Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chattanooga Hardball Wins, Workers Lose

The UAW unionization vote at the Tennessee Volkswagen plant has gone down in defeat.

In a defeat for organized labor in the South, employees at the Volkswagen plant here voted 712 to 626 against joining the United Automobile Workers
The loss is an especially stinging blow for U.A.W. because Volkswagen did not even oppose the unionization drive. The union’s defeat — in what was one of the most closely watched unionization votes in decades — is expected to slow, perhaps stymie, the union’s long-term plans to organize other auto plants in the South.

Or end those plans.  That's what happens when state and federal politicians make open threats against the livelihoods of workers in this economy:  the workers say "Wait a minute, I want to keep my job.  If I vote for the union, I become a target, my family becomes a target.  I don't want that."

A retired local judge, Samuel H. Payne, announced the vote results inside VW’s sprawling plant after officials from the National Labor Relations Board had counted the ballots. In the hours before the votes were tallied, after three days of voting at the assembly plant, both sides were predicting victory. 
The vote this week came in a region that is traditionally anti-union, and as a result many said the U.A.W. faced an uphill battle. The union saw the campaign as a vital first step toward expanding in the South, while Republicans and many companies in Tennessee feared that a U.A.W. triumph would hurt the state’s welcoming image for business.

What Red State Republicans mean by "welcoming image for business" is "how many tens of millions of tax dollars will it take to buy your thousands of jobs?"  Sure, that means we don't have the tax base to afford working schools, roads, infrastructure and safety, but at least we didn't lose the plant to Mexico.  Would have been a shame if you had unionized, and we drove VW out of business as a result.

Plus we kept them damn Yankees out of the state.  Next stop from our friends at the GOP:  the quiet pride and dignity of a $4 an hour job.

An Embarrassing Wealth Of Insanity

Last time we checked in with Silicon Valley billionaire Tom Perkins, he was shouting how the 99% were worse than Nazi Germany by daring to make him pay taxes.  Now he's decided that the best way to "fix" America is to drop this silly "one person, one vote" crap and let the rich rule.

Tom Perkins suggested Thursday that only taxpayers should have the right to vote -- and that wealthy Americans who pay more in taxes should get more votes.

The venture capitalist offered the unorthodox proposal when asked to name one idea that would "change the world" at a speaking engagement in San Francisco moderated by Fortune's Adam Lashinsky.

"The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes," Perkins said.

"But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How's that?

The audience at the Commonwealth Club reacted with laughter. But Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking. Asked offstage if the proposal was serious, Perkins said: "I intended to be outrageous, and it was."

Which is funny, because if you think about it, that's pretty close to how the system works now.   The rich have bought our politicians and the politicians in turn do everything in their power to keep all the voting power with the rich while disenfranchising everyone else.

Perkins may have thought he was clever or outrageous, but that misses the point that America is already set up like this, by and large.  And that's how they like it.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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