It took the United Auto Workers union (UAW) some time to come to terms with their shocking defeat to unionize the Tennessee Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. That ended Monday when the union ended its appeal to overturn a February union election.
Apparently the power structure of the UAW saw the writing on the wall with their government ally, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), as they prepared to begin their hearing on the appeal.
Back in February, the UAW was shocked and embarrassed when the workers at the VW plant decided to stay the course without a union involved in their relationship with the German management. Shockingly, the Germans were sympathetic to the union's organizational efforts.
They suffered a decisive defeat that destroyed their Southern U.S. strategy for automobile recruitment attempts now in at least the foreseeable future. The vote at VW was 712-626, which the union immediately challenged.
They claimed the results were “tainted” by anti-union politicians and outside groups. That turned out to not be the case, losing on their own merits and the worker's priorities.
A thoroughly defeated UAW president Bob King said, “The UAW is ready to put February’s tainted election in the rear-view mirror and instead focus on advocating for new jobs and economic investment in Chattanooga. The UAW’s objections informed the public about the unprecedented interference by anti-labor politicians and third parties who want to prevent workers from exercising their democratic right to choose union representation.”
That was King's version, but he obviously knew the NLRB would not agree. Thus the quick departure and the “hold your head up” verbal dig.
Meanwhile, the National Right to Work Foundation, which represented several workers challenging the union, celebrated the UAW’s decision to withdraw from the case. More salt in the wounds of union organizers.
The decline of the UAW intensified with the VW worker rejection. The southern foothold is gone as car companies have been expanding to avoid the costs of unionization.
Rick Berman, the president of Center for Union Facts put it the best saying, “The UAW made a calculation to cut their losses and not risk another vote. If a new election was ordered, the union might feel like the dog who caught the car. Another election loss would be the final blow to the flagging UAW southern strategy. Employees aren’t buying what unions are selling.”
Not good news for the strongest base of financial support the Democrats have.
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