Thursday, February 13, 2014

More Chattanooga Hardball

Looks like Republican interference and threats in the Volkswagen plant unionization vote in Tennessee this week has now reached massive, perhaps illegal levels.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said on Wednesday he has been “assured” that if workers at the Volkswagen AG plant in his hometown of Chattanooga reject United Auto Worker representation, the company will reward the plant with a new product to build.

Corker’s bombshell, which runs counter to public statements by Volkswagen, was dropped on the first of a three-day secret ballot election of blue-collar workers at the Chattanooga plant whether to allow the UAW to represent them.

Corker has long been an opponent of the union which he says hurts economic and job growth in Tennessee, a charge that UAW officials say is untrue.

“I’ve had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga,” said Corker, without saying with whom he had the conversations.

Volkswagen has said mulitple times that the unionization vote wouldn't affect future product assembly line choices, but Corker is basically saying that Volkswagen is not only lying to workers, but saying that the company will be the one punishing the choice to unionize, not the Tennessee GOP.

Needless to say, Corker's allegations are borderline illegal.

National Labor Relations Board expert Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt, who is professor of labor at the University of Indiana-Bloomington, said Corker was trying to intimidate workers into voting against the union.

“I’m really kind of shocked at Corker’s statement,” said Dau-Schmidt. “It’s so inconsistent with what VW has been saying and VW’s labor relations policy in general.”

The Indiana professor also said Corker’s comments “would be grounds to set the election aside and have to run it all over again at a later date” because it could be ruled to be interfering to the point that it is against federal labor law.

Which is the point.  There will be no end to intimidation and bullying by the GOP against workers who try to exercise collective bargaining rights.  This is a party that wants to eliminate overtime pay, eliminate minimum wage guarantees, eliminate sick days and paid leave, and eliminate labor safety laws.

Of course they are going to go after workers like this.

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