Seminal Moment for Auto Industry: Today's VW Vote
Republicans urging workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., not to unionize
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Feb 14, 2014 7:49 AM CST
Genaro Vargus polishes a Volkswagon Passat before the start of a news conference on Thursday, March 22, 2012 in Chattanooga, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, Dan Henry)

(Newser) – Some 1,570 workers at a Chattanooga, Tenn., Volkswagen plant will today finish a vote started Wednesday on whether they want to join the United Auto Workers union, in a potential turning point for the labor movement and the Southern auto industry. The UAW has never managed to organize a foreign-owned plant in three decades of trying, but this time it's got a powerful ally: Volkswagen. The German automaker wants the union to help it replicate the successful "works council" model it uses in Germany, in which workers help manage plant operations, the Washington Post reports. Germany's IG Metall union is also pressing for the UAW partnership, adds the Wall Street Journal.

But Republicans have launched an all-out assault to prevent that, arguing that it will blemish the low-cost, business-friendly image of the South, which claims nearly 20 such foreign-owned auto plants. (UAW is also courting workers at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Ala., and a Nissan plant in Canton, Miss.) Activists have put up billboards with slogans like, "Detroit: Brought to you by UAW." One state senator threatened Volkswagen, saying it would have would have a "very tough time" winning tax incentives from Tennessee's Republican legislature if it unionized. And Bob Corker yesterday said he was "very certain" that VW would build a new SUV in Chattanooga if workers vote down the union, Reuters reports. In reality, VW has said the vote will have no bearing on the decision, and Chattanooga's mayor is worried the politicized fight might drive VW to choose its Mexican plant instead. "We never want to put politics ahead of jobs," the mayor says.

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Feb 17, 2014 11:26 PM CST
Never gonna buy a VW now. Maybe if enough people vote with their pocketbooks, the plant will close, a new, unionized plant will open, rehire these workers at a much better wage ($20 bucks an hour sucks for this kind of work). Only a redneck would think they're livin' high on the hog at that wage. Stupid fucks.
Feb 17, 2014 11:24 PM CST
Just how much money did the Koch Bros., the US Chamber of Commerce, the GOP and other groups put in to distort, lie and sway the vote? Way more than the UAW did. And where did they get the cash? From record profits. The anti-union workers cowardly cut their own throats. Stupid idiots.
Feb 16, 2014 7:53 AM CST
A future headline: After decades of bleeding their members dry for dues in support of the Democrat party...the last union local closed it's doors for good. Workers need a seat at the table, but unions have had a wealthy greedy union boss in that seat for too long.