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A UAW victory in Chattanooga would help Tennessee

Senator Corker Objects
Senator Corker Objects
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Volkswagen wants to expand in Chattanooga, but, to do that, it also needs a German-style Works Council. This blue collar/white collar alliance has made for good business in Germany. It could here, as well – but in the United States that means involving a union, specifically the UAW. Thus Volkswagen has had a head-on collision with Senator Bob Corker, Governor Bill Haslam, and a bunch of Tennessee legislators who want to kill the chances of anything union.

The UAW is getting along nicely at the Spring Hill General Motors Plant. That plant is adding two new vehicles and 1,800 new jobs. – But God help the foreign manufacturer who wants to work with a union! When Nissan came to the South, they did things the New American way, establishing a temporary employee agency to undercut permanent jobs. This alone makes employees insecure, and they added bullying by management to cement the mix. You have only to view the video made by The Tennessean last year to see how well they’ve succeeded.

Nissan’s action was a big victory for Corker, Haslam, and other Republicans who have shown how little they care about career, living-wage jobs for Tennesseans. They tout Tennessee as a low-wage, non-union paradise and reinforce the image by never bothering to check how many jobs their tax bounties have created. Apparently the most important thing is getting these foreign corporations in Republican pockets. The companies get the tax breaks, Republicans get the big contributions, and Tennessee working people get crumbs.

Getting the UAW into one Southern foreign-owned plant would be a huge game-changer. That’s the bottom line. As Tennessee Democratic legislators have pointed out, auto plant suppliers will locate near auto plants simply because it’s in their best interest to do so, regardless of union presence.

Tennessee is not a rich state. Many counties have median household incomes in the $35,000 range. Amy Frogge of the Metropolitan Nashville School Board has twice requested donations of warm clothing for Metro school kids on Facebook. – But high-ranking Republicans care for none of these things.