Well, Bob, yes – just as Volkswagen is a Germany-based organization, the U.A.W.’s thrust is (hold onto your seat) … to organize workers at plants.” Communist trickery!

The Times goes on to report that the union’s chances at the plant “have been buoyed by Volkswagen’s decision not to oppose” the union’s drive, and even its “hint” of support for it. “Volkswagen is eager to have a German-style works council” at the plant, in order to bring together managers and workers for more effective operations. But for this to happen, according to the report, there has to be union representation at the plant. Oh, oh.

So, to protect businesses in America, the Republican bosses will condone blocking business expansion, even if it means that a business may well move its work to, say, Mexico in response? How can it be that the party of self-proclaimed conservative American values would threaten a manufacturer’s well being if it merely and legally agrees to unionize – and for its own corporate benefit? And, at that, after state legislators had lured the company to Tennessee in the first place, with all sorts of heavy incentives? Is this the way to get the “job creation” and “opportunity for all Americans” that the Republicans in Washington DC rhapsodize about day and night?

So, my fellow Americans, here is the ugly upshot of this story: we once again find the Republican establishment shilling crudely and destructively for the corporate powers, which are deathly afraid American working people might regain their voice within what John Kenneth Galbraith called the “countervailing powers” – the three-legged stool of corporation, labor union, and government – that held each other in check in the years of American prosperity and relative equality following the Second World War.

The Tea Party know-nothings are barking up the wrong tree if they really care about that “Don’t Tread on Me” thing. Dear simpletons: it’s not the government that should be driving you into a frenzy; it’s the corporations. They’re on a roll toward gaining essentially unhindered control over the affairs of your Republic and mine. First, they, with their political flunkies, are in the late stages of neutering the private- and now the public-sector unions. Recently, they – through their Republican puppets – have turned up the heat on government, the next leg of the countervailing stool. They have been especially hysterical about the national government since their latest stooge left the presidency and a Kenyan socialist took over. They already own much of Congress and the regulatory agencies, and are now legally freer with their billions to buy more.

But … an uppity union is showing a sign of life in Tennessee. Well, better to wound a genuine, non-theoretical job creator (and the American families in the community around it) than to give a union a single modest advance in cahoots with that job creator itself. (That’s a scary slippery slope, boys.) The Corporation-Republican Party is not only mean – these are real jobs at stake, for real workers, real families – but batshit crazy. They are threatening to devour their own. No wonder some of us (that includes the new Pope) have a bad attitude.

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Posted by A. David Tucker at February 15, 2014 11:13 AM
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I see by this morning's paper that the union-busters won again. Sad, but not in the least surprising.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on February 15, 2014 11:29 AM

In Germany every company of a certain size (don't know it by heart, I believe there must be at least five workers in continuous employment) must allow a works council (or work committee, whatever). The council is elected by a works assembly. This assembly can be called by the union, but union-representation is not mandatory. Any three workers eligible to vote can do it. There is no distinction between white-collar and blue-collar workers.

Hey, Germany's economy seems to have survived this severe blow to neoliberal fancies!

Posted by: Peter on February 16, 2014 7:54 AM

And just as Mr. Minotaur and I were discussing whether there was a hybrid Jetta in our future. Guess this means "NO!"

Posted by: Syrbal/Labrys on February 17, 2014 3:10 PM
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