Thursday, February 20, 2014
VW workers in Tennessee vote against having union representation
In a stunning defeat that could accelerate the decades-long decline of the United Auto Workers, employees voted against union representation at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which had been regarded as organised labour’s best chance of expanding in the US south.
An official overseeing the vote, retired Tennessee circuit court judge Sam Payne, said a majority had voted against UAW representation by 712 to 626. About 89% of workers voted, he said.
The plant’s workers voted by a paper ballot over three days, with individual votes hand-counted after the election closed at 8:30pm on Friday.
The loss could further dent the prestige of the UAW, membership of which had plummeted 75% since 1979 and now stood at less than 400,000.
It was also likely to reinforce the widely held notion that the UAW could not make significant inroads in a region that historically had been steadfastly against organised labour and where all foreign-owned assembly plants employed non-union workers.
The vote faced fierce resistance from local Republican politicians and national conservative groups, who warned a UAW victory could hurt economic growth in Tennessee. source
The ironclad fact that the decline of the middle-class correlates with the decline of unions falls on deaf, dumb and blind ignorance of our logic challenged southern brothers and sisters.
The power of unions to create prosperity for working families is well recognized: Organized labor is one of the few voices for the economic interests of the middle class in our government. Unions were key to creating and protecting the social safety net (including Social Security and Medicare) and winning major legislative victories for working families such as the Equal Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and — most recently — the Affordable Care Act.
And unions ensure that workers are paid fair wages. Unionized workers today make significantly more on than their non-union counterparts — about $2.50 more per hour than an otherwise comparable worker in the typical state according to a recent study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
When unions were stronger in the middle part of the last century, American workers wages rose as they became increasingly more productive. But today, as union strength has decreased, this link has broken down: even though American workers grow increasingly more productive, their wages have stagnated. At the same time, more and more income has become concentrated at the very top of the income scale. source
Why do southern working class folks so frequently vote against their own interest?
The deep rooted hatred and animus against blacks, immigrants, gays, women, progressives, non-Christians, northerners (still fighting the confederate battle) are easily stroked and manipulated by the conservative corporate global elites and right-wing media.
The political right-wing propaganda machine uses powerful wedge issues in election after election to divide these folks from their natural allies -- working class peers from other regions of our country.
Even though the reddest states are among the poorest states (and receive the most government welfare) southern working poor have been successfully duped into hating government -- especially one led by a black man -- and embracing corporate barons as allies.
Net result: Their culture of hate binds them to poverty. And by being divided and conquered they weaken the labor movement in other regions as well.